One of the most infamous tyrants of all time was Adolf Hitler who instituted the Nazi Regime in Germany seeking world domination and starting WWII.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Connor.
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: So, we’ve talked a lot about tyrants. In fact, we just had an episode a couple of episodes ago where we were talking about, tyrants, and we’ve been kind of teasing for a while that we’re gonna really dive into World War II history shortly in upcoming episodes. But we can’t really do that in one episode because 15 minutes to talk about a, well, how many years was it? Like a seven year, 10 year war is just impossible. There’s too much and there’s too much. That still kind of impacts us today, I think. And so that’s why I really wanted to take the time to kind of talk about it. So today we’re gonna be building the foundation for that, and we’re gonna talk about someone who’s probably the world’s most infamous villain, and that’s Adolf Hitler, who a lot of you have probably heard about, whether you know a lot about him, or a lot people try to demonize. People have been being like, oh, that’s just like Hitler. That politicians just like Hitler. But to be fair, there’s been one Hitler, and we’re gonna talk about him today. So, just a little background, he was born on April 20th, 1889. His family bounced back and forth between Germany and Austria, and Austria’s actually right next to Germany. They have a lot in common, but they are not the same country. In fact, if you were to tell somebody that during World War II, they’d be very mad. Just watch Sound of Music. that’s a good example. But his childhood was described as very unhappy. So he was orphaned at a young age when his parents died, to make things worse, all of his siblings, but one of them died and he wasn’t very close to that, I think was his sister. So obviously that would make things pretty hard, you know, that, that would make life pretty hard for, young Hitler. But, you know, we’ve talked about our, he’s not a hero, but we’ve talked about heroes before, and they’ve always overcome really hard childhoods. And then they’ve overcome all these obstacles to become really extraordinary. Well, here we have an example of someone who did not do that, right? Hitler is no hero. So here you have somebody who was angry about his childhood, who’s angry about his circumstances, and instead of trying to better them, he just really just kind of descended into anger and bitterness, and then evil. So he got expelled from school. He eventually moved to Vienna, which is an Austria, and he wanted to be an artist, which always makes me laugh for some reason, how somebody so evil could wanna just like paint trees. But the funny thing about this is he was, a terrible artist, so he couldn’t even do that. So, it’s just kind of a funny story to me to see how he got to where he was. One of his teachers actually said that he lacked any artistic talent, which made him even more bitter. So he’s penniless, he’s unable to make it as an artist. He has no family. He decides he’s gonna be an architect. He moves to Munich, which is another place in Germany.
Connor: He didn’t even make it as an architect.
Brittany: He didn’t No, exactly.
Connor: The guy can’t catch a break, which I, you gotta wonder, had he had like a decent talent, let’s say, for being an architect, would he have then, you know, just lived a content life as an architect? And what was it? His failures in so many things that led him to feel bitter, angry, yeah, unfilled. I, sometimes wonder about that, you know, this talentless guy felt angry at the world and wanted to take it out on other people. And what would life have been like, had young Adolf, you know, had some talent? So, you know, then we mentioned World War II. That means there was a World War I, of course, yes. And, we’ll get into that on a future episode as well. But when World War I broke out, Germany was of course very involved. And, he signed up and, you know, he was a good soldier as far as soldiering goes. So I guess here’s his talent is like you know, following orders, following orders, barking orders that other people, you know, being able to hurt or kill other people. So he’s a, you know, decent soldier. In fact, even perhaps a good soldier, he won awards for his bravery. And it’s right around this time that he becomes kind of obsessed with German pride. Of course, you think of like your local hometown, you know, college or high school. There’s rivalries, right? And it’s our sports team. It’s gonna crush your sports team and everyone cheers for the home team. And there’s kind of this tribal mentality with which, humans, you know, treat one another and kind of this us versus them. Well, if it’s that way with sports, it’s definitely that way with war, right? Yeah. Like, Hey, that country’s attacking us. They’re all evil. We, need to win. Go us, you know, we’re so much better. And of course, the other side is saying the same thing. And so you get these like tribal tendencies where this isn’t just basketball or football, this is people’s lives,
Brittany: Literally death. Yeah.
