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MichaelAfton
Posts: 28

Originally posted by LD75019 on February 04, 2019 20:07

Something unrelated perhaps and kind of a “half question,” but why don’t we as people demonize or criticize the use of the atomic bomb in Japan that also happened during World War 2. Or why don’t we do the same to the actions that took place during the Vietnam War? Or if we want to branch out to other countries, how about the Japanese and the Nanking Massacre in 1937? Are we playing a numbers game with how many people died to be able to criticize a person or peoples? Are Germany and Hitler easy targets to criticize? Just some questions and thoughts.



Great post, LD. Answering the question you posed from my perspective, I believe we don't demonize or criticize the use of the atomic bomb because it's over glorified. In many forms of media, the nuclear bomb is this "be all, end all" solution for problems, and rightfully so. With that being said, all over the U.S. there are designated fallout shelters that definitely don't seem like fallout shelters at all. My local community center, for example, has a sign on the second floor saying it can be used as a fallout shelter. How did it even get the credentials in the first place? Did they just slap signs everywhere, or was it some sort of campaign? The answer, I think, is the latter (and maybe some of the former, just depends on where you're looking), since in the Cold War the nuclear bomb was the big issue everywhere. Then, the issue waned off and the atomic bomb now is talked about in a semi-jokingly manner. To make this concise, the reason why I think the use of the bomb on Japan isn't demonized or criticized as much as it is is because people are now so desensitized to the bomb, even if there are still fears of nuclear war happening today.

The question about the Vietnam War is a bit more tricky, but I think that boils down to how powerful the U.S. is and country bias. Since the U.S. is such a powerful country with a high level of prominence on the world scale and Vietnam isn't close to the U.S., people just don't care about it. To compare apples to oranges for a second, take the British. The amount of bloodshed they're responsible for just from colonization alone is insane. Yet, we don't actively protest against their atrocities and demand them to pay reparations for it. That, I believe, is mainly because they're rich enough and powerful enough that it's just not worth it to denounce them. The other part is country bias, which is easy to explain. Why would an average citizen see their country do wrong if they live in it? Through association, they would seem just as bad the country that represents them, so many just choose to ignore it and continue to believe their country is the greatest.

Talking about the Japanese and the Nanking Massacre, that's also similar to the first reason mentioned in my second paragraph. Japan is a nation with enough global prominence and power to make denouncing them not really worth it.

Germany and Hitler are the easiest targets to criticize because of the fact that Hitler has taken the role of the scapegoat in history. People see Hitler as the catalyst for everything that happened in World War II, and rightfully so. However, not many people look at what happened right before all of that to understand how and why Hitler was so wildly successful. If they do, the reason is now shifted to Germany as a whole. This is because of all the propaganda that was spread in World War I to paint Germany as the main bad guy. Through all of the propaganda written about Germany and Hitler and all the education that we receive about this that paint the Germans at fault for everything, Germany and Hitler become the easiest targets for harsh criticism.

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Torino
Posts: 35

Everyone is Evil

Hello,


We are so fascinated by Hitler because he is an anomaly. All of the articles said that he was vegetarian, he was celibate, he didn’t drink alcohol, and he lived a humble life. When you look at other leaders and compare him to them, for example compared to Louis XIV who built the Palace of Versailles and lived in opulence Hitler lived like a pauper. Hitler only has one house in the Bavarian Alps which was cute and small almost like a normal person’s house. We want to understand why he killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. We want to think that we couldn’t do that, that we would never do that. But then we find out that he had nothing that would have made him “insane” he was just like anyone else.

It’s just like when we realize that celebrities are human as well we freak out. We love watching Leonardo DiCaprio go out and get groceries because it makes us realize that he’s just like us except he can memorize lines. Hitler is just like us, and people wanted to think that he had something wrong with him, he was somehow insane or had some mental deficiency. There was no evidence that he was somehow insane, he was just running from his culture. He was Jewish, he was most likely gay, and he just wanted to run from who he was.

Humans needs to have an understanding of what why someone would do this would do what he does, they can’t accept that he is just like them, he’s a monster and we as humans do not want to accept that we could be just like him. I do not think that trying to understand Hitler is a worthwhile pursuit because humans need to realize that “monsters” are just like them. Everyone has the capability for evil, and we as humans need to understand this and accept it as part of their core identity so they can be free from those evils.

Hopefully this isn't too dark, humanity is not all bad, but everyone can be "bad" if they want to be.



Thanks,

Torino.

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Orange Juice
Posts: 23

Why is Hitler so intriguing?

Humans are curious. They tend to draw themselves closer to things they find mysterious. For example, a lot of you, myself included, enjoy watching mystery shows, police investigation related shows, etc. We want to learn more about the unknown; we want to know. I think this is also the case of Hitler. People know of him as an evil man, which he is, but people also know that that evil grew within a human being, just like any one of us. The possibility that such wickedness can stem from any ordinary person is scary, yet definitely intriguing.

Hitler was, no doubt, human. A lot of people might overlook that given all the horrendous, disgusting crimes he had committed. But how did he turn out the way he did? That is what's fascinating (not in a good way, of course). In Janet Flanner's interview with Hitler, she discovered many human facts about Hitler. He was a vegetarian. He was malnourished as a kid. He always kept a clean and neat appearance. In a lot of ways, reading this interview was disturbing. It is uncanny to read about the daily habits of the man who was responsible for the murder of millions and millions of Jews. But that is only because we view him through our own lenses now. Hitler was definitely some sort of "celebrity" during the 1930s. The "Hitler's Mountain Home" article is just like any celebrity gossip magazine article we have today. People wanted to know who the man was, so much that they dug into details of his home. In today's world, that is equivalent to watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians or following Donald Trump on Twitter, not to support him, but to see what controversial statements he has to say. People haven't changed much since. We all find controversy interesting, in one way or another.

