In Mein Kampf, Hitler railed against what he considered the Aryan master race’s great enemy: the Jews. According to Philip Gavin of History Place, Hitler accused Jews of “conducting an international conspiracy to control world finances, controlling the press, inventing liberal democracy as well as Marxism, promoting prostitution and vice, and using culture to spread disharmony.”
Another of Hitler’s main beefs was the punitive Treaty of Versailles, which dramatically reduced Germany’s power and prestige after World War I. The Versailles Treaty led to the creation of the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. By pulling out of the League’s disarmament pact in 1934, Hitler began pulling out of both the League and the Treaty.
According to Hitler, the weaker races must be forced to make way for the master race. This necessitated German/Aryan expansion into Russia in the short term and world domination in the long term. He argued that citizenship should be based on race, not residency.
We can outline the essence of Hitler’s ideology in seven points:
1. The Jewish conspiracy controls world finances
2. The Jewish conspiracy controls the press
3. The Jewish conspiracy invented liberal democracy and Marxism
4. The Jewish conspiracy promotes vice and disharmony
5. The Jewish conspiracy uses international agreements to dominate global affairs
6. The Aryan (white) race must dominate Germany by preventing other races from obtaining citizenship
7. The Aryan (white) race must dominate the world.
Hitler’s thinking was syncretic, not original, but the particular blend of ideas that comprised his worldview constitutes a recognizable blueprint.
In 1958 Robert W. Welch, Jr., along with Fred C. Koch, the father of the Koch brothers, and others, founded the John Birch Society. Welch claimed that "both the U.S. and Soviet governments are controlled by the same furtive conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians. If left unexposed, the traitors inside the U.S. government would betray the country's sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist New World Order, managed by a 'one-world socialist government.'”
According to Sean Wilentz, writing in the New Yorker:
In the nineteen-sixties, Welch became convinced that even the Communist movement was but “a tool of the total conspiracy.” This master conspiracy, he said, had forerunners in ancient Sparta, and sprang fully to life in the eighteenth century, in the “uniformly Satanic creed and program” of the Bavarian Illuminati. Run by those he called “the Insiders,” the conspiracy resided chiefly in international families of financiers, such as the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers, government agencies like the Federal Reserve System and the Internal Revenue Service, and nongovernmental organizations like the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission. Since the early twentieth century, they had done a good deal of their evil work under the guise of humanitarian uplift. “One broad avenue down which these conspiratorial forces advance was known as progressive legislation,” Welch declared in 1966.
The underlying views of the Society have not changed much since then. Politico writer John Savage attended an introductory lecture and stated that it warned “About a massive, well-organized conspiracy of elites that is determined to destroy religion, glorify immorality, take children from their parents and give them to the state and ultimately form a one-world government.” The Society’s website informs us that “Get US Out! of the United Nations has been the signature campaign of The John Birch Society for over 50 years. The global power elites view the UN as their main vehicle for establishing, step by step, a socialistic global government controlled by themselves.”
If we list the John Birch Society’s views they are familiar:
1. The conspiracy controls world finances
2. The conspiracy controls the press
3. The conspiracy invented liberal democracy and Marxism
4. The conspiracy promotes vice and disharmony
5. The conspiracy uses international agreements to dominate global affairs
In essence, many of the John Birch Society’s views are identical with Hitler’s but without the emphasis on anti-Semitism. The Jewish conspiracy becomes a one-world conspiracy of liberals, internationalists and bankers. It doesn’t really matter to what extent Welch was directly influenced by Hitler: they were ideological fellow travelers who were both born toward the end of the 19th Century; they lived through the same global events and they drew the same conclusions.
There is another neat trick that makes the Birchers’ worldview seem more distant from Hitler’s than it really is: the Society puts Hitler on the side of the internationalists that he hated. By pretending that Hitler was a “one worlder” the Society made it look at first glance as if he was on the other side. However, Hitler’s opposition to the League of Nations is in reality paralleled by the Birchers’ opposition to the UN and his desire for the global supremacy of the German race is similar to the Birchers’ desire for the American people to triumph over communism and over all internationalist world orders.
The Society does not directly promote racism but, according to hate-group expert Daniel Levitas, Welch “had a bad habit of gathering anti-Semites around him and recommending anti-Semitic publications.” Notwithstanding that, there have been and still are Jewish members of the Society, prominent among whom was Donald Trump’s own mentor, Roy Cohn.
In the past thirty years the John Birch Society’s views have been popularized by talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. Wilentz again:
In 2007, Beck, then the host of “Glenn Beck,” on CNN’s Headline News, brought to his show a John Birch Society spokesman named Sam Antonio, who warned of a government plot to abolish U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, “and eventually all throughout the Americas.” Beck told Antonio, “When I was growing up, the John Birch Society—I thought they were a bunch of nuts.” But now, he said, “you guys are starting to make more and more sense to me.”
What about the last two points on the list of seven? One only has to listen to Limbaugh, Jones or Beck for a few minutes to sense their presence not far in the background:
6. The white race must dominate the USA by preventing other races from obtaining citizenship.
7. The USA (white race) must dominate the world.
Rush Limbaugh, for instance, referred to illegal immigrants as invasive species:
So invasive species like mollusks and spermatozoa are not good, and we've got a federal judge say, "You can't bring it in here," but invasive species in the form of illegal immigration is fine and dandy -- bring 'em on, as many as possible, legalize them wherever we can, wherever they go, no matter what they clog up. So we're going to break the bank; we're going to bend over backwards. The federal judiciary is going to do everything it can to stop spermatozoa and mollusks from coming in, but other invasive species? We're supposed to bend over and grab the ankles and say, "Deal with it."
Just as the Birchers replaced the “Jewish conspiracy” with an “internationalist conspiracy” today’s talk-show hosts like to replace the latter with more modest phrases like “liberal elites”. Still, it’s just as easy to add the anti-Semitism back into the conspiratorial ideology as it was to take it out. You don’t even need to say the word “Jew”, you can just use Jewish names: George Soros, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Saul Alinsky, Gloria Steinem, Michael Bloomberg, Frances Fox Piven, the Rothschilds, and your listeners can make the inference themselves. Why else would there be so much hostility directed at a man like Saul Alinsky, who’s been dead for 45 years? Put the Jews back in and there’s no difference between your conspiracy theory and Hitlerism. It’s as easy as adding water! And, if you don’t particularly mind Jews, you can always add Muslims, gays, Mexicans, African Americans, atheists, Chinese, whomever.
I wonder how many of those who have accepted conspiracy theories would have thought twice if they had really understood the close correspondence between these views and those of Adolf Hitler. We need to do a better job of educating future generations so that they don’t fall for these same long-discredited arguments. We underestimate the attraction of such theories at our peril.