Trump Steals A Page of History With “Big Lie” Communications

James T. Berger headshot

James T. Berger
Senior Marketing Writer

Published August 20, 2020

Donald Trump has stolen pages from George Orwell and Nazi propagandist George Goebbels with his use of “Big Lie” communications.

The “Big Lie” is a propaganda technique articulated by Adolph Hitler in his 1925 book “Mein Kampf” about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” A famous example would be Hitler blaming Germany’s loss of World War I on the Jews. Trump’s continual campaign promise of building a wall with Mexico and having Mexico pay for the wall is somewhat comparable.

Trump’s management of COVID-19 has been one “Big Lie” after another and now, according to data from the University of Washington, the United States should expect more than 300,000 deaths by year end. From the outset of the epidemic, Trump’s information sources have been wrong, and now one lie begets another lie.

Donald Trump has stolen pages from George Orwell and Nazi propagandist George Goebbels with his use of “Big Lie” communications.

Photo by David Todd McCarty on Unsplash

The “Big Lie,” according to Hitler, is a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”  One of the core lies of the Nazi regime was the assertion that the Jews blamed Germany’s World War I defeat on General Erich Ludendorff. According to a translation of Main Kampf: “But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists, to impute responsibility for the downfall precisely to the man (Ludendorff) who alone who alone has shown a superhuman will and energy in his efforts to prevent the catastrophe (loss of the war).”

This is clearly an absurdity. Ludendorff was a German World War I hero, although he was an anti-Semite, who was later exploited by Hitler and the Nazis. Many of the reasons Hitler helped kill Germany democracy and resorted to fascism were based on one “Big Lie” after another.

New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik writes: “There is nothing subtle about Trump’s behavior. He lies, he repeats the lie, and his listeners either cower in fear, stammer in disbelief, or try to they can turn the lie to their own benefit.” George Orwell in “1984 wrote of a brutal, primitive futuristic society. Gopnik points out how the Orwell book, written in 1949, suddenly became a best-seller after Trump’s inauguration. He writes: “When Trump repeats the ridiculous story about the three million illegal votes — a story that no one knows, that not a single White House “staffer,” not a single Republican congressman actually believes to be true — he does not really care if anyone believes it. People aren’t meant to believe it; they’re meant to be intimidated by it.”

In a recent Real Clear Politics article, author Tim Hains quoted Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter’s comments after Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address: “It’s one thing to lie in tweets, and, you know, the people are absorbing them at different times and it goes through the news cycle.  But when you’re doing it repeatedly, in real time, part of it is Goebbels’ ‘Big Lie.’ If you’re saying you’re protecting people with pre-existing conditions when you’re in court trying to strip them of those protections at the same moment, that’s not just a lie. That’s a ‘Big Lie’.”

James Rogers Bush, in a recent Buss Flash article, writes: “We don’t know if Trump has read “Mein Kampf,” but he did read a book of Hitler’s speeches, according to his first wife, Ivana. Now we hear Trump repeating things like ‘There was no collusion!’ and ‘Mueller’s probe was a witch hunt!’ He calls the Ukraine fiasco the ‘impeachment hoax!’ He repeats these statements incessantly, every chance he gets, and those who know they are lies can’t understand why so many Americans still believe him.”

Posted in:
Tagged: ,

About The Author

James T. Berger headshot
James T. Berger, Senior Marketing Writer of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.