It’s been almost 70 years since the most popular ‘nationalist’ ended his life, but we still can’t seem to get enough of Adolf Hitler.
Hitler was a gifted painter, his artwork inspired hundreds of thousands of Germans to take up painting. In Nuremberg, recently, 14 of his rare watercolours and drawings were auctioned for close to 400,000 Euros. Apparently, it is not unlawful to sell Hitler’s art works in Germany as long as the word or the symbol, ‘Nazi’, doesn’t appear, but there are many who condemn such sale of artworks by Hitler.
Our perception of Hitler is that of an evil person responsible for the holocaust. History talks only about how Hitler killed millions of Jews, using concentration camps and gas chambers, but it fails to highlight the prevailing circumstances, about the challenges that Hitler faced.
As Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer of the Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945, Hitler acted in response to the problems of his time. How can we judge him in hindsight?
Looking at the devastation of World War 2, it’s quite easy to attack Hitler, but he took up the reins of Germany at a time when the country was suffering from severe economic depression. Because of the Russian Revolution, there was a constant threat of Communism spreading across Europe. Western powers were colluding to overpower Germany. Fascism, for the Fuhrer, was a lifestyle and Hitler believed it would take Germany to greater heights. He believed in patriotism and pure race, but this was hardly unique to Germany alone. The British Empire entertained similar beliefs!
We strongly condemn Hitler’s racist tendencies, but it’s important to understand that scientists of the time had established that some races were inferior and that their physical appearances reflected the filth within. Hitler can be faulted for blindly believing in the coterie of ‘yes men’.
In fact, Hitler was kept in the dark with regard to various condemnable acts, he was not directly responsible for most of the heinous crimes that took place under him. Orders in the ‘Third Reich’ did not always come from Hitler himself. It has already been established that Hitler believed in the superiority of the Aryan race and to ensure purity of blood, holocaust happened.
But make no mistake, Hitler was not responsible for the creation of death camps. Others below him exploited their positions and issued orders in the name of the Fuhrer… Himmler, for example, was quite dominant in the racial policy of the Third Reich, he should be blamed equally. Goering was running a separate campaign against the Jews.
Why only single out Hitler for committing war crimes? Joseph Stalin created the demonic ‘Gulags’ which were as bad as the Nazi camps, but Stalin is hardly discussed in the same breath as Hitler. Perhaps, it is because the USSR sided with the ‘Allies’ and the Western powers are repaying Russia’s allegiance!
He may even have been mentally imbalanced. In the First World War, Hitler was gassed as a captive by the Allies. He suffered every humiliation that we today accuse him of causing others. It is believed that he lost his senses to a great deal, clouding his judgment on many occasions.
On 30 April 1945, when Soviet troops zeroed in on Hitler, he shot himself and Eva Braun, his wife, bit into a cyanide capsule. Their bodies were carried up the stairs and through the bunker’s emergency exit to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater and doused with petrol.
I believe Hitler was not evil. He was racist and went to extreme lengths to ensure German supremacy. Any country’s leader would want that, but only Hitler dared to dream. His methods have been criticized, as they should be, but let’s not forget the pressing circumstances. Along with his followers, Hitler lifted Germany from the rubbles of WWI and made it, arguably, the most powerful nation during the late 1930’s, early 1940’s.