How do you feel about Hitler?What was the holocaust?

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dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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What I typically teach my students is that effective leaders are not necessarily good people. Thousands of people saw Hitler as incredibly charasmatic and passionate about the German nation and its people. That his plan and ultimate goal -- the systematic extermination of Jews and other "inferior" groups -- was the definition of nefarious was almost irrelevant. He was such an effective and convincing people that he was able to mobilize an entire nation against the Jews, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and handicapped.

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

How do I feel about Hitler... for me he defines the ultimate danger there is in the abuses of concentrated political power and the consequences that concentrated power can have upon humanity. The danger of Hitler's rise to power was rooted in his ability to prey upon the German people (masking his true agenda which included genocide) he was able to tap into their fractured souls.  Let's face it, the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I was not about constructing peace in Europe, it was about punishing Germany. Germany was a broken nation after WWI. Germany's vulnerability was the perfect passion play for Hitler to spin a web of unrecognizable tyranny. His madness of a superior race which resulted in the Holocaust, his 'The Final Solution' along with the 'Lebensborn' begun in Norway was and will remain reprehensible. This is why humanity must never forget Hitler and the history must be an accurate account of his tyranny.

I fear that the hidden dangers of 'political correctness, revisionist history' and the apathy of some Americans so prevalent in American society today have the potential to make us vulnerable to those would would seek to TRY to destroy us (Case in point 9-11-2001) Therefore, to soften the realities of hate by calling it by a different name clears a path for historical circumstances to repeat themselves.  Hitler posed a threat to the HUMAN RACE and humanity fought him, and won. It's very simple... I feel that 500 years from now (God willing we are still here) Hitler will still be considered a parasite on humanity.

Here is something to think about.... What position do you think United States foreign policy would be if Hitler were doing what he tried to do between 1939 and 1944 today?...get the point...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

What an incredibly interesting question!  I don't think that I have ever been asked how I "felt" about the man.  Quite frankly, I am most certainly NOT a fan of his.  Both highly intelligent and deeply disturbed, Hitler was almost singularly responsible for the holocaust (which was the attempt to extinguish the Jewish people).  One can not dismiss, however, Hitler's ability to bend an entire country (and then some) to his will through his eloquent speech and grotesque displays of power in the midst of dictatorship.

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hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Good point.  I think it's pretty plain that Hitler was the central monster of the 20th century.  Stalin was actually more ruthless and more effective, and certainly Pol Pot holds the record for the lowest percentage of his target population surviving.  But Adolf Hitler and his revolution are the very definition of evil.  I simply believe that to see the true danger of his method it's important to see how the acceptable face he showed to industry, the military and voters blinded those who could have stopped him.  Almost every European power except the French and Russians attempted his assasination before the war began.  It is the very adeptness of his manipulation of the minds of others that shows the very real dangers of such a man, and his manipulation of the minds of opposing nations' leadership that led to his early string of victories.  In many respects his methods are still with us today, in both the behavior of radical religio-political leaders and the more subtle methods of many politicians who use the smiling face of modern public relations to woo the electorate with smooth speeches which reveal almost nothing.

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hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Hitler was highly intelligent, but was raised in an educational system of rote memorization and strict control.  He did well for awhile and then rebelled for a wide variety of familial reasons.  This did not leave him with the type of self-discipline necessary for a well-rounded self-education, and his subsequent self-directed learning as a young adult suffered.  In his misery in Vienna he fell prey to the foolish anti-semitism of trash literature, although he seemed not to take it too much to heart until later.  During the First World War he had Jewish friends, and he received the Iron Cross First Class from his officer, a Jew who had recommended him for it.  He was a very "clean-living" type, vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker, etc.

