And the similarities don't stop there. Hitler and Trump have a lot more in common.
The context in which Adolf Hitler was elected is that he was first nominated and appointed as chancellor during a period in which multiple political parties were vying for power and there were successive minority governments and coalition governments.
At the time Hitler couldn't secure a majority because of a lot of the crazy/funny things he said. He was considered by many Germans to be a joke candidate, so far to the right wing that over half the population didn't even take him seriously.
In February 1933 the Reichstag building was set on fire (some say it was deliberately set by the Nazis, who claim it was set on fire by the communists). Whatever the cause, it led to a new election in March 1933.
After the fire suddenly the German people took Hitler more seriously. And it showed in the voting records.
Hitler and the NSDAP won 43.9% of the vote during the March 6th 1933 election, not enough for a majority, but enough that he was the clear victor.
Following the victory Hitler was given the power to create new laws for 4 years without needing the permission of the Reichstag. This unprecedented move allowed Hitler to have control over the government without having a majority.
Afterwards Hitler moved quickly to use police and military forces to secure his control over power, and to use new laws to slowly eradicate any opposition to his leadership. By August 1934 he became Fuhrer for life.
Now consider Donald Trump. He hasn't exactly won the Republican nomination. But he won enough that his political opponents eventually quit and Trump (original German name is Drumpf) became the de facto nomination of the Republican Party.
Trump didn't get a majority of party votes, although he did manage to get a majority of delegate votes (there is a difference). During polling of Republican voters Trump never got above 30% of the Republican vote. But he managed to get 1053 delegates of the 2473 delegates available before his opponents dropped out of the race.
As such Donald Trump doesn't even have the support of his own political party, let alone the support of the American people. Even his own political opponents within the Republican Party openly mock him.
Which brings me to my point, neither Hitler or Trump were taken seriously when they were nominated to take power.
Once he had power, Hitler never let go. He seized it, secured his power base, began waves of propaganda techniques to boost his popularity, he passed discriminatory laws to persecute the Jews (which ultimately led to the Holocaust, war crimes and genocide), he rounded up disabled people and had them surgically sterilized, and he gave the police unprecedented power to enforce Hitler's rule of law.
Trump in comparison has promised to ban Muslims from entering the USA, to deport Muslims, to pass discriminatory laws against immigrants (especially Mexicans, although anyone "brown" will do), and he has promised to give police more power and more guns (essentially rubber stamping the idea that "black lives don't matter").
Trump has not promised to sterilize disabled people, but he has openly made fun of a disabled person.
Okay, so here is the thing.
We need to take Donald Trump seriously.
Even though he is an idiot. An arrogant, entitled, moronic buffoon. We still need to take him seriously.
The President of the United States has access to nuclear weapons, and when asked about how he would deal with problems in the Middle East he responded by saying that nuclear weapons are on the table. This implies he intends to use them if the option is presented to him.
So really we are looking at a Hilter-esque presidential candidate, who if elected will have access to nuclear weapons... and he has implied that he would use nuclear weapons and risk nuclear war.
Now you might think "Oh Trump doesn't have a chance of winning."
Except that is what the Germans were thinking of Hitler in 1933. It didn't work out too well for Germany, their country was laid to waste 11 years later.
USA Voter Turnout in 2012: 54.9%
USA Voter Turnout in 2008: 57.1%
USA Voter Turnout in 2004: 55.7%
USA Voter Turnout in 2000: 50.3%
USA Voter Turnout in 1996: 49.0%
During the 2000 presidential election George W. Bush was elected with 47.9% of the people who voted... but only 50.3% of eligible Americans voted due to very low voter turnout. That means only 24.09% of Americans voted for Bush.
Meanwhile Al Gore got 48.4% of the votes (24.3% of the total eligible voters), but still lost because Jeb Bush and his cronies rigged the polling stations in Florida.
Voter turnout in Germany, March 6th 1933: 88.74%. The NSDAP got 43.91% of the votes. This means only 38.97% of Germans voted for Hitler.
History has shown that horrible leaders can be elected with just a small percentage of votes. If it happened to Hitler and Bush, it could happen to Trump.