Trump isn’t the first political figure in history to co-opt Christmas. In fact, some see parallels between Trump’s speeches in front of Christmas trees and attempts by authoritarian regimes like the Nazis to manipulate popular celebrations to promote a political ideology. But by weaponizing Christmas in this way, Trump is bringing a dangerous tradition of politicizing religious holidays into the United States, experts say.It's historical nonsense. (And author Joe Perry must know that, despite his giving NEWSWEEK the quote they want.)
“Because Americans have enjoyed a relatively stable political system, Christmas in the U.S. has been relatively immune to the overt politicization of the holiday," Joe Perry, author of the book Christmas in Germany: A Cultural History, which examines the way Nazis used Christmas to spread fascism, told Newsweek.
“But not completely immune. The far right’s engagement in the ‘war on Christmas’ explicitly posits that there is one single true or correct Christmas. The holiday’s true nature is somehow under threat from outsiders and liberals who act as forces of degradation, multiculturalism and secularization,” Perry continued.
In this context, Trump has been using the so-called war on Christmas to wage a culture war that pits multicultural liberals against Christian conservatives. He began doing this long before Christmas. Meanwhile, members of the religious right support Trump’s most nationalist, race-baiting form of political rhetoric, including his re-claiming of Christmas.[ How Trump and the Nazis Stole Christmas To Promote White Nationalism By Cristina Maza, December 24, 2017]
The Nazis persecuted Christians as well as Jews—the original “first they came for” was written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, who was imprisoned by Hitler from 1938 to 1945, and one of our earliest War On Christmas pieces here, by Tom Piatak, referred to the wartime experience of Fr. Gereon Goldmann:
As a conscript in the SS, Goldmann was forced to celebrate not Christmas, but a bizarre winter holiday concocted by the Nazis:In 2009, I blogged about the “Anti-Christmas Nazis” and quoted the Daily Telegraph
“On Christmas Eve, there was a celebration, not a Christian one, but a pagan German Julfest. We were all together and had to sing some trash about the night of the clear stars and other sad substitutes for the true Christmas message.”As shocking as it may sound, the contemporary public observance of Christmas in America bears a much closer resemblance to the Nazis' Julfest than to the Christmas that enticed Chambers. And this extraordinary transformation has occurred in a generation.
How Hitler and the Nazis tried to steal ChristmasHeidi Bertelson was born in 1967, and would have been singing these Christ-free Christmas carols in the 1970s, because her culture was still affected by Nazi repression. But, as Tom Piatak said in 2001, American children are being told to sing similar carols today.
The Nazi Party tried their best to remove Christ from Christmas by paganising carols, producing glittering swastika, iron cross and toy grenade baubles for the fir tree, research for a new exhibition has found.
Published: 8:53AM GMT 17 Nov 2009
Many of the changes made under Hitler, put in place to remove the influence of the Jewish-born baby Jesus, are still in use today, much to the alarm of modern Germans. The swastika-shaped baking trays and wrapping paper adorned with Nazi symbols have long gone, but traces of the Third Reich Christmas can still be found in the subtly rewritten lyrics of favourite carols. The discoveries have been highlighted by a new exhibition at the National Socialism Documentation Centre in Cologne. “I always thought that Unto Us a Time Has Come was a song about wandering through winter snow,” said Heidi Bertelson, 42, a lawyer who visited the exhibit told Times. ”I didn’t realise that Christ had been excised.”[ More, links added.]