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Germany: Everyone lately is just ‘like Hitler’

If Germans understand the enormity of the insult, others evidently do not, said Frederick H. Schumann in Der Tagesspiegel.

Frederick H. SchumannDer Tagesspiegel

We Germans wince when we hear people being compared to Hitler, said Frederick H. Schumann. A junior minister in Germany’s government was forced to resign a few years ago after saying George W. Bush had “acted like Hitler” by invading Iraq. Now Thomas Strobl, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, has nearly suffered the same fate after using the epithet against an opponent; only a groveling apology saved him. But if Germans understand the enormity of the insult, others evidently do not.

It’s “preposterous” that President Obama can hardly get through a day without some Republican calling him Hitler, as if the mild-mannered Democrat could have anything in common with history’s most evil dictator. The latest bout of Hitler inflation seems to have begun when Bush described Saddam Hussein as Hitler. Then Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei denounced Bush himself as Hitler, as did Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, while Chávez in turn was called Hitler by then U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Foreigners should get this clear: If your enemy started a world war and nearly exterminated entire ethnic groups, then fair enough; if not, he’s not “like Hitler.”

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