posts 1 - 15 of 56
Avatar
dgavin
Posts: 20
  • Janet Flanner, “Profiles: Führer,” The New Yorker, 1936 [I’ve placed the PDF on our Google classroom page (as a download) so that you can get to it.] (You can also try to access it via this link: drive.google.com/file/d/1sdgtwOhdFbyxy_YN-...)

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 Beyonce 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 Digest of 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. 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!).

Avatar
SupremeLasso
Posts: 31

I think people are generally just fascinated with the extremes of the human condition. We want to know more about good, kind, exemplary people in hopes of modelling a part of ourselves, however small, after their values, and we want to know more about the villains of history both out of curiousity- how could a person go so completely wrong?- and also out of hope that we won't find something in ourselves there, that we are as different as humanly possible. However, I've found that even in my own life, it is easy to make incorrect judgements when trying hard to "figure" someone out. We like to think that, as outsiders, we can understand the inner workings of someone better than we even understand ourselves.

The Flanner article, for example, I found almost humorous in the description of Hitler- it seemed to read almost like the set up of a romantic comedy in which the male lead is introduced: "He loves to laugh in company, enjoys obvious jokes, and occasionally makes solemnly funny remarks. For a self-conscious man, easily flustered by memory of his early, burning deficiencies and enviously impressed by diplomas and social distinctions, he has learned in three years of power to forget himself somewhat and has gained a relative ease of manner." Wow. As lovely the writing is, her entire 3 part series seems very artistic and overly-detailed in its descriptions, which provides and entertaining read but much less of anything else. There are, of course, some historical facts and some very interesting things which I didn't know at all, but I don't see much of a purpose to it all. I read an article for a class about how Kim Jong Un is the way that he is because he was neglected as a child, which was highly speculative but still a fun read- I felt that these had similar tones. I felt that the description of Hitler's home was also a little pointless and obsessive, similar to how there are photos of celebrity mansions online, or how people love to visit Mt. Vernon or Anne Frank's house. It provides some information, but none that actually means much.

Out of the three, I felt that the interview was the most interesting and the most educational, in a sense. I'm not saying Kershaw was correct, but I felt that he knew what he was saying and the speculation that was in it. In particular, I thought his example of the shop was really curious to read: "not asking, “What would Hitler want me to do?” and then doing it. You are exploiting something for your own advantage. But it has the functional effect of pushing along the radicalization." I think this is true, at least in common human psychology, and felt it actually contributed to my possible understanding of the entire situation as a whole.

Although this might be obvious, I think that one of the big take-aways must be that Hitler was only one man, but in the common human effort to over-simplify things in order to facilitate understanding, he became the main person we blame and associate with evil. It is easier to analyze the mind and actions of one man, rather than the many who followed him, because it makes it easier to think of him as an exception to the human condition. I don't think I understand him profoundly better, though there are many interesting things that I didn't know about before (however, I'm also not sure what is true and what isn't), I don't know if this attempt or fascination can actually contribute to our future. I think it's good that we remember him so clearly, and still talk about Nazis, since I think this is a way by which we can prevent a repeat, but I don't think analyzing Hitler's psychology is a big part of this.

Avatar
orangesaregood
Posts: 30

Originally posted by SupremeLasso on February 27, 2018 01:18

I think people are generally just fascinated with the extremes of the human condition. We want to know more about good, kind, exemplary people in hopes of modelling a part of ourselves, however small, after their values, and we want to know more about the villains of history both out of curiousity- how could a person go so completely wrong?- and also out of hope that we won't find something in ourselves there, that we are as different as humanly possible. However, I've found that even in my own life, it is easy to make incorrect judgements when trying hard to "figure" someone out. We like to think that, as outsiders, we can understand the inner workings of someone better than we even understand ourselves.

