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freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 288



Reading:



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!).


pinkskittles
boston , Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf

I have been doing research about the Holocaust and Hitler in school and on my own. However, out of everything that I have read, heard, and seen I haven’t ever learned about his house/personal life or anything to do with his mental illness. I am in no way excusing what he did because it was absolutely horrific and unexplainable. It is said in one of the articles that, “People with medical backgrounds have examined the evidence and rejected the idea that Hitler was insane”, which explains everything but at the same time I think it can be easily concluded that he was insane. In regards to people following him and being under his reign, “There was considerable systematic disorder in the administration and government”, so there were a lot of issues with the government system. It also wasn’t a democracy, he had all the power and I am sure that people didn’t think anything else other than to follow him. Yes, there were people that were against him but when you talk about the people who followed his orders, it goes back to the whole concept of power and fear. People were scared to go against him. Similar to Putin, he is in power and yes there are people that are going against him, but at the same time he is so high in power that people are fearful of what will happen if they don't listen. If you try to protest against him, you're sentenced to jail. Also, with the Armenians, if they said that they didn’t believe in the Turks' religion they were killed. Still, the holocaust isn’t comparbale to anything else, it was a genocide and the things that happened are unspeakable. At the end of the day, you could “try to understand him”, maybe if you're a big believer of mental illness being the fault for his doings, but I am not and I don’t think it is an excuse or a valid reason. The most important thing and probably most useful would just be to know how he got his power, and everything he did so we can do our best to make sure nothing like it happens again.

pseudonym
boston, Ma, US
Posts: 25

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf

When I think of Hitler I think of the holocoaust. I dont know nor have I been taught about his years before and his personal backround. I think as a society he is a person who intregaes us all to question how someone would be able to commit such as awful crime? How did he get into the position of power to do so? How is it that no one stopped him? Why did he do this? These are just some questions I think we all ask ourslves. but maybe the fact that we dont get answers unless some deep research is what intreats us more. After reading these articles I learned about his house and how that "chalet" played a role in his charcters and connections with people. From an outside persepctive he was a regular guy who worked hard for his money to build a dream home. this house was filled with a full library indicating he might have been an intelecgtual guy. The most interesting thing is that his 'normal' past is what makes people even more cuirious as to know what coukd possibly happen for him to turn out the way he did. Many say his mental illness has to a great part to due with his disisons and irrational thinking. This however does not justify any of the crimes he commited. ALthough it personally intreages me to find out how a person in such power isnt evaaluated for these problems and health conserns considering the people are in his hands. A sane and healthy mind would always be nessecary to protect the people. overall Hitler is a man who comes with many answers but more questions. He reminds me of Putin where not much is know of her privious life yet everyone knows of the damage that he causes.

saucymango
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

Mr. Meatless!

Hitler is a vegetarian! This was what stood out to me first from the New Yorker profile and the article on his house. It was repeated multiple times in the first and second sources (even though the second was supposed to focus on the architecture of Hitler’s house, so they clearly felt the need to include this detail). While Hitler being a vegetarian (although it doesn’t seem to be for ethical reasons, more so health) and finding out that he had a sweet tooth, enjoyed films and had two nodes cut out from the New Yorker profile were interesting, none of these helped me understand him any better as a politician that was hugely responsible for an entire World War. In fact, at times I questioned why I was reading documents on his hobbies.

It is only a worthwhile pursuit to study Hitler’s daily activities and thoughts if that is something that you are truly fascinated by, or if there’s an implication on his decisions as a policymaker. For instance, learning in class about how Hitler was a runner during the war and being gassed twice, being sent to prison, etc. explained reasons for why he became so bitter. Otherwise, it feels like you are obsessing over a pop culture celebrity whose worst mistake was wearing the same outfit twice; it’s almost as if you are romanticizing Hitler’s life and disregarding the massive consequences of his political rather than food choices.

On the other hand, it can be a little helpful to learn some of these facts to humanize Hitler and understand that although he had a lot of power and crazy ideology, he wasn’t insane or a supernatural monster. Thus there can always be another Hitler created as he was just an ordinary citizen. Moreover, as Ian Kershaw put it, believing that Hitler was a madman absolves him of guilt, and we need to hold him and future leaders accountable. Thus, a balance must be managed between learning about his daily life and role in the war.