After the war he infiltrated radical political parties as an agent of German Army intelligence.  His commanding officer was Ernst Roehm, who later headed the SA "brownshirts."  He had studied the methods of social revolution and political manipulation of Lenin and others, and in Mein Kampf ("My Struggle") he laid out precisely the program he would follow, realizing that people tend to overlook what is right in front of them.  His political rise and early military victories showed an amazing ability to manipulate others in many spheres, and his economic programs saved not only the German economy but boosted the economies of many countries in Europe and South America, notably the USSR.  His problem, of course, was his susceptibility to bad ideas, ie the doctrine of anti-semitism, the view of "non-Aryans" as subhumans, and his interest in occultic ideas.  His belief in the "superman" theory and his continual emphasis on occult ideals (detailed in the writings of a number of close associates in the mid- and late 1930s) are indicative of a man out of touch with reality.  Although much has been made of the Catholic Church not "doing something" about him, there's really nothing they could have done without massive reprisals.  If one reads his writings and those of his associates, he repeatedly disavowed Catholicism, and intended to rid his Reich of Christians as soon as he was done with the Jews.  The truth is that his tendency to surround himself with thugs undermined the efficiency of his government, and the limited population and industrial capability of Germany made a successful end of the war impossible for him.  No matter how spectacular a success any particular invasion might be, the fact that oppression instead of peace followed his armies doomed his war effort.  Reprisals against civilians and the rounding up of "undesirables" (meaning anyone of pro-democratic leanings as well as almost every ethnic group) frighten at first, but eventually people just get angry.

Hitler had the necessary mental and personal tools to realize his revolution in Germany and to do a good job of rescuing the economy, but German foreign policy was inept, and government by criminals simply won't work.  His psychological weaknesses and personal egocentricity were insurmountable problems.  His increasing dependence on drugs and deteriorating physical health compounded his mental issues.  If he had died in 1938 he would probably today be considered a great European leader.

The idea that Hitler was "mad" or that Germans in particular were in some manner evil is foolish, and blinds us to the real dangers someone like him represents.  When we confuse the means with the end in politics, economics and military action, disaster is assured.  When a society is so stressed that the population is willing to trade responsible, self-directed government for a leadership which promises protection from enemies real and imagined, that disaster is guarenteed to be massive and deadly.  In retrospect, the world is lucky he had an inefficient view of government and that his designated heir, Rinehardt Heidrich, was assasinated by the British.  Heidrich would not have made Hitler's mistakes.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Much has been mentioned about the 6 million European Jews.  Do not forget the 10 million Korean and Chinese who perished at the hands of the Japanese in Asian death camps at the same time. The mid 1930's to mid 1940's were indeed a dark time all around the planet.  But pogroms, "ethnic cleansing," or holocausts are nothing new; they have existed before Hitler and have sadly existed after.  Even in the First World War the Armenians were nearly obliterated in Turkey; what the age of mechanized warfare brought forth "small scale" in the First World War and "large scale" in the Second was the horrific number of deaths by these ancient means. Hitler's main ambition was not to kill Jews; as he outlines in his book "Mien Kampf," his primary ambition was to eliminate Soviet Russia, to have "lebensraum," or "elbow room" for an expanding Germanic population.  It wasn't Jews specifically he targeted; it was any non-Aryan European.  The Jews he conveniently scapegoated as the "Bolsheviks" who started the Russian Revolution, and would do the same if given the chance in Germany.  World War II was primarily a conflict between Fascist and Communist ideology, played out between Germanic and Slavic populations, led by the demigods Hitler and Stalin.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I agree with mshurn that Hitler was a perfect storm, the confluence of every possible opportunity to perpetrate a massive and unprecedented evil. The only thing I have ever encountered in my own experience that even approaches this type of evil is the devastation wrought on the Romanian people by Nicolae Ceauscescu. I toured the countryside and saw the orphanages and children's hospitals firsthand in 1991.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

If "timing is everything," then Hitler stands as a horrific example of it. In another historical time (or place), he most likely would have existed as a blip on the radar, if his life of failure was noted at all. Unfortunately for the world, though, Hitler's life became that of a sociopath intersecting with politics in a defeated, humiliated, and hungry nation. Like many sociopaths, Hitler could be charming and disarming; like every sociopath, he lacked a conscience and human empathy. As a successful politician, he understood his times and made the most of them to further his own aims. At some point in his life, Hitler crossed the line between sociopathy (a personality disorder) and mental illness. Where the concept of evil figured into his nature is one for philosophers, but the results were the same. Hitler was a perfect storm of death and destruction that we still attempt to understand.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I will focus my opinion on his psychopathology, since already you got great info about his facts.

