I have just read an absorbing piece by Joshua Chanin in The Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History. It is entitled ‘Sinking into the Dark Abyss: Adolf Hitler’s Final Years, February 1943 – April 1945’. The similarities between Hitler’s decline and Trump’s are striking. You can read the full piece on the Armstrong site, but here is an excerpt from Chanin’s opening passage: “Along with the shrinking of his empire, Hitler would also be pulled down an uncontrollable hole himself. The overall health of a fit, loud, and impressive world leader, who at one time had conquered nearly all of Europe himself, would decline rapidly. His past grandeur would disappear before him, as his enemies would speed up the destruction of his Nazi destiny. His trustworthy generals would eventually lose faith in him, and his decisions would be looked upon from all corners with suspicion. His mood would alter, tantrums would flare up, and the great, strong-willed courageous German leader of the past would be overtaken by tiredness and desperation. With defeat looming on the horizon, a frail Hitler would soon sink into a gloomy dark abyss during the final two years and five months of his ‘great war,’ facing many periods of exhaustion, addictions to drugs, contracting illness, and many crushing blows, which would hurt his heart and faith, all due to the rapid decline of his empire; and as he lost his psychological mind, walked into the unknown, and gave random unexplained orders of attack, he unexpectedly pulled the innocent country he had grown to love and adore down with him.”
So much for Hitler. What now of Trump? Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 US Election will undoubtedly be America’s salvation. Perhaps January 20 should be named Liberation Day and celebrated with as much fervour as Victory in Europe Day, May 8 1945, that marked the end of the Second World War. Following the initial celebrations for Biden, there will be a great deal of cleaning up to do in the wake of his victory, just as there was in Europe from 1945 onwards. August 1945 saw the Potsdam Agreement, which solidified the allied program of Denazification, designed to rid Germany and Austria of Nazi ideology . It was a far-reaching attempt to heal and regenerate society, culture, the press, the economy, the judiciary, and the political machine itself. Similarly today, Biden will face the task of re-educating the many millions of Americans who bought into the corrosive Trump mythology and who continue to keep its flame burning. Detrumpification, like Denazification, will take many years – at the very least the two terms one can confidently expect Biden to serve. One wishes him the very best of luck.