The takeaway from reading those articles shouldn't be to let Hitler off just because he was human. He was human, like all of us, so he has to be held accountable for inhumane acts. We, however, have to realize that he was human after all. He was never born evil. He grew up as an innocent young child, but due to life circumstances (getting rejected by art school) and certain beliefs he came across, he morphed with evil. Of course, it is extremely difficult for people to "understand" him, if anyone can at all. In fact, it isn't empathy that we should be feeling. He is a case of a human being who embodies evil, some ordinary man turned to the worst kind of man.

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Orange Juice
Posts: 23

Originally posted by MichaelAfton on February 04, 2019 20:46

After reading all these articles, my big takeaway is that Hitler was a human, like us. Now, I know that’s stupid to read since he obviously was human, but take a step back for a second. We only hear about Hitler the Nazi leader who caused the deaths of 6 million Jewish people and more, but never about Hitler the interior decorator. History paints him as a powerful leader who had the ability to take over Germany and threaten the entirety of the European continent, but we don’t typically hear about how unqualified he was or how he was just going with the flow as he saw people listening to his rhetoric. We don’t see how he had a mountain home that had all the similarities to a home that a Munich merchant may have. We don’t see how he got the confidence to keep speaking by speaking to soldiers in 1919. Nor do we see him in the army as a soldier fighting in World War I. This, to me, is the huge takeaway. If one were to remove his Nazi side from him and looked at all the other parts that make up Hitler, I believe it would be hard to differentiate him from another German during this time period. And that’s what makes him so intriguing to me. The idea that Adolf Hitler, unarguably one of the worst people in the history of the world, was a human with dreams, desires, and a taste for interior decoration.


After reading these articles, I’d say I have a better understanding of Hitler the person, rather than Hitler the leader. The three articles we read all paint Hitler in a more humane light, in comparison to the way we see him and learn about him today. They talk about his diet, his tastes in cars, his quaint little home in the mountains, and more. Rather than go on about how Hitler was a terrible person, they talk about him more like a celebrity. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, since in my eyes I think it’s important to understand what Hitler was like aside from everything Nazi. At the same time, though, I do think a lot of the stuff about his tastes are just bits of gossip with no real relevance. Why is there so much documentation on his diet and the way he drove around? Did someone write it down? Did he go around saying all of this? Did people ask about his take on automobiles? Did people ask the people close to him about it? That question itself raises even more questions, but the main takeaway from that is there were some people out there during this time that cared about Hitler the person so much that they wanted to detail his personal life, down to the most irrelevant of points.


Personally, I believe it’s so important to understand Hitler because of how wildly successful he was at attaining power, even though he might not have been the one best suited for the job. The idea that someone that seems so much like us, that didn’t graduate high school, that wrote a sloppily written book detailing his ideology, could acquire the position necessary to set Europe into turmoil (again) seems asinine. Yet it very much happened. Now, moving forward, how to we prevent this from happening again? Obviously, there will be no magic trick in deciding if someone will be the next Hitler or not. On a basic level, humans are kind of the same. But looking just a little bit further shows the complexities of every person on this planet. Everyone has a tiny quirk about them, so it’s much more difficult to point at one thing and say “Yep, this person is the next Hitler.” I think the important part to understand is how he utilized the people to get what he wanted. Any man with enough charisma could have gotten the position like Hitler did, because no matter what the only important constant is the people. The citizens of the country are what make the country work, seeing as how they typically outnumber the government massively. How do we prevent the people from falling head first into a pit like this?


The most important thing to understand about Hitler is how he moved a crowd. The idea that words can be so powerful and moving that they can land you in the highest position of power is crazy to me. So, understanding how Hitler did it could give us some insight into how people can defend themselves against fascist ideas and fascist leaders. Without understanding how Hitler could speak his way into power with an ideology filled with holes and hypocritical statements, we’re doomed to repeat the same old song and dance of having leaders who sound good on paper, but are just terrible to have. Democracy dies in darkness, so it’s important that we use Hitler’s life as the light that reveals how things can go wrong.

Hello! I like that you focused on Hitler's ability of obtaining power. It is definitely interesting that someone so hated in the world nowadays seemed so popular then. He was an actual celebrity. And now, knowing that someone like him, a human being, could have turned into one of the worst people in the history of the world, it is important to understand how he did it. I agree that it will be very difficult to access who will become "the next Hitler" from only facts about Hitler's life because people are so different. Nonetheless, we should take into consideration the range of possibilities that can occur. Evil always stems from somewhere, and we should understand that fact and hopefully do something about it.

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Creation-Myth
Posts: 18

Why are we so intrigued by Hitler?

  • Obvious start: the implications of his rule
  • Fear of it happening again and sick fascination
  • Similar to Trump

His reign was one of the most disastrous in respect to human life in the history of the human race. Bold, but true. Under his name reside 6 million + names, all dead, and millions more affected. We are familiar with horrific images of human ashes raining down like snow, with sidewalks paved with tombstones, with piles of bodies in unnamed mass graves. It’s terrifying. You begin to think, what would that look like today? What would that look like in our class? 3, maybe 4 of those in our class would have survived Hitler’s rule. The reality was that his commands lifted German economy and unity by taking countless other lives. This horror shocks us, the shear madness draws our attention like a moth to a flame. Knowing what we will find, knowing that we will only get burned, and yet still we are drawn in.