Connor: Yeah. And so Hitler like feeds into this. He, becomes obsessed, as I said, with German pride, that tribalistic, you know, Germans are superior. We ought to, you know, no longer be punished or suppressed. And, so he has this passion almost for war as part of this, tribal tendency. Well, at the, you know, end of World War I, there’s this financial, mess that Germany is in. And, as a result of that, Germany is, is being really financially punished. We’re, gonna just spare a lot of the details here, for lack of time. This is worth its own study later on. Yes. And we’ll get into this a little bit more when we get into the World War I episode where we’re talking today about Hitler. The details are a little less relevant, but, Germany is being punished and, the currency is being inflated. The money, just like in the creature from Jekyll Island, they had their own version of, the Federal Reserve, the creature. And so the money is just being, devalued. People are really starving. there’s a lot of problems in Germany, and people are desperate, to get out of these economic problems. They’re blaming the other countries for punishing them after World War I. and so then you have people trying to step forward who offer quote-unquote solutions. there’s many political parties here in America. We’re used to like the Republicans and the Democrats, and then, you know, little third parties, the Libertarian Party, the Constitution party.
Brittany: Green Party,
Connor: Yeah. And, Europe. And throughout Europe, you know, for a long time there’s been tons of political parties, and there’s not like two major ones. There’s, you know, some that are more influential than others, but there’s a, you know, you can have one government, congress, parliament or whatever, where there’s like a dozen parties represented within, you know, the overall legislature. And so there was the Nazi party, but, at first, there were tons of different parties in Germany, all of these people trying to say, this is what Germany should do, and that’s what Germany should do. So, Hitler, you know, he starts to think up his own solutions again, tied to that German pride about how they can overcome and what they can do to reassert themselves and restore German pride. And people start listening. I mean, he’s a good speaker. He’s persuasive, he’s passionate. People like listening to him. And again, people are so desperate for solutions they’re looking for. And this is a human tendency we certainly see in our own day and in our own country, people want someone else to solve their problems for Yep. Right? People are looking for someone with ideas or solutions saying, Hey, this is happening to you. That’s not right. I’m gonna help you out. And this is why politicians so often rise to power, is because they make these promises and people want solutions. They want someone else to fix it. And that was the case with the Germans and with Hitler, as he slowly but then quickly started rising in influence, as people started listening to him, he gained a following, right? Because people wanted a strong leader. They wanted German’s pride to be restored. They wanted all these injustices after World War I, to be overturned. They wanted the monetary, the economic situation to be fixed. And so when Hitler came around as a really persuasive, passionate speaker offering these plans that were seen as solutions to Germany’s problems, a lot of Germans listened.
Brittany: One la little side note you mentioned, you know, he’s a good speaker. I learned this from that tyrant documentary we mentioned a couple of episodes ago, but he got discovered as a speaker, quote-unquote, because he was actually an undercover spy for the government trying to squash like, small groups of political dissidents. And he went to, I don’t remember, it was like some group that was essentially anti-Jewish, you know, people, and he heard them speak, and he became infuriated. So he like overtook their meeting and just started screaming as he did when he spoke. And that’s how his speaking career started. So I just thought that was a little bit of an interesting little tidbit. But one of the scariest part about Hitler’s rise to power is that it was done democratically. And you know, you and I have said a lot of times that democracy is not this great thing, right? I can’t remember who said it, but democracy is two wolfs at a sheep arguing over what’s for dinner, and Right. Obviously, the wolves are gonna win. So I think, I think Hitler’s actually a perfect example of this because it wasn’t like he cheated to come into power. they believed the people believed in his message. Like, you said, Connor, they were so desperate to get out of this situation. They were in, they needed a, like, they needed a hero. And I’m obviously, I’m saying that in quotations. He was a horrible man, but, but they needed anything. They’re willing to do anything to get out of their situation. So he ends up ruling Germany from 1933 to 1945. You know, he is the reason we got into World War ii, which again, we’re gonna do episodes on. And, like, Connor said, you really can’t understand World War II also with understanding World War I. So we’ll talk about that. And a lot of history, professors prefer to just call it the Great World War now, because they’re so close, they kind of don’t like separating them. But so Hitler is obviously the reason we got into it. His whole goal was to show the world German dominance. And I and I think the shot heard around the world, so to speak, when it all started, was when he invaded Poland, which is, which is near Germany. But it wasn’t just, it’s funny to me because the Germans were, they called the axis of evil. They didn’t call themselves that, but that’s what we called them, right? Okay. Yeah. So it was Japan, it was Germany, it was Italy. The interesting thing about this is they all think they’re on one team but had, they won the war, you know, Hitler would’ve gone to war with Japan, right? it wasn’t like he was just gonna be like, all right, we all won. Yay. Let’s divide up the world. So, I mean, this was a war for Hitler. This was a war for German dominance. And he blamed minorities of all sorts, but especially the Jews, for everyone’s problems. There was a word called Untermensch. I’m gonna say that badly, but that basically means subhuman. So anyone who was not of Arian blood, who was not, you know, what we would call, you know, white or whatever, German descent, anyone who wasn’t like him or like them, they were considered under humans. They didn’t even count. He cared about life so little. I mean, you have to realize how much the individual just doesn’t matter in that kind of society, because your group together by who your parents were, who your grandparents were, so really, really scary to live in that kind of climate. So he wanted to rid the world of all these people who weren’t like him. And that is, like I said, collectivism at its absolute worst.
