posts 1 - 15 of 33
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!).

PineappleMan30
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

POV of Hitler

I think the reason Hitler is so intriguing to people is his embodiment of pure evil; we sort of "marvel" him they way we look at Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un. We often wonder what possibly goes through their minds to make such terrible actions, what makes them capable of wielding power the way they do. In some sense, we often do look at Hitler like Darth Vader -- after all, Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers were based off the Nazis I believe. It is hard to NOT be intrigued by someone with so much negative influence and power, someone who will forever change the course of history. Of course, being intrigued and interested does not have to mean holding them on a pedestal and idolizing them.

After reading the biographies, my view of Hitler has yet to change. His background, his interests in normal food such as sausages and his love of cigars and beer like any person of that age has no meaning to me. He was once normal who even held small parties with friends to watch a movie, just like I would, but that doesn't change anything in my eyes. The only thing that had any affect on me was his upbringing, a matter of nature vs. nature. one could compare his upbringing to that of Frankenstein's creature, as they were not necessarily raised properly and therefore grew up to become something evil. It is a question of whether Hitler was BORN evil, or, due to his upbringing was raised improperly and wasn't taught right from wrong.

SlothsPoopOnceAWeek
Chestnuthill, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 21

Originally posted by PineappleMan30 on April 11, 2021 12:24

I think the reason Hitler is so intriguing to people is his embodiment of pure evil; we sort of "marvel" him they way we look at Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un. We often wonder what possibly goes through their minds to make such terrible actions, what makes them capable of wielding power the way they do. In some sense, we often do look at Hitler like Darth Vader -- after all, Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers were based off the Nazis I believe. It is hard to NOT be intrigued by someone with so much negative influence and power, someone who will forever change the course of history. Of course, being intrigued and interested does not have to mean holding them on a pedestal and idolizing them.

After reading the biographies, my view of Hitler has yet to change. His background, his interests in normal food such as sausages and his love of cigars and beer like any person of that age has no meaning to me. He was once normal who even held small parties with friends to watch a movie, just like I would, but that doesn't change anything in my eyes. The only thing that had any affect on me was his upbringing, a matter of nature vs. nature. one could compare his upbringing to that of Frankenstein's creature, as they were not necessarily raised properly and therefore grew up to become something evil. It is a question of whether Hitler was BORN evil, or, due to his upbringing was raised improperly and wasn't taught right from wrong.

Post your response here.

I never knew that Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers were based on the Nazis, I find that a very interesting fact.

SlothsPoopOnceAWeek
Chestnuthill, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 21

How Did Hitler Rise??? No really...who let that happen....

Hitler did things that seem impossible, like taking a small political group and turning it into how a whole country ran. This shocks me and millions of others who are intrigued by Hitler. He is such a common topic that there are so many youtube videos and ideas on whether or not one should kill baby Hitler if they had time travel. This is similar to the intrigue of many celebrities and public figures today, as was mentioned in the similarities of the articles and modern talk shows. There is so much wonder regarding North Korea, and how nations allow North Korea to keep doing what they are doing. It is similar in some ways, and I have dove into both topics with similar mindsets.

After reading the articles and interviews of those who were interested in him, I did not change my view on Hitler. He was just another man who took advantage of others who wanted to use the hate of the Jewish people to their advantage. In the interview with Ian Kershaw, he mentions how Hitler did not constantly spread anti-semetism, of course besides the laws he passed, and how others wanted to do things for their advantage. He used the example of a shop owner who’s rival was a Jewish person, and using the anti-Semetism, they eliminated their competition. Hitler used his Charisma and knowledge of the government in order to rise to power. I do not know the word to describe him, but it is not positive. I can not be understanding of Hitler, as his upbringing was the same as others, he lived in an average home with a beautiful view. I do not think I could ever be understanding of him, as he was just someone looking for a way to rise in power, which you could compare to other people in the world today.

ThankYouFive
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

Our Fascination with Hitler

I believe that our fascination with Hitler stems from the fact that he did terrible things on a scale that humanity had never seen before. World War 2 and the Holocaust were significantly more damaging and horrific than other terrible events in history, and therefore it is quite reasonable to be intrigued by the man behind it all.


