posts 1 - 15 of 27
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 205

Reading:

Janet Flanner, “Profiles: Führer,” The New Yorker, 1936 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3U2GgC0iI_3XFihGsyuFJAwBOVa8Ngn/view?usp=sharing

Ignatius Phayre, “Hitler’s Mountain Home,” Homes and Gardens, November 1938

A transcript and facsimile of the article is on this site: http://new.wymaninstitute.org/2004/01/special-feature-hitler-in-homes-gardens/

Gene Santoro, “Interview with Ian Kershaw,” Historynet.com, February 4, 2009

http://www.historynet.com/ian-kershaw.htm


So why ARE we so intrigued by Hitler? For good or for bad, what is it that we want to know about him? Is it akin to our fascination with Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump? Is it our fascination with the image of pure evil? Is it that we see him as the ultimate “bogeyman,” the Darth Vader/Voldemort of the twentieth century? Is he responsible for every evil thing that happened in World War II? When one reads Mein Kampf, you are left to wonder: how could someone who writes such convoluted sentences and phrases be so fascinating for so many people?


Janet Flanner was intrigued early on. An American expatriate for much of her life, Flanner traveled to Germany to interview Hitler for a three-part profile in The New Yorker. Ignatius Phayre (a pseudonym) visited Hitler’s lair in the Bavarian Alps and profiled it in the Architectural Digest of the day, the magazine Homes and Gardens.


In fact, are all these articles the 1930s equivalents of Oprah/Ellen/The View/”Lifestyles of the Rich and Faamous” celebrity-infused talk/gossip shows?


Ian Kershaw is the preeminent biographer of Hitler. His 2-volume biography of Hitler seems to be (at least for the time being) the most authoritative biography of the Führer to date and delves into every nook and cranny of Hitler’s life.


By reading through these articles/site, what is the big “takeaway” for you re Hitler? Do you understand him any better? Do you think trying to understanding him is a worthwhile pursuit? At the end of the day, in your view, what’s the most important thing(s) to know about Adolf Hitler? And why?


As usual, be sure to respond fully to this post, supporting your observations with specifics from the readings and from class. And be sure to interact with your fellow students—that is, read some of their posts and be sure to respond to what they have to say within your own (and for you early posters, that means returning to this thread!).

Heyo8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Curiosity

I think we are fascinated by Adolf Hitler because he does human things like normal people but was also able to mastermind such monstrous things. In the article “Hitler in ‘Homes and Gardens’”, Hitler’s mountain home included books, a garden , and a nice view. These things are typically connected to peace and tranquility but when the name “Adolf Hitler” comes to mind, thoughts of WWII and the Holocaust come to mind, both antonyms to peace and tranquility. Adolf was a human who achieved extraordinary things, monstrous things. We like to study or are just in general fascinated by people who seem superhuman. Adolf is the ultimate boogeyman when we think of the twentieth century. His actions and the Nazi’s actions had far reaching effects in the world, making them unforgettable. Like celebrities, they have far reaching influence but are almost never seen in person. This transforms them into myths and legends, and like religions, gather a following, not only of believers but also scholars and the general public out of just curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge. In my opinion, the most important thing we must learn from Hitler is to learn that there are people like this in the world who can have far reaching influence to do terrible things, we just can’t let it happen again on his scale.

gibby
Posts: 21

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf?

I think that one of the reasons we are so intrigued by Adolf Hitler is because for pretty much everyone in the world, he is an image of pure evil. There are many men in history who are portrayed in this way, as being pure evil, but Hitler is the prime example of what everyone considers to be pure evil. So, this brings fascination. Were there any habits that Hitler had that are characteristic of such horrific people? Was his house normal? What about his eating habits? These are all questionst that people want to know, because they are curious about how such an evil person lived their life. For better or for worse, many of these things have been discovered. And people seem to almost enjoy reading and learning about them. I recognize wholeheartedly that it is important to learn about Hitler and what led to his radicilization and subsequent crimes against humanity, but delving into such personal and irrelevant topics is pointless. It humanizes Hitler. It is not necessary to learn about the eating habits and the music taste of a man who murdered millions of people.

