As we watch the so-called President spread fallacious lies about his predecessor and his surrogates rally to wrap his fallacies in the veneer of legitimacy, remember… we’ve seen this before. Republicans are using the fascist tactics straight from Goebbels’ playbook – and they’ve done it before.
Back in 1944, when the United States was actually fighting fascism abroad rather than enabling it at home, in a New York Times article, Vice President Henry Wallace warned us of the dangers of American fascism. That same year during a campaign dinner event hosted by the Teamsters, President Franklin Roosevelt warned the American people of the troubling similarity between Republican efforts to sow discord in order to score political points and gain power by using tactics imported by dictators abroad.
From blaming the Democrats for the Great Depression that Republicans caused, to spreading falsehoods throughout the ranks of American service people, thereby reducing morale and the will to fight, to lying that FDR sent a group of destroyers to pick up his dog, Fala, who was mistakenly left behind during a trip abroad, President Roosevelt noted that Republicans were employing the fascist “Big Lie” tactic. After all, Republicans salute, not the flag, but the unholy dollar. Their primary purpose is to reduce the power of the common person and enable titans of industry to “make deals” with any autocrat, no matter the cost to country or community – as Prescott Bush’s dealings with Hitler can attest.
Watch FDR’s Warning about the Republican Fascist Big Lie tactic:
“You remember the closed banks and the breadlines and the starvation wages; the foreclosures of homes and farms, and the bankruptcies of business; the ‘Hoovervilles,’ and the young men and women of the Nation facing a hopeless, jobless future; the closed factories and mines and mills; the ruined and abandoned farms; the stalled railroads and the empty docks; the blank despair of a whole Nation–and the utter impotence of the Federal Government.
You remember the long, hard road, with its gains and its setbacks, which we have traveled together ever since those days. Now there are some politicians who do not remember that far back, and there are some who remember but find it convenient to forget. No, the record is not to be washed away that easily.
The opposition in this year has already imported into this campaign a very interesting thing, because it is foreign. They have imported the propaganda technique invented by the dictators abroad. Remember, a number of years ago, there was a book, Mein Kampf, written by Hitler himself. The technique was all set out in Hitler’s book – and it was copied by the aggressors of Italy and Japan. According to that technique, you should never use a small falsehood; always a big one, for its very fantastic nature would make it more credible – if only you keep repeating it over and over and over again.
Well, let us take some simple illustrations that come to mind. For example, although I rubbed my eyes when I read it, we have been told that it was not a Republican depression, but a Democratic depression from which this Nation was saved in 1933 – that this Administration this one today – is responsible for all the suffering and misery that the history books and the American people have always thought had been brought about during the twelve ill-fated years when the Republican party was in power.
Now, there is an old and somewhat lugubrious adage which says: ‘Never speak of rope in the house of a man who has been hanged.’ In the same way, if I were a Republican leader speaking to a mixed audience, the last word in the whole dictionary that I think I would use is that word “depression.”
You know, they pop up all the time. For another example, I learned – much to my amazement – that the policy of this Administration was to keep men in the Army when the war was over, because there might be no jobs for them in civil life.
Well, the very day that this fantastic charge was first made, a formal plan for the method of speedy discharge from the Army had already been announced by the War Department – a plan based on the wishes of the soldiers themselves.
This callous and brazen falsehood about demobilization did, of course, a very simple thing; it was an effort to stimulate fear among American mothers and wives and sweethearts. And, incidentally, it was hardly calculated to bolster the morale of our soldiers and sailors and airmen who are fighting our battles all over the world.
But perhaps the most ridiculous of these campaign falsifications is the one that this Administration failed to prepare for the war that was coming. I doubt whether even Goebbels would have tried that one. For even he would never have dared hope that the voters of America had already forgotten that many of the Republican leaders in the Congress and outside the Congress tried to thwart and block nearly every attempt that this Administration made to warn our people and to arm our Nation. Some of them called our 50,000 airplane program fantastic. Many of those very same leaders who fought every defense measure that we proposed are still in control of the Republican party – look at their names – were in control of its National Convention in Chicago, and would be in control of the machinery of the Congress and of the Republican party, in the event of a Republican victory this fall.
These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him – at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself – such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.
Well, I think we all recognize the old technique. The people of this country know the past too well to be deceived into forgetting. Too much is at stake to forget.”
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