“The cult of Hitler’s personality set up a fake opposition between leader and party.” So says Neal Acherson in his review of Hitler: A Biography (Volume 1, Ascent 1889-1939) by Volker Ullrich. That idea as applied to Trump and the GOP leadership is worth taking seriously — it’s not nearly as alarmist as it sounds — especially as (and precisely because) the cowed Republican Party leadership has come around.
After Kristallnacht, as after other outrages, many Germans (probably shocked more by the street vandalism than by the suffering of Jews) commented that ‘the Führer surely did not intend this.’ At elections and plebiscites, sulky subjects of the Reich might scribble on posters or voting slips: ‘Yes to Adolf Hitler — but a thousandfold No to the Brown Bigwigs!’ The effect of this false distinction was to maintain loyalty to the regime even through years when the public was coming to regard the Nazi Party apparatus as institutionally corrupt and self-serving. — London Review of Books
Postscript: June 14 — Trump’s terror response has Republicans fretting anew. Oh yeah.