This kind of fascination is actually somewhat similar from our fascination with celebrities today. Everyone always wants to know what this billionaire did to become rich, and what this musician did to become famous. Many people want to know the lives, or daily routines of celebrities. They figure that in order to become so different from the majority of people in society, these people must have done something different from everyone else. In a twisted way, it is somewhat of the same concept with Hitler. Everyone wants to know what Hitler did to become such a horrific person. But where do we draw the line? What is useful information that we can use to learn about how Hitler became radicalized and committed one of the most horrific genocides in history, and what is useless personal information? For many, this line is blurred; people think that every little detail of someone's life gives insight into what kind of person they are. But I think this obsession with Hitler's personal life does more harm than it does good. By learning all these details about how he lived his life, we humanize him. We speak about his garden-house, passion for piano and vegetarian diet as though he is simply a regular man living his regular life. This detracts from the fact that he was one of the most horrific men to ever live. It becomes too personal.

I do not think that every single thing that happened during World War II can be attributed to Hitler. This radical presence in Germany must have already been there in some quantity, or Hitler would not have gained any ground. It is difficult to speculate what would have happened if Hitler was never there, but I suspect a similar radicilization of the German population, though admittedly maybe not one to a similar extent, would have occurred. That being said, Hitler provided them with a platform. When he seized power, a lot of things that had previoulsy been unacceptable became acceptable, or even incentivized, under his rule. Thus, by association, Hitler's rise to power is responsible for the vast majority of things that happened during World War II. Obviously, Hitler was not directly overseeing every single member of the Nazi party and every single guard at each concentration camp, but by association, it is easy to say that he caused these things.

Unfortunately, many of these articles remind me of reality TV shows. They hold Hitler up as some of kind intriguing example of societal nonconformity. Although many of these articles were written before the war, they do not condemn Hitler or his antisemitism in the slightest. In fact, one of the articles states that Hitler "struggled for two years 'against being converted to antisemitism'". I do not think that these articles do any good. This unhealthy obsession with Hitler's lifestyle does not really further our understanding of him as a person, and thus does more harm than it does good. We cannot portray Hitler in this way.

Truthfully, after reading these articles, I do not think that I understand Hitler any better than I did before. While these articles may have given me an insight into what kind of social habitis and personality Hitler may have had, they do not help me understand how he committed these atrocities. And this is the problem; while I agree that understanding Hitler is a worthwhile pursuit, because we must learn about these people to ensure these things never happen again, I think that our only learning around this man should be attempting to understand how he became radicalized, seized power, and murdererd millions of people. He does not deserve our interest. Let's not give him the benefit of our obsession. The only important things about Adolf Hitler that we should be studying are things that relate to how he seized power and committed these crimes against humanity. Learning about his eating habits, summer home, or social tendencies gives him undeserving fame and humanizes him further.

gibby
Posts: 21

Originally posted by Heyo8 on April 11, 2021 11:31

I think we are fascinated by Adolf Hitler because he does human things like normal people but was also able to mastermind such monstrous things. In the article “Hitler in ‘Homes and Gardens’”, Hitler’s mountain home included books, a garden , and a nice view. These things are typically connected to peace and tranquility but when the name “Adolf Hitler” comes to mind, thoughts of WWII and the Holocaust come to mind, both antonyms to peace and tranquility. Adolf was a human who achieved extraordinary things, monstrous things. We like to study or are just in general fascinated by people who seem superhuman. Adolf is the ultimate boogeyman when we think of the twentieth century. His actions and the Nazi’s actions had far reaching effects in the world, making them unforgettable. Like celebrities, they have far reaching influence but are almost never seen in person. This transforms them into myths and legends, and like religions, gather a following, not only of believers but also scholars and the general public out of just curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge. In my opinion, the most important thing we must learn from Hitler is to learn that there are people like this in the world who can have far reaching influence to do terrible things, we just can’t let it happen again on his scale.