We also look at history and are awed by the global outcomes. Somehow, Hitler “brought together the unbelievable manpower of the Soviet Union, the material might of the U.S., and the force of the British Empire—an unholy alliance in coalition against him.” Imagine today, Russia and the U.S working together! Imagine having the whole world screaming at you but still continuing on. The resulting alliances were unprecedented and impossible, yet there Hitler stood at the center of history.

  • It questions the “good” in human nature

I don't know about Declan, but I like to believe people are good. I like to think we are born good and are made evil. I like to believe that no matter what, part of us will scream no this is wrong! and always keep us doing the right thing. Believing that people are good, believing in this princess and Popsicle la-la land is challenged on every level by Hitler. We are intrigued by things that challenge our views that tell us we’re wrong, thus Hitler sparks a world-wide interest.

  • Impossible to imagine, what could his motives have been?

Originally, I thought people focused on his motives. I thought people would ask why the crap would anyone do something so awful? Then, reading Swiggity Swoogity’s (Jesus…) post I realized that most people in the U.S know nothing about Hitler. They know he hated Jews, killed Jews, helped found the Aryan race, but not much else. They don’t analyze his motives, because they call him mad, sadistic, and mentally ill. It is more wanting to see this big celebrity figure and know every detail of his life. For example, we don’t give two craps about the Kardashians, how they came to be, why they do what they do. We care about what ridiculous thing they will do next. The same theory goes for Hitler. Except he’s dead. His legacy lives on though, and it is his legacy that I think everyone who knows his name will fear or welcome somewhere in their hearts.

By reading through these articles/site, what is the big “takeaway” for you re Hitler?

  • He is much more humane than we give due credit for. He is normal, one of us. He is not a god or demon.

The description of his home area was so detached from my own sense of reality. It simply contradicted the videos of Hail Hitler and burned corpses that fall under his name. The article describes his home as “nothing pretentious about the Führer's little estate. It is one that any merchant of Munich or Nuremberg might possess in these lovely hills,” and I am reminded of his mortality. I think I tend to forget that. I tend to forget that he was human, with human faults, human emotions. In my mind he is so detached from basic human empathy that he is more of an emotionless demonic figure-head, void of love or sadness. How ignorant of me. It talks about how he would invite the local kids over to his house where “Coffee, cakes, fruits and sweets are laid out for them on trestle tables in the grassy orchards” It was sobering to imagine him taking care of children, a man with a heart. It also checked me. It condemned me for putting Hitler on such a pedestal, rewarding him with something less than human. He was purely human, and humans make mistakes (this all was much more than a mistake. That goes without saying. I don’t want my wording to come off as insensitive or permissive). Humans give in to desire and step away when the going gets tough. We get caught up in webs of power and lies, too weak to stand against it.

I have to disagree with ilovechocolate, in saying that Hitler doesn’t deserve to be humanized. I don’t believe that it is a matter of does HE deserve it, and more of a matter of do the VICTIMS deserve it. By demonizing his we create a separation. We distance the entire Holocaust as a freak event. In a way, we devalue the deaths and give way for round two. If he was not human, we are saying human being are incapable of such horror, which is false. Our own government puts people in concentration camps, China tortures its citizens, look at the Congo, at Rwanda, at hundreds more. It is this dehumanizing of the perpetrator which allows us to forget and turn a blind eye, and allows history to repeat itself, own him as human, calling him human, and make the Holocaust a human issue. It makes it a valid issue, a lesson, a look into just how god-awful we can be to people. Unless we own that, nothing else can get done.

  • We have to stop giving him a way out

The interview brought up a good point that I had not before considered: we give Nazi Germany an excuse for their behavior.

“Saying Hitler was insane is just an apologia for him, isn’t it? He’s not in charge of his actions, not responsible for his deeds. Then you’ve got to ask, “Why did 60 million Germans follow a madman?” So it’s an apologia for them too.”

I hadn’t thought about it like that. Today, having a mental illness is a way out of jail, escaping punishment. We are unable to fathom such cruelty under the guise of a sane mind, so we dismiss it as impossible without a mental disorder. How misleading, how innocent. We, good citizens of sane mind, can’t fathom such horrors at the hands of the nation --- even though…we do --- and so chalk it up to illness. Or perhaps it is us wanting to separate him and us. We are both human, and majority of us are white, or male, or possess some other connection. He can’t possibly be like me, because that means that I could be like him and I don’t want that. So, we set a distinguishing factor, one that makes it impossible for that same cruelty to overcome our minds, one that creates and us and them. Several mental disorders later and Hitler is no longer human, but demonized, different. He and we are more different than roses and cattails. Unfortunately, while we seek that distinguishing factor, we provide him with an excuse, something to blame. I think that it is time for us all to face the fact that we are more similar than we like to believe, and his deeds are just that: his own. And he stood by them.

Do you understand him any better?

  • He did not order everything

I remember way back when, when we were discussing Schindler’s List, and Ms. Freeman said that Hitler did not directly order mass killings and gassings. His following did that of their own accord. He ran his campaign off of a hatred for Jews and a promise of employment, and his followers decided to follow that. They took upon themselves what they perceived to be justice according to Hitler’s beliefs. Understanding this is key to understanding Hitler. Removing the mass murders from his direct name makes him more of a bystander egging on extreme violence, then standing at the wayside as shit hit the fan. His followers did what they thought to be right, Hitler affirmed their beliefs, and thus rose the wave of fear and hatred that had been bubbling up in Germany for the last 2 decades.

  • He built power by letting society give in to fear

As stated above, Hitler rode the wave of fear. He did one of two things...