I think that I do understand Hitler somewhat better after reading the various articles. For example, I had never known about his home in the Bavarian Alps, and the description of his time spent there seems so disconnected from the atrocities he would eventually carry out. It seems so strange that a person often thought of as pure evil went on vacation and enjoyed various hobbies just like other human beings. I believe that we try to forget the more human parts of Hitler in order to create a disconnect between Hitler and the rest of humanity, because admitting that Hitler was a person just like everyone else implies that every person could be just as evil as him. However, it is important to learn about Hitler and realize who he was in order to fully understand how and why he did the awful things that he did. Also, by learning about his past and the context in which he started a world war and caused the murder of millions of innocent people, we may be able to prevent a similar person from rising to power and committing similar crimes in the present day.


I had never really known that much about Hitler, partially because I, like many other people, didn’t want to dedicate a large amount of time to learning about such a wicked man. Despite this fact, I do think that is important to adequately educate oneself on the darker parts of history, because we need to acknowledge that some of the most important lessons of history are found within the historical topics we are most uncomfortable learning about. Being able to recognize similarities between the past and the present enables us to solve the problems we face more easily.


I believe the most important thing to learn about Hitler is his backstory. We need to understand how he became the person he was in order to understand why he made the decisions that he did and why he acted in the way that he did. I would like to learn more about how Hitler became so closely linked with extreme right-wing groups, because he was certainly not the only person to lead Germany into war and genocide. I would also like to learn about Hitler’s political strategies, because from what I know, they often seem similar to strategies used by the Republican party in the US right now. While I am not saying that American conservatives are Nazis, I do believe that many conservative politicians operate in a similar manner to various Nazi politicians, for example, by discrediting the news and creating alternate facts. Also, the constant “us vs. them” language used by conservatives is similar to the language used by Nazis when talking about Jewish people and the need to eliminate them.

ThankYouFive
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

Originally posted by SlothsPoopOnceAWeek on April 11, 2021 13:20

Hitler did things that seem impossible, like taking a small political group and turning it into how a whole country ran. This shocks me and millions of others who are intrigued by Hitler. He is such a common topic that there are so many youtube videos and ideas on whether or not one should kill baby Hitler if they had time travel. This is similar to the intrigue of many celebrities and public figures today, as was mentioned in the similarities of the articles and modern talk shows. There is so much wonder regarding North Korea, and how nations allow North Korea to keep doing what they are doing. It is similar in some ways, and I have dove into both topics with similar mindsets.

After reading the articles and interviews of those who were interested in him, I did not change my view on Hitler. He was just another man who took advantage of others who wanted to use the hate of the Jewish people to their advantage. In the interview with Ian Kershaw, he mentions how Hitler did not constantly spread anti-semetism, of course besides the laws he passed, and how others wanted to do things for their advantage. He used the example of a shop owner who’s rival was a Jewish person, and using the anti-Semetism, they eliminated their competition. Hitler used his Charisma and knowledge of the government in order to rise to power. I do not know the word to describe him, but it is not positive. I can not be understanding of Hitler, as his upbringing was the same as others, he lived in an average home with a beautiful view. I do not think I could ever be understanding of him, as he was just someone looking for a way to rise in power, which you could compare to other people in the world today.

I agree that my opinion on Hitler hasn't changed, although I would say that it is still incredibly valuable to learn more about a person that we hear about all the time, yet we don't fully understand. However, that doesn't mean our opinions have to change, as I still think Hitler was an extremely evil person. It is also valuable to be reminded through the various articles that Hitler was a person, not some god-like figure. His actions should be a reminder that anyone can give in to their hate and bigotry in order to do evil things.

