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Trump And His Connection To Europe’s History, A Danish Perspective

Henrik Rasmussen, March 11, 2021

Henrik Rasmussen is a Cardiologist trained in Denmark. He and his wife Britta hold dual citizenships. They became U.S. citizens in 2004 and have been neighbors of ours both in Florida and Maryland and good friends. Henrik has been the Chief Medical Advisor for a number of newly established pharmaceutical companies that later went public. The most recent was San Francisco headquartered Allakos, Inc. which he joined in 2017. Prior to that he was the Chief Medical officer for ZS Pharma, Coppell, Texas, from 2009 to 2016.

Henrik, now 62, was a member of Denmark’s national youth soccer team, has written two novels, and is a student of history. On a personal note he is one of the brightest, best informed, and open men I know.

The article he has written below is Dr. Henrik Rasmusssen’s response to this question:

As a citizen of both the United States and Denmark, a medical doctor and businessman who has traveled the world, having lived in the United States for the past twenty-seven years what is your view of the Trump presidency and what are the major relevant lessons from the European experience in the twentieth century all Americans should know?

Roger Ralph, March 12,2021



Trump And His Connection To Europe’s History, A Danish Perspective

As someone who was born Europe, lived there until moving to the United States in 1994, and a student of European history it is clear to me that Donald Trump’s political career parallels another historic figure with similar (albeit even worse) personal characteristics are as obvious as they are frightening. Adolf Hitler was also a narcissistic egomaniac, who had failed in anything he tried until his ascent to the top of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1920s.

Hitler was ‘democratically’ elected Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, even though he did not receive a majority of the popular vote (like Trump in 2016) and as Trump, his campaign was one of fear mongering, thundering against the horrors of socialists, communists and Jews. Part of Hitler’s message was that period’s Big Lie, namely that Germany did not lose World War I, but that the communists in collaboration with the Jews, handed the victory to the Allied powers as an ‘inside job’. In a proud, nationalistic country like Germany, the Big Lie carried weight. It was obviously more convenient to blame somebody else than just accepting that you actually lost (see the similarities?). Once Hitler was in power, he immediately used the powers of the office to make sure that he would not have to go through another election and he almost immediately amassed dictatorial powers, helped by the mob of the time, the so-called SA (Sturmabteilung, German for ‘Assault Division’). The assistance of the SA was not limited to the time after Hitler won the election; the SA was intimately involved in intimidating voters going into the 1933 election. These heavily armed bullies, all fanatical Hitler supporters, appointed themselves (at Hitler’s urging) to ‘oversee’ the election to make sure that socialists and Jews did not ‘steal’ the election. Again, the parallels to what happened in the US 2020 election are obvious with the difference that fortunately the various extreme right wing groups supporting Trump (Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, 3 percenters etc.) and his Big Lie were not nearly as well organized as the SA back in the 30s in Germany.

There are other similarities; Hitler could have been stopped early on by the powerful German army or by the equally powerful German aristocracy/industrial elite; why didn’t they stop him then? “Better him and the Nazi’s than the communists” to quote the Head of the powerful Krupp industrial family, Gustav Krupp. “We thought we could control him and them (the Nazis)”. However, as history showed, nobody could control Hitler. Similarly, Trump could have been stopped early, by the Republican establishment or ultimately, by the American people at the election in 2016. There is little doubt that a lot of established republicans regarded Trump as a bulwark against what they saw as an increasingly liberal democratic party; they would use his supporters, his demagoguery, to get republicans elected up and down the ticket to allow them to reshape the nations policy. Initially that worked and Trump did help the Republicans gain control of the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, what they did not realize at the time was that they had unleashed a monster, who, like Adolf Hitler, almost 100 years earlier, was uncontrollable.

Hitler almost destroyed Germany and Europe, and had it not been for a United States with a very different leadership, World War II may well have had a very different outcome. Try to imagine what would have happened had Donald J. Trump, rather than FDR, been President of the USA back in the 1940s? We may well have had a very different world now.

Not only were there similarities between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, there were similarities between the German people of the 1920s and the American people of the 2010s that led to both being democratically elected. Germany had suffered through a devastating war with subsequent massive financial crisis and hyperinflation throughout the beginning of the 1920s; and then just as the country started crawling out of the financial crisis, the great depression hit in the late twenties. So, a big proportion of the German population lived in poverty and despair and was desperately looking for someone who could restore the national pride and increase their standard of living. Not only did Adolf Hitler tell the German people that he could do that, he also told them that their problems were not their fault but the fault of the vast global Jewish-Socialist-Communist conspiracy.

Fast forward to the US 90 years later. In 2008, the housing bubble burst and the biggest financial crisis since the great depression followed. The stock market collapsed and millions and millions of people lost their homes, their jobs and/or their retirement savings. The lower middle class were particularly hard hit and this was also the people who had been hit the hardest by the decline in US manufacturing. So, millions and millions of people (many Caucasians) who had achieved middle class status (for many, the American dream) lost that status and has been struggling. The economy and the stock market recovered after the crash, but not for many formerly middle-class people. The wealth gap increased at a speed never seen before in the history of the US so although the U.S. economy as such did well, the increase in wealth did not benefit millions and millions of Americans. Similar to Germany in the 20s and the 30s these people looked for somebody to blame and for somebody to improve their lot in life. Donald J Trump, combining demagoguery with a disregard for the truth not seen In a leader since Adolf Hitler, provided exactly that.

Henrik Rasmussen, March 11, 2021