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Italian Communists liken Merkel to Hitler

Rome, Italy — Ahead of last week’s visit to the Italian capital by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Communist party put up posters likening Merkel to Adolf Hilter.

Posters have appeared in a few spots in Rome portraying the German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing an SS-style uniform, with a Euro-currency emblem on the arm patch in lieu of the Nazi (National Socialist Movement of Germany) swastika. The posters are credited to the Communist Party of Italy.

Italian Communist party likens Merkel to Hitler, Rome, Italy, June 24, 2012 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

Italian Communist party likens Merkel to Hitler, Rome, Italy, June 24, 2012 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

As if the comparison wasn’t obvious enough, someone clever went around with a marker and added in the Third Reich’s leader’s infamous mustache.

A mustache is added to the image of Merkel, further likening her to Hitler, Rome, Italy, June 24, 2012 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

A mustache is added to the image of Merkel, further likening her to Hitler, Rome, Italy, June 24, 2012 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

The argument made on the posters is that the EU is a cover-up for the banks, a protectorate of monopolies. And it must be defeated.

While the use of Hitler-like images rouses emotions, it lacks rationale.  The situation in Germany now is much different than it was in the 1930s. It was not hyperinflation in the 1920s that brought Hitler to power, but rather depression and high unemployment a decade later. Domestically, Merkel isn’t dealing with those issues, and her position of strength is derived from a totally different style of policy-making.

Some Italians chose to welcome Merkel with a different sort of sign. Another poster – this one put-up by the Center-Left Democratic Party – called on Italians to rally to Greece’s support in order to save Europe.

Posted by Italy's Democratic Party called for supporting Greece to save Europe, Rome, Italy, June 24, 2012 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

Posted by Italy's Democratic Party called for supporting Greece to save Europe, Rome, Italy, June 24, 2012 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

Merkel was in Rome for a 4-way meeting with her counterparts from Spain, France and host country Italy. All are due, along with other European leaders, in Brussels later this week for a two-day EU Summit due to start on Thursday. Ahead of the meeting, on Wednesday, Merkel is due to meet France’s recently elected Socialist President Francois Hollande.

However, whatever progress they have made may now be overshadowed by news that another European country, Cyprus, needs its banks bailed-out. On Monday, the government in Nicosia announced that it would seek recapitalization funds from Europe. That may be in addition to possible bilateral loans it was trying to obtain from Moscow (which in the past offered discounted below-market rates) and China (which is looking to get a foot in the door in Cyprus thanks to recent natural gas discoveries). Cyprus’ Minister for Commerce, Economy and Tourism is currently in Beijing, presumably seeking such funding.

Indeed, Cyprus is but a rounding error in the Eurozone economy. It pales in comparison to France, Spain and Italy, three of the largest economies that have Euro-skeptics convinced its all headed for disaster. But the timing of Cyprus’ request – just days before it is to assume the head of the European Union presidency – is unfortunate to say the least. Cyprus has until June 30 to raise about ten percent of its GDP to recapitalize its second biggest bank, which is heavily in debt thanks to loans it issued to Greek banks, institutions and even the government in Athens.

Ironically, Cyprus, under President Demetris Christofias, has the only Communist head of state in Europe. And he’s now asking Merkel and others for help.

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    1. Roger McCarthy

      It should be noted that “Italy’s Communist Party” here are the Communist Left Peoples Party – a faction that split from the PCdI which in turn was a faction which split from Refondazione Comunista which in turn was a faction which split from the real PCI when it liquidated itself in 1991.

      So this is propaganda from a tiny ultra-left factionette – not one from a party which can plausibly claim to represent the Communist tradition in Italy.

      Reply to Comment
    2. The reason so many left leaning intellectuals were charmed by Hitler’s approach in the 1930’s, was exactly the idea of a European commonwealth, the same idea that is now taking form in the EU. Just without Aryanism.
      Helmut Kohl specifically referred to the role of Germany in WWII when he accepted the euro. It was not in Germany’s interest at the time, it was penitance.
      Many Italians still have nostalgic feelings about Mussolini, because of the cultural identity he gave Italy.
      Europe IS Germany when it comes to economics, and Merkel certainly is no Hitler. It seems like the communists are avoiding the real problems by focussing on an ad hominem propaganda stunt.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Roger McCarthy

      Again, not THE communists but a tiny, tiny sect of people who call themselves communists….

      Reply to Comment
    4. Any boot that crushes a flower is guilty of destroying humanity. Never join a club that would accept you as a member.

      Reply to Comment
    5. delia ruhe

      Where are the Nazi-comparison police when you need them?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Engelbert Luitsz

      “Our policy regarding comments is minimal and fairly simple: avoid hateful tones and incitement. Personal insults, attacks, racism and profanity are unacceptable, and we do not want inappropriate abuse of World War II terminology.”

      Reply to Comment
    7. Lauren

      How long does Germany need pay for WWII?
      All the Nazis are dead. The German people today are no more facist than Israel.
      Communist are just folks who don’t want to work. They want take what they don’t earn.
      Italy should be nicer. Germany is bailing ten out.

      Reply to Comment
    8. JG

      Germany has to pay till the debts are paid. For instance in the case of Greece there are billions left from what germany stole them troughout the occupation.
      Neither all Nazis here are dead nor their ideas and successors. Rascist fascists murdered nearly 200 people since the annexation of the DDR and terror groups like the NSU operated on payroll of german secret service.
      So “deutsch uns hier nicht voll”.

      Reply to Comment