Hector_Zeroni
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

"And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the extreme form of liberty" ~Plato

Hitler was a man who sought to make his radical ideas mainstream across the country that he held dear to his heart. My opinions on Hitler haven’t really changed even after reading all of these articles. At the end of the day, he chose to preach his gospel of evil all across Germany in hopes of creating a world that he deemed to be perfect. After reading the various articles, I do think that I have a better understanding of him. Before, I had a hard time figuring out why anyone would think that any of Hitler’s ideas were sane enough to try. After reading the article involving an interview with Ian Kershaw, I now understand why that might have been the case. In the interview, Kershaw mentions how Hitler was able to take advantage of the situation that Germany was in. At the time, Germany had just lost the first world war, and people were looking towards anyone who claimed to have some sort of solution to the problem. Given the kind of technology that was available in the 20th century, Hitler was able to use that to his advantage. He could broadcast his ideas anywhere in Germany, and everyone would have the opportunity to listen to them. The technology at the time would also allow Hitler to use the military in ways that haven’t been done in the past. I do believe it is important to understand Adolf Hitler as much as possible. Much like what @ThankYouFive stated, I believe it is important to study his rise to power and how the world around him may have influenced his thinking. It is important to understand the various tactics he used and how they have been applied in the world today. With the technological advancements we’ve made since the end of WWII, the government is capable of expanding its power far beyond what anyone thought was achievable back in the 1940s. Plato once stated that Tyranny rises from Democracy. He likely believed that all it took was a charismatic leader to turn what was once a stable democracy into a tyrannical dictatorship. In the case of Hitler, he was known for having incredible speaking abilities that could empower anyone. His charisma played a huge role in his rise to power. Given how accessible the internet is, and how easy a message can be spread all across the world, someone charismatic enough could use their power to shape the way many people think. For all we know, the conditions that COVID has created could very well give birth to someone who wishes to push radical ideas and become the next dictator of a once democratic nation.
crunchysnowball
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

Taking Precautions & Identifying Evil

After digesting the articles and sites on Hitler, I found it frightening that these sources were humanizing him a lot more than I was used to. They remind of exposés on celebrities that we have in modern day. Especially in Janet Flanner’s piece in The New Yorker, describing his small quirks, his qualms with women, his appearance, such as the way his hair was styled or even his weight. These were all reminiscent of what we are exposed to in entertainment today. The “Architectural Digest of the Day” featured in the Homes and Gardens magazine mirrored language we see in the tabloids of famous figures and their million dollar abodes. I think in seeing all of this, my main takeaway of Hitler remains roughly the same, the only difference being that it is a little more frightening that he was just another powerful figure in society who managed to achieve one of the most horrific goals in history. My only understanding of him based on his upbringing and career life is that he was considered by many, a rather “queer” (as Flanner words it) and questionable man. People could already see that he was on the edge of mad and insane. He had quirks and oddities that plenty of people in our society have, the only separator is that he was intertwined with more dangerous ideas of race and people and like what @Hector_Zeroni points out, that he happened to be around during times of rapid technological developments in warfare and an incredibly unstable Germany.

I think that trying to understand a figure like Hitler is worthwhile to an extent because he is an example of what can happen if certain conditions are met. All it takes is one charismatic speaker in a socially or economically insecure nation with resources to bring hell fire onto the world. This may be quite the stretch but I think that our times right now are teetering on that line. When Donald Trump was in power, his rhetoric proved powerful. They were short and impactful statements, almost always incorrect and generalized claims, but they were said with confidence and conviction. In a society where the internet reigns supreme, his words awakened and emboldened the hateful white supremacists of our country. In addition to that, we saw the COVID-19 pandemic, a time of extreme economic weakness, we saw things like the resurgence and strengthened BLM movement and protests, a time of social unrest. Whether or not something as horrid can happen today as did in the thirties is obviously not immediately provable, but I think that there can be a connection drawn here.

What makes figures like Hitler, Trump, or even Kim Kardashian so fascinating to us common folk, is that they are human beings just like us, yet that can achieve such great feats, they live lives to an extent that is so much more extravagant than our own, and they have behaviors that are so public and blatant that we cannot help but get pulled in. It may be our fascination with pure evil, but I think that it has more to do with the fact that we can help but zero in on what we define as different.


Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

Understanding Hitler

Similar to @PineappleMan30 and @SlothsPoopOnceAWeek, my opinion of Hitler hasn’t changed, and I doubt it ever will. I cannot imagine a single circumstance that would cause me to think of Hitler as even a remotely good person.

However, after reading all the articles, I do think I understand how horrible a person he actually was a little better. I understand better how he took advantage of his oratorical power and his political charisma. He “learned [he] could speak” in 1919 after giving a series of lectures to soldiers, and he knew how to navigate the political world, but he chose to put those skills to use to give rise to the most massive genocide in history. When reading the interview with Ian Kershaw, in one question he is asked if he thought Hitler was a madman. I hadn’t heard anyone say Hitler was insane in a literal sense before, and I didn’t know that people with medical backgrounds have rejected that idea. Regardless, I agree with Kershaw’s take that saying he was crazy was a way of excusing his actions. Saying Hitler was insane is like saying none of what he did was his own fault, and it doesn’t seem fair to me for the victims of Hitler’s actions to not have anyone to blame.

When I was reading through Janet Flanner’s piece for The New Yorker, what struck me was the tone of her article. I agree with @crunchysnowball in the sense that I was frightened by how much these sources were humanizing Hitler. Flanner didn’t write about him like a mass murderer, or fascist dictator. She wrote about his simple likes and dislikes, his eating habits, and even his sex life and sexuality. Ignatius Phayre wrote about his gorgeous home in the Bavarian Alps and the typical party life he hosted there. I honestly found it disturbing that they treated him so casually, as if he was a celebrity giving an inside look at his life about which everyone wanted to read. It felt like I was looking at Vanity Fair articles.

I don’t think understanding him in the sense of understanding why he did what he did is a worthwhile pursuit. To me, that’s irrelevant. No reason he could possibly have could ever justify such a systematic mass murder. However, I do think it’s important to understand how he used his power and charisma to bring about the Nazi regime in order to prevent anyone from ever following in his footsteps. In my opinion, that’s the most important thing to know about Adolf Hitler. As we discussed in class last week, Hitler came to power completely legally. I think it’s important to understand how so that new laws can be put in place wherever governments are vulnerable to the same thing happening again.

239bid0073
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

Hitler as a Human

As human beings I think we are intrigued by those who live completely different lives than our. We are intrigued by those who have different lifestyles, beliefs, and morals than us. And for this reason it is that many people can say that even though Hitler was so evil they are still intrigued by him as a person. While it is fascinating to learn about him as an individual we can not forget that no matter who he was he had intentions to muder millions and this can be forgotten and has to be acknowledged.

I think once we realize the fact that Hitler was a human we instantly become more intrigued. As the article about Hitler’s Homes and Gardens says he goes to talk to his friends in his garden every morning, and has people over for dinner, and enjoys the view from his alp home. This paints Hitler as a “normal” man and nothing out of the ordinary. The majority of humans are not one’s who are willing to murder millions of other people. Because of this we start to wonder what, why, and how a “normal” seeming human could think of doing something like this. Thank you five made a really interesting point that admitting Hitler was a human is admitting to the fact that other people could potentially do the same thing. But at the same time I believe it is important to analyze people such as Hitler to ensure that it does not happen again, and to know and recognize the signs of someone who is about to commit something like this.

I think what many of us look for the most is an explanation. The article by Janet Flanner gives us a bit of insight as to why it might be that Hitler committed such crimes. As Janet says Hitler was never seen as someone who fit in. This longing to belong to something that was bigger than himself could have drove him to take on such powers and ideologies.

While I understand Hitler as a person better to me it does not justify or fully explain any of his actions. As I said before trying to understand him is something that is important to do to ensure that we know the signs and patterns of people who are adopting the same beliefs.

razzledazzle8
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 28

How did the World let Hitler become Hitler?