When you think of the approaches a person with such power and who controls so much takes to retain dominance it translates directly into their inner personality traits.

In his case, he went for carnage, terror, torture, death, morbosity, racism, extremes.

The holocaust, as you asked, was one of those extremes- the extermination of a group by means of torture and death.

Based on these facts, many psychologists and psychriatists have labeled Hitler's behaviors as those shown in cases of:

a) narcissistic personality (all eyes on me)

b) megalomania (i need everyone's attention and I am in charge of the whole world)

c) borderline personality disorder- (plain nuts)

d) sociopath (can't cope with the world as it is)

...and those are the main ones- let's not mention the little things such as

e) insecurity

f) contradictory behavior

g) histeronic personality (Im in charge! Im in charge! Im in charge!)

h) anti-semitism

i) unresolved anger

j) depression/codependence to drugs (opium), and possibly insanity due to tertiary syphillis.

k)possible impotence

j) personal image issues (look at his heritage and looks versus what he was preaching)

l) etc. etc. etc

It does not reflect my personal opinion on him, since I have always wondered what exactly I could conclude on someone whose persona is completely corrupted my disturbia, but these have always been interesting facts about his personality that have always kept me reading on it.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Hitler was a brilliant strategist and unbelievably evil.  The two make a deadly combination which is exactly why members of his own army tried several times to assasinate him.

The Holocaust was Hitler's life's ambition.  His goal was to completely exterminate the Jewish population, and with his gas chambers, mass graves, and the Nazis, he almost succeeded.

 

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Adolph was deeply disturbed. His mother died young in 1908 and left him an orphaned adolescent. He was a talented artist and wanted to paint, but because he could not paint portraits he was denied admission to the school.  Just imagine what might have been our understanding of the artist Hitler instead of the leader of the 3rd Reich.

Hitler was living hand-to-mouth in Vienna and picking up his politics in bars. He became the spokesperson for the anti-semitism what was pervasive in Vienna, and later much of Europe after the end of WWI.

Hitler was a gifted orator and talented speaker. He was able to put the ideologies of the anti-semitist movement into action with the backing of the Nazi party and his rise to power in post WWI Germany.

I feel that Hitler wanted recognition.  He desperately wanted to belong and to be good at something. His overly strict father and overly indulgent mother did not help him develop coping skills. His mother's death plunged him into despair and grief, and his rejection by the Vienna School of Fine Arts pushed him over the edge.  Hitler was mentally disturbed.

His archectural drawings were top-notch, and his landscape paintings were not bad.  I feel that if he were accepted at the Vienna School of Fine Arts, he would not have had such a chip on his shoulder, and WWII may not have happened.

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thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

I love the discussion that has been going on about this question. I think you have been provided with great insight and should definitely get something out of these posts. That being said, here is my two cents:

I think Hitler is a fascinating person. While cruel, perhaps heartless, and morbid, he was an incredibly intelligent person who knew what he wanted. He wanted the world and was willing to do anything to get it. I am not defending him in his choices to murder innocent people but I do think Hitler is someone who can definitely be learned from. 

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Post #11 and, to some extent, #12 appear to play down the evil nature of Hitler's aims and methods, on grounds like his environment, for which he is not responsible. We may accept that Hitler was a passive victim of his circumstances, just like a rabid dog is itself a victim of infection caught from some other source. But, it can be dangerous to overlook evil nature or evil doing of a person just on that ground, just like it can be dangerous to overlook rabies of a rabid dog.

