Originally posted by plasticbottle123 on March 09, 2023 22:07
Originally posted by griffin.lally on March 09, 2023 21:12
There are a number of things to be intrigued about regarding Hitler. Some of the more common questions come from inquiry about his reign of terror through absolute power and how he came to be. Within this, there is an unnamed sense of curiosity as to how it truly feels in his position. Was there any feelings of remorse or regret or was it strictly an overwhelmed power trip that never died down? Others are a desire to understand his motives and why he really did all that he has done. Was there exposure to this certain hatred as a child? What was his personal life like—was he this evil demon to all in his path or was this targeted just to those we read about in class all the time? These questions will likely forever go unanswered which possibly contributes even more to the culture of curiosity. However, reading the articles did in fact answer some of these questions. To begin, Hitler gave a considerable amount of thought to the appearance of his house. He is known to have had flowers, ornate furniture, elastic animals, music, and general amiability within his estates. Consequently, it makes you wonder even more, how could a person so in tune with his artistic interests and seemingly calm and collected life have committed the worst crime against humanity in all of human existence? It is here that conspiracy theorists begin to arise and continue the inquiry about Hitler for decades to come.
I don’t necessarily think our fascination with Hitler is in the same sphere akin to A-list celebrities in the modern world. In today’s society, this interest is often spewed by social media and fan-clubs that idolize many of these icons. Hitler, evidently on the other spectrum of this scale but similar to the points listed in Janet Flanner’s article on pop-gossip, was most definitely not idolized in the same manner that celebrities are now. Currently, it is more about money, fame, relatability, and content that drives obsessions. Alternatively, Hitler’s following was largely based on a hunger for power and political superiority. Consequently, I would agree that the image of pure evil contributes most to our fascination with him. Though this sounds a bit weird to say, it almost feels as though we have labeled him as a model citizen of what not to be. Regarding him as the ultimate “bogeyman,” I think it falls into the pop culture of associating these evil movie characters with real people in history in order to match a face to the evils we see on TV on a day-to-day basis.
Despite all this, Hitler obviously isn’t responsible for the entirety of the evils of WWII. It dates much longer back to the Treaty of Versailles which, when created, lacked the ability for nations to fully burden with the consequences of WWI and a lack of power given to nations to appropriately deal with ill-fated decisions in the future. Yes, he is the face of the lowest point within WWII—and largely responsible for global involvement due to his unwelcomed aggression—but that doesn’t make him solely responsible for the evils.
After reading through all the articles and listening to the video, I don’t necessarily feel as though I understand Hitler better, but rather have a more complete view as to who Hitler was as a person in the private sector. There was a sudden change in his demeanor after being exposed to the politics and feelings of power brought by the Nazi Party. From here, he drifted farther away from his artistic touch and closer and closer into a political agitator who dominated military action to expand his control and reign. Throughout all this, I strongly feel as though it’s important to take the time to understand him better. We can use these discoveries to better teach ourselves on what not to be and reflect on past mistakes to correct them from reoccurring in the future. It’s also important to note his motives behind his actions because it provides reasoning as to why Hitler did what he did. Ultimately, the most important thing to know about Hitler is simply his crime against all of humanity. He stands as a lesson for who not to be and led the world into arguably the darkest time of its history. He was the most evil and degenerate person ever and that is exactly who he should be remembered for. Yes, it’s interesting to read up on the background aspects of his life, but those details are irrelevant when discussing him as an overall person.
When you said:
"Despite all this, Hitler obviously isn’t responsible for the entirety of the evils of WWII. It dates much longer back to the Treaty of Versailles which, when created, lacked the ability for nations to fully burden with the consequences of WWI and a lack of power given to nations to appropriately deal with ill-fated decisions in the future. Yes, he is the face of the lowest point within WWII—and largely responsible for global involvement due to his unwelcomed aggression—but that doesn’t make him solely responsible for the evils."
I completely agree with this. Most people who learn about WWII or just know common facts about it think that it was all Hitler and that the whole war was Hitlers fault. That is a very common misconception of world history especially in America. Like you said "he was the face of the lowest point within WWII" but that doesn't mean he was responsible for everything. Very well put.
I agree with both of these responses. I feel like you can't really blame a world war on someone when there were so many moving parts to it. Of course, you can 1000% blame the Holocaust on Hitler but there seriously needs to be more education about both world wars so that more people can understand moving forward. Everything comes back to being educated.
Why are so intrigued by Hitler?
A lot of people are intrigued by Hitler, because we wonder what goes through the minds of someone who can be so inhumane. It is similar to why people are intrigued by serial killers, murder mysteries, etc. We usually want to know what is going through the mind of that person, what motivated them usually from childhood, that made them become who they are. I don't think it is the same kind of fascination we have for like the Kardashians, or Beyonce, even though some people might not really like them, their fascinations are usually positive. Even Trump, as much as people hate him, he didn’t kill millions of people because of their religion, so the interest people have for him is entirely different, a lot of people are really just in awe of how uncouth he is and how much decorum he lacks. People are just always fascinated by pure evil, because we don’t see that every day. We see Hitler as a devil incarnate or a monster, who deliberately murdered millions of people, and that alone is enough to make people fascinated, which is probably why Mein Kampf became a bestseller.