  • He saw an opportunity hold power and stick it to those who hurt him. Fearing Jews, and having them all killed gave him a red carpet on which to stroll. He could wield power, he could save his country, he could be the hero Germany deserved (but not the one it needed).
  • He was too afraid to stand up. He had dug himself into a deep friggin’ hole, with no perceivable way out. His only option was to go down and make sure Germany followed his lead. Should he stand up against anti-Semitism he risked being ridiculed and pushed out from society? Could he possibly take the leap and risk everything for a cause that to him wouldn’t turn into the Holocaust? No one would have ever dreamed of such horrors, and neither did Hitler. To him, letting the tide take him was far easier.

Either way, the dude fucked up big time.

  • Like me, he possessed a passion, realized his passion could make a change, but let it change him

Hitler say injustice in his world. He was rejected from art school, denied high standing, and put through the Treaty of Versailles. The dude was pissed. When he found his voice, however, everything changed. “All at once he realizes what an impact his speeches are having,” all at once he understands that he can make a change, and he does. He uses his voice to be the change he seeks. He took great pride in his voice, and I can understand that. When I became comfortable speaking, everything changed. You can feel the energy of an audience. You can almost understand the words people are thinking, their emotions clogging the air, giving it weight or flight. When you speak, everything changes. Hitler felt that, but amplified to an intoxicating level. In the midst of a depression and a time of desperation, and audience is made susceptible to hope, fear, anger, anguish. He became drunk on his ability, drunk on the effects he had. Through his words he could incite change, and so he did. Maybe it wasn’t exactly what he wanted or imagined, but to him it was all he needed. I had never thought of that before. I had never understood some people infatuation with speaking, until I saw my side, and an extreme. It is easy to give in to temptation, and when the pull of an audience becomes so great, breaking away is like giving up crack. It is no easy feat, and Hitler needed his crack.

Do you think trying to understanding him is a worthwhile pursuit?

  • Begin to understand what allows systematic and lawful genocides
  • Understanding where we have been is vital to understanding where we are going. Seeing past mistakes is one thing, but understanding how they came about and what caused them is vital to progress. We will always repeat history in small ways. We will always date the wrong person, always procrastinate, always mark dative instead of ablative. It happens. But genocides don’t have to repeat. They just don’t. Even now, we are allowing history to repeat itself and it’s from ignorance of voters and the ignorance of a nation.
  • Understanding extreme implications of being a bystander

We are always told to be the up stander, to speak up. But it’s hard. It’s hard, but events like Nazi Germany serve as perfect examples as to why being an up stander is vital to our survival. Not everyone will uphold the Golden Rule, but if everyone can speak up and speak out, then change is possible. We can avoid pain and bullying, genocides and torture. There is a way.

  • Understanding his campaign, understanding Trump’s, thus the flaws in today

I would like to think this goes without saying…

At the end of the day, in your view, what’s the most important thing(s) to know about Adolf Hitler? And why?

  • He didn’t order every little thing. Fear drove his rule, people who made assumptions about what he wanted and he rode that wave
  • Polarity and vulnerability give way to fear and desperation
  • He was normal, he wasn’t cruel or evil to those he knew. He had a soul. He was human, and only once we regognize him as human can we recognize the victims as human casualties, only then can we own ourselves and stop the cycle of history
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Mulan23
Posts: 17

Hitler's Intrigue

Today, many years after World War II, Hitler and the Holocaust is something we (are supposed to) learn at a young age. Everyone knows the name Hitler and know how he played a big part in the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust. Personally, up until this year I had thought that Hitler had never done anything other than plot evil schemes in some dark lair in Germany. I couldn’t imagine him painting or getting upset over his rejection from art school. I think that Hitler's image definitely plays a role today in people’s interest in learning about his life. I think much of the intrigue of Hitler’s life comes from trying to understand what caused him to be the way that he was.


Hitler is definitely not responsible for every evil thing that happened in World War II, so many people played a part in the killing of millions of people. Hitler was mainly the face of the Nazi party and is most often linked with what happened in WWII. He was a political figure who inspired” many people to support the Nazis, their cause and to resent other people. Because of this, he became a well known face to the German people during that time and sparked their interest in his life and work. I think it is kind of like the fascination with celebrities because in many ways Hitler was a celebrity in Germany. People wanted to know what the estates he owned were like and were even willing to read his book.Flanner and Phayre’s articles are definitely like the gossip shows today. They both give us a “look inside Hitler’s daily life” and tries to paint him as an “everyday regular guy”.


I think that it is kind of interesting to learn about Hitler’s life, but in no way should it change they way we think about him. Learning that he painted or was rejected from art school doesn’t change the fact the he caused millions of deaths. The most important takeaway from what we learned and the articles is that the end of the day he still did horrible things.


In response to Swoogity Swiggity, I think that Hitler is somewhat a product of society and his inability to pursue his dream definitely influenced his actions later in life, but I feel that society can only be blamed for a small part of Hitler’s character and actions. Sure, it sucks that he never got to become an artist, but the amount of hate and resentment that he had and caused was based on much more than that.

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underhill44
Posts: 17

Hitler was able to convince the general populace, along with people in other countries, that he was a savior of sorts. He was able to to keep up this facade while enacting laws and orders that resulted in murder, among other atrocities. This, in the sickest way possible, shows an incredible level of skill in terms of marketing and the use of charisma and the media. He was humanized in photographs, magazines, and interviews, an example of which is the article “At Home with Hitler”. He extended his skills with personal branding to the Holocaust itself with Theresienstadt. Theresienstadt was a camp that the Red Cross visited in 1944. It was freshly painted and presented as a normal retreat for the residents. This led to people disbelieving the growing suspicions about the true horror of the camps and what the people held there faced.

