Germany in 1933, America in 2014: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

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Few things are as tiresome as hearing someone invoke Hitler or the Nazis when trying to make a point about American politics. Obama is bad – quite possibly the worst setback this country has faced in a long time – but he’s no Hitler. That said, it’s always worth hearing from people who were actually there when the Fuhrer took over Germany and nearly changed the world forever in his image. Kitty Werthmann, an 84-year-old Austrian immigrant to the United States, is telling anyone who will listen that the same warning signs present in Europe before World War II are beginning to rear their ugly head in the States.

As she expressed in a 2010 speech, Werthmann was not only there for Hitler’s rise to power but also for the Russian occupation that came soon after. Strengthening her point of view, she was also privy to decades of Austrian news reports after the war was over, forever changing the lens through which she viewed politics. After all – as she is quick to note – no one viewed Hitler as an unstoppable monster when he was an up and coming politician.

A Cloudy Reflection

Talking about those early days of Nazi occupation, Werthmann notes that Hitler was elected with an overwhelming majority of the popular vote. Once in power, he made it his business to dismantle Germany’s existing health care system, replacing it with a national system more in line with the socialist ideals he had developed. Gun control was high on Hitler’s list as well. Within a year of his election, German citizens were compelled to register their firearms under the guise of cutting crime. Soon after, registered gun owners were forced to turn in their weapons under threat of death.

Certainly, it doesn’t take 20/20 hindsight to see the similarities that exist between Germany in that precarious time and today’s United States. While Obama was not elected in a 98% landslide the way Adolf Hitler was, he managed to handily trounce both McCain and Romney in his two victories. His popularity has taken on some damage in recent months thanks to the NSA scandal and the atrocious rollout of his healthcare plan, but he isn’t quite the lame duck his opponents might like to think. His endorsement will mean a great deal to whoever the Dems decide can take the baton in 2016.

The issues regarding guns and healthcare, however, are cause for some concern. I may not have any fear that Obama is secretly Hitler reincarnate, but his policies are leading the U.S. down a dark path. An avowed enemy of capitalism, Obama’s Affordable Care Act would have looked a lot different had there not been fierce opposition in his path. Something much more akin to the universal healthcare “enjoyed” by Canada and many European countries. As for the guns, is there any clearheaded reader who doesn’t believe that every gun control concession will lead to another? Today registration, tomorrow confiscation? It may not be as far-fetched as it seems.