I think we are intrigued with Hitler like we are with serial killers, like Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez. People are obsessed with horror and the atrocities of the world. We always want to know what made these evil people who they are. We want to learn about their childhoods and the little parts of their lives who they were. For example, Ignatius Phayre spoke about Hilter’s house in the Bavarian Alps and how he has an archery range in the back, and how he had a fair for kids in his house. People want to know the small parts of these awful people’s lives because we think we will understand why they are the way they are, and get that moment where we think “ah that makes sense”. But to be honest, I don’t think we will ever fully understand these people, especially Hitler.


From these articles, I learned a lot more about Hitler but obviously, my views haven’t changed on the man as many others have said. I learned about him and his daily life but nothing about him being a horrible person which is very wrong. Like @Bumblebee and @crunchysnowball said, all of these articles humanized Hitler which I really didn’t want to see. I honestly don’t care about the interior of his house being sage green or that he’s a vegetarian. Janet Flanner especially humanized Hitler by talking about things like his sex life. It is sickening to think that people are more interested in Hitler’s personal life with women than him being the man who committed genocide. Hitler isn’t a celebrity so why are they talking about him like he is, it is very frightening. Flanner talks about him like The View would talk about Kim Kardashian or Leonardo Dicaprio.


Ian Kershaw had a better tone about the situation and talked about how Hitler came to be the person he was instead of what time he usually goes to sleep. Learning about Hitler’s childhood and young adulthood is definitely the most important part to learn about because that can tells us why he became who he did. Kershaw talks about how Hitler “found his voice” by talking to other soldiers in 1919 and many other things that point to why he became the narcissistic dictator he was. We need to learn about these things to prevent them from happening again, so we can see the signs.


Sometimes I think that we need to try to understand Hitler a little more but sometimes I think the opposite. I think that at times, learning about Hitler more in-depth overshadows the deaths of over 6 million Jewish people. We need to learn about Hitler but that doesn’t mean not learning about the death he caused. But I don’t think we need to learn about what he does in his spare time for fun, that is irrelevant and we don’t need to spend an extra second on it. Again like @Bumbleebee said, “I do think it’s important to understand how he used his power and charisma to bring about the Nazi regime in order to prevent anyone from ever following in his footsteps” We don’t need to learn about the man, we need to learn about how this man had the ability to create evil.

razzledazzle8
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 28

Originally posted by ThankYouFive on April 11, 2021 13:30

I believe that our fascination with Hitler stems from the fact that he did terrible things on a scale that humanity had never seen before. World War 2 and the Holocaust were significantly more damaging and horrific than other terrible events in history, and therefore it is quite reasonable to be intrigued by the man behind it all.


I think that I do understand Hitler somewhat better after reading the various articles. For example, I had never known about his home in the Bavarian Alps, and the description of his time spent there seems so disconnected from the atrocities he would eventually carry out. It seems so strange that a person often thought of as pure evil went on vacation and enjoyed various hobbies just like other human beings. I believe that we try to forget the more human parts of Hitler in order to create a disconnect between Hitler and the rest of humanity, because admitting that Hitler was a person just like everyone else implies that every person could be just as evil as him. However, it is important to learn about Hitler and realize who he was in order to fully understand how and why he did the awful things that he did. Also, by learning about his past and the context in which he started a world war and caused the murder of millions of innocent people, we may be able to prevent a similar person from rising to power and committing similar crimes in the present day.


I had never really known that much about Hitler, partially because I, like many other people, didn’t want to dedicate a large amount of time to learning about such a wicked man. Despite this fact, I do think that is important to adequately educate oneself on the darker parts of history, because we need to acknowledge that some of the most important lessons of history are found within the historical topics we are most uncomfortable learning about. Being able to recognize similarities between the past and the present enables us to solve the problems we face more easily.


I believe the most important thing to learn about Hitler is his backstory. We need to understand how he became the person he was in order to understand why he made the decisions that he did and why he acted in the way that he did. I would like to learn more about how Hitler became so closely linked with extreme right-wing groups, because he was certainly not the only person to lead Germany into war and genocide. I would also like to learn about Hitler’s political strategies, because from what I know, they often seem similar to strategies used by the Republican party in the US right now. While I am not saying that American conservatives are Nazis, I do believe that many conservative politicians operate in a similar manner to various Nazi politicians, for example, by discrediting the news and creating alternate facts. Also, the constant “us vs. them” language used by conservatives is similar to the language used by Nazis when talking about Jewish people and the need to eliminate them.

