Don Schilke

Don Schilke

Former President Donald Trump is well known for avoiding anything written, but he did not shun reading “My New Order,” a printed collection of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s speeches.

In 1990, Vanity Fair published an article by Marie Brenner. She wrote, “Ivana Trump (Donald’s first of three wives), told her divorce lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, ‘My New Order,’ which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.”

Kennedy now guards a copy of “My New Order” in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

Asked by Ms. Brenner about the claim and whether his cousin, John Walter, had given him the book, Mr. Trump responded, “Who told you that?”

He (Trump) went on to explain that it was “his friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of ‘Mein Kampf,’ and he’s a Jew.”

Mr. Davis told Vanity Fair, “I did give him a book about Hitler, but it was ‘My New Order,’ Hitler’s speeches, not ‘Mein Kampf.’ I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”

Mr. Trump, however, denied he would ever read speeches given by Hitler, saying “If had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Ms. Brenner suggested the businessman, who was suffering difficulties with his business at the time, may have been looking for inspiration in Hitler’s “genius for propaganda” and the way he spun military defeats as great victories. Think El Alamein and Stalingrad.

So what was Trump reading before he went to bed at night? I went to Amazon and bought a used copy of “My New Order.” I did not read Hitler’s two-three hour speeches, but I did carefully read the foreword and introduction, as well as elements of some of the speeches. They clearly reveal what has inspired Trump, and given him a pathway to become the masterful exponent of the Big Lie.

“My New Order” was written by Raoul de Roussy de Sales, a highly distinguished French-American journalist who also served as president of the Association of Foreign Correspondents. Its 1,008 pages present Hitler’s doctrines drawn from hundreds of his more than 1,500 speeches. The book is introduced by Raymond Gram Swing, who was then the most influential U.S. print and broadcast news commentators of the era.

What follows are two excerpts from M. de Sales foreword. Its first sentence is a warning to audiences and readers. “Adolf Hitler is one of the most prolific orators of all time…” He speaks for hours and is extremely repetitious.

The word repetitious deserves elaboration. Dr. Joseph Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, and at the end, before Hitler shot himself in his Reich Chancellery garden above his Berlin bunker, he appointed Goebbels to succeed him as chancellor of the German Reich. Goebbels had taught Hitler well. Hitler had totally absorbed Goebbels propaganda doctrine, which essentially was, if you tell a lie, tell a big one, and if you repeat it often enough, it becomes the truth, and you will even come to believe it yourself.

And here is M. de Sales critique of hundreds of Hitler’s speeches:

“Hitler’s speeches are weapons, as much a part of his strategy of conquest as more direct instruments of warfare. Hitler is past master at throwing up verbal smoke screens to conceal his intended moves. He knows equally well the effectiveness of massive oratorical assaults that shake the nerves of his victims or opponents and break down their resistance. He knows how to give pledges that will be broken later, but will serve temporarily to divide and confuse and to create the illusion of security. He uses insults and lies in the same manner as his generals use Stuka planes and tanks, to break through the respectable but often weak front of his adversaries. He contradicts himself constantly, but his contradictions often produce the effect of a psychological pincer-movement which crushes the best defenses of logic and ordinary morality.

To make a point, he is bound neither by logic, nor plausibility, nor historic accuracy. His method is to assert as gospel truth both truths and lies and never to concede that he might possibly be in the wrong, or even that a doubt could exist…”

It can be held that this creative chain of disinformation, as presented in “My New Order,” is the playbook that has descended from Goebbels to Hitler to Trump to QAnon to Murdoch and his shameless media acolytes and to the silent, fearful Republicans who are too addicted to the public trough to uphold their oath of office regardless of issue.

Or, to quote an expression that we used in the Marine Corps 70 years ago, “S- — runneth downhill.”

Don Schilke is a former elected Illinois Republican leader, newspaper advertising executive, senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer and Englewood community volunteer.


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