posts 16 - 25 of 25
Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

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.

Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

Originally posted by strawberry123 on March 16, 2022 21:50

Could that be because society has fetishized learning about his ungodly actions much as contemporary life headlines the most pivotal and dramatic parts of celebrities' lives?

That's a great point. Society tends to glaze over many details in history and most of the time we don't even realize it because it has become such a natural occurrence. Unless we are actively looking for and aware of the missing details, these details are rarely ever mentioned.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

The horrors of the Holocaust are something that everybody learns about in school, so naturally, everybody also learns about the man behind it all - Hitler. When you learn about something as horrific as the Holocaust, you wonder how something like this could have happened, and how somebody could have possibly lead such a horrible point in history with pride. Both of which lead to an interest in Hitler and his life. I think people are particularly fascinated with how a regular human being, not a fictional villain, could possibly do the absolutely unspeakable things that Hitler carried out throughout his life. Additionally, since the Holocaust is such a well-documented event people have a lot of information to delve into.


As for the information that I delved into for this post, the biggest takeaway for me was the reminder that behind the propaganda and the massive regime there was a real human being behind it. A man who lived in a nice house in the mountains, filled with paintings of his own making and extra rooms for guests. A man who had a garden and gardeners who kept it pretty for him. A man who had a private chef who cooked meals for him. All while millions of people were dying under his own regime and policies. This goes to show that also, as mentioned in the interview with Kershaw, hat when it comes to the Nazi regime, while Hitler did lead it and serve as the face of it, he was not the one doing absolutely everything. In fact, in the interview it mentioned that he only intervened when “his authorization was necessary.” Hitler is clearly not the only one who thought like he did and carried out such heinous acts. For this reason, it would be interesting to look at other Nazis to see if there is some kind of pattern or connection that causes the kind of reprehensible thinking that they all had.


Truthfully, I can’t really say that I feel that I understand him better, but I do think trying to understand him is a worthwhile pursuit. Figuring out how horrible people like Hitler think and become the way they are is not only an interesting thing to know, but is also crucial for knowing how to possibly prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Hitler’s twisted mind is truly a terrifying example of the dangers of humanity and any information you can get on that is valuable.


At the end of the day, I think that the most important things to know about Hitler are firstly who he is and what his role was in history of course, since he is a critical person in history to know about. Secondly though, I think it’s important to remember that he is a human. Not an automated machine, but a human. Not for the sake of empathizing with him, but for the sake of recognizing the atrocities that humans are capable of inflicting upon each other.

iris almonds
Posts: 29

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf?

Hilter. When you hear that name, most people know who that guy is and most people’s minds start thinking about the evil notorious leader responsible for the intentional death of millions and millions of Jews. As we learn in school, Adolf Hilter is the leader of the Nazi Party largely in control during the mass murder of millions and millions of innocent individuals. I think what makes people so intrigued about Hilter is the fact that he was so evil and the fact that he was able to commit so many wrong-doings. He is so incredibly brutal, sickly, and has had such a negative impact on society that people wonder how he got to become so terrible of a dictator.


My main takeaway from reading these articles is the fact that Hilter is actually human. Before he became a dictator, he had a pretty typical life. He had his likes and dislikes, lived in typical houses like the rest of us, and had justifications for much of the actions he performed (although we might not necessarily agree with those justifications). My first real deep dive into the Holocaust and specifically focusing on Hilter himself was in my sixth-grade humanities class when we had a unit called “facing history and ourselves”. This is the unit where we focused solely on what happened in the Holocaust. I remember learning about Hilter and how he was such a terrible and unpredictable man that was willing to commit violence against humanity. He was this horrendous man that had no life and wish but to kill everybody that wasn’t of the perfect/Aryan race. But after reading the article from Flanner, I realized that Hilter is actually human. He had a life before becoming a dictator and much of the tasks he did before becoming a dictator are reliable in a way. I thought the reading from Flanner was particularly interesting because it offers another lens/perspective into the life of Hilter. It talks about how he is a vegetarian, how he particularly favors lemonade and cake, and how he loves to eat raw apples. We also learn that he had insomnia and was blind at one point during his life. Reading through this article really put some life into Hilter and it is really hard to imagine that he liked painting, architecture, and painting when he has committed such a horrific crime.


Reading the article from the Homes and Gardens did help me understand Hilter better in a way. This article talked about his house and how it was extravagant and nice. It had a very good view of lakes and mountains. It is really hard to believe that such an evil leader could have once resided in a nice household close to Austria without anybody really knowing who he is. While I read this article, I felt like Hilter seemed like more of a person than ever before because I never learned about these facts. I also thought that the details about him were oddly specific, for example, his house had a theme of jade green walls.


