20 Things You Were Not Told About Adolph Hitler
Adolf Hitler – a name which brings connotations of death, warfare, murder, misery and the attempted extermination of an entire race.
Yes, the Nazi leader established himself as the Fuhrer of all of Germany before leading the world into a second brutal World War between the years of 1939 and 1945, but he also went about trying to do so much more than that.
Six-million Jews – and an estimated 11million people in all – were killed as a result of the Holocaust, which he orchestrated, and more than 20million more died during the course of World War II.
An authoritarian dictator, Hitler’s “Nazism” drew upon Italian Fascism for inspiration and shunned the capitalistic methods of the Western Powers or the socialistic theories of the Soviet Union.
He believed in the “Aryan Race” of Germans and in Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch who should rule above the slave-like under-classes of the sub-human Untermensch.
But what do we actually know about Hitler the man – what was he like? What hobbies did he have? Which hard drugs did he take? And why did he shave his moustache into the unusual yet distinctive toothbrush-style that his name has become synonymous with? Well, all is revealed right here…
20. He Spied On The Nazi Party Before Joining Them
Having served in the German Army during World War I, Hitler decide to remain in the forces following the Armistice and he was made an intelligence agent (Verbindungsmann) of the Reichswehr.
Interestingly, Hitler was tasked with infiltrating the German Workers’ Partry (DAP) – the predecessor to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi Party – but he soon switched allegiances.
After just a few DAP meetings, Hitler realised he shared the same anti-Semitic, nationalist and anti-Marxist views as the leader Anton Drexler and joined the Party, becoming their 55th member.
19. Hitler Lived In Homeless Shelters For A Period
During his teens, Hitler dreamed of being an artist and was twice rejected from Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts (in both 1907 and 1908) due to “his unfitness for painting”.
Following his second rejection, Hitler remained in Vienna and tried to make a living out of selling his paintings but – partly due to their poor quality and partly due to his lack of resources – he quickly ran out of money.
This forced Hitler, as a young adult, to revert to dossing in homeless shelters in Vienna and – whenever he sold a painting – he would occasionally spend the night in a hostel instead.
18. The Great Reformer Martin Luther Was One Of His Influences
As a quite angry individual, Hitler blamed Germany’s woes on many things – and one of those he termed “Catholic Germanophobia”.
This led him to become inspired by Martin Luther – the great leader of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century – due to the former friar’s dismissal of the Catholic Church.
Despite having been brought up as a Catholic as a child, Hitler despised Christianity – and particularly the papacy – yet he found inspiration from Luther.
17. Hitler Was Awarded The Iron Cross First Class
It was during the Great War that Hitler really discovered his love for all things German, even if those concepts had already been formulating in his head for some time.
What’s more, Hitler was originally awarded the Iron Cross Second Class for military service – but he was then upgraded to receive the First Class in August 1918 on the recommendation of Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, his Jewish superior.
Hitler was awarded the First Class medal despite being a member of the lowly Gefreiter rank – the second lowest in the German Army – in which it was extremely rare to be commended.
16. Shicklgruber Was His Original Family Name
Adolf Hitler is the name that has come to by synonymous with the murder of six-million Jews – yet it could so easily have been Adolf Shicklgruber instead.
The name “Hitler” was only taken by Adolf’s father, Alois, in 1876 so that he could become legitimised. In fact, the name “Hitler” could also be spelled as “Hüttler”, “Huettler” or even “Hiedler”.
15. Hitler Was “Nationless” For Seven Years
Yet from a young age Hitler longed to be part of Imperial Germany and despised the Habsburg’s Austro-Hungarian Empire – formally renouncing his Austrian citizenship in April 1925.
He did this despite the fact it prevented him from running for public office in Germany and left him at risk at deportation at any time – and, until he was awarded citizenship of Brunswick in February 1932, Hitler technically was “nationless” or “stateless” as he did not have a formal nationality.
14. Whistling When You Wish Upon A Star Was One Of Hitler’s Hobbies
Yes, you did read the heading correctly – Hitler used to whistle tunes including When You Wish Upon A Star.
The German leader supposedly relaxed by whistling, or performed the hobby in moments of euphoria – such as when he stood on the balcony looking across Paris following the fall of the French capital in June 1940.
Another favourite tune of Hitler’s was Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? – presumably due to his nickname of “The Wolf”.
13. Hitler Was Temporarily Blinded At Least Once
During World War I, while serving in the trenches as a messenger, Hitler was temporarily blinded following a mustard gas attack on his camp.
The injuries forced Hitler to be hospitalised and he was admitted to a unit in Pasewalk, Germany, to recover.
According to Hitler himself, he also suffered a second temporary spate of blindness upon hearing of the horrifying news of Germany’s Armistice with France and Britain. This, however, is unconfirmed.
12. It Is Likely He Had Parkinson’s Disease
Throughout his life Hitler suffered from any number of illnesses, injuries and ailments – and one that doctors diagnosed him with was Parkinson’s disease.
