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  1. #1
    LO Zealot dr_nick22's Avatar
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    Hitler - Facts versus Fiction?

    Okay, well, it's been a fair while since I've started an ED topic, and this has been something on my mind recently. The idea for this came about while in history class, we watched a movie called Hitler -Rise of Evil. It's a good movie, don't get me wrong, but as you can tell from the title, it's somewhat biased.

    The movie deals with Hitler before he came to power - how he maneuvered himself through the ranks to become Reich's fuhrer, and before he committed any of the atrocities that he is best known for (well, there was the night of the long knives, but we'll talk about that later). The movie cleverly blends historical fact with...well, artistic licence - another way of saying it makes crap up.

    My history teacher mentioned something interesting during the movie - that anything can be said about Hitler, and because he is considered as evil, people will believe it. Examples of this - rumours Hitler was gay, rumours he slept with his niece, rumours he was addicted to drugs, rumours he was of Jewish descent - none proven in fact, but as a rule, believed, simply because he is thought to be a bad man. Heck, you could claim Hitler was a dolphin in a man suit, and if it insulted him or made him seem even crazier, then the general inclination is it must be true.

    There is no doubt that the acts Hitler committed later on in life - namely the holocaust, were truly evil, and there is no excusing that. The point that I am raising, is - was Hitler evil before then - when he was on his way up, was he an evil man? If so, what made him evil? Was he born evil, or is it a result of his environment (nature or nurture)? If you chose the latter, at what point - what defining moment - made him 'evil'?

    Another interesting thing to consider - Do you think Hitler did any good in his time? Did you happen to know any of this ;

    -He developed much of the infrastructure still in use today. The roads, cultural centers, parks, etc. He also virtually eliminated unemployment at a time when the economy was in shambles. He invented the concept of kindergarten, and daycare.*1

    -The Nazis were the ones who first determined that smoking was hazardous to your health. It was Hitler who banned smoking on buses and trains. Who refused to issue ration coupons for tobacco to pregnant women. It was Hitler who cracked down on tobacco advertising and decreed that tobacco advertising could not portray smoking as a glamorous, masculine pastime. The Nazis specifically forbid cigarette ads that associated smoking with sports – or auto racing.*2

    -The technology for converting coal to a liquid fuel (diesel) was developed by the Nazi scientists.*1

    -He came up with the idea of an affordable car that everyone could drive, also known as the Volkswagen (people's car). He also created the road that these cars would drive on, the autobahn.*1

    -He built the Berlin Olympic stadium, made the first practical rockets and cruise missiles and the 1st jet plane.*1

    -He turned the German economy around. It was in shambles and the war turned it around*1(but then put it back the way it was after the war, ironically)

    *1 = Yahoo! Answers - Did Hitler do any good things?
    *2 = http://www.noshame.org/scripts/yancey050429.htm

    I thought it was an interesting point about the smoking - if Hitler had won the war, do you think he would have stamped out smoking, and saved the millions of people who have died from smoking over the past 62 years?

    One thing I do want to stress is this -by me putting this discussion up, I am trying to do it a a largely neutral manner - I do not in any way support or condone any of the atrocities Hitler committed, but nor am I close-minded enough to see Hitler for only one thing he ever did, so I look at other facets (and benefits) of his leadership.

    What are your opinions?

    (Seeing as this has become a bit messy, I bolded the questions in the text)

    Last edited by dr_nick22; May 17th, 2007 at 09:47.
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  3. #2
    Son of LO Tenozuma's Avatar
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    Nobody is born evil. In my opinion.
    And I don't think that Hitler was insane, just wrong. Very, very wrong.
    I have read the post but I reserve further comments for later when this discussion sparks up a bit.

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    LO Zealot dr_nick22's Avatar
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    A few more questions to ponder over (I decided not to edit them in to the original post - it was a bit long.)

    If you were somehow able to travel back in time, and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it? What about as an adult drifter, before he came into politics? And what about in the full swing of things, in the midst of the war?

    Also;

    If Hitler had never been around, or been killed before he came to power, would the same thing have still happened anyway, just with a different person? Perhaps it would have been worse? Perhaps they would have even won?
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    Do you think Hitler did any good in his time?
    he did do some good in his time. but it was for his own reasons. reading Hitler’s book (mien kamph, which is a piece of propaganda nonsense most of the time) you can get a good idea on what he wanted to do.

    he did help Germany, rebuilt the economy and gave the nation back their pride.

    he however used this as a means to attack and destroy neighbouring nations in a surge of nationalist fever.

    if Hitler had won the war, do you think he would have stamped out smoking, and saved the millions of people who have died from smoking over the past 62 years?
    probably not.

