Redefining Adolf Hitler (Just a Little Bit)

Adolf Hitler is one of the most controversial and despised individuals in human history, considered by some to be an anti-Christ. Certainly, he most definitely did some awful things; he started wars with other countries, which caused WWII, and he perpetuated the Holocaust. However, there are certain parts of his story that get left out in popular knowledge. For one thing, Hitler himself was not even born in Germany, but rather, the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire. Because of the state of the Habsburg Dynasty, Hitler, along with many youths like him, placed more support in adjacent Germany, with whom they felt a kinship. Therefore, his early years instill in him a huge amount of nationalist ideals. Among his other early struggles included poverty and living as a bohemian, differences with his father, and rejection from art school twice. It was not until WWI that he turned his life around, in which was a huge war hero. He was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class – an extremely high honor for his rank. Hitler valued his war experiences quite highly, but was shocked by Germany’s “defeat.” Looking for answers, perhaps it is not too surprising that when going undercover to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party (the precursor to the Nazi Party), he became attracted to their ideas. In fact, many of the ideas that the party perpetuated were similar to what he grew up hearing and living by.[1]

Aside from the context, Hitler appears to be similar in many ways to that of his popular image. Many of the points made in the pamphlet follow common knowledge: he was anti-Semitic, he was pro-Aryan race. However there were a few odd parts in his writing that really stood out. First, Hitler held a very strong view on education, and judging from the extent to which he goes into it on Point 20, he intended to make sure it went well. In thought, this could be the precursor to the Hitler youth, but at least it demonstrates a priority in equal education opportunity not held by many today. It was also intriguing to read about his high placement on physical education and gymnastics. In many ways, it’s a sneaky way of preparing students/children for war, similar to many Communist Chinese programs during the Mao era. The reading relates to past ideas as well, such as Fichte’s belief in shared culture leading to nationalism and borders, Herder’s belief that different groups should not mix, and Mussolini’s point that the state should mean everything (statist), with the “people” being an extension of that state.

[1] “Adolf Hitler.” Wikipedia. Accessed March 31, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler.

4 thoughts on “Redefining Adolf Hitler (Just a Little Bit)

  1. Tyler, you make excellent points on Hitler’s upbringing and his views. To be honest, it’s quite ironic that someone who prides himself on such extreme nationalism for “his country” wasn’t even born in Germany. He did bring about good ideas for his country such as education and work for all German citizens, as well as the removal of the Treaty of Versailles, which was completely ridiculous to begin with in the aspect of the well being of German citizens. Although he inspires the German people, the majority his ideas were extremely radical and out of line. Hitler wanted to completely get rid of social classes by creating equality among his citizens and saying that only Germans can live in Germany, Jews not being considered citizens. As you stated, Hitler will always be known as the “anti-Christ” in world history.

  2. Tyler, I think you make a tremendous point about Hitler and his desire for everyone in Germany to be physically fit. As you said, it was a very crafty way in which Hitler was able to prepare future soldiers for battle by encouraging that everyone in Germany have access to physical education. It’s also interesting because it shows how far ahead Hitler was looking and that he knew for Germany to be successful, they must have a strong army to go to battle with. While the idea of physical education is only a small part of Hitler and his twenty-five points, I believe it shines a greater light on Hitler and his constant preparation. This preparation, whether it was practicing his speeches in front of a mirror or planning an army many years before the WWII, is what allowed Adolf Hitler to be so successful and dominate for many years.

  3. In addition to the emphasis he placed on education and the improvement of the youth, Hitler also made the extension of old age welfare the 13th point on the list, and he made the duty of the state to its people the 22nd point. The fact that he believes in the rights of some people makes it even more staggering that he was so disgusted by an entire group of people–the Jews–many of whom had a greater claim to German heritage than he did. I cannot help but wonder if Hitler actually believed deeply in all of his “points” or if many of them were only included to gain more popular support.

    • Hitler would certainly not be the first person to do so. We see politicians in the U.S. today being forced to adopt some of their party’s beliefs in order to win over all of their support. As we learned in class today, much of his ideas originated with his assistants. In the 1920s, Hitler was almost kicked out of the party due to a party split. He has to appease everyone to get to the top, its possible he still had to play off internal party politics to maintain his top position.

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