While there are doubts that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would have even known this news reel would have existed, there is a chilling sense of an omen playing itself out hearing fascist dictator Benito Mussolini encouraging people to make America great.
According to Washington Post, Mussolini’s statement was one of the first to pair sound and sight together, and as far as the broader political context is concerned, Mussolini’s encouragement to make America great was geared to the greatest segment of the United States population at the time, which would have been the 1.8 million Italians living in America at the time.
Echoes of history for Trump’s America from 1927, Fox News Service filmed Benito Mussolini https://t.co/7WpPGfhe4j
— Mukesh Kapila (@mukeshkapila) July 24, 2016
Uproxx notes that Mussolini apparently was quite enthralled with film as a then-new medium at the time, and because of the growing number of Italians living in America, his admonition to make America great — in other words, to make the most of their situations in a new country — was a smart move as the Italian leader at the time. While his accent is quite thick in the video — and there is apparently no confirmation that the footage is, in fact, legitimate — his sentiments would have no doubt resonated with those living in America at the time.
He said, at least in part, that “I see and recognize among you the salt of your land, as well as ours, my fellow citizens who are working to make America great.”
Mussolini also noted that the Italian and American populations were united in a “single love of two nations,” according to NewsBusters, and in attempting to reach out and encourage Americans and Italians alike to “make America great,” Mussolini actually gives the public a vision of someone who may have seen the public as a way to bridge the gap between the two nations.
While it’s hard to picture what may have been a kinder, gentler Mussolini at the time, reaching out to Italians in America and exhorting them to “make America great” was certainly a smart strategy for the time. The Italian dictator may have been wanting to shore up support abroad as well as at home, and if he was, indeed, excited about the prospect of pairing film and sound, marrying the two efforts would have been a smart move, as such a clip may have been aired with whatever film may have been rolling at the local theater.
That said, it is eerie to hear Mussolini encouraging people to make America great in 21st century North America. The name Mussolini still has heavy historical weight, and while Donald Trump is likely to not know about the old news reel, this will not have marked the first time Mussolini and Trump may have been whispered in the same sentence. The New York Times reports that in February of this year, Trump caused something of a furor online when he tweeted a Mussolini quote.
Of the reaction Trump received at the time for using a Mussolini quote, he told Meet the Press,“It’s a very good quote. I didn’t know who said it, but what difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else — it’s a very good quote.”
Now that this news reel of Mussolini telling people to make America great appears to have surfaced, comparisons between Mussolini and Trump will no doubt recirculate. PressTV is currently drawing conclusions between Trump, Mussolini, and Hitler — comparisons which have certainly been made in the past, but comparisons which may have some basis in fact, according to an analyst.
The Universe Conspires Against Mussolini/Trump As Military Coup In Turkey Kills His VP Buzz https://t.co/7WW8DYPq81
— JBE (@msjbe20a) July 15, 2016
Susanne Posel, chief editor of Occupy Corporatism and U.S. Independent, suggested the comparison after Trump reiterated plans for a wall and said that because Trump was born shortly after the end of World War II, his perception is quite probably still very black and white.
“The idea that the country needs to be contained, the infection is because of the ‘others’ that don’t follow in line anymore, we need to be 1953 again – we have to remember that Donald Trump was born just after the World War TWO ended, and he is part of the silent generation,” Posel suggested. “When he was a kid everything was black and white literally … the television was black and white. Black people knew their place. And every other minority knew their place — that’s the idea behind the wall.”
Certainly, given the ongoing comparisons between Trump and Mussolini, the video from 1927 where Mussolini encourages Italians and others to make America great will continue to feed the comparisons.
[Photo by Keystone/Getty Images]