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        A trio of German men

        Henning Schroeder at The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota:

        Before the trophy went to Adolf Hitler, German Emperor and King of Prussia Wilhelm II held the award for Most Hated Man on Earth. And while Hitler’s Third Reich has become the ultimate go-to place for much journalistic handwringing about the horrible times we are living in, in reality it feels like we are still stuck in Wilhelm’s Second Reich — it’s?Kaiserzeit?in America. Donald Trump and the last German Emperor have a lot in common, the vanity, insecurity, the penchant for bombast and?pers?nliches Regiment?(personal rule), to name just a few. In Wilhelm’s case the brakes on his impulsive and egotistical personality came off after he fired Bismarck, the experienced chancellor he inherited from his father, and surrounded himself with sycophantic generals and noble toadies who went along with his imperial fantasies and straight into World War I.

        We had a little conversation about that exact parallel a couple of days ago at the Miscellany Room, via What a Maroon:

        This popped up in my Facebook memories from two years ago. No one even tried to guess who it was referring to. Any guesses here?

        “He believed in force, and the ‘survival of the fittest’ in domestic as well as foreign politics… [He] was not lacking in intelligence, but he did lack stability, disguising his deep insecurities by swagger and tough talk. He frequently fell into depressions and hysterics… [His] personal instability was reflected in vacillations of policy. His actions, at home as well as abroad, lacked guidance, and therefore often bewildered or infuriated public opinion. He was not so much concerned with gaining specific objectives…, as with asserting his will.”

        It was that very Kaiser, child of Queen Victoria’s firstborn Vicky.

        I am reminded of those spineless Wilhelmine characters every time I am watching a White House press briefing. It’s not so much the bumbling fool at the microphone who advertises Clorox for healing the nation. That’s to be expected from someone who has been in sales all his life. What’s truly troubling is the backdrop of supposedly educated advisors and cabinet members who gaze at the president nodding their heads like bobble toys every time he opens his mouth. Not much different from Wilhelm’s bootlicking court jesters.

        The boot in the face, the brute   
        Brute heart of a brute like you.

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