Is Hitler evil?

Here is an interesting question.  Was Hitler more evil than any other person? Imagine yourself travelling in time and meeting the five year old Hitler.  What would you see in him at this age?  Would he already have the seeds of evil in him? Were they maybe even inherited from his father Alois, a very strict and intelligent, but brutal man.  Would we not feel sorry for Hitler when we observe how often he was beaten insane by his father?

Clearly nobody would think that a five year old boy is inherent evil.  What about when Hitler is ten, at school, struggling under the extreme pressure his father put him under to perform.  His mind closes up under the stress and he’s not able to get the grades his father expects him to.  More beatings follow as his father tries to enforce his will upon ten year old.

Hitler already developed certain neuroses and eccentric behaviour patterns in an unconscious attempt to cope.  He hates his father but is not allowed to express this hatred so he vents it against Jews and Marxists.  Maybe we even see him beating up a Jew, joining into the anti-Semitic sentiment of that time. More likely, though, he’s standing somewhere isolated in a corner, a dreamer, shy, insecure and unsure of himself.   Does this mark him as evil?

His father dies when he’s thirteen.  The pressure is gone and Hitler now enjoys his new found freedom.  No more forced studies, no more beatings when he makes another spelling mistake or gets another bad mark, or simply is in the way.  He let’s himself go completely and at the age of fifteen drops out of school without any qualifications.  Freed from any authoritarian system he goes on a drinking spree.  He vows that nobody will abuse him any longer, no man, no teacher, nobody. He drinks and parties till the morning hours.  Do we see the evil seed sprouting in him and already giving fruit?

When eighteen he moves to Vienna to become an art student.  Since he left school he has devoted himself to drawing and painting and showed some talent, or so he thinks.   He remembers his mothers’ worried looks, the endless hours of pleading with him to do something with his life, to go back to school or learn a trade.  Now he will show her that he can make it as an artist.

With his fathers inheritance and a massive portfolio under his arm he goes to apply at the Vienna Academy of Art.  They will be impressed when he shows them all those precise pictures he drew and painted.  What a shock when they reject his application.  Damn those Jews, his outrage knows no bounds.  He applies to the Vienna School of Architecture, but again, without an education it is hopeless.  It’s all a trap.  All those penned up feelings of hate and frustration well up in him.  Like his father, they are all out to get him, to stop him from doing what he wants to do and to force him into a life of misery.

All these years, and those that follow, in the army he wins five medals of honour including the iron cross for bravery. He was brave and his friends describe him as an eccentric but deeply caring man.  Is this man evil?  What makes a man evil?  Is it not by the deeds they do that we judge them?  And if it is by the evils they do, how come we judge so unfairly?

Most of us would be agreed if we say that Hitler was evil mostly because of his hatred of the Jews and the holocaust.  We do ban his book “Mein Kampf” ( or parts of it) because we deem his book dangerous.  It justifies the holocaust and incites to hatred of certain races of people like the Jews.  How is it, though, that on this basis we think it fit to make a profound judgement on a man and his time of which we understand so little.  How come that at the same token we allow books and people to be applauded who also incite to hatred of other races, of homosexuals, non believers, and even justify the holocausts of their own time.

The Bible for example is full of Hitlers who like him felt ordered by God to go to war, to perform ethnic cleansing, to murder men and women of their own people because they dared to ‘pollute’ the racial bloodline by marrying foreigners.  These men who were responsible for exterminating whole peoples and performing masses of atrocities (ripping out eyes of their defeated opponents, sawing them in pieces while alive and conscious) are now adored and venerated by millions of people.

With a little bit of time atrocities become acts of righteousness, the holocaust a necessary cleansing of evil, torture the just way to punish a defeated enemy.  In the light of this can we really say Hitler was evil?  Is it not simply relative how we judge the acts of a man that they are always evil until time redeems him and turns him into a God, a saviour, someone we want to love and worship?

In two thousand years there won’t be books on the evils of the Nazi era, but about Hitlers’ struggle to save mankind, his eternal quest for the purification of the holy race, his battles with evil and his eventual overthrow of Satan the Jew.  There will be prayer books and church services, people who bow down towards Berlin seven times a day and recite ‘holy’ prayers extolling the wonderful deeds of  St Adolph (peace and blessings be upon him).

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