Serving the public since 1999. All opinions expressed are my own and any resemblance to an actual opinion is purely coincidental.
I am mindful of the admonition that history never repeats itself exactly the same. I am also mindful that one can be too casual in drawing modern-day comparisons to Hitler. That being said; I find it eerie at how similar the Adolf Hitler of yesterday is to the Vladimir Putin of today.
Putin has created a political party specifically to accommodate his cult of personality, just as Hitler did with a small-time socialist party. Putin sought to showcase his “new” Russia through the pageantry of the 2014 Olympics, just as Hitler tried to do with his “new” Germany in 1936. Like Hitler, Putin seeks to rally his people by stoking hatred of domestic minorities. And using Hitler’s hand-written playbook, Putin cites the presence of displaced ethnic countryman to justify his invasion of Russia’s neighbors.
The only question left to us in the West is what historical role do we choose for ourselves? Do we act the part of Neville Chamberlain and hope that the dictator’s appetite for empire is eventually sated? Or do we act the part of Winston Churchill, with his years of warning about growing aggressions over the horizon?
Whether the comparison that I have drawn is valid, one lesson from history is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago; the sooner we stand up to bully-boy dictators the more likely we avoid war. The longer we wait to stand up to naked aggression, the more emboldened men like Putin become.
Some might be tempted to recall the history of Hitler’s eventual defeat and take comfort that Putin will somehow be humbled in the future. To those who would be tempted to think such things, I remind you that Putin has something that Hitler had long sought but never had: nuclear weapons.