I found it very interesting when you said, "I believe that we try to forget the more human parts of Hitler in order to create a disconnect between Hitler and the rest of humanity, because admitting that Hitler was a person just like everyone else implies that every person could be just as evil as him." I believe it scares people to know that anyone can commit crimes such as Hitler did if given the right place and time. We like to ignore that part when talking about him. Everyone tends to talk about him as if he is some mythical creature. But he's not, he grew up and fought in a war just as many men did during that time. Just like Ted Bundt, people talk about him as if he never existed and he's a god-like figure but in reality he killed 30 women and it could've been you if you were living during the right place and time. So I think that we all need to remember that Hitler was a real human.

alberic25
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 22

Curiosity surrounding Hitler

People are fascinated by Hitler because he confuses us. He is such an evil being and somehow he gained such a large and impressive following. It makes us wonder, how? Although this isn’t really a question that we can straight up answer, we are still drawn into it as much as we are disgusted by it. Reading through the Janet Flanner article, I was really shocked about his description. The article itself made him almost sound like a relatable person who loves oatmeal and has a weird sleep schedule. The article actually describes him using the word modest which is interesting compared to the interview as well as our view on him today that describe him as a narcissist. These articles show us Hitler in a different light than we normally see him (which is not good) that really does remind me of how we would talk about a celebrity in current times. While Hitler isn’t responsible for all the bad in the war he is usually the first person we think of when we think about the war. This relates to his pure evil intentions and how he actually had the power to follow through with them. I think this relates to the fascination because we want to know how he did this.

Hitler’s name should be known for sure but we also don’t need to know about his personal life and his favorite types of music. This information is unnecessary and humanizes him more than he needs to be. We just need to know of his evil and how we can never let someone like him take power ever again. I don’t think we will ever be able to completely understand Hitler or understand how he did what he did and I don’t really think that is something that needs to be looked into further. I think it is more worthwhile to look into the lives of those who died because of him and the groups of people who suffered because of him. The most worthwhile thing we need to know about is his crimes. The things he did and he got away with in such a small period of time should be learned to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. We definitely shouldn’t try to diagnose him or call him insane because this creates an excuse for the actions he did.


alberic25
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 22

Originally posted by razzledazzle8 on April 11, 2021 18:53

I think we are intrigued with Hitler like we are with serial killers, like Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez. People are obsessed with horror and the atrocities of the world. We always want to know what made these evil people who they are. We want to learn about their childhoods and the little parts of their lives who they were. For example, Ignatius Phayre spoke about Hilter’s house in the Bavarian Alps and how he has an archery range in the back, and how he had a fair for kids in his house. People want to know the small parts of these awful people’s lives because we think we will understand why they are the way they are, and get that moment where we think “ah that makes sense”. But to be honest, I don’t think we will ever fully understand these people, especially Hitler.


From these articles, I learned a lot more about Hitler but obviously, my views haven’t changed on the man as many others have said. I learned about him and his daily life but nothing about him being a horrible person which is very wrong. Like @Bumblebee and @crunchysnowball said, all of these articles humanized Hitler which I really didn’t want to see. I honestly don’t care about the interior of his house being sage green or that he’s a vegetarian. Janet Flanner especially humanized Hitler by talking about things like his sex life. It is sickening to think that people are more interested in Hitler’s personal life with women than him being the man who committed genocide. Hitler isn’t a celebrity so why are they talking about him like he is, it is very frightening. Flanner talks about him like The View would talk about Kim Kardashian or Leonardo Dicaprio.


Ian Kershaw had a better tone about the situation and talked about how Hitler came to be the person he was instead of what time he usually goes to sleep. Learning about Hitler’s childhood and young adulthood is definitely the most important part to learn about because that can tells us why he became who he did. Kershaw talks about how Hitler “found his voice” by talking to other soldiers in 1919 and many other things that point to why he became the narcissistic dictator he was. We need to learn about these things to prevent them from happening again, so we can see the signs.


