People actually believe President Trump has the military conducting “Hitler salutes”

As the President continues to accuse the media of spreading lies -most recently about his interaction with a fallen service member’s mother- an image being circulated online has become the perfect example of how a false narrative can start about him.

The picture is of what people that are not familiar with the military believe is of U.S. Army soldiers performing the “Nazi salute or Hitler salute.”  A screenshot of the photo shows the original post being made on Facebook with the caption, “DISGUSTING* our fellow Americans… our soldiers are being made to give the Hitler salute as part of their boot camp training! This is Trump’s AmeriKKKa!”

What people, who are not familiar with what this photo really shows, see is a resemblance between these soldiers and the Germans of the 1930s. In reality it is a lie that is created in a similar fashion to what media organizations are being accused of -not displaying the complete picture (literally and figuratively).

There is more to this picture’s story. The picture was not fabricated but had its view narrowed to one particular aspect, making a “truth” become a “lie.”

The photo is actually of soldiers (just like the Marines in the photo above) conducting grenade training.  These service members are practicing throwing grenades in a textbook fashion, the way it has been done since grenades were put in the hands of fighting Americans.

“Assume a natural stance with the weight balanced equally on both feet. Hold the grenade shoulder high and hold the non throwing hand at a 45-degree angle with the fingers and thumb extended, joined, and pointing toward the intended target.” -Army Study Guide

President Trump has accused the media of using the same manipulating tactics as what was used with this photo. For example, he has accused the media of only showing starvation, desperation, and  in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irma. While the media was not creating lies, its limited view of what was occurring does not provide a complete picture to the public which can result in a false narrative of the overall efforts being made.

People will easily grasp a hold of a narrow view that fits the mold of what they want to see while the truth always lies in the bigger picture.

If anything, it’s more likely that Hitler saw US soldiers throwing grenades during WW1 -something we learned from the French- and created his salute from it.

World War I style of grenade toss used by U.S. forces.

The truth to the origin of the salute in America actually dates back to 1892 when Francis Bellamy wrote the American Pledge of Allegiance. The ‘Bellamy Salute” (identical to Hitler’s salute) was a gesture performed by Americans to salute the flag while reciting the pledge. Bellamy is not credited as the original creator as the gesture is known to have Roman origins.

Children performing the Bellamy salute to the flag of the United States, 1941.

It was not until after fascists and the Nazis adopted the salute in the 1920s and 1930s that the U.S. ever thought about abandoning the salute.

“It was in the Ratskeller at Bremen, about the year 1921, that I first saw this style of salute. It must be regarded as a survival of an ancient custom, which originally signified: “See, I have no weapon in my hand!” I introduced the salute into the Party at our first meeting in Weimar. The SS at once gave it a soldierly style. It’s from that moment that our opponents honored us with the epithet “dogs of Fascists.”

— Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk

Congress didn’t officially amend the Flag Code until 1942 and replaced the Bellamy salute with the hand-over-heart gesture.

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