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Margaret Atwood: Rise of Trump Brings Echoes of 1930s Europe


Margaret Atwood: Rise of Trump Brings Echoes of 1930s Europe

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Author made remarks ahead of receiving award for "political intuition and clairvoyance when it comes to dangerous underlying trends and currents."

Author Margaret Atwood, seen here in 2014, said Saturday that with the election of President Donald Trump, "It feels the closest to the 1930s of anything that we have had since that time." (Photo: Brattle Theatre/flickr/cc)


The rise of Reagan and his four successors brought “ECHOES of 1930s Europe”.

“The rise of Trump” brings SIRENS, not “echoes of 1930s Europe”.


Trump is the perfect leader for the fascist, Fourth Reich. Amerika, it is happening here…BELIEVE IT!.

" Times have changed and, unfortunately it becomes more possible to think in those ( fascism) terms." Heinrich Riethmueller.


Common Dreams: We love MA, but the comparison to “1930s Europe” is hardly news. Let’s go deeper.


Yes, Fuckface von Clownstick (thank you J Stewart) the tv prez is a sadistic narcissistic sociopath of a bully spreading his misery both far and wide. Could this insight below detail the source of his misery?

“One who regards wealth as a right cannot yield his salary; one who regards eminence as a right cannot yield his fame; one who has a taste for power cannot give the handle to others. Holding on to these things, they are cold; letting them go, they are sorrowful. And never once do they have a moment of reflection to notice that this is why they never get any rest. This is heaven’s punishment of the people.” – Zhuangzi


I have a book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, by William Shirer (1960), which I have only read once - too close to now.

Perhaps it is time for a re-read, if I can summon the strength.

On the other hand, would it do any good.

I think Margaret Atwood is correct - it is the way it feels to me, though admittedly I was not alive in the 1930’s, which is where incisive history plays its role and justifies its study.

Every day I wake up in disbelief that the present is real - and I am dead certain that is the way it felt to many Germans in the Hitler era.

Can we do something about it, where they couldn’t ?

On a recent post on Iran, I received three hate filled anti-semitic replies, and this on a ‘progressive’ site such as Common Dreams.

Let me tell you I know this hatred is real and widespread, having encountered it personally in the Canadian oilpatch back in the '80’s, perhaps the ugliest face of human nature I have ever encountered.

Racism = fear = conservatism = Dark Ages unless countervailing forces can prevail.

As Winston Churchill (not my favorite person) put it, ‘we are losing everywhere’ at the moment, with denial of reality, of science, of compassion, of our common African heritage, of evolution - in short - ‘The Age of Magical Thinking’ as James Kunstler has characterized it.

For many - the world is still flat, and witches are real.

Civilized man is passive almost beyond belief - perhaps especially the left - where non-violence is seen as the holy grail of protest.

More magical thinking - this from the progressive community.

At the core of my being resides a mountaineer - and mountaineering has been rightly seen as very similar to the warrior spirit, which it is. Not that all who climb are possessed of this reality based view, as evidenced repeatedly by those who are ‘surprised’ to find that climbing is dangerous and potentially lethal - that good judgement is perhaps a mountaineer’s most important asset.

Sacrifice plays its role - and no amount of rationalization can ever excuse the man who cuts the rope to save himself.

Survival is soon to be our lot - and all is indeed fair in love and war.


When they start burning books, hers will probably be among the first!


John Gofman, Manhattan Project physicist/chemist, amongst the men who first isolated plutonium, and later became a medical doctor and the United State’s foremost anti-nuclear activist, thought that those who sought ‘power and privilege’ were in his professional medical opinion - diseased.

That would be my view - no exceptions.

Of course we are all diseased in some manner - that is only reality, but it doesn’t change the diagnosis, and some diseases are more lethal than others.