Do you think it is surprising to people that Hitler lived in this way? Because of his horrific crimes against humanity and thus the way he's portrayed in history, how do you think most people would picture how Hitler lived?

SwedishFish
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 24

Looks can be deceiving

I think that humans are intrigued by tragedy. And I think that we tend to want to learn more about the people who perpetuate it, to find out “why”. Except, there is never a clear answer as to why. Why would such a person inflict so much pain on a group of people? It’s been over 70 years and there is never one clear or remotely humane explanation as to why.

I think people want to “understand” him. People want to find out what stripped him of his innocence, or what influenced his ideas. I think that we as humans are self-righteous and have a savior complex, that if we try to understand a horrible person we can somehow justify what they have done. I believe this mindset does more harm than good.

In terms of pop culture and A-list celebrities in Hollywood, we are fascinated by the things we don’t have. You view Kim Kardashian’s instagram story and she’s on a private island she flew to via private plane. While you’re at home sitting in your twin bed bundled up because it’s cold and dreary outside. We are fascinated by luxury, money, fame, and things that are typically unattainable. I do find pop culture and our fascination with celebrities is not as comparable to Hitler, because they did not initiate a genocide.

I believe that he is responsible for most of the evil things that happened in World War II because there was evil on both sides. He did insight the invasion of Poland which triggered the start of World War II. And while reading, I found an interesting take,“But when he comes to power, he doesn’t instigate a set of policies to lead to that objective. Rather, he stands for it, and others seek to implement it in myriad different ways. In so doing, they push along the dynamic of radicalization and anti-Semitism without Hitler having to do very much except at crucial moments, like the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 or the pogroms of 1938.” (Gene Santoro, “Interview with Ian Kershaw,” Historynet.com, February 4, 2009 http://www.historynet.com/ian-kershaw.htm). Although he didn’t kill all the victims of the Holocaust himself, he still perpetuated it. Which makes him responsible for the death of over 6 million Jews.

If you were to read these articles, not knowing anything about Hitler, you would consider him to be “normal”. When I say normal I mean by someone who seems to live a typical life like, “Every morning at nine he goes out for a talk with the gardeners about their day’s work. These men, like the chauffeur and air-pilot, are not so much servants as loyal friends.” (Gene Santoro, “Interview with Ian Kershaw,” Historynet.com, February 4, 2009 http://www.historynet.com/ian-kershaw.htm ) You would never guess he initiated the genocide of millions of Jewish people and other ethnic/minority groups. You would never guess that he was the leader of the NSDAP, the largest party in Europe during the time of WWII. The fact that, “Because of his diet he hates banquets, doesn’t approve of them anyhow, as “emphasizing the immense disparity between riches and poverty.” (Janet Flanner, “Profiles: Führer,” The New Yorker, 1936 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3U2GgC0iI_3XFihGsyuFJAwBOVa8Ngn/view?usp=sharing) I personally don't think I could ever understand him better. Even while reading the so-called normal things he did, I remembered the pain and stories I’ve heard his party inflicted on other people. I feel as if understanding him would ask me to sympathize for him, that is something I cannot do. I can learn about him, his story, the way he talked to his neighbors or the food he ate. But the fact that he is the face of anti-semitism and believed in the extermination of Jewish people and an Aryan society will always stick with me. The most important thing to know about Adolf Hitler or a lesson to learn is that people can be deceiving. Even though he may be the friendly neighbor, or a vegetarian, that doesn’t cover up the fact that he was the forefront of the Holocaust.

berry
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

What makes Hitler intriguing?

