Historians are comparing America to 1930s Germany

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The Independent US

Historians are comparing America to 1930’s Germany and re-examining the 1935 Sinclair Lewis novel “It Can Happen Here,” where an illiterate, ignorant American demagogue becomes president of the United States. Sound familiar?

Some historians have compared the response to the 2008 financial crisis with that of the Great Depression of the 1930s, that sparked great resistance against the political elite. Then, many working class folks blamed foreign born Jewish immigrants for the decline of the economy. Many also framed Communism as a dangerous threat to Democracy much like they blame the idea of “radical” Islam.

French historian Pascal Blanchard told the AFP that many anxieties that were commonplace in the 1930s are existent in modern day America. "The periods are not the same, it's not the same thing. But the reactions are the same," he the new agency, explaining why people are willing to abandon who they believe are the political elite. "There's nothing new in the trigger, in the context or in the reasons why these people are taking power or why people are putting them in power.”

Still, there are historians who disagree or downplay the comparison. Author Richard Overy also spoke with the news agency arguing that the authoritarian states that ruled more than 80 years ago are nothing more than a remnant of the past. "We live in a world of settled nations, there are no longer global colonial empires, and the West is richer than it has ever been," he explained. "There are no lingering resentments from the war, and mass politics has developed and stabilised everywhere. This is why historical parallels with the 1930s seem so misplaced."