Yes, it isn’t news. But it is worth repeating as often as possible. We tend to get caught up in our own agendas or to use a term that has become popular our own silos. It is easy to get so focused on these agendas that we forget about the big picture. Atwood’s statement is good reminder of the big picture. However, I think the situation is even worse in Europe. It is said this white nationalist movement is strongest in France, Hungary is said to have a government that reflects this view. What is driving it is immigration and terrorism by jihadists. That is what is creating fertile ground for this white supremacist movement both here and in Europe. In addition, n the US there is racism against blacks which is a big factor. What is really happening is not enough to propel the movement so what is needed is lies and they are being amply provided. Trump provided lies that were obvious to people who follow the mainstream news or news provided by left wing sources but not so obvious to those who follow only right wing sources. Trump lied about the extent of crimes committed by undocumented workers. He lied about the extent of violence in black neighborhoods. He lied about the US crime rate. He lied about terrorist attacks. What we have to do is not follow what the Germans did in the 1930s which was assume Hitler was really not that bad. Many Jews even made that mistake. We have to assume assume Trump is that bad. We have to assume he is a fascist and that he wants to establish a dictatorship. We have to assume that his goal is drive all non-whites and Jews out of the US or subjugate them to the authority of white Christians. Our actions need to be based on those assumptions. Therefore we need to get out in the streets and protest and get as involved politically as much as we can.


I want to thank you once again for your incisive, intelligent posts! I happen to agree with nearly everything you say. In my judgement, we are indeed going through times eerily reminiscent of the 1930’s, possibly worse. I say worse for two main reasons: 1) Now there are widespread, numerous nuclear weapons. 2) We do not have the quality of political leadership that we had then.

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”-----George Santayana


I’d like to read that – especially about the FALL of the Third Reich because that’s the good part.


Margaret ROCKS! The passing of N.I.M.A., National Improved Medicare for All, will make it all but impossible for another nazi rise from the crypt of monsterous political regimes.


Atwood’s books are regularly on banned/censored lists in U.S. public libraries. She and multiple other writers/artists/politicians (including other Canadians) have been barred (or are severely restricted) in traveling to/from and around the U.S.

Since they are not U.S. citizens, our “individual rights” U.S. Constitution does not apply and U.S. authorities regularly ignore human rights and international law. The USG has never accepted the International Criminal Court and has never signed the Geneva Accords on land mines or children being used as soldiers, for example.


I agree with you. My point was simply that CD framed the “30’s Europe” notion as though it were news. I expect CD to take things to the next level – as you are doing. Thanks. Just two days ago I scolded CD for encouraging readers to take a break from worrying about Trump. We need to keep worrying about him, and to channel that worry into constructive action. CD should be focusing on that aspect.


Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer and numerous other Manhattan Project participants also became anti-war, anti-nuke activists almost as soon as they saw the nature of the diseased beast that they had helped to midwife into the biosphere. But, in the end, pissants like Truman and his Generals, especially General MIC cast them aside for total global dominance – and total global destruction.


Yup. Says it all. Says why we really shouldn’t depend on any gods that claim to run any heaven. They aint on our side. They are punishers, every one.


Well said, however in the meaning here, or generally in early Chinese concepts “heaven” might be closer to “the Universe” in our understanding. Translations from that long along are a challenge, and work is still in process. Or even the laws of cause/effect. It is simply what happens via natural powers of the universe I mean you hoard power, fame and wealth and some shit is going to come down on you sooner or later, because these are all fleeting things that nobody really has or owns, just powers to lust after. Like a snake eating its tail.

You point out that our concept in the west is so clouded with God/heaven paternalism that heaven alone in our use suggests “God” in everyday usage.


Possible cataclysmic disasters are stables on this site but the Yellowstone volcano blowing this century seems so unlikely that it certainly shouldb’t distract us from Trump and since we couldn’t do much about it anyway why even mention it here.


Another book that hits this dead on is ‘they thought they were free, the germans 1934-45’ by Milton Mayer, pub. University of Chicago Press, 1955. My copy is a used softcover university textbook,

raydelcamino: you started the comments and you nailed it. Reagan and his clones would have been even closer… :wink:

We aren’t stupid, are we? We can see that this is falling off the cliff right before our eyes, and like the Germans in the 1930s, we’re…in deep kimchi and most don’t want to even think about it. As long as the tv works, sports on the weekends, beer in the fridge, and the supermarket still has food to buy we as a species will just keep waving the flag and doing the day to day stuff that is right in front of us and never ever look into those dark scary corners of our existence.

Get Trump impeached and we get… PENCE the modern version of the Christian Inquisitor. Ms Atwood wants a REAL handmaid’s tale? That guy is one scary violent batshit crazy missing-a-soul religious freak that hides behind Trump’s maniac Alzheimer’s behavior and is probably salivating at this moment over his chance to save the US for Jesus…

Holy crap indeed!



Well you know, I appreciate always your comments.

It is also good to find a kindred spirit - not a small thing - rare.

Ciao from Calgary