Specifically, when I read these two articles, Flanner and the one from Homes and Gardens, the contrasting characteristics of Hilter really come out and it is really hard to believe that a normal person doing normal citizen things would arise and become this terrible dictator. And I think that is what intrigues most people. A lot of people just wonder, How can a human being do such a thing? Do they not have sympathy for others and what in Hilter’s mind told him it was okay to commit this act against humanity?


Despite Hilter committing terrible acts against humanity, yes I think that it is a worthwhile pursuit to learn about him. Yes, it’s terrible and heartbreaking, but I think that learning about Hilter and his actions are important and it can teach us “not to repeat history”. The most important thing to know about Hilter is that he was a human that had a fairly normal life before he came into power. He had his likes and dislikes, he has suffered trauma, and he is a human being just like us. Despite this, he has committed horrific crimes against humanity and is plainly responsible for the death of millions and millions of innocent individuals. According to the interview article, at the time, the people seemed to support Hilter, because they were ready for a change and a strong powerful leader to come into place. Their government was falling apart and they just needed a determined young man to hold them together and their answer was Hilter. Despite this, it is not to say that any of Hilter’s actions were justifiable because he killed millions and millions of Jews for no reason except trying to establish his perfect Aryan race. I think that this is one of the most important points for people to take away is because people have to understand that Hilter started out as an ordinary person just like us, which is the reason he is intrigued by so many, but he became this power-seeking, horrendous leader. None of Hilter’s actions were justified and the amount of deaths under his responsibility is far too many to count. It really comes to show that humans and not just Hilter in general can become evil very fast. Typical humans can become power-seeking monsters in a short period of time.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

Originally posted by Bluekoala on March 16, 2022 23:25

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.

I agree, I also think there is a fascination to be had with how Hitler was able to garner so much political power and allegiance from such a large group of people. Hitler wasn't the only one who thought this way, he was just the one who rose to power, so it would certainly be interesting to also look at the lives of people who thought similarly to him and see if there is some kind of pattern.

iris almonds
Posts: 29

Originally posted by OverthinkingEnigma on March 16, 2022 23:06

After reading these articles, I was surprised by the immense number of details these authors have accumulated on Hitler’s personal life. In my opinion, I saw that these small details attempted to humanize Hitler as authors stated relatable and ‘normal’ features that Hitler had such as, “ He swallows gruel for breakfast, is fond of oatmeal, digests milk and onion soup, declines meat, which even as an undernourished youth he avoided, never touches fish, has given up macaroni as fattening, eats one piece of bread at a meal…alcohol and nicotine are beyond him, since they heighten the exciting intoxication his faulty assimilation already assures.” I would say that Janet Flanner’s article “Profiles: Führer” took a comedic approach when it came to addressing Hitler’s normal human features such as his eating habits, as it seemed she was fully aware of the fact that such simple and human habits extremely clashed with who he truly was: a malicious dictator who had taken the lives of millions. I still strongly standby my opinion in which, despite these humanizing characteristics, they don’t in any way change his actions; his actions were orchestrated by his beliefs and decisions, and that will forever overpower the fact that he loved gruel or went out on walks around his garden and treated his servants as loyal friends (Ignatius Phayre, “Hitler’s Mountain Home”). What’s more, Hitler utilized his defining traits to strengthen the Nazi party and his following, “Because of his incessant speech making, last spring two nodules were cut from hitler’s vocal cords, an operation common to hard-working opera singers. Ten years ago, he was making eleven speeches nightly when his goal was to talk in every german city, when he was orating daily for hours and without pause before hundreds of thousands, in wind, rain, or smoky beer halls…Hitler is a born spellbinder of the emotional type, who produces in crows the excitement he produces in himself.” We all would know at least one person who has great public-speaking skills, but they hadn’t used this skill of theirs to enforce a dangerous belief system and justify the unforgivable treatment of several communities. Furthermore, my takeaway from this is that Hitler’s childhood, habits, dislikes or likes, and property portray him as an average human being’, but they shouldn’t be considered his “good side.” Several people share Hitler’s interests, experiences, preferences, but they didn’t commit a mass atrocity that killed generations. I find it extremely important that people learn to properly consider and weigh one’s actions and characteristics when it comes to determining who they are as a person.

