Imagine if this were 1930, and the Southern Poverty Law Center existed, and it issued a lavishly illustrated, apparently meticulously documented report on critics of the Nazis, dubbing them “anti-German hate group leaders.” There were profiles of Winston Churchill, Edgar Mowrer, and other early critics of Hitler, noting when they had made false claims about Hitler (false, that is, according to the Nazis) and charging them with “hate” and “anti-German bias.”
Imagine then that the mainstream media, whenever it quoted Churchill, Mowrer, or the others, described them as “anti-German,” and noted that the Southern Poverty Law Center said that they were hate group leaders. It would call them “rabble rousers” and “wide boys” and “demogogues.” Quotes from Goebbels and Göring would also invariably be included, calmly explaining the truth of the matters at hand and patiently answering questions about what a shame it was that they had to deal with the likes of Churchill. This kind of coverage would be universal: critics of Nazism were never described in the mainstream media in anything but pejorative terms. Whenever they got mainstream media attention, they were challenged to respond to charges that they were “anti-German” and “spreading hate.” Their views were more often presented by the SPLC and others who dubbed them “anti-German” than by themselves. The leading authorities the media consulted about Hitler and Nazism were favorable to both, and opposed only to excessive violence by the Brownshirts, which they stressed was inconsistent with the spirit of Nazism, and had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Meanwhile, the critics were constantly vilified, ridiculed and mocked, and likened to the Ku Klux Klan and other genuinely hateful groups. People wrote that they wanted to attack them physically, and that it would be legitimate to do so.
Imagine that this situation prevailed, without any cracks in the edifice, for five years. Ten years. Fifteen years. Imagine that it prevailed as Hitler came to power, as he began persecuting the Jews, as he began his rearmament of Germany, as he bullied weak Western leaders, who were anxious to appease him anyway, into allowing him to take Austria and Czechoslovakia, and finally as he invaded Poland and the Western powers finally decided to fight back.
Imagine then that every step that Britain, France, and ultimately the Soviet Union and the United States took to defend themselves against Hitler and the Nazis was decried by the mainstream media and a huge segment of the American public as “anti-German” and a manifestation of hatred and bigotry. Every step FDR took to prosecute the war was denounced and even voided by federal court orders; he was derided as a fool, a criminal, an authoritarian ruler, and there were open calls not only for his impeachment, but for a coup to remove him from power, and even numerous calls for his assassination.
In that scenario, which side do you think would have won the war?