Sometimes I think that we need to try to understand Hitler a little more but sometimes I think the opposite. I think that at times, learning about Hitler more in-depth overshadows the deaths of over 6 million Jewish people. We need to learn about Hitler but that doesn’t mean not learning about the death he caused. But I don’t think we need to learn about what he does in his spare time for fun, that is irrelevant and we don’t need to spend an extra second on it. Again like @Bumbleebee said, “I do think it’s important to understand how he used his power and charisma to bring about the Nazi regime in order to prevent anyone from ever following in his footsteps” We don’t need to learn about the man, we need to learn about how this man had the ability to create evil.

I really agree with you on the last paragraph and how you said that you both think he should be learned about and how he shouldn't be at the same time. Things like what Hitler eats for breakfast and what kind of music he likes tend to humanize him, which is not what we should be doing. However, it is important to learn about his attributes that helped him to gain power as well as all his horrendous crimes. I think it's important to find a balance between the two in which we understand him, but we understand him for what he is, evil.

dailychristmascountdown
Posts: 18

Why we are intrigued by Hitler

I think so many of us are intrigued by Hitler because he did so many things that are unfathomable to the normal person. What we want to know about him is what brought him to do these terrible things. I think that we all want to rationalize his behavior somehow, attribute his horrible deeds to something that happened in his life, because we cannot face the fact that someone quite similar to an average person is capable of leading a genocide.


I do not think our fascination with Hitler now is akin to our fascination with celebrities such as Beyonce or Kim Kardashian. When we take time to learn about the lives of celebrities like these, it is somewhat out of admiration, awe, or jealousy. However, back then, the piece in Homes and Gardens about Hitler’s ‘Haus Wachenfeld’ in the Bavarian Alps displayed a fascination with Hitler that is very much like how we view celebrities today. I also think the fascination with Donald Trump is not so much like Hitler either. I know many people, like myself, who just cannot stand hearing anything about his life, because his image just evokes so much disgust. It isn’t the same as our fascination with Hitler, maybe just because of the fact that we’re not in the same lifetime.


I think the most accurate description of how we view Hitler is that of “pure evil” or the “boogeyman.” I agree with @PineappleMan30 in that our fascination with him and other evil leaders is because we want to understand how someone can have such negative influence and power.


I do not think that Hitler was responsible for every terrible thing in the war, as the Janet Flanner article mentioned, he took many influences from works he had read and heard about, such as Max Müller and Count de Gobineau. Nazi ideology was not only Hitler’s idea, as we also learned about in class. Hitler became the leader of this ideology but he could not have gained so much power without countless others with the same mindsets.


In regards to Mein Kampf, I think people can be so fascinated by it in the same way that they read the Homes and Gardens piece or the Janet Flanner article. People want to know so much about the insides of such an evil person. In a way, these articles are somewhat similar to the modern-day “Lifestyles of the rich and famous” gossip/talk shows because they all have the same audience of people who are fascinated with the powerful to see how similar or “real” they are. Still, this comparison doesn’t entirely describe how part of everyone’s fascination with Hitler is to try and understand pure evil.


After reading about the life of Hitler, I definitely do understand who he was better, yet I still cannot comprehend the biggest question which is how he could have done such horrible things. I think trying to understand him is a worthwhile pursuit still because I agree with @239bid0073 in that we can analyze Hitler’s behavior to better know people today who are adopting similar behaviors.


My big takeaway regarding Hitler and what I think is the most important thing to know about him comes from the interview with Ian Kershaw when he said “Saying Hitler was insane is just an apologia for him, isn’t it? He’s not in charge of his actions, not responsible for his deeds.” I agree with Kershaw in that what we need to try to understand is how Hitler was entirely responsible for everything he did, it cannot be excused by anything in his past or him being “insane.” When we start to label horrible evil people as “insane” then it starts to numb their criminality.

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