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.