The Flanner article, for example, I found almost humorous in the description of Hitler- it seemed to read almost like the set up of a romantic comedy in which the male lead is introduced: "He loves to laugh in company, enjoys obvious jokes, and occasionally makes solemnly funny remarks. For a self-conscious man, easily flustered by memory of his early, burning deficiencies and enviously impressed by diplomas and social distinctions, he has learned in three years of power to forget himself somewhat and has gained a relative ease of manner." Wow. As lovely the writing is, her entire 3 part series seems very artistic and overly-detailed in its descriptions, which provides and entertaining read but much less of anything else. There are, of course, some historical facts and some very interesting things which I didn't know at all, but I don't see much of a purpose to it all. I read an article for a class about how Kim Jong Un is the way that he is because he was neglected as a child, which was highly speculative but still a fun read- I felt that these had similar tones. I felt that the description of Hitler's home was also a little pointless and obsessive, similar to how there are photos of celebrity mansions online, or how people love to visit Mt. Vernon or Anne Frank's house. It provides some information, but none that actually means much.

Out of the three, I felt that the interview was the most interesting and the most educational, in a sense. I'm not saying Kershaw was correct, but I felt that he knew what he was saying and the speculation that was in it. In particular, I thought his example of the shop was really curious to read: "not asking, “What would Hitler want me to do?” and then doing it. You are exploiting something for your own advantage. But it has the functional effect of pushing along the radicalization." I think this is true, at least in common human psychology, and felt it actually contributed to my possible understanding of the entire situation as a whole.

Although this might be obvious, I think that one of the big take-aways must be that Hitler was only one man, but in the common human effort to over-simplify things in order to facilitate understanding, he became the main person we blame and associate with evil. It is easier to analyze the mind and actions of one man, rather than the many who followed him, because it makes it easier to think of him as an exception to the human condition. I don't think I understand him profoundly better, though there are many interesting things that I didn't know about before (however, I'm also not sure what is true and what isn't), I don't know if this attempt or fascination can actually contribute to our future. I think it's good that we remember him so clearly, and still talk about Nazis, since I think this is a way by which we can prevent a repeat, but I don't think analyzing Hitler's psychology is a big part of this.

Wow, a thread where I’m not the first poster for once!

I do agree with you in that most people view Hitler as a monodimensional symbol of human evil, but as these sources show, there were more sides to him. His actions during the Holocaust were undoubtedly deplorable, but he was an artist and he had a serene mountain home, which can be seen as strange and out of place interests for a man associated with such atrocities.

Avatar
orangesaregood
Posts: 30

Hitler’s interesting nature is due to the perception that he is the symbol of ultimate evil due to his role in one of the most important genocides in history, the Holocaust.


After reading through the articles, it is apparent that Hitler is far more nuanced than his status as the main perpetrator of the Holocaust. Not only was he an artist, but he also had a serene mountain home, as shown by Ignatius Phayre’s photo; and a multifaceted personality, as shown by Ian Kersaw's interview.. Contrasting with Hitler’s reputation in popular culture as a madman, historian Ian Kershaw instead attributes Hitler’s actions to a sense of revenge, and Hitler’s national appeal to his charisma in a post-war hysterical nationalist era. What happened in Germany post-World War II could have happened to any European country, as anti-Semitism was nothing new, but a sense of loss and desire for reparations in Germany facilitated the rise of Hitler's regime.


Too easy is it to paint a monochrome view of someone’s character. Although Hitler’s actions were undoubtedly deplorable, he, like all other human beings, is a multifaceted person, as these sources show.

Avatar
SupremeLasso
Posts: 31

Originally posted by orangesaregood on February 27, 2018 01:50

Hitler’s interesting nature is due to the perception that he is the symbol of ultimate evil due to his role in one of the most important genocides in history, the Holocaust.


After reading through the articles, it is apparent that Hitler is far more nuanced than his status as the main perpetrator of the Holocaust. Not only was he an artist, but he also had a serene mountain home, as shown by Ignatius Phayre’s photo; and a multifaceted personality, as shown by Ian Kersaw's interview.. Contrasting with Hitler’s reputation in popular culture as a madman, historian Ian Kershaw instead attributes Hitler’s actions to a sense of revenge, and Hitler’s national appeal to his charisma in a post-war hysterical nationalist era. What happened in Germany post-World War II could have happened to any European country, as anti-Semitism was nothing new, but a sense of loss and desire for reparations in Germany facilitated the rise of Hitler's regime.