I think that people are so intrigued by Hitler because of all the evil things he has done. How or what makes someone commit evil acts like that? I think when a majority of people hear the name Adolf Hitler they picture pure evil. It’s different than being fascinated by celebrities. Most people are fascinated with celebrities because they are rich and famous, and want to know all about their lives. For people like Hitler, it’s because he represents an image of pure evil. After reading the three articles, I don’t understand Hitler any better. It’s what I expected, he had a somewhat normal home life. He had a book about homes and gardens in his house in the mountains. He had struggles too, he lived in poverty at one point and had health problems. Personally, he is not a person that I care to figure out or understand. I don’t think it’s a worthwhile pursuit to understand Hitler because what’s the point in that. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing to take away from Hitler is the evil, horrible, and despicable acts he committed, and what we can learn from it. I think this is important because we need to understand that there are actually humans that are capable of doing things like Hitler did. We as a country need to ensure that something like this never happens again. In the article of the interview with Ian Kershaw, he states, “With a weak bureaucracy, poor economy, and nondescript army, none of this would have been possible.”. One of the reasons why we study parts of history is so we don’t repeat the past. Overall, I just think there is no point in learning about Hitler’s life or understanding him beyond avoiding another horrific situation.
berry
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

Originally posted by gibby on April 11, 2021 13:28

I think that one of the reasons we are so intrigued by Adolf Hitler is because for pretty much everyone in the world, he is an image of pure evil. There are many men in history who are portrayed in this way, as being pure evil, but Hitler is the prime example of what everyone considers to be pure evil. So, this brings fascination. Were there any habits that Hitler had that are characteristic of such horrific people? Was his house normal? What about his eating habits? These are all questionst that people want to know, because they are curious about how such an evil person lived their life. For better or for worse, many of these things have been discovered. And people seem to almost enjoy reading and learning about them. I recognize wholeheartedly that it is important to learn about Hitler and what led to his radicilization and subsequent crimes against humanity, but delving into such personal and irrelevant topics is pointless. It humanizes Hitler. It is not necessary to learn about the eating habits and the music taste of a man who murdered millions of people.

This kind of fascination is actually somewhat similar from our fascination with celebrities today. Everyone always wants to know what this billionaire did to become rich, and what this musician did to become famous. Many people want to know the lives, or daily routines of celebrities. They figure that in order to become so different from the majority of people in society, these people must have done something different from everyone else. In a twisted way, it is somewhat of the same concept with Hitler. Everyone wants to know what Hitler did to become such a horrific person. But where do we draw the line? What is useful information that we can use to learn about how Hitler became radicalized and committed one of the most horrific genocides in history, and what is useless personal information? For many, this line is blurred; people think that every little detail of someone's life gives insight into what kind of person they are. But I think this obsession with Hitler's personal life does more harm than it does good. By learning all these details about how he lived his life, we humanize him. We speak about his garden-house, passion for piano and vegetarian diet as though he is simply a regular man living his regular life. This detracts from the fact that he was one of the most horrific men to ever live. It becomes too personal.

I do not think that every single thing that happened during World War II can be attributed to Hitler. This radical presence in Germany must have already been there in some quantity, or Hitler would not have gained any ground. It is difficult to speculate what would have happened if Hitler was never there, but I suspect a similar radicilization of the German population, though admittedly maybe not one to a similar extent, would have occurred. That being said, Hitler provided them with a platform. When he seized power, a lot of things that had previoulsy been unacceptable became acceptable, or even incentivized, under his rule. Thus, by association, Hitler's rise to power is responsible for the vast majority of things that happened during World War II. Obviously, Hitler was not directly overseeing every single member of the Nazi party and every single guard at each concentration camp, but by association, it is easy to say that he caused these things.

