Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: 'Name that Fascist!'
NORTH ADAMS — Hello ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and welcome to America's favorite game show, Name That Fascist! There are many similarities between three of history's greatest fascists: Joseph "Uncle Joe" Stalin, Benito "Il Duce" Mussolini, and Adolf "Springtime" Hitler. But for all their similarities, there are some differences between Stalin's Russia, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany. Can you tell them apart? Let's start the Quiz!
1) History buffs know that the 1930s and 1940s were high times for all three of the aforementioned dictators, so telling you that this atrocity took place around then won't spoil the answer for you. This leader became very suspicious of citizens of a certain race, and decided to authorize the deportation and/or incarceration of citizens of that race. Over 100,000 people were forced from their homes and put into camps, and as racial suspicion grew, even people with one-sixteenth ancestry of that race were subject to this horrifying new order, where their property and freedom were taken away simply for having a grandparent of the wrong race.
Can you guess which famous head of a country was responsible for this horrible act?
2) When the people here were organized to hold big political rallies, there was a fear that allowing a free media to report on the events would destroy complete one-sided control over the messaging. The solution? Simple: Prevent any independent journalists from attending or covering the demonstrations! Press was banned entirely from the relevant regions, and exceptions were only made for journalists willing to take a loyalty pledge promising their sworn support to the movement.
Can you guess where this attempt to crush the free press occurred?
3) Much of this man's rise to power was based on the fear and suspicion of certain minorities in the country. Knowing that much support could be gained by scapegoating an unpopular target, he made many public speeches degrading those he viewed as inferior, in some cases inspiring his followers to violence. He expressed his desire to implement a registry to track a religious minority. And he blamed the vast majority of crime on his country on a racial minority. All of this gained him support from those whose patriotism involves a strong suspicion of those who are different.
Can you guess which powerful demagogue used these tactics?
4) Although espionage against a country's enemies has been around since the first two countries came into conflict, the hallmark of a tyrant is that they will spy on their own people. Where benevolent leaders tend to depend on volitional support, the tyrant uses terror and a climate of suspicion to demand fearful loyalty from his citizens. In a certain country, being under constant governmental surveillance became a way of life, as all citizens were constantly being watched, not only visually, but with spies listening in on their telephone calls, reading their mail, keeping tabs on where they traveled, and keeping files on citizens in a massive secretive governmental database.
Can you guess which terrifying country ran this surveillance state?
That concludes our quiz on Name That Fascist! It's time to check your answers to see how you did:
1) Franklin D. Roosevelt
2) Smith College
3) Donald Trump
4) America, but to a lesser degree, most other countries too.
Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, the author of "From God To Verse", and broke his rose-colored glasses. His website is RisingPun.com.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.