Too easy is it to paint a monochrome view of someone’s character. Although Hitler’s actions were undoubtedly deplorable, he, like all other human beings, is a multifaceted person, as these sources show.

I agree that Hitler was more than the embodiment of evil with which we associate him today, but I don't think that's particularly groundbreaking or even important. No one is completely evil or completely good, including Hitler, but it might be more interesting in this case just because we remember him as predominantly evil, and it, like you said, is "too easy" to try to simplify someone's identity into black and white.

Avatar
Otto von Bismarck
Posts: 32

The Lure of Hitler

I personally believe that Hitler is fascinating in the same way that other people's pain and horror movies are fascinating. It's the kind of allure that you simultaneously don't enjoy watching, but at the same time can't look away. It's the same type of fascination that drew the Romans to watch their slaves and gladiators hack each other to death in the Colosseum.

This particular type of morbid obsession that humans have with suffering also intertwines with our deep fascination with extremes. We have records for the largest and smallest things; we reward people who can do something the best, or for the longest, or during the shortest amount of time. We are not interested by the mundane things of life, and we are constantly drawn to things or people who carry out their natural functions to the extreme.

Hitler combines both of these elements, by inflicting massive suffering upon different groups of people, as well as carrying the dubious distinction of inflicting the most suffering on the most people of any singular person ever. As much as we do not want to look at Hitler anymore, or his actions, we simply can't keep ourselves from being curious about him because he appeals to our deepest primal instincts of fascination.

The articles detailed give details about Hitler that personally didn't reveal much to me, as I already knew many of them. However, details like these often are not known or even wanting to be known by many people. This is because mundane details like these ruin the vision that we have of Hitler in our minds; that of an unhuman demon, the personification of evil. Details about his regular life and personality are unconsciously thrown away by our minds, content with just knowing the basics: Nazi, German, death to Jews, etc. etc. etc.

Avatar
Otto von Bismarck
Posts: 32

Originally posted by SupremeLasso on February 27, 2018 01:18

I think people are generally just fascinated with the extremes of the human condition. We want to know more about good, kind, exemplary people in hopes of modelling a part of ourselves, however small, after their values, and we want to know more about the villains of history both out of curiousity- how could a person go so completely wrong?- and also out of hope that we won't find something in ourselves there, that we are as different as humanly possible. However, I've found that even in my own life, it is easy to make incorrect judgements when trying hard to "figure" someone out. We like to think that, as outsiders, we can understand the inner workings of someone better than we even understand ourselves.

The Flanner article, for example, I found almost humorous in the description of Hitler- it seemed to read almost like the set up of a romantic comedy in which the male lead is introduced: "He loves to laugh in company, enjoys obvious jokes, and occasionally makes solemnly funny remarks. For a self-conscious man, easily flustered by memory of his early, burning deficiencies and enviously impressed by diplomas and social distinctions, he has learned in three years of power to forget himself somewhat and has gained a relative ease of manner." Wow. As lovely the writing is, her entire 3 part series seems very artistic and overly-detailed in its descriptions, which provides and entertaining read but much less of anything else. There are, of course, some historical facts and some very interesting things which I didn't know at all, but I don't see much of a purpose to it all. I read an article for a class about how Kim Jong Un is the way that he is because he was neglected as a child, which was highly speculative but still a fun read- I felt that these had similar tones. I felt that the description of Hitler's home was also a little pointless and obsessive, similar to how there are photos of celebrity mansions online, or how people love to visit Mt. Vernon or Anne Frank's house. It provides some information, but none that actually means much.

Out of the three, I felt that the interview was the most interesting and the most educational, in a sense. I'm not saying Kershaw was correct, but I felt that he knew what he was saying and the speculation that was in it. In particular, I thought his example of the shop was really curious to read: "not asking, “What would Hitler want me to do?” and then doing it. You are exploiting something for your own advantage. But it has the functional effect of pushing along the radicalization." I think this is true, at least in common human psychology, and felt it actually contributed to my possible understanding of the entire situation as a whole.