Unfortunately, many of these articles remind me of reality TV shows. They hold Hitler up as some of kind intriguing example of societal nonconformity. Although many of these articles were written before the war, they do not condemn Hitler or his antisemitism in the slightest. In fact, one of the articles states that Hitler "struggled for two years 'against being converted to antisemitism'". I do not think that these articles do any good. This unhealthy obsession with Hitler's lifestyle does not really further our understanding of him as a person, and thus does more harm than it does good. We cannot portray Hitler in this way.

Truthfully, after reading these articles, I do not think that I understand Hitler any better than I did before. While these articles may have given me an insight into what kind of social habitis and personality Hitler may have had, they do not help me understand how he committed these atrocities. And this is the problem; while I agree that understanding Hitler is a worthwhile pursuit, because we must learn about these people to ensure these things never happen again, I think that our only learning around this man should be attempting to understand how he became radicalized, seized power, and murdererd millions of people. He does not deserve our interest. Let's not give him the benefit of our obsession. The only important things about Adolf Hitler that we should be studying are things that relate to how he seized power and committed these crimes against humanity. Learning about his eating habits, summer home, or social tendencies gives him undeserving fame and humanizes him further.

I completely agree. Learning about Hitler's life feels like we're humanizing him, and that's not fair to all of the innocent victims of his horrific actions.

plaidplatypus
Boston, Ma, US
Posts: 18

Fascination with evil

I think that today people are fascinated by Hitler the same way they’re fascinated by serial killers. They want to know how they are capable of committing evil acts.The juxtaposition between the normal aspects of their lives like their diets and other aspects of their daily lives, like shown in The New Yorker article from 1936, and their immoral actions perplex people because some of what they do seems so normal. People don’t want to think that people who do normal things can also be monsters. The continued examination of Hitler stems from people wanting to understand why and how he was able to perpetuate such massive atrocities.


I think one of the biggest takeaways from reading the first two articles is that there wasn’t anything in the way he lived daily life that was special. He committed horrible acts, but learning about the nuances of how he lived isn’t worth our time. I understand the impulse to try to understand why he did what he did, so we could stop future atrocities, but in the end we’ll never really know and his diet or musical preferences aren’t important.


plaidplatypus
Boston, Ma, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by berry on April 11, 2021 13:42

I think that people are so intrigued by Hitler because of all the evil things he has done. How or what makes someone commit evil acts like that? I think when a majority of people hear the name Adolf Hitler they picture pure evil. It’s different than being fascinated by celebrities. Most people are fascinated with celebrities because they are rich and famous, and want to know all about their lives. For people like Hitler, it’s because he represents an image of pure evil. After reading the three articles, I don’t understand Hitler any better. It’s what I expected, he had a somewhat normal home life. He had a book about homes and gardens in his house in the mountains. He had struggles too, he lived in poverty at one point and had health problems. Personally, he is not a person that I care to figure out or understand. I don’t think it’s a worthwhile pursuit to understand Hitler because what’s the point in that. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing to take away from Hitler is the evil, horrible, and despicable acts he committed, and what we can learn from it. I think this is important because we need to understand that there are actually humans that are capable of doing things like Hitler did. We as a country need to ensure that something like this never happens again. In the article of the interview with Ian Kershaw, he states, “With a weak bureaucracy, poor economy, and nondescript army, none of this would have been possible.”. One of the reasons why we study parts of history is so we don’t repeat the past. Overall, I just think there is no point in learning about Hitler’s life or understanding him beyond avoiding another horrific situation.

