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Donald Trump 1930s nationalism all over again? 10 quotes on the subject

President-elect Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, November 19

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Parallels between the current time and the "Morbid Age" of the 1930s has led to a fierce debate between historians about how far the comparison can be taken play

Parallels between the current time and the "Morbid Age" of the 1930s has led to a fierce debate between historians about how far the comparison can be taken

(AFP/File)

Donald Trump's election in the United States and a surge in far-right groups in Europe have led to a fierce debate among historians and commentators about the parallels between the current decade and the 1930s.

Some believe that drawing a comparison with a catastrophic decade that culminated in World War II is alarmist, underlining that populist movements emerging now are fundamentally different.

Others warn that the political reaction visible across Western democracies stems from the same sense of anger and bitterness documented in the 1930s, warning that the lessons of history should not be ignored.

Here are 10 quotes from leading commentators on the subject:

"It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the (president Ronald) Reagan revolution -- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

- President-elect Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, November 19

"Modern populism lacks the level of violence and the anti-democratic character it had in the 1930s."

- British historian Richard Overy, author of "The Morbid Age", to AFP, November 17

"I never really understood how fascism could have come to Europe, but I think I understand better now."

- New York Times editorialist David Brooks in a column entitled "Are We On The Path To National Ruin?", July 12.

"A look at the polls in Austria and Germany -- Austria and Germany -- cannot fail to evoke unpleasant memories for those familiar with the 1930s, even more so for those who watched directly, as I did as a child."

- American political theorist and historian Noam Chomsky, talking to the truth-out.org website, November 14.

"We are not in the 1930s. We are not being crushed between the monolithic alternatives of fascism and communism."

- Antony Beevor in an article called "This is no rerun of the Thirties -- but the world is changing at terrifying pace", The Daily Telegraph, November 11.

"We are starting to understand since Trump that it is not just the wild dream of a few intellectuals saying 'watch out, fascism is coming back'."

- French historian Pascal Blanchard, author of "The 1930s are back: A little history lesson to understand the current crisis", to AFP, November 16

"The populism is different to the 1930s but of course it has echoes of it."

- Ian Kershaw, author of "To Hell and Back", a history of Europe from 1914-49, to AFP, October 15.

"Comparisons with the 1930s are fatuous... Nonetheless, it is clear that an exclusive, often ethnically-based, form of nationalism is on the march."

- The Economist article on nationalism, November 19

"Democracy often brings fascists to power, it did so to Germany in the 1930s."

- British historian Simon Schama, November 9, BBC radio

"In the work of preserving civilisation, nine-tenths of the job is to understand the past and stress its most obvious lessons. Now would be a good time to re-remember the 30s."

- Pulitzer-winning columnist Brett Stevens in a piece titled "The Return of the 1930s", The Wall Street Journal, March 7

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