    If you were somehow able to travel back in time, and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it? What about as an adult drifter, before he came into politics? And what about in the full swing of things, in the midst of the war?
    assuming that there was no paradox caused by this (if i were to kill hitler i, in the future, wouldn't have the thought to travel back and kill him and nothing would happen etc) no i would not. we can't just tuck our mistakes under the bedsheets. it was a horrible time but an important one. jets and the computer became a true reality thanks to world war 2.

    If Hitler had never been around, or been killed before he came to power, would the same thing have still happened anyway, just with a different person? Perhaps it would have been worse? Perhaps they would have even won?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    A few more questions to ponder over (I decided not to edit them in to the original post - it was a bit long.)

    If you were somehow able to travel back in time, and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it? What about as an adult drifter, before he came into politics? And what about in the full swing of things, in the midst of the war?

    Also;

    If Hitler had never been around, or been killed before he came to power, would the same thing have still happened anyway, just with a different person? Perhaps it would have been worse? Perhaps they would have even won?
    My history teacher says she believes that had Hitler been hit by a bus 6 months or so prior to the war, he'd be lamented as a great man by all.


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    God's nutcase Xerxes's Avatar
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    Hmmm... difficult to say, really. It's true that if Hitler had snuffed it before '39 he would be remembered (in Germany if not worldwide) as one of the greatest rulers that Germany ever had. He made the country efficient, got it going again and gave a sense of national pride to the people after their humiliation of 1918.

    However, going off the evidence about whether Hitler was "evil" or not, I'm inclined towards him being mentally disturbed at least, although I couldn't give you a specific disorder. For this I refer to the First World War; Hitler was one of very few soldiers who loved life in the trenches. That is not a normal (or to my mind a healthy) mental outlook. It also shows the start of his social Darwinist leanings, in that (I think, not too sure) he considered it the ultimate test of humanity to go through something like trench warfare. We can't condemn him for that view however; eugenics, phrenology and race science were quite prevalent and credible scientific topics at the time. Hitler just took them to their logical conclusion.

    Given this, I've a feeling that much of the Hitler = pure evil is part of the "history is written by the victors" syndrome. Even the Holocaust, something that gets held up as something which defines Hitler as a bad man* has been beaten. Stalin killed more people through his paranoid politicking and mismanagement than Hitler ever did in the death camps, but no one ever mentions them as the ultimate in evil slaughter, although it must be said that 6 million of the 10 million deaths from the conservative estimate occurred through famine rather than direct oppression and politically-motivated killings (15 million famine deaths out of approximately 20 million deaths to go with the more extravagant estimates). Also, Mao Zedong (or Tse-tung, whatever your spelling preference) killed at least half a million in political purges in the Cultural Revolution (which is disputed due to lost records and possible obfuscation of data by the authorities, and so may be more), but famine accounted for as many as 20-30 million deaths. Both the famine figures were a direct result of state action or inaction (Mao was exporting much grain in spite of the famine, for example), and neither get as much condemnation as Hitler for their slaughters.

    The only explanation that I can think of for this is that these forces were never truly defeated in the way that Hitler was, nor was there a need for them to be. Because of this, there was no way to set up a "victor" mentality, which includes demonising the defeated. I think that it's this demonisation rather than anything else which is to blame for Hitler being considered the epitome of evil, because as recent history in the Middle East has shown, who or what is considered evil is very much in the eye of the beholder. *drags out the examples of the US giving Saddam WMDs to use against Iraq, and American funding of the Mujahideen against Russia, and Regan's meeting with bin Laden to congratulate him *

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    Son of LO Tenozuma's Avatar
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    Not trying to make this heated but I really don't like it when people belittle the holocaust, I've had people try to pretend it never happened or that it was exaggerated before. I've had people say that the Jews like to whine about everything and are so full of themselves... he used the Tutsies (spelling?) as an example saying that they never complained... I nearly pulled out the katana and hurled fireballs at him. I guess people just don't like the Jews much. Yes, Stalin killed far more people, this is true, but Stalin did it more indiscriminatingly, Hitler targeted specific groups of people far more as far as I've learned and I think that anti-semetism is one of the single most ridiculous prejudices.

    Hitler did a lot more bad then he did good and it is arguable that all 'good' he did was just to set him up for doing the bad. Using manipulation to get into power.

    More later.

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    God's nutcase Xerxes's Avatar
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    It's not an attempt at belittling the Holocaust, it's pointing out that it's not unique as many people seem to think. Granted much of it was not as systematised as the Holocaust was, but isn't a death stemming from prejudice and discrimination (whether they be on the basis of race or to save political face or plain ineptitude) a bad thing, whether xyclon-B or starvation is used? It just strikes me that the Holocaust in the popular consciousness blots every other kind of human tragedy out, which it has no right to do.