I agree, we need to try to prevent similar people from coming to power rather than focusing on the details. I also thought the part about how this could only happen in a developed nation was interesting, because we tend to think that Hitler only could come to power because of a weak government.

therapeuticsoup
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

A Blind Infatuation

Reading these articles made Hitler seem human. They made him seem like a normal man, who likes listening to Mozart and Brahms, prefers cut flowers in his house, and doesn’t smoke or drink instead of an evil man who ultimately killed millions. (http://new.wymaninstitute.org/2004/01/special-feature-hitler-in-homes-gardens/) Replace Hitler’s name with a random one and nobody would think this man killed millions of innocent people and was deemed the most evil man on the planet. Reading this article actually made me more confused about his behavior and even harder to understand him. I think lots of people, including myself, would say that something traumatizing happens to a person to make them do the atrocious acts they complete, but these articles made him seem almost “healthy” in the mind and his physical existence. Quite honestly, I think trying to understand his lifestyle is not something to spend time pursuing, but what might be useful is trying to understand how he was able to control millions of people. How he, as a singular person, was able to make millions of others to carry out awful acts of violence, hate, and crime. To understand why so many others put their faith into him.

I think that this explains why so many people are intrigued by Hitler. Instead of looking at him as an evil, they see him as somebody who went against the grain. In the article https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3U2GgC0iI_3XFihGsyuFJAwBOVa8Ngn/view?usp=sharing

Janet Flanner goes over every aspect of his daily life. This compares to what happens in modern day, like the “daily routine of Hailey Bieber” on VOGUE or “Lady Gaga’s rise to fame” on Netflix. People want to know how everyday people went from normal to “famous” or “big”. I hate saying that people may have looked up to Hitler and his normality, but reading these articles greatly suggest that. An everyday, relatable human being, rising to power and wealth. Everyone’s dream.

These articles were, however, written before the 2nd world war, which leads to the oblivion of people and their fascination with him. Nowadays people would read these articles and be absolutely astonished at the blind infatuation with such an evil man. I may be misreading, as these articles may have been written to show that any somewhat normal person is capable of what Hitler did, but I believe that nothing about his everyday life is useful to learn about.

softballgirl18
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 16

What made him tick?

I think people are fascinated by Adolf Hilter and his actions because I think people want to know what made him lead one of the worst moments in history. Like many of my classmates have said, being fascinated by Adolf is different than being fascinated by a celebrity. When someone does research on a celebrity, it’s not because one wants to know what made them do the things they did, but rather see how luxurious they live and how much money they have. I think a reason that could be important to research Adolf is so people can see what led him up to being the hateful person he was, so they can prevent it from happening again in the future.

After reading these articles, I feel as though I don’t understand him any better than i did prior. I still feel like I don’t know what was making him such a hateful person to go the extents he did. I truly think the only way to find that out would to be inside his brain and being able to read his thoughts.

SleezMoth
boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Hitler was Human

Adolf Hitler is puppeteer of the most well known example of the extremes humankind will go to in order to exterminate other humans, the holocaust. We look at him in history as a agent of evil who's ideas are alien and separate from most people's, but the intrigue comes with the fact that Hitler is a human, and any other human in the world ever could have done or acted or thought just as he did. His ideas were extreme but he was not a monarch who forced himself into office, he was elected. And although he spread the word of hate and approved the plans to move forward towards the final solution, he did not do it all himself.

The intrigue comes with the fact that Hitler is a human, and if he were not ruling Germany, it would still be possible for another hateful, fascistic figure with intentions of genocide to rise up in another part of the world at any time. Understanding Hitler is human is worthwhile, because we are all human and we all have the potential to act like and commit the actions that Hitler did. I don't know how interesting knowing about his eating habits or random facts about him would be once you realize he is just another human, but it's not pointless.

I'm not trying to say everyone, or even any amount of people, are just like Hitler, just that we all have the potential to be, which is the most important take away from learning about him.

SleezMoth
boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by therapeuticsoup on April 11, 2021 15:29

Reading these articles made Hitler seem human. They made him seem like a normal man, who likes listening to Mozart and Brahms, prefers cut flowers in his house, and doesn’t smoke or drink. (http://new.wymaninstitute.org/2004/01/special-feature-hitler-in-homes-gardens/) Replace Hitler’s name with a random one and nobody would think this man killed millions of innocent people and was deemed the most evil man on the planet. Reading this article actually made me more confused about his behavior and even harder to understand him. I think lots of people, including myself, would say that something traumatizing happens to a person to make them do the atrocious acts they complete, but these articles made him seem almost “healthy” in the mind and his physical existence. Quite honestly, I think trying to understand his lifestyle is not something to spend time pursuing, but what might be useful is trying to understand how he was able to control millions of people. How he, as a singular person, was able to make millions of others to carry out awful acts of violence, hate, and crime. To understand why so many others put their faith into him.

