The Church Jesus Built, German version

What Happens After Death?, German version

Is The Bible True?, German version

Heaven or Hell?, German version

Bible Prophecy, German version

How are "Adolf Nazi" and Oskar Lafontaine similar?

September 15, 2008: Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt has never been known for mincing his words. Yesterday he lived up to his reputation of being "Schmidt the snout" ["Schmidt-Schnauze"] in his characterization of populist leftist politician Oskar Lafontaine, co-chairman of Germany's new political party called "Die Linke" ["the left"]. LaFontaine used to be an influential member of Schmidt's own party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD). However, he resigned from his cabinet post in SPD chancellor Gerhard Schröder's coalition government and later left the SPD.

In remarks made to the Sunday edition of Germany's popular boulevard newspaper "Bild-Zeitung" on LaFontaine's influence, Schmidt compared his former party colleague to German dictator Adolf Hitler. "Charisma by itself does not make anyone a good politician," Schmidt said, adding that "Adolf Nazi" – his description of Hitler – was a charismatic speaker. "LaFontaine is, too," Schmidt surmised. He also compared LaFontaine with French populist Jeanne Le Pen: "One is on the left, the other on the right. But LaFontaine and Le Pen are similar populists."

Representatives of LaFontaine's party "Die Linke" were quick to condemn Schmidt's comparison, while the SPD remained silent. "Die Linke" has attracted some of its members Bundeswehr from the left wing of the SPD who are upset over conservative fiscal policies introduced by SPD chancellor Schröder that they consider to be contradictory to SPD party tradition. Some observers surmised that it was payback time for Schmidt for comments LaFontaine made just a couple months before Schmidt's coalition government collapsed in 1982. LaFontaine, at that time the mayor of Saarbrücken on the German-French border, criticized Schmidt by saying that Schmidt "talks about a sense of duty, predictability, practicality and steadfastness. Those are secondary virtues. Stated precisely, they can be useful in running a concentration camp."

Schmidt and LaFontaine aren't the only German politicians to make comparisons with the Nazi era. Here are some other notable examples from the past:

• "National Socialists were first of all Socialists" (Edmund Stoiber, 1979).

• "Gorbatschow is a modern Communist leader who knows something about public relations. Goebbels also knew something about PR" (Helmut Kohl, 1986).

• "That's the worst [parliamentary] president since Hermann Göring" (Helmut Kohl 2002, referring to Bundestag President Thierse of the SPD).

Schmidt's comparison only applies to LaFontaine's rhetorical skills. At age 65, LaFontaine is in the late stage of his political career and is already 21 years older than Hitler when Hitler came to power in January 1933.


God's Sabbath Rest, German version

Making Life Work, German version

What is Your Destiny?, German version

Gospel of the Kingdom, German version

The Ten Commandments, German version