Trying to understand him isn’t worthless, but it isn’t important after a while. He rose to power not based on his own merit, but due to the political climate at the time, and the fear that the Great Depression caused. Because of this, analyzing him will not result in anything more than vague conclusions about the power of propaganda. Instead, we should study the economic, political, and other influences and fears at the time, because that opened the door for his reign. Researching and attempting to prevent those variables from occurring again will guarantee a better chance at avoiding another Holocaust than simply watching for another “evil mastermind”. The research on Hitler is almost pointless, because the scariest part about it is that there was practically no way to know that he was going to do what he did. He seemed like a savior to the people, all the people. A better way to prevent another version of Hitler, instead of relying on our ability to point out villains in a crowd, would be to work on proofing governments against fascism (eg. getting rid of “escape hatch clauses”, such as the one in the Weimar Constitution).

The most important thing to know is that he was not a monster, in fact, he was a human being. We cannot simply label him as a monster and move on, that’s too easy. That saves us from accepting that he was a multifaceted person who was indistinguishable from everyone else in regards to capacity for evil. He flirted with photographers, he entertained people in his Alpine home, and he was nice to children. He also orchestrated horrific acts and crimes that will never be forgiven and forgotten. People as a whole reject the duality of humans, because it doesn’t allow us to recognize evil. He was not seen as evil, not because he wasn’t, but because he acted normal and nothing like the stereotype in our heads of what evil is supposed to look like. This is a dangerous thought to have, because it means that we can’t separate good people from the bad. As far as we know, someone who shares his ideals or motives could be sitting right next to us.

Another important thing to recognize is that he was not insane. This was touched upon in the interview with Ian Kershaw, but labelling Hitler a madman absolves him of responsibility for his actions. It’s extremely difficult to grasp, but he was a man that was in complete control of his mind. Claiming that he wasn’t not only perpetuates stereotypes against the mentally ill, it also again, lets us dismiss him as a crazy phenomenon that will never happen again. It’s important to know that someone like Hitler could happen again, because that worry will make us more motivated to stop them.

The ultimate question to ask is something that ilovechocolate’s reply worded perfectly: “Was Hitler able to hide his twisted ideas under his alluring personality, or did his alluring personality make people feel like his twisted ideas were actually alright?” I wish I could answer this, but then again, it’s a question that scholars have tried for decades to figure out.

However, our interest in Hitler, whether it’s based on fear or disgust, shows that we recognize how awful he was and how important it is to prevent something as terrifying as the Holocaust from occurring again. It is worthwhile to note that there are other genocides happening as we speak with little to no attention being directed towards them. Hitler’s methods may be fascinating on a fear-induced level, but there are plenty of people in the world today in power, already implementing some of his techniques. It’s less important to focus on the past, and more important to take action today.

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Wintertime
Posts: 15

Why are we so intrigued by Adolf?

I think that we are so intrigued by Hitler because we can’t understand how someone can stand behind the belief that genocide is justified and needed for a country. We don’t understand how someone can believe that a person is inferior because they are different. Personally I don’t understand how he can think that the holocaust was something needed and how he can believe he can do these terrible things. I think people are so fascinated by him because they are trying to understand his motives and how he can go from being a talented painter to a person who caused heartbreak all around the world in only ten years, how can this man take control of the German government and manipulate Germans to think that the real problem is something so far from the truth. What i took away from the article “At home with hitler” is that hitler seemed to be a normal man. If you didn’t know about the terrible things he was plotting and acting upon you would think he was a normal German man who liked his house in the woods and that he is someone that would just have his friends come over and hangout. Even though I know that Hitler was terrible and that even the thought of him may cause some people grief I still find myself interested in how he became the man we all know of. Is it possible that one of the people we least suspect could become the next Hitler. In the interview with Hitler one thing really made me think, scientists did not suspect Hitler of being insane and that is the thing that is scary. A normal man would go to such great lengths to do these terrible things and it turns out that he was in control the entire time and had the ability to stop what was happening. When was the turning point where Hitler realized that he was going to do these terrible things that would affect the world from thereon out. Nothing changed in Hitler, there is no reason for what hitler did in a scientific standpoint except for the fact that he thought what he was doing was brave and good. It is sad to think that in the article it talks about how Hitler’s “plan” could only happen in a modern world and that it was because the way the world is that these things happened. There has to be a lot of underlying hate for these atrocities to go unchallenged by pretty much everyone for a long time.

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zenitspb25
Posts: 25

Adolf "No Logic" Hitler

We are all intrigued in Hitler in some shape or form. He was the leader of the movement that killed 6 million people after all, and one must wonder how could a man do such thing. We want to know what was going on inside his brains that turned him into a reactionary maniac. Also in our current days and events, there have been a great amount of comparison between Trump and Hitler, hyperbole or not, and we are all curious on how they paralleled each other. Adolf is very prevalent in our society; his ideals and he himself are popular sources of edgier memes and jokes, and the story of Nazi Germany is very widely known. While many see him as the ultimate image of "evil", it is important to acknowledge that he was still a regular human made from flesh and bones and not a reptilian in a body suit, that any of us could become just as evil as he was. He, while responsible for setting up the process for destruction, was not actually involved in the doing of the terrible acts. We get the example that the soldiers could reject doing war crimes everyday, yet they chose not to. We are not interested in Hitler because of what he wrote, but because what he did and his path to power.

These articles are indeed equivalents of gossips in the 30s. Janet Flanner's article focused very heavily on Hitler as a person, which basically shrugged off and brushed aside his rhetoric and actions. The fact that he imprisoned political opponents and basically seized power in a coup d'etat was ignored, and it didn't matter since people can just say "Well he's a vegetarian! He loves animals! He likes the arts like I do!" and his deadly policies were irrelevant. Architectural Digest, which covered Hitler's home in Obersalzberg, commit a similar mistake in portraying Hitler as a fashionable house designer and a welcoming host, while practically dismissing the building up of the atrocities. These are similar to how today some say that they don't agree with someone's policies, but would sit down to have a beer with them.