I think that this explains why so many people are intrigued by Hitler. Instead of looking at him as an evil, they see him as somebody who went against the grain. In the article https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3U2GgC0iI_3XFihGsyuFJAwBOVa8Ngn/view?usp=sharing

Janet Flanner goes over every aspect of his daily life. This compares to what happens in modern day, like the “daily routine of Hailey Bieber” on VOGUE or “Lady Gaga’s rise to fame” on Netflix. People want to know how everyday people went from normal to “famous” or “big”. I hate saying that people may have looked up to Hitler and his normality, but reading these articles greatly suggest that. An everyday, relatable human being, rising to power and wealth. Everyone’s dream.

These articles were, however, written before the 2nd world war, which leads to the oblivion of people and their fascination with him. Nowadays people would read these articles and be absolutely astonished at the blind infatuation with such an evil man. I believe that nothing about his everyday life is useful to learn about. His looks were purely decieving.

I don't think learning that Hitler was human should confuse you about his motivations. I think learning he is human, instead of minimalizing what he did, should be used to show the potential of what humans can do and can be motivated to do. Hitler is an extreme example or one but he still has a human brain and body. Beyond propaganda, Adolf did not control millions of people with some kind of mind control to make them be all good with a race being wiped out of their country, and he came to power through relatively standard means, which means there were many in Germany, and other areas of Europe at the time, that thought just as he did and would have acted the same given the opportunity.

You state that you think the people who are intrigued by Adolf Hitler look completely past all the horrific plans he put into motion and instead they look at him because he was a cool punk rebel or something going against the status quo which is for sure not true in modern days.

Junior
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Monsters Make Our Minds Wander

Hitler is hard to understand. He feels too monstrous to be human, but too human to be a monster. It feels like a paradox when we look at him, and that enchants the mind with ideas and justifications. The conversation about Hitler is inevitably a conversation about narratives and how they factor into our thoughts.
The arguably biggest reason why Hitler is such a topic of conversation, to the point where he has almost completely lost all taboo, is because he is convenient. He is essentially a boogeyman that we can attribute all of our problems to. He is the reason the Nazis came into being, he is the reason they gained power, he is the reason the holocaust happened, he is the reason that there is evil in the world. None of this is entirely true, but none of it is entirely false either. As Ian Kershaw said, Nazi Germany was not inevitable, but there was also an inextricable connection between the man and the endpoint.
American media loves to hate Nazis, and that's a good thing! I love games like Wolfenstein where the goal is to slaughter as many Nazis as possible. Killing Nazis is my favorite American tradition, probably one of the only good ones. However, there are probably more reasons past that. The American tradition of fighting Nazis actually began before Americans were really fighting Nazis. Jewish comic book writers like Jack Kirby were not blind to the horrors of Nazi Germany, and so they made narratives where superheroes beat Nazis up. Captain America punched Hitler before entering the war was even remotely popular in America.
Coming from that, Nazis proved to be a really convenient villain, because they were basically human demons. They were monsters, worthy of no sympathy or closer looks. They were the other and completely alien to American sensibilities, and so the Nazi could lose without sympathy. This eventually led to the point where Nazis became almost apolitical. They were not evil because of any of the things they believed, they were evil because they were Nazis, case closed.
Because if you actually thought about what made the Nazis evil, you'd realize that we should be vilifying our American heroes as well.