    It's also entirely possible that Hitler didn't have much of a clue as to what was going on. There's historical debate as to whether Hitler or Reinhard Heydrich came up with the "Final Solution", as well as Hitler's very offhand style of government, which basically had the top Nazis fighting amongst themselves for policies which would please him, and very little involvement on the part of the Fuhrer himself. Of course, it is possible that he's as much to blame for the atrocities as he didn't stop them and he had the power to, but such an evaluation takes away much of the "evilness" of him.

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    It was the diktat at the end of the First Great War which helped inspire Hitler to take the steps he did. He captured the spirit of a nation which was hard done by, and turned them around.

    I think that if you removed Hitler, someone else would have taken his place and done the same or similar thing.

    Let us not turn this into another holocaust debate. I appreciate this is a dangerous topic, so we need to keep extra focused. I'll be watching this thread VERY closely.
    Just remember, that through history, everyone has tasted suffering of one degree to another. Pain and suffering is NOT unique to one nation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    was Hitler evil before then - when he was on his way up, was he an evil man? If so, what made him evil? Was he born evil, or is it a result of his environment (nature or nurture)? If you chose the latter, at what point - what defining moment - made him 'evil'?
    I really don't know, I find it impossible to empathise with the mindset of a Nazi dictator dead for over 60 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    Another interesting thing to consider - Do you think Hitler did any good in his time? Did you happen to know any of this ;

    -He developed much of the infrastructure still in use today. The roads, cultural centers, parks, etc. He also virtually eliminated unemployment at a time when the economy was in shambles. He invented the concept of kindergarten, and daycare.*1

    -The Nazis were the ones who first determined that smoking was hazardous to your health. It was Hitler who banned smoking on buses and trains. Who refused to issue ration coupons for tobacco to pregnant women. It was Hitler who cracked down on tobacco advertising and decreed that tobacco advertising could not portray smoking as a glamorous, masculine pastime. The Nazis specifically forbid cigarette ads that associated smoking with sports – or auto racing.*2

    -The technology for converting coal to a liquid fuel (diesel) was developed by the Nazi scientists.*1
    Hitler's economic policy in many respects led to war. His programs, while looking good on the outside cost a huge sum of money, he may have eliminated unemployment but the German treasury was so depleted that he practicaly had to invade countries in a wealth grab move.

    War time technology improvements are nothing new, and the British/US/USSR made thier own improvements. I wouldn't say this reflects on Hitler at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    -He came up with the idea of an affordable car that everyone could drive, also known as the Volkswagen (people's car). He also created the road that these cars would drive on, the autobahn.*1
    Die environment, die!

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    -He built the Berlin Olympic stadium, made the first practical rockets and cruise missiles and the 1st jet plane.*1
    A stadium? wowsa!.

    London also thanks him for his humanitarian efforts to spread V1 and V2 missiles around the globe, but especialy in thier direction. Britain was not far behind on the jet plane either (Which incidentaly almost always crashed on landing).

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    -He turned the German economy around. It was in shambles and the war turned it around*1(but then put it back the way it was after the war, ironically)
    Yes, by 1945 living standards, life expectancy and all those measurements had improved, not. The following German Govts made Germany Europes leading economy, with the added bonus of no genocide or invasions.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    if Hitler had won the war, do you think he would have stamped out smoking, and saved the millions of people who have died from smoking over the past 62 years?
    Smoking is a choice people make, and stopping them from doing it in no way equates with the Holocaust. His system was also dictatorial which made it easier for him to ban freedoms. I really have far more sympathy for the Jews forceibly herded into gas chambers than smokers who through thier own idiocy try a quasi-suicide.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    If you were somehow able to travel back in time, and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it? What about as an adult drifter, before he came into politics? And what about in the full swing of things, in the midst of the war?
    No chance, things turned out largely alright and I don't see a point in changing them to an unknown and potentialy worse situation. We all know what happened in Red Alert when they got rid of Hitler. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by dr_nick22 View Post
    If Hitler had never been around, or been killed before he came to power, would the same thing have still happened anyway, just with a different person? Perhaps it would have been worse? Perhaps they would have even won?
    Without Hitler and without knowing who his successor would be (It was only Doenitz after all his other senior staff were alienated) it's hard to say, Germany was on a path to war and people saw it coming all through the late '30's another Leader may well have gone to war.

    Hitler was a bad wartime leader, his decision to launch Operation Barbarossa when he did was contemptible and when on the retreat his policies of static defense and no retreat/no surrender certainly shortened the war.

    As for another leader winning it? maybe, if Russia had been crushed/Moscow taken etc and then Hitler had turned his eyes back on Britain without US support he might have.

    Otherwise once Germany and the Axis powers were going up against the UK/USSR/USA there was only one way things were going to end.
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