Hitler and Bolsonaro share biographical details, which may be related to their emergence as famous fascists, respectively, of the 20th and early 21st Century.

Hitler participated directly in World War I when he was in his mid-twenties. He was wounded in the battles of Ypres, Somme, Arras and Paschendaele, and received the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914, and the Iron Cross, First Class, in 1918. He was a gefreiter, the equivalent of a seargent. After World War I, Hitler remained in the army. He became an intelligence officer and infiltrated the German Workers’ Party, where he had close contact with anti-semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-marxist ideas. On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler joined the party, which changed its name to  National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the “Nazi Party”. Hitler designed the party’s swastika banner. At this time he was in contact with people that would be with him to the end, like Goebbels, Hess and Rosenberg. Hitler was discharged from the army on 31 March 1920 and began working full-time for the party. In 1923 he was arrested for high treason after 2 coup attempts in Bavaria. He completed one of the 5 year-sentence, and was pardoned.

Bolsonaro was born in 1955, graduated from the military academy in 1977 and served in the army’s field artillery and parachutist units. He became known in 1986, when he wrote an article for Veja magazine criticizing low wages for military officers, after which he was arrested for 15 days. A year later, accused of planning to plant bombs in military units, he was convicted by a lower court and later acquitted by the Brazilian Supreme Military Court. In a deal with the Army, he moved to the reserve in 1988 as a captain and ran for the Rio de Janeiro City Council. In 1990, Bolsonaro was elected to the lower chamber of Congress and he was reelected six times. He has been in numerous political parties.

In summary Adolf Hitler and Jair Bolsonaro share the working class roots, the short military career, and the treason they practiced on the military establishment, for which both were condemned. It may be that both these episodes were fake, in the sense that Hitler was used to infiltrate politics, and Bolsonaro too. Thus, one may conclude that they share strategy. They are very different on their personal and political lives. It may be argued that they differ in tactics, most likely developed according to differing realities, different times and places.

It was in their 20s that Adolf Hitler and Jair Bolsonaro veered to the extreme right, while in the military. It was Hitler’s oratory skills and right wing adherence that led him to create and lead the Nazi Party. Bolsonaro, on a different path, navigated the Brazilian political jungle that followed the the military dictatorship, supported by police, military and religious extremists. Hitler was faithful to one party, and kept the same group of close associates all the way to the end. Bolsonaro was attached only to his 4 sons. Adolf was never married, and had no children. Jair had various children with a number of women.

One critical detail is shared by Hitler and Bolsonaro. Munich in the post-war period and Rio de Janeiro in the post-dicatorship era were simmering with secret societies and paramilitary groups. Both proeminent fascists were schooled from and early age into the world of narratives and falsehoods, with intense dislike of the real world, science and history.

Dr Paulo Bittencourt

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