Although this might be obvious, I think that one of the big take-aways must be that Hitler was only one man, but in the common human effort to over-simplify things in order to facilitate understanding, he became the main person we blame and associate with evil. It is easier to analyze the mind and actions of one man, rather than the many who followed him, because it makes it easier to think of him as an exception to the human condition. I don't think I understand him profoundly better, though there are many interesting things that I didn't know about before (however, I'm also not sure what is true and what isn't), I don't know if this attempt or fascination can actually contribute to our future. I think it's good that we remember him so clearly, and still talk about Nazis, since I think this is a way by which we can prevent a repeat, but I don't think analyzing Hitler's psychology is a big part of this.

I just personally believe that humans like to see the extremes of people more than our inherent goodness. While we may like goodness in each other more, when it comes to personal fascination, we are always drawn to those who have done extreme evil or caused suffering. That is why war, death, massacres, and genocides draw the interests of so many people.

Avatar
Anoreocookie
Posts: 30

People all around the world usually learn about Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazis at a generally young age. Being one of the many most widely discussed instances from history, our continuing fascination with Hitler has not dwindled through the years. I would say that our intrigue with the man is driven by our natural obsession with the unthinkable or unforeseeable. I mean no man had appeared as Hitler did at that point in time. Who would ever have imagined the scale of calamity that could possibly befall on humanity through the actions and leadership of one single person? Of course, he wasn’t necessary alone, but the mass scale in which his influence expanded is absolutely mind-blowing. When I think about our fascination with Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian, I usually think of admiration or simply trend following. However, when I think of Donald Trump or Adolf Hitler, I am filled with astonishment (not necessarily the positive kind). “What were they thinking” or “how could they ever do that” are some questions that pop up. They have such different mindsets and ideals that is often triggers intrigue and interest. I guess we could see Hitler as the ultimate “bogeyman” of the twentieth century as he was feared by practically everyone.

I don’t think Hitler was responsible for every evil thing in WW2. His actions led to massive atrocities and massive killings, but I don’t think he should be blamed for everything. For example, we talked about the Treaty of Versailles during class. The policies set by the treaty propelled the beginnings of war through its unfair guidelines. The rise of nationalism also played a huge part as the sense of national consciousness began to drive people apart.

I think the articles do seem equivalent to 1930s celebrity-infused talk/gossip shows mainly due to the useless info provided from them. The explicit descriptions of Hitler’s house is ultimately worthless for readers. My biggest takeaway from the articles was that at the end of the day, Hitler is just another human being. Many people often associate Hitler with Hell or Satan, but the articles honestly put him in such a normal light. His house is beautiful, he liked the arts, etc. I think this just makes his overall character more confusing for me. I feel like I would never be able to understand him so it’s personally not a very worthwhile pursuit for me. At the same time, it does seem reasonable to pursue as his actions did, in fact, lead to massive consequences remembered by all to this day.


Avatar
Milo2017
Posts: 31

Crazy but not stupid

I think that we are grossly obsessed with people we can’t understand. Why are people obsessed with the Kardashians? I think the biggest thing I took away from reading the 3 articles was that Adolf Hitler did everything (and I mean everything) very meticulously. He had almost every detail of a day planned out. This makes me more sure of what I believed in all along. That he knew exactly what he was doing and that he clearly spent a lot of time planning it. That being said, Hitler would not have been able to do what he did to unless the way he thought was something that other people thought. In modern day society we can liken this to Trump. Clearly people in America were perfectly ok with electing a man so horrible. I don’t think there’s any use in trying to understand him because half of the things he says are completely illogical. There’s no sense in trying to understand a crazy person. But I do think the biggest thing people need to understand when talking about Hitler, is that although he was crazy, he wasn’t stupid.

Avatar
Milo2017
Posts: 31

Originally posted by orangesaregood on February 27, 2018 01:50

Hitler’s interesting nature is due to the perception that he is the symbol of ultimate evil due to his role in one of the most important genocides in history, the Holocaust.