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tckelly | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hitler was highly intelligent, but was raised in an educational system of rote memorization and strict control.  He did well for awhile and then rebelled for a wide variety of familial reasons.  This did not leave him with the type of self-discipline necessary for a well-rounded self-education, and his subsequent self-directed learning as a young adult suffered.  In his misery in Vienna he fell prey to the foolish anti-semitism of trash literature, although he seemed not to take it too much to heart until later.  During the First World War he had Jewish friends, and he received the Iron Cross First Class from his officer, a Jew who had recommended him for it.  He was a very "clean-living" type, vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker, etc.

After the war he infiltrated radical political parties as an agent of German Army intelligence.  His commanding officer was Ernst Roehm, who later headed the SA "brownshirts."  He had studied the methods of social revolution and political manipulation of Lenin and others, and in Mein Kampf ("My Struggle") he laid out precisely the program he would follow, realizing that people tend to overlook what is right in front of them.  His political rise and early military victories showed an amazing ability to manipulate others in many spheres, and his economic programs saved not only the German economy but boosted the economies of many countries in Europe and South America, notably the USSR.  His problem, of course, was his susceptibility to bad ideas, ie the doctrine of anti-semitism, the view of "non-Aryans" as subhumans, and his interest in occultic ideas.  His belief in the "superman" theory and his continual emphasis on occult ideals (detailed in the writings of a number of close associates in the mid- and late 1930s) are indicative of a man out of touch with reality.  Although much has been made of the Catholic Church not "doing something" about him, there's really nothing they could have done without massive reprisals.  If one reads his writings and those of his associates, he repeatedly disavowed Catholicism, and intended to rid his Reich of Christians as soon as he was done with the Jews.  The truth is that his tendency to surround himself with thugs undermined the efficiency of his government, and the limited population and industrial capability of Germany made a successful end of the war impossible for him.  No matter how spectacular a success any particular invasion might be, the fact that oppression instead of peace followed his armies doomed his war effort.  Reprisals against civilians and the rounding up of "undesirables" (meaning anyone of pro-democratic leanings as well as almost every ethnic group) frighten at first, but eventually people just get angry.

Hitler had the necessary mental and personal tools to realize his revolution in Germany and to do a good job of rescuing the economy, but German foreign policy was inept, and government by criminals simply won't work.  His psychological weaknesses and personal egocentricity were insurmountable problems.  His increasing dependence on drugs and deteriorating physical health compounded his mental issues.  If he had died in 1938 he would probably today be considered a great European leader.

The idea that Hitler was "mad" or that Germans in particular were in some manner evil is foolish, and blinds us to the real dangers someone like him represents.  When we confuse the means with the end in politics, economics and military action, disaster is assured.  When a society is so stressed that the population is willing to trade responsible, self-directed government for a leadership which promises protection from enemies real and imagined, that disaster is guarenteed to be massive and deadly.  In retrospect, the world is lucky he had an inefficient view of government and that his designated heir, Rinehardt Heidrich, was assasinated by the British.  Heidrich would not have made Hitler's mistakes.

  I think your post is absolutely correct when it comes to addressing the issue as to whether or not Hitler was mad.  Unfortunately, people have been fed a steady diet of newsreel footage of Hitler's speeches, showing him to a screeching madman.  What is not told, is that most of these speeches were at Party rallies where he spoke to likeminded people and they usually show the speech at its crescendo. 

In other settings, Hitler's speeches were much more low key.  He, like all good politicians had the ability to read his audience and adjust his speeches accordingly. 

His ability to sway mass groups is well documented but less so was his ability to convince people that he was correct when he spoke to them in a one-on-one setting.  This was especially true of his military leaders who would go into a meeting with the intention of telling Hitler he was wrong but would leave with their mind being completely changed.  This is an odd phenomenon and one that people should be mindful of.  In  any era, it is a mistake to think that such evil people cannot rise to positions of power and to dismiss them as madmen is dangerous.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

In response to Post # 9, is it being implied that what Hitler wrote in "Mein Kampf" should overrule what he actually did?

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