Therefore, it is most important to understand Hitler as a man, politician and demagogue. He was incredibly charismatic and able to manipulate millions of people. Many of his lifestyle choices may have affected how his politics went and they are valuable in understanding. For instance, in the New Yorker profile, his politics were actually rather structureless and he allowed the people below him to act however they believed would make Hitler happy. If things went well, then Hitler would be approving and it would all seem like Hitler had planned it from the start. Unless you want to suggest that it was ironic Hitler wouldn’t eat meat because he couldn’t bear to kill innocent animals, yet able to kill millions of innocent people, I don’t believe that Hitler’s vegetarianism and other insignificant preferences should be so heavily studied.

Lion03
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf?


There is no excuse for Hitler’s actions. Whether or not he was clinically insane or seemed like just another person, he was not normal. Where one of the quotes stated “People with medical backgrounds have examined the evidence and rejected the idea that Hitler was insane”. There should not be any sort of justifications for being a leader of one of the worlds largest genocides. It doesn’t matter if he was medically insane or not.

I think we are so intrigued by Hitler because we want to explore his reasoning and cause for millions of innocent people dying. This genocide was so out of the ordinary that people are interested in all of it. For the most part, this is the largest publicized genocide in history. Personally, I didn’t even know that there were so many other genocides other than the Holocaust. Our fascination of Hitler is vastly different than our fascination of pop culture celebrities. With pop culture, we become interested in their drama and usually find things to laugh at about them. Hitler is a completely different fascination. This was definitely no laughing matter. I think this stems from our disbelief of how something this large and this wrong could happen right in front of us, and why was it not stopped earlier. I think it could have something to do with that we see him at the ultimate evil. Although he is not responsible for World War II as a whole, he has a huge impact and caused millions of deaths that were unnecessary.

A quote from one of the articles states “Every morning at nine he goes out for a talk with the gardeners about their day’s work.” along with "He comes to power in a democracy. He uncovers the thin ice on which modern civilization rests, and shows us what we’re capable of as human beings.”. This is not a justification for the millions of murders he accomplished, but it shows how he was able to come to power by being liked by many people. He put on a two sided face to show the public eye. His charm and charisma that he had was able to persuade many people to join his political party. He made a speech and afterwards said that was “when I learned I was able to speak”. This was the start of the downfall. By speaking eloquently he was able to portray himself as a normal person with goals and aspirations as the rest. But is creating a mass genocide that targets specific groups of people based on something they cannot control normal top you?

I’m unsure if I would say that these articles are the equivalent to a gossipy talk show but there are definitely implications of it there. These articles have parts where they try to show Hitler as a normal person and kind of gossip about his personal life. My big takeaway from these articles all together is that you do not have to be diagnosed as MEDICALLY insane in order to be pure evil. Honestly these articles confused me more because I understand how he rose to power, but it is confusing how a seemingly normal person could rise to basically world domination. I do not think understanding him is a worthwhile pursuit because what good does it do? Is understanding him going to create a justification for what he did? Or is it going to make you empathize with him? I don't think so. However if it can be understood to the point where you can stop future leaders from doing this, THEN I would understand how it can be helpful.

Kazuma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Why are we so intrigued by Hitler?

We’re so intrigued by Hitler and because where and what he ultimately ended up doing. Everyone always jokes about how he didn’t get into art school, but for him this was a critical point that changed the course of his life and for this reason is why we’re so interested in him. How did an aspiring artist become the man responsible for the Holocaust? That is the question that we’ll always ask and never have answered. After reading, I find it so interesting to learn about Hitler’s dietary habits. This being because when you think of Hitler, you think of a dictator, someone who has a complete lack of emotion and compassion because in our minds, these are the only ways we can justify why someone would do what he did. I say this all to say that Adolf Hitler was a human being like you and I. I don’t say this to justify what he did, but rather because it is something that I never really think about. He had a dietary plan and was a vegetarian like so many others. This reminds us that he is human and only makes what he did so much worse. One of the questions posed on the assignment was, “Is he responsible for every evil thing that happened during World War II?”, and I don’t think there is an answer to that question because so many things happened during the war. It is too convoluted to be able to say that he holds sole responsibility for every terrible thing that happened during the war. I believe that he does hold a significant portion, if not the majority, of responsibility for the things that occurred during the war. I think the most important thing to know about Hitler is that he too was a human. He had to do things like use the bathroom and eat in order to survive like the rest of us and yet, he was able to accomplish such terrible and atrocious things.