After reading through the articles, it is apparent that Hitler is far more nuanced than his status as the main perpetrator of the Holocaust. Not only was he an artist, but he also had a serene mountain home, as shown by Ignatius Phayre’s photo; and a multifaceted personality, as shown by Ian Kersaw's interview.. Contrasting with Hitler’s reputation in popular culture as a madman, historian Ian Kershaw instead attributes Hitler’s actions to a sense of revenge, and Hitler’s national appeal to his charisma in a post-war hysterical nationalist era. What happened in Germany post-World War II could have happened to any European country, as anti-Semitism was nothing new, but a sense of loss and desire for reparations in Germany facilitated the rise of Hitler's regime.


Too easy is it to paint a monochrome view of someone’s character. Although Hitler’s actions were undoubtedly deplorable, he, like all other human beings, is a multifaceted person, as these sources show.

I see what you’re saying but the way you’re making it sound and correct me if I’m wrong, is that regardless of the fact that he was a despicable person, he still had good qualities? I don’t know to me that just seems way off mark. Like I’m sure everyone who commits such heinous crimes are multifaceted but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they’re terrible people

Avatar
pats4life
Posts: 36

The Interest with a monster

I think that we are so interested with this monster of a man for a number of reasons. one of them being is the fact of what he did. This man was responsible for the attempted extermination and many want to really find out why, and where this hatred for the Jews came from. Now for the same reason I think that really studying Hitler is definitely a worthwhile pursuit because it allows people to get inside the mind of a monster and figure out what he was saying and why he felt this way. I think that the message that we learn from history stands true here as if we learn from these text that identify these types of ideals of extermination, we would be better able to identify them and make sure they don't happen again. However this is of course no the case as we can see a number of other mass atrocities are taking place today even. However, getting to really pick apart this monster of a man I think is really interesting. Another thing that I found interesting was the fact that one of the articles made. One of the articles made the point/ asked the question is it reasonable to call Hitler a madman. And I think that in some aspects it is definitely true that his ideas were insane but the article made another great point. If he was really crazy, how did he gain the backing of 60 million germans. He did this a number of different ways. During the rise of Hitler's power he came to the people in a great time of need of a leader and change. The Treaty of Versaille really put Germany into a bad position after WWI and people had felt the pressure. And when Hitler came forward and told the people the cause/ source of all their problems and how they could be fixed they naturally flocked to his ideas and they thought that he would lead them out of this time of darkness in German. So in his execution of taking advantage of the situation and rising to power he was a genius in a way. Now I am no way condoning Hitler's actions or saying what he did was right, but the way that he took control of peoples worries and flipped them around to boost him into a position of power was smart and gave him the best chance to succeed in his extermination of the Jewish people. Also, even though as we have discussed his writing was god awful by the way he spoke to people made them feel as if everything was going to go their way if they just followed him. And he took control of everyone's fear and depression and with his speeches and his words, he rose to a very high place of power. As I said really trying to understand/ getting to know what he was saying is definitely something to follow up with because it gives you an idea of the way that he wanted to manipulate the people of Germany in order to ride this wave of support straight to the top. However, with evaluating all of the things that Hitler did right in order to do so much wrong I think that the most important thing to know what this "man" was responsible for. Which is the mass genocide of the Jewish people and millions of others. Knowing how he rose to power is a very interesting thing to investigate and study, however, knowing what actions he did in the slaughtering of millions ins more important. I think that this is the most important because not knowing the atrocities that he performed showed his real self and although his rise to power and his play on the emotions on the German people was genius, this is not as important as identifying the atrocities that he is responsible for. I think that my understanding for Hitler is a little bit better, does it change the way that I feel about him, hell no, but it gives me a different perspective on the man behind the mask so to speak. I think the biggest takeaway that I can notice from the articles and what we learned was the way that he really enjoyed this sense of German pride that was not there for a number of years after WWI and how good of a speaker that he actually was. And how he was able to make people rise and stand for their country.

