And thereby hangs a tale

Peru’s Prime Minister uses Adolf Hitler’s Germany as an example of good economic development

And oh my stars it felt strange writing that title. Anyway, this morning Peru’s President and cabinet went to the city of Huancayo to hold an Open Doors version of the regular cabinet meeting and as part of his presentation, the Prime Minister Anibal Torres (basically the #2 political figure in the executive) decided that things weren’t bad enough for him and his team already and he’d better use Adolf Hitler as a role model of country development. While extolling his government’s plans for education and road-building, he called roadways “the veins and arteries” of the country and then proceeded as follows. We quote (translated):

“I will give you an example. Italy (and) Germany were the same as us, but at one point Adolf Hitler visited the North of Italy and Mussolini showed him a highway built from Milan to Brescia. Hitler saw this, went back to his country, filled it with highways and airports and converted Germany into the number one economy in the world.”

And that was it, no further context until he was pulled up on the comment by a journalist later, to which he replied:

“If we had a good quality of education in Peru, we’d know that no human being is either absolutely good or absolutely bad. And if we’ve used an example of Germany and its roads, it’s a fact. That’s not to say Adolf Hitler isn’t considered a great criminal and that all those who followed him were judged for the terrible crimes they committed, but nobody judges them for their good deeds, only for their bad deeds.”

I wish I weren’t making this up. So strange how the good deeds of Hitler and his entourage get swept under the carpet these days, isn’t it? Wonder why? After all, he got those trains running on time.

PS: He later got up and said, “Señor Israeli ambassador, if I have offended you I offer my apologies.”

PPS: Here’s what the German Embassy in Peru thinks of its host:

Just the last line will do, as words such as “dictador”, “fascista”, “genocida” need no translation:

Considering this scenario, Hitler is not an adequate reference of an example of any type.”


    Apart from anything else, it is not true to say that Germany under Hitler had the strongest economy. Latvia, Poland, Belgium, Romania, Finland, and many more in Europe had stronger economies, as did Australia, South Africa, Canada, Mexico and many more outside Europe. If one is going to make outrageous statement, one should at least get the facts right.


      It’s also factually untrue that the Nazi Party under AH “built the roads”, as the first autobahns were inaugurated in 1932. This fool in power has bought into a right wing trope (who cares about facts these days?). It’s worth noting at this point, it’s not the first time Torres has invoked the AH name to try to score political points (usually against Alberto Fujimori, fwiw), it’s just the first time he did it in front of a national audience. There’s a strong whiff of AH-love about the guy and more than a little nauseating.


    I should have noted that I was using GDP growth data for four years after Hitler came to power, April 1933 to early 1937. Source, London School of Economics, Economic History Working Paper, #218.


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