Kazuma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by pseudonym on March 16, 2022 09:33

When I think of Hitler I think of the holocoaust. I dont know nor have I been taught about his years before and his personal backround. I think as a society he is a person who intregaes us all to question how someone would be able to commit such as awful crime? How did he get into the position of power to do so? How is it that no one stopped him? Why did he do this? These are just some questions I think we all ask ourslves. but maybe the fact that we dont get answers unless some deep research is what intreats us more. After reading these articles I learned about his house and how that "chalet" played a role in his charcters and connections with people. From an outside persepctive he was a regular guy who worked hard for his money to build a dream home. this house was filled with a full library indicating he might have been an intelecgtual guy. The most interesting thing is that his 'normal' past is what makes people even more cuirious as to know what coukd possibly happen for him to turn out the way he did. Many say his mental illness has to a great part to due with his disisons and irrational thinking. This however does not justify any of the crimes he commited. ALthough it personally intreages me to find out how a person in such power isnt evaaluated for these problems and health conserns considering the people are in his hands. A sane and healthy mind would always be nessecary to protect the people. overall Hitler is a man who comes with many answers but more questions. He reminds me of Putin where not much is know of her privious life yet everyone knows of the damage that he causes.

I also didn't know anything about his personal life. Other than the fact that he didn't get into art school, I didn't know anything about him. When we heard about him serving in the German army and how he's actually Austrian and not German, these were new things to me. I also agree with the comparison you made at the end. Putin is someone that has their private life, truly private.

hotchocolate
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 24

Before reading the sources, I think going into this assignment that trying to understand Hitler is something you need to be prepared to embark on before, stable enough to do. I think in many ways he was a genius and blind at the same time and might not be someone you can really figure out. There is so much suffering and generational trauma people carry and experienced from Hitler’s choices so I personally think it’s worthwhile to learn as much as you can about the Holocaust and the origins of it, but not having a goal to find a perfect understanding of someone who simply had no humanity. It’s strange because I remember hearing about how Hitler was friends with Jews and cared about his family, but really only the people who supported him. Also going into it from what I know, Hitler was probably bullied or made to feel small in some way and turned to control and genocide as a solution to feel secure, brave, “manly”, and respected.


Someone told me that Hitler wanted to go to art school but was rejected and in the architectural magazine, it says he designed and decorated his house which was modest for someone of his status. And he entertained artists and people of all professions which makes him appear to really care for culture and this article seems to humanize him. He’s a vegetarian who doesn’t smoke or drink, so he seems pretty refined to the audience. He said he built his home with the money he earned so he takes great pride in his accomplishments and wants to share it with like minded people who appreciate his hospitality. Hitler had to get people to like and support him so he could have total control and people would be too afraid to go against his antisemitism.


The article starts by describing Hitler as someone with restraint, strict regimen and diet, and relating to his people in that he had health problems and grew up poor. He is portrayed positively as someone with leadership skills and a plan for bringing Germany success. He has everything at his hands but is described as choosing modesty and simplicity. I think people were fascinated by his rise to fame from poverty and looked up to his personal accomplishments. In the article, it includes many personal details about his lifestyle which is just like a celebrity. People cannot be him but seem to be close with him by getting a glimpse into his glamorous life. The way he’s described as laughing but also getting angry and anxious in social situations makes him still seem youthful and childlike in a way you can’t help but be charmed (I’m not obviously but the way it is written makes it seem that way). Hitler didn’t let politics come between his longest friendships such as with Frau von Dirksen who conflicted in terms of his Party but still continued to meet, showing that he cares and exhibits morally good behavior. It’s fascinating they mention the interbreeding of his parents which might have been normal then? But then they say it was like the Austrian Habsburgs which aligns with Hitler’s emphasis on purity of the blood and comparing him to royalty. Later in the article, Hitler says that only people with German blood can be considered countrymen which connects to his personal beliefs. This doesn’t even make sense because there were German Jews so the power has gotten to his head. He also says there’s no such thing as Chinese or Egyptian art, only Nordic-Grecian which shows how confused he really is. Hitler only saw what he wanted to see because he was scared of losing or sharing power and support. It ends by saying Hitler rose to power through his skill and passion for public speaking unlike most autocrats who overthrow the government, exemplifying his success all through his own drive and determination (he got help). This was a New Yorker which means people in the USA must’ve been impressed by him. It was also written before nothing huge had happened in terms of Germany targeting minorities so at this point, Hitler was trying to reject the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler could portray himself whatever way he wanted in these articles that the public would see and nobody knew what could’ve come next.