Avatar
pats4life
Posts: 36

Originally posted by Milo2017 on February 28, 2018 15:20

I think that we are grossly obsessed with people we can’t understand. Why are people obsessed with the Kardashians? I think the biggest thing I took away from reading the 3 articles was that Adolf Hitler did everything (and I mean everything) very meticulously. He had almost every detail of a day planned out. This makes me more sure of what I believed in all along. That he knew exactly what he was doing and that he clearly spent a lot of time planning it. That being said, Hitler would not have been able to do what he did to unless the way he thought was something that other people thought. In modern day society we can liken this to Trump. Clearly people in America were perfectly ok with electing a man so horrible. I don’t think there’s any use in trying to understand him because half of the things he says are completely illogical. There’s no sense in trying to understand a crazy person. But I do think the biggest thing people need to understand when talking about Hitler, is that although he was crazy, he wasn’t stupid.

This is exactly what i was trying to say in mine as well. Although what he did was horrible, the way he did it was genius. However, I disagree in your statement that there is no use in understanding him. I agree with the fact that half of the things that he said were illogical, but trying to understand why this pleased or why the nearly 60 million people in Germany followed his speech is useful.

Avatar
MoreLife617
Posts: 36

Originally posted by pats4life on February 28, 2018 17:20

I think that we are so interested with this monster of a man for a number of reasons. one of them being is the fact of what he did. This man was responsible for the attempted extermination and many want to really find out why, and where this hatred for the Jews came from. Now for the same reason I think that really studying Hitler is definitely a worthwhile pursuit because it allows people to get inside the mind of a monster and figure out what he was saying and why he felt this way. I think that the message that we learn from history stands true here as if we learn from these text that identify these types of ideals of extermination, we would be better able to identify them and make sure they don't happen again. However this is of course no the case as we can see a number of other mass atrocities are taking place today even. However, getting to really pick apart this monster of a man I think is really interesting. Another thing that I found interesting was the fact that one of the articles made. One of the articles made the point/ asked the question is it reasonable to call Hitler a madman. And I think that in some aspects it is definitely true that his ideas were insane but the article made another great point. If he was really crazy, how did he gain the backing of 60 million germans. He did this a number of different ways. During the rise of Hitler's power he came to the people in a great time of need of a leader and change. The Treaty of Versaille really put Germany into a bad position after WWI and people had felt the pressure. And when Hitler came forward and told the people the cause/ source of all their problems and how they could be fixed they naturally flocked to his ideas and they thought that he would lead them out of this time of darkness in German. So in his execution of taking advantage of the situation and rising to power he was a genius in a way. Now I am no way condoning Hitler's actions or saying what he did was right, but the way that he took control of peoples worries and flipped them around to boost him into a position of power was smart and gave him the best chance to succeed in his extermination of the Jewish people. Also, even though as we have discussed his writing was god awful by the way he spoke to people made them feel as if everything was going to go their way if they just followed him. And he took control of everyone's fear and depression and with his speeches and his words, he rose to a very high place of power. As I said really trying to understand/ getting to know what he was saying is definitely something to follow up with because it gives you an idea of the way that he wanted to manipulate the people of Germany in order to ride this wave of support straight to the top. However, with evaluating all of the things that Hitler did right in order to do so much wrong I think that the most important thing to know what this "man" was responsible for. Which is the mass genocide of the Jewish people and millions of others. Knowing how he rose to power is a very interesting thing to investigate and study, however, knowing what actions he did in the slaughtering of millions ins more important. I think that this is the most important because not knowing the atrocities that he performed showed his real self and although his rise to power and his play on the emotions on the German people was genius, this is not as important as identifying the atrocities that he is responsible for. I think that my understanding for Hitler is a little bit better, does it change the way that I feel about him, hell no, but it gives me a different perspective on the man behind the mask so to speak. I think the biggest takeaway that I can notice from the articles and what we learned was the way that he really enjoyed this sense of German pride that was not there for a number of years after WWI and how good of a speaker that he actually was. And how he was able to make people rise and stand for their country.

