- 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/
- Ian Kershaw on the Charlie Rose show, January 27, 1999. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mjUy4-wAlI [watch from 30:38 to 54:55].
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 these articles the 1930s equivalents of Oprah/Ellen/The View/”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” celebrity-infused talk/gossip shows?
Ian Kershaw is without question the preeminent biographer of Adolf Hitler; it’s his 2-volume book you go to if you want to find out whether this rumor or that one is true or bogus with respect to the Führer. His two books (on reserve in the library in connection with the “targeted populations project” delves into every nook and cranny of Hitler’s life.
By reading through these articles and listening to the interview with Ian Kershaw, what ares the big “takeaways” 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!).