Tuesday, May 16, 2023

What was Hitler's personality like?

Just about everything we hear about Hitler casts him in a bad light.  But is that all? Did he have a "good" side?  Was he in any way likeable?  We are unlikely to get a full and fair answer to that question, as anything favourable to him would most likely have long ago been censored out of existence. Political censorship is an evil, however, so I have looked for whatever accounts still exist.  And my finding is that he did indeed have a pleasant personality on at least some occasions.

The person who knew Hitler best was undoubtedly Albert Speer, his architect..  So I read right through his "Inside the Third Reich" to see what I could find.  And I did find an account of Hitler being friendly and comradely towards his building workers.  But that was apparently in the 1930s.  What becomes clear in the book is that Hitler's mood steadily deteriorated over time. He steadily became a more difficult companion due to the stresses he was under.

There is however another remaining nugget of information about what Hitler was like in his earlier days. Two short 1936 home movies of him have survived.  One "reveals a remarkably "friendly" and "modest" side of Adolf Hitler at the Bayreuth Festival". It was taken when he was  a welcome guest in the Wagner family.  The scenes show Hitler in conversation with a "beaming" Winifred Wagner. The films show the Nazi leader in civilian clothing, "listening, smiling, an astonishingly modest and even submissive Hitler"   We also read that . "One sees a completely different side of Hitler, not the statesman, but quite a relaxed and friendly person"

I submit that these accounts portray Hitler's basic personality.  To have influence you have to get on with people and his influence was immense.  He came across as a nice guy.  There might be a warning in that.  Famous grinners like Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden have done a lot of damage too

My source for the home movie contents:


I have kept a copy of it and will post it in various places

It might also be of some interest that there is an article by an historian here which looks at the Nazi policies that would be well-regarded today