I agree with you position that Hitler was a genius for taking advantage of the vulnerable circumstances of the people and setting at the time, but it is important that this curiosity doesn't stem into any form of potential praise for this evil man and overshadow the horrors that he perpetrated. Although Hitler executed his extermination in the most ideal circumstances at the time, he himself still had the most significant role in acting on his bigoted views and desire for power over a mass of people. His manipulative tactics and motivations help give us a blueprint in which he exterminated the Jews, while having most Germans wholly under his influence. The general progression in Hitler's beliefs, tactics, and efforts can be used in the future to expose potentially similar creations of an instigator of genocide, which would help this terrible history from repeating.

Avatar
user4523
Posts: 29

The Enigma of Adolf Hitler

As shown by the articles, I do believe that Adolf Hitler was, in many ways similar to our modern day celebrities. Now, we follow our favorite celebrities on the internet and get a window into their lives, but during Hitler’s time, people relied on magazines and sources like the articles to get a window into a person like Hitler’s life. The articles mention things like his vegetarian diet, and his avoidance of alcohol and cigars, similar to how we follow the diets and ideas of modern day celebrities.


These articles really don’t help me understand Hitler more, in fact they really make me feel more confused. These articles really humanize him in a way I’ve never seen before, and it is hard for me to reconcile the side of him shown here with the murderous, evil side of him shown by his commands and actions before and during the Holocaust and WWII.


I think that trying to understand Hitler is definitely worthwhile, but is not necessarily possible. Many of his actions to me seem like the actions of a madman or a psychopath, but as Ian Kershaw mentions, many other parts of him don’t at all match up with the actions of a madman. Kershaw’s assertion that the ideas were mad but the man was not makes a lot of sense to me. These contradictions shown by Hitler make it really hard for me to understand him, but it is definitely useful to try to understand them nonetheless.


At the end of the day, I think the most important things to know about Hitler are the effects and results of his terrible actions during WWII. While it is important to understand him and why he had such atrocities carried out, I feel that that really is secondary to the fact that the actions were actually carried out and the results they had on millions of innocent people. I think the big takeaway for me regarding Hitler is that, while we may never truly understand why he carried out such terrible things, we need to fully recognize and remember those atrocities and focus on keeping a figure like Hitler from ever being idolized in such a way as he was ever again.


Avatar
user4523
Posts: 29

Originally posted by Otto von Bismarck on February 27, 2018 19:22

I personally believe that Hitler is fascinating in the same way that other people's pain and horror movies are fascinating. It's the kind of allure that you simultaneously don't enjoy watching, but at the same time can't look away. It's the same type of fascination that drew the Romans to watch their slaves and gladiators hack each other to death in the Colosseum.

This particular type of morbid obsession that humans have with suffering also intertwines with our deep fascination with extremes. We have records for the largest and smallest things; we reward people who can do something the best, or for the longest, or during the shortest amount of time. We are not interested by the mundane things of life, and we are constantly drawn to things or people who carry out their natural functions to the extreme.

Hitler combines both of these elements, by inflicting massive suffering upon different groups of people, as well as carrying the dubious distinction of inflicting the most suffering on the most people of any singular person ever. As much as we do not want to look at Hitler anymore, or his actions, we simply can't keep ourselves from being curious about him because he appeals to our deepest primal instincts of fascination.

The articles detailed give details about Hitler that personally didn't reveal much to me, as I already knew many of them. However, details like these often are not known or even wanting to be known by many people. This is because mundane details like these ruin the vision that we have of Hitler in our minds; that of an unhuman demon, the personification of evil. Details about his regular life and personality are unconsciously thrown away by our minds, content with just knowing the basics: Nazi, German, death to Jews, etc. etc. etc.

I really agree with what you said about why people both then and now felt an allure to a person like Hitler. It makes a lot of sense to me that Hitler as a person appeals a lot to our fascinations with the atrocious and immoral. While we as people may never agree with anything Hitler did, we still feel some sort of fascination with someone capable of such terrible things, and to me, that is both interesting and terrifying.

posts 1 - 15 of 56