Connor: Yeah. You don’t even see people as individuals that are just part of a group. And if you don’t like that group or you blame that group for, you know, economic problems or political problems, anyone affiliated with that group is inherently part of the problem. And, you know, we’re gonna do an entire episode later on the Holocaust. Yes. which is part of, the story of the Great War, World War II. and, so he took his obsession with, race these subhumans, as he called them, to absolutely horrific levels. He implemented what he called the final solution. This was his plan to exterminate Jewish people. I mean, totally racist. This is genocide killing an entire group of people in the end. I think it’s around 6 million Yeah. Jewish people that he killed. Men, women, and children. This is a bad dude. But what’s so interesting about people like this is they think they’re doing something right. Yeah. Right. They don’t think that they’re evil people. They see, you know, in his case, he saw Jewish people as a problem. And so the ends justified the means, in other words, because, you know, it was a moral problem to have Jews in his eyes, right? Then any means were justified to resolve that problem. And so people in the shoes of a dictator like this, have a very warped way of thinking. And they justify all sorts of awful conduct like Hitler did. I mean, and this wasn’t just horror for Jewish people. Of course, many people were trying to help. They’d be arrested, they’d be imprisoned, they’d be killed. Right? countries across the world, of course, now waging war, trying to defeat the Nazis and stop, all of this behavior. And then of course, soldiers in those militaries and their loved ones, and, you know, bystanders, not pedestrian, what civilians Right? Not involved in the war. They’re dying. So just absolute horror and destruction throughout the world, throughout Europe, certainly. and the important thing here is Hitler came kind of close to winning. Yeah. you know, he made the mistake of starting a war on two fronts. He kind of split his resources, he made a tactical error. But this guy inspired Germans to rise to their costs to see, you know, America and England and these powers fighting against them as oppressors, right? As Jewish sympathizers and all these things. And really inspired people like cuz Hiller, he can’t do this on his own. He can’t, you know, wage war on his own. He needs to persuade millions of people to rise to this. Cause that shows the power of an idea, in this case, an evil, awful idea. Yeah. But an idea nonetheless that motivates people to action. You know, and, so Hitler, I mean, the short version here is that when he finally saw he was going to lose, he ended up killing himself because he didn’t want to live in a world where his plan did not happen. He believed so deeply in his cause that he could not accept defeat. He took the coward’s way out. He killed himself. And, that was kind of the end of Hitler’s story. Certainly not the story of the war. You know, there was a, we’ll get into this on a subsequent episode, but there’s still more to come. there’s the Nuremberg trials Yes. Where some of these, leftover Nazis were being held accountable in these judicial tribunals. But what’s interesting, and, and for the book, we’re working on, down the road about political villains and, this guidebook we’re doing about political villains, it’s, not even about Hitler and why he’s so awful. It’s about how could the people have let this happen? right? Why did the culture, why did society go along with this? How could they be deceived? And so what can we learn from that, right? How can we not be deceived? How can we make sure that we don’t go along with any would be dictator, someone trying to rise to power? That, I think is an interesting question for us as we think of stories like Hitler. It’s not just, oh, here was this evil guy and all the bad things he do, but this curiosity about how did he get away with this? Why did people support this guy? What type of circumstances have to exist for a people, a person like this, Adolf Hitler, to gain any influence at all? What are the arguments? What is that? What is that idea that is so persuasive that people are willing to die and kill over it? And that to me is a very interesting question to ask. and which is why we’re working on that book, that we’ll have out soon. Brittany, thanks as always for chatting. We’ll talk to you guys next time. Make sure you’re subscribed to Tuttletwins.com/podcast. Until next time, Brittany, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.