Is Schwarzenegger right comparing Capitol riot to Germany's Kristallnacht?


Fact Box

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American best known as a Hollywood icon, and as California’s 38th Governor (from 2003-2011).
  • Kristallnacht (also known by the meaning of it’s name: “the night of broken glass”) occurred in Nazi Germany on November 9-10, 1938. During this time, Nazi-party members organized widespread anti-Jew masacres (or “pogroms”) resulting in the carting off of 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps. An estimated 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were looted and destroyed. 
  • World War II followed shortly after then, spanning from 1939-1945 in which America joined in 1941, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Joining the allies, American succeeded in liberating five concentration camps, freeing 20,000+ Jews from captivity across Europe. 
  • The Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ party (shortened to the Nazi Party) was a totalitarian regime that ruled Germany through 1939-1945.

Kevin (Yes)

Schwarzenegger is correct when he says, 'things can spin out of control,' and this is a situation that should not be taken lightly. Things absolutely spun out of control with the horrific 1938 Jewish purge of Kristallnacht. Perhaps a more fitting comparison Schwarzenegger could have made would be the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, a failed coup that took place ten years before the Nazis came to power in Germany. But since Schwarzenegger’s family was personally impacted by these events, the comparison fits. The parallels may not be exact, but such historical comparisons seldom are, and it does show an example of why something like what was seen last Wednesday at the Capitol should be taken seriously. These things can start out small and seem to be unsuccessful, but the movement behind them can still build in size and influence if not stopped. Sociologist Walden Bello warned in an interview with Democracy Now! that the USA is 'entering the Weimar Period,' a reference to the tumultuous time in German history that led to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis taking power. There are indeed troubling similarities between conditions here and those of the Weimar Republic during that time, which should not be ignored.

There have been reports that right-wing extremist groups are planning further action, and the events of January 6 show that this is indeed a serious threat. 'Strongman' leaders such as Trump, and their more dedicated followers, tend to act unpredictably when they see power slipping from their grasp, and it is definitely wise to stay alert during this time.


Stephanie (No)

Arnold Schwarzenegger's comparison of last week's destruction to Kristallnacht was incorrect and highly insulting. The events that occurred recently at the Capitol were nothing compared to what happened in 1938 on the 'Night of Broken Glass.' German Jews at the time were strictly targeted by their own government completely unjustifiably. When such occurred in 1938, the fault was on the hands of officials in charge, whereas, in contrast, the events at the Capitol involved individuals, varying from potential Antifa members, Trump supporters, and 'crazed' Qanon followers. The government, nor its leaders, did not incite any of said violence and was a reaction from the people who disagreed with recent political events.

The 'Night of Broken Glass' in Germany was a horrific, government-sanctioned occurrence...comparing it to recent events of unlawful civil unrest at the Capitol is highly offensive towards those who survived Kristallnacht. German Jews were legally rounded up by mobs and targeted by government officials, whereas the recent incident had no specifically targeted victims. Schwarzenegger implies that the recent events were as bad as those occurring surrounding the Holocaust, which is grossly inappropriate, considering the systematic horrors that millions of Jews faced at that time. While several individuals did, unfortunately, lose their lives last week, this fails to compare to the destruction of the Holocaust that purposely tore families apart.

While Schwarzenegger condemned President Trump, comparing his presidency to Nazism, this makes little sense from an ideological perspective. It is the political left that has acted more like Nazis, dictating what Americans can and cannot do throughout the pandemic, and more recently, relentlessly attacking free speech. Despite being a Republican himself, Schwarzenegger illustrated that he is yet another RINO (Republican in name only), disheartening.

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