Bringing this back to Hitler, it is fairly obvious where he fits into this. He was King Nazi, the Naziest of all the Nazis. If you thought this Nazi was bad, Hitler is the most Nazi out of all of them! You get the point, Hitler could be turned into a boogeyman that was given no second thoughts and blown up with impunity. We grow up with our cultural awareness of Hitler being that he was worth than Satan, the most evil man to ever live. This creates a mystification of him in our heads, as we make his evil larger than life, he becomes larger than life as well. We stop thinking of him as a man, but rather an archetype. You get it in your head that he was not just a man, he was something more.
The narrative becomes an almost deification of Hitler. An evil deity, but a deity nonetheless.

Junior
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by SleezMoth on April 11, 2021 17:31

Originally posted by therapeuticsoup on April 11, 2021 15:29

Reading these articles made Hitler seem human. They made him seem like a normal man, who likes listening to Mozart and Brahms, prefers cut flowers in his house, and doesn’t smoke or drink. (http://new.wymaninstitute.org/2004/01/special-feature-hitler-in-homes-gardens/) Replace Hitler’s name with a random one and nobody would think this man killed millions of innocent people and was deemed the most evil man on the planet. Reading this article actually made me more confused about his behavior and even harder to understand him. I think lots of people, including myself, would say that something traumatizing happens to a person to make them do the atrocious acts they complete, but these articles made him seem almost “healthy” in the mind and his physical existence. Quite honestly, I think trying to understand his lifestyle is not something to spend time pursuing, but what might be useful is trying to understand how he was able to control millions of people. How he, as a singular person, was able to make millions of others to carry out awful acts of violence, hate, and crime. To understand why so many others put their faith into him.

I think that this explains why so many people are intrigued by Hitler. Instead of looking at him as an evil, they see him as somebody who went against the grain. In the article https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3U2GgC0iI_3XFihGsyuFJAwBOVa8Ngn/view?usp=sharing

Janet Flanner goes over every aspect of his daily life. This compares to what happens in modern day, like the “daily routine of Hailey Bieber” on VOGUE or “Lady Gaga’s rise to fame” on Netflix. People want to know how everyday people went from normal to “famous” or “big”. I hate saying that people may have looked up to Hitler and his normality, but reading these articles greatly suggest that. An everyday, relatable human being, rising to power and wealth. Everyone’s dream.

These articles were, however, written before the 2nd world war, which leads to the oblivion of people and their fascination with him. Nowadays people would read these articles and be absolutely astonished at the blind infatuation with such an evil man. I believe that nothing about his everyday life is useful to learn about. His looks were purely decieving.

I don't think learning that Hitler was human should confuse you about his motivations. I think learning he is human, instead of minimalizing what he did, should be used to show the potential of what humans can do and can be motivated to do. Hitler is an extreme example or one but he still has a human brain and body. Beyond propaganda, Adolf did not control millions of people with some kind of mind control to make them be all good with a race being wiped out of their country, and he came to power through relatively standard means, which means there were many in Germany, and other areas of Europe at the time, that thought just as he did and would have acted the same given the opportunity.

You state that you think the people who are intrigued by Adolf Hitler look completely past all the horrific plans he put into motion and instead they look at him because he was a cool punk rebel or something going against the status quo which is for sure not true in modern day

Have you heard of the concept of "The Red Pill"? It's a thing alt right people talk about, it's a reference to the Matrix where you start to see reality for what it really is.
The reason racists and other bigots like that narrative is because they want to be oppressed, they want to have the martyrdom of being persecuted. They think that they are both the majority but also the ones who are the rebels going against the grain. There's a reason why they call themselves the Silent Majority but also endlessly talk about how they're being silenced or other references to 1984.
There are tons and tons of people who think that Hitler was cool that are still alive today. They're not a majority, but there are many of them. They don't like him because they think he fits the status quo. They think that the status quo is a degenerative politically correct cesspool. To them, Hitler is a denial of the status quo, as liking him is an act of transgression.

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