Nonetheless, in terms of the articles and their contents, I learned a lot about Hitler’s habits, preferences, and his summer house. It was interesting to see the stark differences between the two spheres in Hitler’s life: dictatorship and his private life. When you compare his respectful and friendly manner to his supporters/family/close-workers to his initiation and conduction of the Holocaust, the two are day and night. As the Führer, Hitler was constantly having speeches with massive crowds, attending several meetings, but, “There is nothing pretentious about the Führer’s little estate. It is one that any merchant of Munich or Nuremberg might possess in these lovely hills” (Ignatius Phayre, “Hitler’s Mountain Home”). It’s clear that Hitler separated his personal life from his role as a fascist dictator, and his easy transition between these two spheres of life is frankly shocking and disturbing. Whether this transitioning was a sign of insanity seemed to be the central theme for Gene Santaro’s interview with Ian Kershaw. Putting in the time and effort to try and understand Hitler is a morally difficult thing to accomplish as seen through Karshaw’s statement, “Since my aim was to document the relationship between Hitler and the environment that produced him, I felt uneasy about that.” By learning more about Hitler’s childhood, habits, tastes, mannerisms, etc, there’s the chance of developing sympathy since these details encourage the humanization of this dictator. Once Hitler is slightly humanized, the question remained whether he was clinically insane or not; although it’s now clear that Hitler wasn’t clinically insane, his actions were pure-evil and well thought out. Whether he respected his co-workers and friends or enjoyed climbing trees as a kid, he still roused a group of supporters to overthrow the Bavarian city hall; he still founded and ran the Nazi Party; he still scarred several generations.

Furthermore, it’s important to consider any possible connections between Hitler’s experiences and his actions during/before WWII. However, facts about Hitler’s past environment, habits, way of life, etc, shouldn’t be used to lessen the severity of his actions.

Your point about Flanner’s article trying to humanize Hilter and mock him in a comedic approach is very interesting. I actually never thought about that article in that way before, but you might be accurate that this might well have been an article used to mock Hilter and his well-being.

apples21
SOUTH BOSTON, MA, US
Posts: 25

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf

I think that it actually makes a good amount of sense why people, especially Americans, are so obsessed with and intrigued by learning about Adolf Hitler. I think that we are so intrigued by him because of all of the horribly unbelievable things he did. Just hearing about such an evil human being is not enough for us, when we hear about someone this terrible we naturally want to hear about it. I think simply being intrigued by his name and actions, and wanting to become more educated on the topic of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, is actually a pretty good thing. First of all, learning deeply about Adolf Hitler is an essential piece to learning about Germany during this time and just about all of World War 2. Also, learning about evil people and learning what they did will help prevent something this terrible happening, and also helps people understand why the world is shaped the way it is today. I think that on top of this, people are just simply intrigued by evil things and evil people. This is not a bad thing, it’s just people are not used to seeing someone so magnificently terrible, that when you hear about one it is interesting to learn about. Also, there are not many people in history considered more evil than Adolf Hitler, so especially in modern history, he is seen as somewhat of a bogeyman. He is often used to compare other evil people to when determining their level of evil. I think that he is largely responsible for almost all of the horrible things that happened during ww2, as he was definitely responsible for millions of deaths. It’s hard to say if he is responsible for absolutely everything, but he is definitely mostly to blame for the tragedy of the war. There is really no other figure in history like Adolf Hitler. It is important to learn about evil people like this, but you also can’t blame people for being deeply intrigued by learning about him and his actions.

jellybeans101
Boston, MA
Posts: 16

The language used in these articles are extremely jawning to the read. Much like celebrity headlines these one liners really draw readers in at the hook. For example, HITLER IN “HOMES & GARDENS”.

This interesting headline pulls us into the aspect of luxury that comes with being such a powerful being. I think this puts Hilter in the category of someone “famous” even though he has done horrendous things. I think these stories also intrigue us so much as we want to see how he lives as someone who commits such acts. These new articles may also even show us the reality of how normal people can commit such acts. Possibly opening our eyes to the fact that people who live normally like this can unsuspectedly do the worst.

“Hitler’s home looks out upon his native Austria. Meals are often served on the terrace on little tables shaded by big canvas umbrellas. From this viewpoint a chain of drowsy lakes is seen far below, with ancient shrine-chapels hidden in ferny folds of towering rocks.” This may even make people jealous and power hungry as they see how weel he lives. I think this does portray him as the perfect “villain”. He is able to fund his projects and live lavishly similar to how the joker is portrayed in modern films of america. “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. A life-long vegetarian at table, Hitler’s kitchen plots are both varied and heavy on produce. Even in his meatless diet, Hitler is something of a gourmet – as Sir John Simon and Mr. Anthony Eden were surprised to note when they dined with him at the Presidial Palace at Berlin. His Bavarian chef Herr Kannenberg, contrives an imposing array of of vegetarian dishes, savoury and rich, pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate, and all conforming to the dietic standards which Hitler exacts.” Similar to Donald Trump eating diet mcdonalds and diet cokes at a large amount every single day people find these small details so interesting. These articles are quoted with such things that we would see on tik tok today.