When I read these articles, all I can think of is that Adolf Hitler, as a man, made no sense. A formerly poor, artistic, and celibate vegetarian that advocated for the extermination of so-called "subhumans" is not someone that you see every day. It is interesting how the decision of rejecting Hitler from art school essentially created this chain of events where he moved to Munich and joined the DAP. The rise of Adolf Hitler as we know him today, was a culmination of both personal life and real world crises, that came together into one perfect disastrous storm. If there were another deep global crisis and someone with a relatively sad backstory, it would be potential room for another Hitler. I think that giving some backstory to Hitler was vital to my understanding of him. As I stated before, his rise was a culmination of both internal and external factors and the environment that was around Hitler at the time.

While trying to make sense of Hitler, both as a person and also a impersonal leader, can be a challenging task, I believe that it is worthwhile to do so. It is important to understand Hitler so that no one like him could ever come anywhere close to power again, and we are well equipped against a rising far-right tide that called for the destruction of thousands, if not millions, of lives. The most important thing to know about Hitler is that he was human. All humans have the capacity to commit (indirectly) vast amounts of atrocities, and Hitler was merely one of the notables. If we all recognise that Hitler wasn't just a one-off thing, we can better defend the phrase "never again". However, Hitler couldn't have done all of these things alone. Another important thing to know about Hitler is that he wasn't independent in his conquest of the German state and Europe, but he had help from others as well. He had support from the Nazi apparatus, such as men like Göring, Himmler, and Göbbels, but he also had massive support from the German people. It is critical that an ethnicity or group of people are no longer susceptible to toxic rhetoric that hypnotised the German people in the interwar period, as to prevent something like this from ever occurring again.

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zenitspb25
Posts: 25

Originally posted by LD75019 on February 04, 2019 20:07

Something unrelated perhaps and kind of a “half question,” but why don’t we as people demonize or criticize the use of the atomic bomb in Japan that also happened during World War 2. Or why don’t we do the same to the actions that took place during the Vietnam War? Or if we want to branch out to other countries, how about the Japanese and the Nanking Massacre in 1937? Are we playing a numbers game with how many people died to be able to criticize a person or peoples? Are Germany and Hitler easy targets to criticize? Just some questions and thoughts.

People don't criticise the usage of the atom bombs in Japan because many saw it as a necessity to end the war (it was actually not). The US were also on the winning side, and as they all say, "History is written by the victors." The US also exerts great influence over the world post-war and even now, and we are in the US right now, so less would be covered about the Vietnam War, since there is less incentive to tell people about the bad things that your country did. Also American culture dictates that if you denounce something done by America, you are un-patriotic or even a traitor, so less are willing to speak out openly about the crimes. Hitler and the Nazis are easy target to criticise and even describe opponents as, since it is an almost universal truth that the NSDAP was bad, and the Third Reich was a dark time for history. However, it is vital that all countries reflect upon themselves and recognise and acknowledge what they had done wrong, in order to move on into the future with preparedness. No countries or nations are free from atrocities and sins in the past.

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Bakedfacecrepe
Posts: 22

My biggest takeaway from Hitler is probably how he is so normalized and treated as a celebrity despite common depictions and descriptions of him nowadays shaming him for his contribution to WWII and the Holocaust. Never before had I heard of the man responsible for the genocide of an entire group of people to be the same person who enjoys lunch, tea time and painting as his fancy. The gap between those two kinds of people is somehow bridged by Hitler in the weirdest way for me. Because prior to this topic we have delved into, everything I know about Hitler comes from social media portraying him in a morbidly comical manner to the policies and state of Germany under his rule from World History class. Nothing I had learned told me that Hitler was a normal guy with a normal life and an inclination to the arts. It just seemed bizarre, like are we even talking about the same person? When we think about artists, we think about famous contributors to the expression of culture through abstract means, some of which were referred to as heroes in their own right. And then we think Hitler, and all that comes to my mind are his mustache and how this man caused the killings of numerous unfortunate lives.

However, as LD75019 describes:

I think the big “takeaway” from this lesson from Hitler is that he was ultimately a “normal” person. Hear me out before you argue and say that “normal” people don’t just think of genocide, or that “I’m normal and I would never wish death upon a specific group of people,” etc, etc. I’m not trying to have a philosophical argument on what is normal and who is normal, but my point is that he engaged in simple activities like art, he had a family, he went to school, he had a childhood, he had a lot that most of us had or have right now. From A Home with Hitler, “Herr Hitler gives a ‘Fun Fair’ to the local children. On such a day, when State affairs are over, the Squire himself, attended by some of his guests, will stroll through the woods into hamlets above and below.” He is described as someone who catered to children and was polite to guests, he was pretty much a normal person. Again, before I go on, I am not defending Hitler or making a case that he is a good person in any way. He was definitely a person that was truly evil, yet his upbringing wasn’t so much different from many of us, or at least he has bits and pieces that we all can relate to.

And honestly, I agree with what they say.

Just as Hitler was known for his crimes, he was every bit “human” as we all are in some way, although the path he followed was inhumane. While I believe there is something to gain from understanding the mind of Hitler, it’s not like we’ll know everything about him no matter how hard we try. But like I said, attempting to understand Hitler may benefit in some way, such as humanizing some aspects of the man we’ve come to demonize over time. This in no way means I support Hitler, but sometimes we should try to remember that no human is truly evil nor a villain just for the sake of it. Every person should have grown up relatively normal in mind before starting down a dangerous path.