It was also interesting to not call him a madman because he definitely knew what he was doing and saying he wasn’t in his right mind is partially excusing his actions. And if he was a madman, other people who were thought to have been “hysterical or mad” at this time didn’t literally start the holocaust. The interviewer helps people understand that today, we look back and obviously see what a mistake Hitler and his policies were but at that time, maybe someone who seemed to be a successful strong leader is what Germany needed to economically bounce back. In English class last year, we talked about what we’d do if we could’ve prevented Hitler being born and a lot of people said they wouldn’t kill him in infancy because there could be someone who’s worse who would’ve taken power. It’s important to note what the interview says about Hitler uniting his enemies against him through believing in the power of his delusions of what could be.


YellowPencil
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 23

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf?

I think we are so intrigued by Hitler because his capability to ruthlessly kill countless innocent lives in the Holocaust. A part of us doesn't understand how Hitler can be a human being. Being humans ourselves his actions don’t make sense to us. From reading The New Yorker and Home and Gardens articles, it is clear that Hitler was treated almost like idols and famous people today. I found the articles highly highly detailed and sometimes had too much information to handle. The New Yorker article definitely makes him seem like a normal guy. He’s a lover of films, a vegetarian, a disciplined, and simple man. The article also goes into the details of his female friends and the exact details of his youth and family tree. I think this obsession with learning about Hitler’s personal life isn’t worthwhile and a bit dangerous. In the interview article Ian Kershaw when asked if Hitler was a madman replied, "I've never had any truck with that. People with medical backgrounds have examined the evidence and rejected the idea that Hitler was insane. But it should also be rejected on another level. Maybe the project was mad, but the man was not. Saying Hitler was insane is just an apologia.” Coverage of Hitler in the New Yorker and the Home and Gardens magazine is dangerous because it gets people to emphasize with Hitler and use his possible medical condition as an excuse. The biggest takeaway after reading these articles is that Hitler was like us, but it doesn’t justify what he did. At the end of the day, the most important thing to know about Hitler is what he did and how we prevent someone like Hitler from rising to power again. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what he was like as a person but the damage he has done to many.

YellowPencil
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 23

Originally posted by pinkskittles on March 15, 2022 08:47

I have been doing research about the Holocaust and Hitler in school and on my own. However, out of everything that I have read, heard, and seen I haven’t ever learned about his house/personal life or anything to do with his mental illness. I am in no way excusing what he did because it was absolutely horrific and unexplainable. It is said in one of the articles that, “People with medical backgrounds have examined the evidence and rejected the idea that Hitler was insane”, which explains everything but at the same time I think it can be easily concluded that he was insane. In regards to people following him and being under his reign, “There was considerable systematic disorder in the administration and government”, so there were a lot of issues with the government system. It also wasn’t a democracy, he had all the power and I am sure that people didn’t think anything else other than to follow him. Yes, there were people that were against him but when you talk about the people who followed his orders, it goes back to the whole concept of power and fear. People were scared to go against him. Similar to Putin, he is in power and yes there are people that are going against him, but at the same time he is so high in power that people are fearful of what will happen if they don't listen. If you try to protest against him, you're sentenced to jail. Also, with the Armenians, if they said that they didn’t believe in the Turks' religion they were killed. Still, the holocaust isn’t comparbale to anything else, it was a genocide and the things that happened are unspeakable. At the end of the day, you could “try to understand him”, maybe if you're a big believer of mental illness being the fault for his doings, but I am not and I don’t think it is an excuse or a valid reason. The most important thing and probably most useful would just be to know how he got his power, and everything he did so we can do our best to make sure nothing like it happens again.

I agree. In the end of the day, Hitler's personal life doesn't matter but rather how he gained his power. I think overall, Hitler is best used as a case study subject to try prevent the events like the Holocaust from happening again.

9oclock
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

Why are we so intrigued by Hitler?

The man that killed more than 11 million people was, also unfortunately, a great display of humanness. Hitler took a hammer to the world with a human hand. And that is what bewilders. Hitler was human and he was sane. He was not unlike you or me. He had average human insecurity, for an average unsubstantial reason, he was a “small-boned baby and was tubercular in his teens” (Flanner 1). He had more likes than dislikes. He had young fantasies, and childlike adorations. Opera singers would bewitch him (Flanner 2). He was not unlike the world’s dreamers we romanticize, his dream was to be a painter. He hung his paintings from his old life in his home (Home & Gardens). He had a sweet tooth, and held lifelong friendships (Flanner 3). He admired the arts; music, films, and visual art. And he admired their creators (Flanner 2). He was fond and nostalgic of the familiar. He cut flowers. He was kind and generous to his companions and community (Home & Gardens). And he convinced a nation to commit a genocide.

