Hitler Was Not a Monster

January 4, 2009

Every TV show about Adolf Hitler has the powerful music and deathly serious narration. usually they offer an extremely biased account of how bad Hitler was. What would be helpful to see is Hitler’s point of view. I want to see what Hitler as a passionate person with one of the largest scale objectives of all time. The holocaust may be the most important event in recent history and every documentary and TV show cops-out and simply calls Hitler a monster or evil. Hitler was not evil, he wasn’t a monster, he was an unfortunately defective person who happened to be in a position of power.

Not unsurprisingly, the thought of killing innocent people is a frightening one. If someone was after me to kill me, my fear would make clear as to where is safety, and where is danger. It’s good for our survival if we can simplify all the way down to “safe” and “danger” or as more popularly stated “good” and “evil”. Hitler’s been dead for over 60 years, most people are no longer in immediate danger from him. Calling him “evil” or a “monster” only sums up one of the most interesting events in recent history into a single vague word. The holocaust is important, we know it didn’t go well, we know people suffered, but what we need to understand is, how did it happen.

I’m not a historian, I don’t know all that much about this event, I don’t know what Hitler’s mental/emotional state was at the time. Whatever the cause was, something inspired him. For some reason he thought, “This is a straight up good idea.” Why would someone think that genocide was a good idea?

Hitler was way ahead of his time. He worked with eugenics controlling human breeding, trying to create perfect men. What if he had succeeded? If you ignore the method for a minute, every man woman and child on earth would have ended up a super-man. People would have lived extremely long and healthy lives. Sacrifice the few to serve the betterment of the many, the Jews might have been seen as martyrs. Or maybe not, maybe the holocaust would have been seen as a war like the crusades. But none of that happened, Hitler failed. And we need to learn why he failed. It wasn’t the evil that ruined him, it’s more complicated then that. We’re not in survival mode anymore, those one word, overly-simplified terms no longer serve us. Understanding Hitler does not equal being compassionate to genocide but it does equal attempting to not repeat the same mistake.

These value judgment terms; “good” and “evil” require a context to be useful. What’s “good” to me might be be “evil” to you. There’s no level of intensity that brings these terms to universal meanings. In other words, at no point, do these kinds of terms mean the same for everyone and everything, they’re always relative. So when someone’s chasing after you, think of them as dangerous, but when your out of danger, be more thoughtful with your descriptions.

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5 Responses to “Hitler Was Not a Monster”

  1. Ashley said

    EVIL adj., e·vil·er, e·vil·est.

    1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked: an evil tyrant.
    2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful: the evil effects of a poor diet.
    3. Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous: evil omens.
    4. Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous: an evil reputation.
    5. Characterized by anger or spite; malicious: an evil temper.

    I think you find fault with definition no.1. Because you think that being morally bad or wrong is subjective. But don’t you agree that Hitler caused ruin, injury or pain; was bad or blameworthy by report; and was characterized by anger or spite? The definition of evil does apply to Hitler or more levels than the one you’re pointing out.

  2. Ashley said

    Also, when you’re looking at what Hitler did and how he failed, it’s kind of hard to just take out the part where he killed millions of Jews and “undesirable” folks. That was kind of an integral part of his plan, and an integral part of why he is, in fact, evil.

  3. Ashley said

    Sorry, I keep going here. But maybe you’re thinking that he plan was not inherently evil. He was trying to do something good by creating a super race. Ok, I can go with that. But how he executed his plan WAS evil. Causing misfortune and harm and death to millions of people is an act that cannot be seen as anything but evil, no matter the intentions.

  4. jasonhenle said

    According to the English definition Hitler does fit the definition of “Evil”. However, due to the complexity of what he did, I think the word does a terrible job fully explaining him. I do not think it’s possible to adequately sum Hitler up in a single word. If you zoom out far enough to see the entire worlds population as a whole; without looking at the humanity, it’s possible to entertain the idea that he was attempting something good. The word “Evil” to me insinuates some kind of universal value judgment, and saying he’s bad for doing something he wanted to be good, is confusing.

    If a macroscopic being saw human beings as humans see individual cells,at that scale value judgment such as “good” or “evil” in this or any instance would be irrelevant. Whatever happens, happens. Some events happen and they benefit some, some events happen and they harm some. Now zoom back in on our scale, being the people effected by others actions, for our own selfish reasons, we might want to encourage or discourage something from happening. Therefore, the value judgment is relative and not a very good universal description.

  5. PVG said

    The frightening thing is that Hitler was not a mentally ill person. He knew excactly what he was doing and why. His only goal was to gain power, first for him, then for Germany. Elliminating Jews was just a means to a goal justified by ideas he picked up in his lifetime. If something goes wrong it’s very interesting to find someone to blame. If something goes right it’s best to let people think you did it yourself! That is how Hitler worked. It would be easy to think that he was forced into his position or that he would be mentally disturbed but according to lots of scientists and myself he was not! “Evil” or “monster” or just words to describe the fear that everybody has the capacity of being a Hitler. We all love to have some power, but fortunately we don’t all get the chance to do what he did! Powerfull people like presidents (I won’t give excamples) often do ugly things to keep their power!

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