As for why we are so intrigued by Hitler, while I can’t say I’d be intrigued since I hardly know the man, I can understand the feeling of wanting to understand a mindset that is beyond comprehension as we know it. I’ve had moments where I may sympathize and understand the bad guy in the media like tv shows, and not just any bad guy, but usually villains who commit crimes with a reasonable motive or philosophy that isn’t inherently bad. It’s interesting whenever you find someone like that you can somewhat understand. And when you don’t understand the person, you might get a sense of curiosity of who and how this person came to be. That’s how I think about the fascination with Hitler.

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C1152GS
Posts: 24

WHY?

I think we are fascinated with Hitler for the same reasons we are fascinated with serial killers. I think it is in our nature to try to understand human tendencies and intent when they carry out atrocious acts. I think Hitler is especially fascinating for the following three reasons. He assumed power in a modern-day bureaucracy, industrialized economy and as we saw in the class a place with a lively cultural center. It’d be difficult to categorize Germany at the time as a barbaric and underdeveloped country since they had just fought as a major power in World War I and so, this begs these questions: how could the civilized Weimar Republic assist Hitler’s extremist ideas? How could Germany go from a nation that was fighting a war for territorial gains like many other countries be driven into this unthinkable mass murder? These two questions are essential in understanding our fascination because it provides the basis of the fears that many of us hold. Whether consciously or subconsciously we ask these questions: if the Holocaust could happen in a civilized and democratic country, are we as developed democracies not shielded from these atrocities? With that in mind, we continue our search to know more about Hitler as he provides a political archetype through which we can use to analyze our current leaders and possibly use these red flags as a safeguard against another genocide. This use of Hitler as a political archetype is prevalent in our current political climate as news outlets continuously compare Trump’s Rhetoric to that of Nazi Germany. Finally, Hitler is intriguing to me personally because as I read his biography, I wanted to find red flags or some sort of indication as to why and how he held such radical views. I wanted an insight into the environment that produced such a monster.

For good or for bad, what is it that we want to know about him?

What puzzles me is how Hitler went from an artist to a criminal. As I was reading Flanner's biography, I was trying to find a red flag at least something that would help me pinpoint exactly what drove him to his evil acts, but I couldn’t find anything. He was a baby, a vegetarian, and he fought in the World War 1 as did many other young men at the time, but how come they didn’t become the man who orchestrated this evil tragedy? What was present in his environment that produced him? I think these same questions puzzled the people who wrote articles about Hitler. They wanted to understand how he garnered so much support. This aspect is similar to current tabloids and other media representations of artists because we want to understand why they have the following base they do, who they are, and how to emulate them, but in the case of Hitler how to prevent these tragedies from reoccurring.

To answer the last questions, I don’t think Hitler is the sole to blame for World War 2. The allied powers who won World War 1 had a big part in the instability of the Weimar Republic. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War 1, largely on the allies terms, weakened Germany’s economy and undermined their sovereignty. Its provisions gave Hitler the opportunity to exploit the opportunities of Germany's devastating circumstance. Furthermore, during the war, the slow response of the western powers further execrated the circumstances and made it more difficult to curb Hitler’s rise to power.

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 understand 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?

After reading all the sources, I learned that Hitler was a charismatic leader by Weber’s definition and a narcissist. I clearly understand how he exploited the fragile political landscape of the Weimar Republic to assume power. What I still don’t understand is his lack of empathy. No matter how much biographies like Flanner's try to paint and humanize him it will never change the legacy he left behind. At the end of the day, people should know that Hitler was the mastermind behind the Holocaust which claimed the lives of millions of innocent people, tore families apart, and forever traumatized those who survived.

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C1152GS
Posts: 24

WHY?

I think we are fascinated with Hitler for the same reasons we are fascinated with serial killers. I think it is in our nature to try to understand human tendencies and intent when they carry out atrocious acts. I think Hitler is especially fascinating for the following three reasons. He assumed power in a modern-day bureaucracy, industrialized economy and as we saw in the class a place with a lively cultural center. It’d be difficult to categorize Germany at the time as a barbaric and underdeveloped country since they had just fought as a major power in World War I and so, this begs these questions: how could the civilized Weimar Republic assist Hitler’s extremist ideas? How could Germany go from a nation that was fighting a war for territorial gains like many other countries be driven into this unthinkable mass murder? These two questions are essential in understanding our fascination because it provides the basis of the fears that many of us hold. Whether consciously or subconsciously we ask these questions: if the Holocaust could happen in a civilized and democratic country, are we as developed democracies not shielded from these atrocities? With that in mind, we continue our search to know more about Hitler as he provides a political archetype through which we can use to analyze our current leaders and possibly use these red flags as a safeguard against another genocide. This use of Hitler as a political archetype is prevalent in our current political climate as news outlets continuously compare Trump’s Rhetoric to that of Nazi Germany. Finally, Hitler is intriguing to me personally because as I read his biography, I wanted to find red flags or some sort of indication as to why and how he held such radical views. I wanted an insight into the environment that produced such a monster.

For good or for bad, what is it that we want to know about him?

What puzzles me is how Hitler went from an artist to a criminal. As I was reading Flanner's biography, I was trying to find a red flag at least something that would help me pinpoint exactly what drove him to his evil acts, but I couldn’t find anything. He was a baby, a vegetarian, and he fought in the World War 1 as did many other young men at the time, but how come they didn’t become the man who orchestrated this evil tragedy? What was present in his environment that produced him? I think these same questions puzzled the people who wrote articles about Hitler. They wanted to understand how he garnered so much support. This aspect is similar to current tabloids and other media representations of artists because we want to understand why they have the following base they do, who they are, and how to emulate them, but in the case of Hitler how to prevent these tragedies from reoccurring.