It is estimated that one in twenty people have a Narcissistic disorder, that would make it safe to assume one person in a class. Narcissism is a common shade of humanness. Thus, Hitler’s narcissism does not make him inhuman nor excusable, nor does it comfort us. Considering “Narcissism”, it is arguable that Hitler’s insecurity and dire appetite for recognition laid behind his shattering of the world. Hitler avidly pursued painting, and the art world rejected him. (Fun fact- Artists are more likely to be narcissists than non-creatives.) Priorly growing into poor confidence, this further muddied his pride. It turned him bitter to the world and to the army for another purpose. He was recognized for courage in the army, and found he was a natural at speeches(annefrank.org). It was easy to gain validation and praise in the military and later in politics, in contrast to his pursuit of artistry. A narcissist would enjoy this. And in this path that quickly and gravely soured, he reaped as much recognition and power as it could give.

A plausible and likely explanation on how a person could create the death of 11 million people, is unfortunately human. He was insecure, perhaps he was not loved properly in adolescence. The duality of Hitler’s humanness and inhumaneness is uncomfortable, and it is what intrigues. We want people who commit heinous crimes to be far from human. We do not want to be, also, capable.

(I do not hold pity nor sympathy for Hitler)

Stuart_05
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Why are we so intrigued by Hitler?

My big takeaway from reading the three profiles on Hitler, is that he had a dual personality and expertly used this to brand himself. From Janet Flanner’s profile Hitler was disciplined in most aspects of his life – what he ate, how he dressed, and who he chose as his inner circle. However, he was also an artist – a lover of art, music, and theatre. He used these collective traits to become the dictator of Germany. Through discipline he became an avid reader of history, and skilled orator, and later author. Through artistry he developed his propaganda campaign, “his brand,” by designing the red German flag with a swastika, the uniform of the Nazi army, and writing an autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle).

As a leader who was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews, and was devoted to creating an Aryan master race, it was interesting to learn that he was not born from a traditional German family. He was Austrian and poor. His father was an illegitimate child, his parents were cousins, and Janet Flanner’s article hints to rumors that Hitler may have been gay. Regardless of his upbringing, Hitler was skilled in branding himself as a Pan-German and convinced the German population to embrace his ideals.

I think the most important thing to know about Adolf Hitler, and other historical figures, is understanding how he rose to power. Like Donald Trump, Hitler took advantage of timing, and used violence as a means to rule. As Kershaw indicates in his article, the Nazi Party had only 2.6% of the popular vote when Hitler came to power. However, he took advantage of the multiple political parties and used his words to instill an intolerance of the Jews. Similarly, Donald Trump lost the popular vote, but was able to instill a fear of “immigrants” and “others” taking our country away from real America, to get elected. We have to learn about the past evils of history so we don’t repeat it.

no name
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf

I think we are fascinated in the same way that true crime podcast listeners are criminals. Flanner’s New Yorker article is both like an Oprah Show segment and a 60 minutes segment about Hitler, as there are elements of celebrity gossip rhetoric in it. However it is more like interviewing somebody so exclusive like a British Royal Family member. The strangest thing is Hitler being a vegetarian, is just so absurd and ironic, I verbally laughed at it. Ian Kershaw said it perfectly that Hitler was a madman and that saying he was removes him from the blame. Hitler isn’t void of emotions or empathy, which makes what happened even scarier in my opinion and it is the most important thing to know about him. Him not being insane means as Ian Kershaw said “shows us what we’re capable of as human beings”. It is important to study him and his psychology and life to see what makes him tick and how he took the path he did, not so much the personal life choices he does. All it took for times of desperation and a charismatic leader like Hitler could manipulate an entire population with fear of anyone. As ms freeman says “Nazis were the greatest plagiarizers ever” and we can see that in Hitlers formative years, he threw bits together of different sources, forming this makeshift kind of messy fascist ideology just like his government was. Another piece of evidence is he was predictable in his moves, that his government could run without him holding it with an iron fist, leading the "quasi-chaotic" conclusion that Kershaw has. People don't want to acknowledge the duality of Hitler because it messes with their view on him including myself.

