History’s Political Lessons
To the Editor,
This November 9th marked the 100th anniversary of an event that Americans would be wise to study. On that day in 1923 Adolf Hitler and a number of like-minded Nazi party members, mimicking Mussolini’s successful March on Rome the previous year, staged a putsch meant to gain control of the Bavarian government in Munich a decade before he would cement his hold on the entirety of Germany.
The attempt resulted in the deaths of multiple participants and police, but for his leadership Hitler was only half-heartedly sentenced to jail time by a semi-sympathetic court. The trial was welcome publicity for the movement and their dead were hailed as martyrs. Hitler’s relatively cushy prison term was an opportunity to gain greater popularity and to put on paper a treatise that would further publicize and advance the movement.
So now, as we are faced with the prosecution of former president Trump from multiple directions, I say to you, be careful what you wish for. If you are a Trump opponent and wish for his conviction and punishment, remember that the path to that could result in an even more vigorous push for the platform he represents. And if you are a Trump supporter, please know that many Hitler supporters were hoping for something far different from what he ultimately delivered, and history guarantees us that the same will be true for Trump.
It is sadly ironic to see so many starry-eyed veterans and other patriots, who love this country for what we fought for and against in World War II, be wooed today into supporting a movement that has so many similarities to that fateful movement of Germany’s past. Regardless of your political persuasions, just be mindful of the lessons that history provides. For it is best to recognize the nature of the beast, before you are trapped in the belly of it.
Randi Allen Kiely