To answer the last questions, I don’t think Hitler is the sole to blame for World War 2. The allied powers who won World War 1 had a big part in the instability of the Weimar Republic. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War 1, largely on the allies terms, weakened Germany’s economy and undermined their sovereignty. Its provisions gave Hitler the opportunity to exploit the opportunities of Germany's devastating circumstance. Furthermore, during the war, the slow response of the western powers further execrated the circumstances and made it more difficult to curb Hitler’s rise to power.

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 understand 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?

After reading all the sources, I learned that Hitler was a charismatic leader by Weber’s definition and a narcissist. I clearly understand how he exploited the fragile political landscape of the Weimar Republic to assume power. What I still don’t understand is his lack of empathy. No matter how much biographies like Flanner's try to paint and humanize him it will never change the legacy he left behind. At the end of the day, people should know that Hitler was the mastermind behind the Holocaust which claimed the lives of millions of innocent people, tore families apart, and forever traumatized those who survived.

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TurnOverThisPage
Posts: 20

We we are so intrigued by Hitler

The first thing that immediately jumps out at me is that, had Hitler been a teenager during the Holocaust, he himself would likely have been killed. According to the New Yorker article, Hitler was tubercular during his teens, and has some sort of "faulty assimilation", which right away marks him as different. Knowing this, it seems amazing to me that he would order the death of so many people who fit his own description. Then again, according to the interview with Ian Kershaw, Hitler didn't actually order anything. He simply stated his goal and his followers set about achieving it in any way possible. Hitler just claimed the credit afterwards. That doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't believe in their actions, but he never explicitly ordered the killings. That shocks me. It doesn't decrease his culpability, but it does shock me.

I don't think I understand hitler any better. Sure, he may have hated the Jews and blamed them for Germany's problems, but no rational person would decide to kill them. Yet, according to the New Yorker, psychiatrists had pronounced him perfectly sane. Regardless of how many human tics Hitler might have had that make him "just like us", I can't get over the fact that he murdered people for revenge.

That being said, I do believe it is worthwhile to try to understand Hitler's thought process. Just by reading these documents, I have realized that Hitler wasn't truly directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people, even though he bore a share of the culpability. Similarly, in Germany and other German controlled lands, Hitler may have facilitated the murders, but a large portion of the initiative just came from the soldiers or officers themselves. Analyzing Hitler and his actions, it will be easier for us to see who actually came up with the idea of extermination. In that respect, to extrapolate from Hitler, it is useful to analyze his interactions with others. In private though, there is nothing to talk about, because I don't see us ever actually understanding where Hitler was coming from.

It is all well and good to know about Hitler's diet and exercise regimen, but they are nowhere near as important as knowing how he eventually reached to the level of the Holocaust. Although I do want to understand why Hitler ended up hating Jews so much, the important thing is that he did. I think that fact eclipses everything else. Even if all we new about his is the Holocaust, it would be sufficient. No matter what his reasoning was from anything, it can not make up for the consequences.

Responding LD75019's post, I disagree that Hitler is only human. I know, part of the reason is that he killed so many people, but also, another part is because he was so obsessed with perfection. A perfect race does not exist, but he's willing to practically wipe himself out of existence in his doomed search. I also just don't think that, even if we could understand him, there would be any point.

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Bonaduchi
Posts: 25

Originally posted by freemanjud on February 01, 2019 08:28

Readings:

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 you read Mein Kampf, you are left to wonder: how could someone who writes such convoluted sentences and phrases be so interesting to 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 Digestof the day, the magazine Homes and Gardens.

In fact, are all these articles the 1930s equivalents of 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!).

Our fascination with Hitler is something fascinating within itself. Everything Hitler related is looked at from all angles and every detail is fine tuned and analyzed. As for why we do this, I think it is a combination of many things. I think what Hitler did was so absolutely mind-boggling that people have tried to figure out why he did what he did. This is what lead to his celebrity status. People usually want to to be seen as good so when something this horrific happens people automatically try to dehumanize Hitler. They say he is crazy to dissociate him with themselves. They try to find what went wrong in his mind so that they can somehow prove that they won’t do what he did. This is why people look into every aspect of his life from his daily meals, to his schedule, and his outfits. They look for the pattern and the anomaly. Many people paint Hitler out to be the modern boogeyman or Voldemort, but that only seems to deify him. If people seperate him from themselves it excuses him in a way. You can’t blame him if it was out of his control and I think that it is wrong to do that.

The crazy part about is that Hitler himself didn’t even do a lot of the horrific things associated with the Holocaust. The case with Hitler is that he dictated his ideas whether convertly or not and other people acted on them. Don’t get me wrong, Hitler did plenty of abysmal, horrific, and disgusting things, but most of the killings he did not have his hand personally dirtied. If it was just him not nearly as many people would have died.

I don’t think that writing skill necessarily equates speaking skill. Hitler was such a great orator because he had fire and passion in what he believed in. The people of Germany needed stability and Hitler was firm. At risk of sounding too political it is exactly what happened at the election of 2016. When people need help they turn to people who they think can make a difference.

I do think that these articles are just clickbait and celebrity articles of the 1930s. It’s like Ted Bundy who was a super famous serial killer. Why were people so fascinated with him? I think it’s for the same reason people are fascinated with Hitler but on a much larger scale. I think the biggest takeaway about Hitler is that even though he was an evil and delusional person, he was still a person. I think that distinction is important to make in order to learn from our, for lack of a better word, mistakes. Understanding Hitler is understanding ourselves and what happens when the dark side of humanity emerges

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