Why are we so intrigued by Hitler?
Hitler is so intriguing because of the widespread impact that his actions had on history. It is not an everyday occurrence that someone wakes up and decides to kill millions of innocent people. The specific circumstances that it takes for someone to choose to make that decision is a question that many people wonder about when learning about Hitler and the Holocaust. The complete lack of remorse and humanity behind Hitler’s decisions is not something that can be seen in any other historical person. As Ian Kershaw said about the feelings of Hitler and his sense of revenge, it is “something you don’t come across in history too often.” This fascination about Hitler’s life is not necessarily out of support for Hitler, unless you are a Nazi, or with the image of pure evil, but more so curious about the psychology behind actions that changed the course of history and an entire religious group of people. Although Hitler started World War II and his actions were pure evil, he did not have control over every evil thing that happened in World War II because there were decisions by many other people that did not involve him such as the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Furthermore, Hitler’s ability to gain the support of an entire country for systematic genocide and war at a time when the country was in dismay, is another feat that is so fascinating to people because of its rareness.
The big “takeaway” from reading these articles/site about Hitler and his personal life was that he lived a life like any ordinary person. Janet Flanner writes in her profile about Hitler in The New Yorker, “He swallows gruel for breakfast, is fond of oatmeal, digests milk and onion soup…” He even shops “at the second-rate Deutscher Hof, which was grandeur for him in the old days and which he thinks today is grand enough.” This relatability to common people gives a different perspective on Hitler. When Hitler is taught, he is often made out to be someone in the top social class. Despite his riches and power, he still maintained the lifestyle that he had before. I better understand him as the person he was, instead of just this figure that will go forever be a sign of evil in history.
Trying to understand Hitler is a worthwhile pursuit if you are interested in learning what causes a person to kill. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember about Adolf Hitler is that he was just a regular person with hobbies and preferences at the end of the day who became a sign of evil and caused widespread pain because it shows how there might very well be a person that we interact with every day that could be developing evil intentions. Evilness can come from anyone.
My classmate, booksandcandles, pointed out a great example of how people love to watch crime shows and documentaries. Our society has such a strong fascination with the lives of killers. That’s why crime shows and documentaries are so successful and watched by millions. People have an urge to understand why exactly people have become the way that they are. I don’t believe anything will help me truly understand Hitler, but knowing the circumstances definitely changes my perspective.