Term Paper: Adolf Hitler

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Hitler as Evil

There is no doubt that Adolf Hitler is remembered as one of the most evil geniuses of the twentieth century. Countless observations and evaluations on Hitler's personality and life reveal an artistic, charismatic man that turned to wickedness to accomplish his will. Hitler was evil because he was a cold-blooded murderer. In addition to this, he also manipulated the public's fears to get what he wanted. Hitler is a fine example of how one man can introduce good and evil to a society at the same time. He was successful because he hid his wickedness behind the so-called good that he was doing for society. He is the "most effective and powerful demagogue of the 20th century" (Gale) but he is better known for his evil acts: the execution of approximately 6 million Jews. (Gale) He masked evil behind the good act of restoring jobs to a faltering economy. He built up the war with propaganda and worked citizens into a frenzy that is literally unmatched. He also made Germany believe that the Jew was the enemy. Hitler is evil incarnate because he was a genius and he knew what he was doing and even in the end, he never expressed regret or remorse.

There is no doubt that Hitler was evil. His elimination of the Jews demonstrates just how cold evil is. Of course, Hitler was a racist. James Tent states that Hitler segregated citizens in "stages" (Tent) as not to have everything occur at once. He writes that Hitler drew dividing lines between the Germans and others "first with business boycotts and purges of the civil service in 1933, then with his Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which denied Jews citizenship or the right to marry Aryans" (Tent). This behavior led to violence, which resulted in massacres, and that forced Jews to resettle in ghettos (Tent). This hatred and anger culminated in 1942 when Hitler met with his inner circle and determined upon a '"Final Solution', the Nazis euphemism for the mass murder of all Jews" (Tent). It is important to note that while Hitler "never issued written orders, but his subordinates knew his wishes and hastened to carry them out" (Tent). In addition, Richard Evans notes that the government passed laws that gave permission to "purge the civil service... And many other professions that were not government-controlled in other countries" of non-Germans. Unsurprisingly, the primary reason for this purging was "not political but racial" (Evans). Evans also points out that even though Germany had a small percentage of Jews, Hitler "made it clear from the beginning of his political career... that he held them responsible for Germany's ills: they were, he said, a subversive, parasitical element who had to be got rid of" (Evans). And get rid of them, he did. The History Channel reports that "thousands of anti-Nazis" were "hauled off to concentration camps and all signs of dissent suppressed" (History Channel)." He is most known for his concentration camps and mass graves. His Gestapo, as well as most of his public, supported him. He could extinguish life because he was replenishing other significant segments of society, such as the economy. It should be noted, however, that no amount good deeds could negate evil acts.

Martin Needler states, "Thus Hitler used his anti-Semitism to achieve a reconciliation, on the ideological plane, of intrinsically contradictory appeals. There would be no 'labor troubles' after Jewish agitators had been proscribed; no exploitation of the worker when Jewish capitalists were curbed; no 'unfair competition' with small shopkeepers when Jewish department stores were confiscated; no foreclosing of farm mortgages when Jewish land speculators were done away with; and so on" (Needler).

Hitler was also evil because he used people's fears against them. Hitler was evil because he played on people's fears to get what he wanted.

Richard Evans contends that once Hitler became Chancellor in Germany, "all Hitler could think of doing was to intensify the violence on the streets" (Evans). Furthermore, once Hitler came in power, he "quickly established himself as a dictator" (History Channel). He quickly suppressed all political parties that were is opposition to his own and "absorbed the trade union movement, and instituted Gleichschaltung (leveling), the co-opting of all political, social, and professional associations into his party apparatus" (Tent). Tent also claims that all Germans were "compelled to greet each other daily with the words 'Heil Hitler!' And an outstretched right arm" (Tent). According to Tent, that salutation "powerfully reinforced political conformity" (Tent). Here we can see how he penetrated practically every aspect of life. His idea was to instill himself in almost every waking moment of every day in every German's life. It did not bother him that this was done with fear - as long as it was done. Tent notes that Hitler did not waste any time establishing his power once he was in office. His formula for success was as "potent as it was lacking in subtlety" (Tent). He points out that the very name that he chose for his party was "indicative" (Tent). Hitler's party was called "The National Socialist German Workers Party" and Tent observes that the name was "ultranationalistic" because it contained the words National and German, terms that appealed to the elite and because it "spoke for 'the little guy'" (Tent). This way, Tent estimates, being a Nazi undoubtedly meant being a German but it also meant that they "came from the same bedrock class of little people whose unrecognized talents had made their nation great, that is, they were just like Hitler" (Tent). Hitler knew how to manipulate individuals and he used his knowledge to help him succeed. Tent maintains that Hitler "played masterfully on the public's fears and resentments" (Tent) and in addition, his message was "built on absolutes: Those who oppose us are traitors; those who support us are patriots" (Tent). He was turning people against one another while simultaneously making them turn to him for leadership.

Hitler was evil because he wanted to be evil. Richard Bessell argues that when we are looking at Hitler, we should not look so much at his personality but at his "popular image" (Bessell). Bessell refers to this image as a myth that was a "double-sided phenomenon" (Bessell), meaning that Hitler was extremely successful at gaining support by using propaganda and appearing like a hero. Of course, one way to look into the mind of the man is to look at his writings. From Mein Kampf, we understand Hitler's disgust, albeit wrong from every angle. We read, "More than once I was tormented by the thought that if Providence had put me in the place of the incapable or criminal incompetents or scoundrels in our propaganda service, our battle with Destiny would have taken a different turn" (Hitler). This statement allows us to see how Hitler was always ready to blame someone else for his misfortune and bad judgment. Additionally, we can see the depth of his hatred when he writes:

If we would transform our ideal picture of the People's State into a reality we shall have to keep independent of the forces that now control public life and seek for new forces that will be ready and capable of taking up the fight for such an ideal. For a fight it will have to be, since the first objective will not be to build up the idea of the People's State but rather to wipe out the Jewish State which is now in existence. (Hitler)

Here is hatred in its truest form. Hitler does not even try to disguise his feelings - another characteristic of an evil man with an ego gone awry.

Gerhard Weinberg states:

The term "Hitler's War," sometimes attached to World War II, is accurate at least to some extent; obviously, only… [END OF PREVIEW]

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