Hitler suffered from physical and mental symptoms of the disease for the last 11 years of his life and it is argued by some historians that possible dementia as a result of the illness affected his decision-making during World War II.
11. He Never Set Foot In A Concentration Camp
The vast majority of the 11million people killed during the Holocaust were murdered at the 1,200 Death and Concentration Camps established by the Nazis – yet Hitler never set foot in one of them.
In some ways it is perhaps unsurprising due to the fact the majority of the camps were constructed in the east, but still it is a rather baffling fact.
Interestingly, some historians have argued that the camps were deliberately set up in Poland, the Czech Republic, the USSR and Yugoslavia because Hitler wanted the number of atrocities committed on German soil to be limited.
10. Hitler Was TIME Magazine’s Man Of The Year For 1938
“I have returned from Germany with peace for our time” were the infamous words uttered by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on his return from the Munich Conference in September 1938.
That conference – conducted between French Premier Edouard Daladier, Italian leader Benito Mussolini, Hitler and Chamberlain himself – was perceived at the time to have prevented a world war due to the fact Germany were granted the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia.
Such a monumental event of “peacekeeping” led Hitler to be named “without a doubt” as TIME magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938. Incredible when you think about it now…
9. He Contemplated Being A Priest During His Childhood
Although he soon shunned his Catholic upbringing, Hitler did hold aspirations to be a priest during his childhood. As an eight-year-old, Hitler was a proud member of the church choir and took up singing lessons in order to improve his vocals.
But Hitler’s religious beliefs soon faded and he became an atheist to the very core – shattering any dreams he may have previously held of becoming a priest…
8. Three Of His Six Siblings Died When He Was A Child
Hitler was far from an only child – in fact, he had six siblings, four of whom died before his 25th birthday.
Three of them actually died when he was still an infant – their names were Gustav, Ida and Otto. Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl’s fourth child was named Adolf – and he was the one who went on to become infamous.
7. Hitler Crafted Laws Against Animal Cruelty
Yes, this one is going to seem extremely strange considering the innumerable human atrocities he ordered during his lifetime, but Hitler despised animal cruelty.
A committed vegetarian, Hitler was put off meat when he was young – legend has it as a result of witnessing an autopsy – and became determined to protect animals.
He helped to implement laws which protected wild animals, chickens and cattle – and he intended to reduce Germany’s meat consumption after World War II.
6. Hitler Wanted To Create The “Museum Of An Extinct Race”
It is widely documented that Hitler wanted to exterminate an entire race – his regime oversaw the murder of six-million Jews – but he did not want to completely eliminate their memory.
Despite his attempt “to rid the world of Bolshevik Jewry”, Hitler demanded that artefacts, paintings and air-looms of any Jews murdered were retained.
His intention was to create a gallery for German people to come and view such artefacts – named the “Museum Of An Extinct Race”…
5. He Was Prescribed Cocaine – And Took It Twice A Day
Hitler would use an inhaler to get a regular fix of the drug to aid with his sinus and throat problems throughout his time in office during the Third Reich. Additionally, Hitler was also provided with eye drops that also contained cocaine – so it seems he was smacked up a heck of a lot of the time…
4. Hitler Was Nominated For The 1939 Nobel Peace Prize
Alongside Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler is among the names to have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, in contrast to Stalin, the nomination of Hitler in 1939 by EGC Brandt was supposed to be ironic.
Swedish parliamentarian Brandt nominated Hitler in order to satirically criticise the Swedish government – but, unsurprisingly, it was not very well received and he was forced to withdraw it.
3. Hitler Was Injected With Bull Testicle Extract
Weirdly, cocaine was not the most unusual “drug” which Hitler took during his time as Fuhrer of Germany. No, that would in fact be bull testicle extract.
His personal physician, Dr Morell, recommended he be injected with extracts from bulls’ testicles and prostates in order to improve his diminishing libido.
Oh Eva Braun – you lucky, lucky woman…
2. The Blow-up Doll Was Pioneered Under Hitler’s Leadership
The blow-up doll was not pioneered by Hitler for his own personal pleasure, but it was in fact created in order to prevent the spread of syphilis among German soldiers.
The Wehrmacht enjoying spending their spare time in Vichy France liaising with the local prostitutes and this led to an epidemic of syphilis spreading among the soldiers.
Hitler therefore commissioned a top-secret project to create blow-up dolls which could be put in soldier’s packs – then they could do with them as they pleased…
1. He Shaved His Moustache Because It Nearly Killed Him
While his trench was experiencing a mustard-gas attack during the First World War, Hitler tried to pull his respirator mask over his face. However, due to his – then full – moustache, an air lock could not be created to keep out the gas and Hitler almost died due to the presence of the gas.
As a result, Hitler was ordered by his superiors to remove his moustache – instead, he trimmed it to the distinctive, toothbrush-shaped style that he became associated with due to his love of all things Charlie Chaplin.
By Chris Waugh, WhatCulture