Karma
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf?

Reading through these articles makes it hard to admit this, but Hitler wasn't actually crazy. In fact, the most interesting thing about it was that he really was a sane person who even partook in the arts. The claim that Ian Kershaw made in his interview where he stated how people view Hitler's rise as pure willpower was a very interesting take and makes me wonder if someone like him would have popped up eventually. It seems like he was a rational person with strong ideas and beliefs who simply put the time in to build up his empire through his speaking ability and his ability to exploit weakness. I wouldn't say I still completely understand Hitler, however I can now recognize him as a sane person. The reason I don't understand him involves his beliefs and where they came from. I just don't understand how he did some of the things, such as the holocaust and things of that nature. This is what makes it kind of hard for me to admit that Hitler even experienced human emotion. I always believed he was an entity of evil and hatred for good reason. After all, people aren't taught that Hitler did art and other normal things. At the same time, I don't think people should be taught anything different. I feel like people should still learn about Hitler, but understanding him as a person would not be fulfilling to anyone. If people really try to understand Hitler, I fear that they may even agree with him or sympathize with him which is the last thing that should ever happen. The only thing that people should understand about Hitler, the most important thing, is that he is an evil human being who still has a grip on society today. Anyone can become like Hitler, literally any person. The idea of him being sane and responsible for all his actions should make it even more apparent that of this idea of anyone being able to become him. This is the most important thing about him because once people start to understand that he did these horrific things willingly, I would hope they despise him and do not want to be like him. I don't believe anything beneficial comes from understanding him because what prevents someone from identifying with him after they analyzed his psychology?

seraphine
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Why are we so intrigued by Hitler?

I think pretty much everybody in the world absolutely despises Hitler, yet still wonder why he did what he did. Did he go insane? Was there another reason? It doesn't feel the same as the US's fascination with celebrities, as it seems as though people (or some magazines) are interested in every small thing they do (And it gets really messed up too, like when Emma Watson, the second she turned 18, had inappropriate pictures taken of her which is terrible)-- it feels, to me, that my questions of "What the heck?" are more centered towards what he did if that makes sense.


The first time I was introduced to Hitler, it was through "The Sound of Music". It was one of the first movies my parents (specifically my mom, but my dad too) watched and that I "sort of understood", though I see now that the only thing I really understood was the music which I really loved (I didn't realize until later that the movie wasn't entirely historically accurate, and even though I feel a sort of bond with the movie and still love it since it was a big part of my childhood, I'm not sure what to feel about the movie sometimes). I absolutely hated Hitler for making the von Trapp family have to hide and run, and the older I got, the more I thought Rolf was absolutely stupid for joining the Nazis. Doesn't he know any better, I told myself? The answer now, I figure, is no, he didn't know any better, because there was so much propaganda that you just thought what you were doing was right. After reading these articles and from our discussions, I realize that hating Hitler is perfectly fine and that I definitely still do (as does pretty much everyone), but that he definitely wasn't this untouchable thing that I thought of him to be. He was a person, and he lived a very ordinary life: He made art that looked really nice, and had a nice house in the mountains with a great view and a really nice interior that he decorated himself, and he invited friends and artists and musicians and kids over for parties and snacks. Honestly, this just confused me even more, because it just didn't line up. How could the person that caused a genocide have a nice cushy home like that, and do things that I know my relatives to do and invite people over for tea and take walks in the garden? But things also made sense too, like with the interview; it would make sense that he did not directly act upon statements but that the general population took it and acted upon it, and generals and people like that acted upon it, and that he did not involve himself with fights unless he knew who the winner is. It's manipulative, and it's not like manipulative people aren't human. Honestly, though, I still don't really understand Hitler and I think I'll never truly understand, but I think it's interesting to hear things like this (the interview, and the description of his house, and the text about him).


I agree with a lot of the posts on this thread; like watermelon2, I feel amazed that he had a life that was so close to just a normal person, what with the comfy mountain home and the dogs, and that he had actual hobbies and passions that weren't just murdering people like I thought, because that's how I've seen him as; a masochistic murderer. I also agree with user01135 that it may be worthwhile to understand, because underneath this he was just a normal guy and it would be useful to find where he went wrong.

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