I wouldn’t say the articles are exactly equivalent to celebrity-infused talk or gossip shows, because Hitler isn’t a celebrity. However, the article went so in-depth about what his room looks like, and how he operates his day-to-day life and that is pretty similar, to shows where they take tours around celebrities how, and ask them questions, or how paparazzi are always around celebrities. I don’t think they happen for the same reason, as Hitler, the articles are to give an answer to people’s questions about Hitler, how did he live, when millions of Jews were dying and suffering, how did he live before the Holocaust, what is that one thing that motivated him to commit such atrocities. Also to answer what-if questions, in class we talked about the different what-ifs people had about Hitler, what if he got into art school, what if his mother didn’t die, what if he was actually a descendant of Jewish people? People wrote and read these articles to answer these questions, and also to find the ultimate motivation so that maybe we can prevent that thing from motivating anyone else in order not to have another “Hitler”.
My takeaway for me about Hitler is what Ian Kershaw said in the video, there is nothing special about Hitler, he did not have any big circumstances with Jewish people, that made him hate them, he was just an “abstract hater, with the instinct of power”. I don’t think I can ever understand Hitler, I don’t really want to, I am not very fascinated by him. I do know more about him than I did before, but my opinions about him remain the same. I don’t think trying to understand him is a worthwhile pursuit, because I think sometimes people also do that in order to create an excuse for why he did what he did, but there is no excuse that can be or should be given. The most important thing to know about Hitler is that he is a horrible, evil, monstrous person, with no heart. He murdered millions of Jews, and other minorities because he blamed them for something that didn’t even make any sense. This is important because, we all need to know that he had absolutely no reason to do what he did but he did it either way, so we should stop the what-ifs and the hunt for motivation and reason because he already did it and that can’t be changed, but we do need to do is make sure something like this never ever happens again.
Response to griffin. lally: I completely agree with your point that Hitler is the image of pure evil and that contributes most to our fascination with him. Also that he is seen as what a model citizen must not be which makes him, “the ultimate bogeyman”. I don’t think people would be this fascinated for any other reason.
I think the most interesting parts of reading and listening to these is actually being able to understand Hitler’s personality. We have learned about the things Hitlers has done in his position as chancellor, the laws he has passed, and the people he has killed, but we never learn about him past what he has done, so seeing him as an actual person is mind boggling at first. For me, a big takeaway was that Hitler’s character is a result of being slightly eccentric and having a difficult childhood. For example, these sources say he was slightly strange as a child and never really got along with other kids, bad at everything except history and geography, and argued alot with his father. His parents both died in his teen years while he was suffering from tuberculosis, and he was later rejected twice from art school. It may be close to impossible to sympathize with a man like Hitler, but we can atleast take steps to understand why he became the way he was. However, apart from these hardships, his life was pretty ordinary compared to those of other leaders, which is another reason why learning about Hitler’s early life is worthwhile. He’s a living example and a reminder that ordinary people can grow up and do just as much harm as someone who is born powerful.
Personally, I think it's important to understand Hitler because it’s a part of history. History isn’t just the interactions between large groups of people, but also the nitty gritty causes and effects that cause these exchanges, and Hitler’s childhood is an important one we can explore. Through analyses of Hitler’s childhood, we can start to piece together why his opinions became so radicalized towards the latter half of his life. He was dealing with failure, poverty, and service in WW1, all which subjected him to an environment that nurtured his growing ideas. He also became obsessed with the idea of a “perfect Germany”, which was likely inspired by the trend of art at the time. He wanted to get rid of anything that he believed would compromise the German state. I think, overall, we need to know that there are explanations for why Hitler grew up to be who he was. While he might’ve also just been a horrible person by nature, many early life experiences can help us piece together this part of history.
Originally posted by testicular_cancer on March 12, 2023 14:51
I think there are a number of reasons we are so intrigued by Hitler. To begin: Hitler has an indispensable role in our culture: he tells us what evil is. He is our most potent figure of morality. The idea of that alone generates immeasurable amounts of curiosity into his life and his existence as a person. Because ultimately we all seek to answer the question: what drives a person to spur a genocide- to kill hundreds of millions and impact the world beyond compare? How could a human being do such a thing- with no remorse? No sentiment? Did he lack empathy? How would a psychologist even begin to categorize him by today’s standards? Our unanswered questions cycling from then to now is what I believe makes up half our obsession with Hitler. It’s impossible to know everything we wish we did about Hitler- and that creates a world of frustration and simultaneous fascination.
Despite the intrigue and curiosity he has caused since his presence dominated society, I don’t believe our obsession is akin to those that exist for celebrities and billionaires in our modern world. While today’s celebrities are idolized for their beauty and talent- Hitler was idolized for the fear and terror he sparked, as well as his destruction. (This is something that Flanner notes). In our world with modern-day evils of animal abusers and (for lack of better word) average murderers- it is no doubt Hitler exists on an alternate level of evil in people’s minds- which is why he holds a different form of our obsession.
However, having read through the assigned articles and videos I have to agree with my peers- I don’t understand Hitler any better than the first time I heard his name. I may know more about him- that he was a bad artist and a truly bad person- but by no means do I comprehend him as a person. Maybe this is partially because I air on the side of disbelief- it's still so difficult to wrap my head around all the atrocities that he supported and caused. Though, I can tell you that as he drifted from mediocre artist to power hungry political dictator, Hitler entered into our minds and was determined to remain there.
I think ultimately it's important to recognize Hitler’s crime against humanity- and maybe we even need to stop our understanding of him there- because I don’t believe we are going to be able to further it. He shall be remembered as one of the greatest evils our world has ever encountered, but I don’t think our thoughts should be held captive by the details of his life- because I don’t know that we will ever understand Hitler.
Well said. I think so many of us are interested in Hitler because his entire persona is just a huge shock to the average person. When we see someone like him, we want to know who they are and what has caused them to be so messed up.