The question i have is: Did these readings at any point make anyone feel any pity or sympathy for him? for me i did have a brief feeling of hesitation and pity, but otherwise not at all



redemmed2021
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

The big "takeaway" I got from reading these articles is that Hitler was a human. This seems like an obvious statement but I feel like it is sometimes overlooked. The quote from Kershaw's interview makes this point clear. "He comes to power in a democracy. He uncovers the thin ice on which modern civilization rests, and shows us what we’re capable of as human beings.” Hitler was not medically insane,or anything of that nature. The evil that he committed was something so insane it would make one believe he truly was, but that is not the case, “Maybe the project was mad, but the man was not”.


From this reading I do understand him better, specifically regarding who he was as a person. Hitler had his interest just like many other people do. In the article by Flanner it talks about how “ He is crazy about films, especially historical ones”, showing how Hitler enjoyed watching movies. To add on to this I learned that “ He loves to laugh in company”. Who doesn’t enjoy laughing or hearing jokes. He often went out to restaurants, was a “ talkative charm with women, he once had a close friend named Rudolf Hess, and for a period of time he read a lot. In the article by Phayre, which describes his home, states that he has a library where “ quite half the books are on history, painting, architecture, and music”. To add on it mentions how “Every morning at nine he goes out for a talk with the gardeners about their day’s work.” I even learned that Hitler was a vegetarian. If one were to just read this paragraph about Hitler they would probably find some similarities. One might even conclude that he wouldn't end up doing any of the things he did. This goes to further the fact that Hitler was human.


Understanding Hitler is a worthwhile pursuit because he was a very significant person in history. I think this because, again, he was a human being. He was not of a different species. Understanding him can give people insight on potentially why he committed and facilitated such malicious acts to fellow human beings. Hitler is in the same boat as other people, he was a mixture of good and bad just like all humans.


The most important thing to know about Hitler, like I mentioned before, is that he wasn’t insane. He was conscious of the evils he committed. He had a desire for power and would do anything to fulfill that desire. Once we know that he wasn’t insane then we can understand in him better, and can hold him accountable for his actions.

niall5
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 26

Humans have always been drawn to and fascinated by the thought of “evil.” The explosion of “true crime” series on Netflix is only just the tip of the iceberg. For as long as humans have been humans, we are often drawn to that which seems scary and unknown. For as many sick serial killers that there have been, there have always been people analyzing them in depth, and making stories about their lives, learning every last detail. It is some perverse need to understand the worst among us. Hitler is no exception to this, yet these “crime shows” pale in comparison to the horror Adolf Hitler wrecked on the world in his short life. To diminish the fascination with Hitler to just a need to see the worst of humanity, however, is missing a lot.

Janet Flanner was one of these people that were drawn to learn more about this evil in some way. Her article takes the image of Hitler that many of us conjure up and flips it on its head (at first glance). We learn the human aspects of this terrible leader, from his vegetarian diet to his sweet tooth, to his early awkwardness. It can be tempting to only focus on these tidbits, as we do when we look into the lives of celebrities, but it is necessary to take a deeper look. As Flanner continues, she mentions more and more about Hitler’s knack for manipulation. He seems to exhibit the traits of someone with issues of OCD, with his carefully prepared diet and personal chef, to the psychopathic tendencies of manipulation, especially toward women. In the Homes and Gardens piece, we fall into the same trap. Focusing on the minute details of his life to try to piece together how Hitler became who he became. When the reader looks at his modest vacation home overlooking his old Austrian homeland, they ask themselves how different could I be from this person, and how far apart are we truly? Don’t fall for this trap.

Despite his quirks and yes, human differences, Adolf Hitler was no ordinary human. This single man lectured the German population passionately on his plans for the destruction of the Jewish people in the name of the superiority of his so-called “Aryan Race.” He methodically plotted and manipulated his way to the top, where he was at the helm of the worst atrocity in the history of humanity. No diet preference or weird quirk can explain this. This, by any measure, is the mark of a man who has only a dark sense of loathing and of hate in some central location deep inside of him. No tabloid gossip should ever attempt to distract from the 11 million human being sthat were hunted like dogs and worked to death or experiemented on or brutally murdered, and sometimes all three, over the course of Hitler’s quest to purify his little world. The Ian Kernsahw interview does a better job at this, being a lead researcher on the topic of Hitler. He, more explicitly than any of the other writers, puts into name the manipulation and narcissism necessary to do what Hitler did in his rise to the top, and he also explains the chaos that ran beneath him. He ends with the mention of Hitlers delusions. This is the most important line in my opinion. Delusion guided by hate and narcissism and a backwards and racist worldview lead a man to carry out the most heinous of crimes, one that will be known for the rest of human history.

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