History is full of great people, and it is also full of not-so-great people. But not many people (of not-so-great quality) can claim to be in the same league as Adolf Hitler – The German dictator who single handedly destroyed world peace and almost eliminated an entire race of people.
Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945, until his death. Have you ever wondered who started World War II? – Yes, it was Adolf Hitler (and who else could it be!). Hitler’s cruel and fascist policies resulted in deaths of millions of people.
However (and I cannot believe I am saying this), Hitler wasn’t all bad. He did do some good things as well. These good things however, are a small drop in the ocean of his reign of terror. And just for the sake of learning-something-new-everyday, we’ll shine light on the good things this man has done. But first, just incase you forgot:
Hitler rose to power via a political-military surge. He was the leader of National Socialist German Workers Party, also known as the Nazi Party. He contested elections twice and his party came in second both times. In order to maintain political stability, Paul von Hindenburg, decided to appoint Hitler as a chancellor.
Hitler used the great depression to his favor and having the support of various political and military elite, he uprooted the German government system. In 1933, Nazi Party was the only legal party in Germany.
Now, enough of the history lessons, let’s move on to good stuff. Here are 15 Hitler facts that you didn’t know.
15. Hitler wanted to be a priest when he was a child
Adolf Hitler was born in Austria on April 20th, 1889. His parents were Alios and Klara Polzi (why “Hitler” isn’t the family name is another interesting fact on the list). Hitler was the fourth of six children. Hitler was three years old, his family moved to Passau, Germany – that is why his accent was lower Bavarian dialect rather than Austrian-German.
In 1894, his family returned to Austria. Hitler’s father Alois became a farmer and Hitler started primary school. His school was a discipline-motivated institution. Hitler didn’t like it at all (the irony!) and he expressed a desire to become a priest. It is said that initially his father agreed but later on convinced Hitler to focus on his education whilst becoming a part time farmer, since that was the family trade.
Hitler would’ve made a good priest, no?
14. “Adolf Schicklgruber” was supposed to be Hitler’s name
Hitler’s father changed his last name before his son was born, otherwise he would’ve been called Adolf Schicklgruber. Too bad Hitler wasn’t called Schicklgruber, it would be a easy way to make fun. However, he probably would’ve created even more havoc if he had a terrible name to add to his list of rage.
In the Hitler’s family try, you will notice that the name Hitler is used with many variations. Hiedler, Hüttler, Hytler, and Hittler all have been used by his family members. On January 7, 1877, Alois Schicklgruber changed his last name to “Hitler”, which his son Adolf would go on to use.
Interestingly enough you can also see a lot of strange occurrences. Such as children being born out of wedlock or after only a couple of months after marriage. Also, Hitler had a sister who outlived him, but we know so little about her.
13. Hitler didn’t visit a single concentration camp
Hitler didn’t like doing the dirty work himself. During his reign, he never visited a single concentration camp. In fact, before his onslaughts started, he didn’t speak about his Jewish hatred so much. Only people close to him knew that Hitler wanted a full-scale ethnic cleansing against the Jews. Historians and biographers don’t know why Hitler never visited a concentration camp himself.
It was not as if Hitler didn’t know what went in these camps. Make no mistake, he was running these camps and definitely committed one of the biggest war crimes of human history. Scholars and historians say that Hitler was a “paranoid Jew hater”.
12. Hitler’s first love was a Jewish girl, but he never had the courage to express
Read the last line of the previous point and then the heading of this point – Irony just died laughing, probably. Hitler was never a ladies man, he lacked the social skills that will allow him to bond with women. Strangely enough, many women of his time fancied him. Since adolescence Hitler was not comfortable with company of women. His first love, Stefanie, a Jewish girl from Vienna would never find out that Hitler fancied her – because Hitler was too shy to speak to her.
Once Hitler became a national figure, he openly expressed that he doesn’t want romance in his personal life. He thought it would distract him from his much important and bigger national goals. Hitler did marry once, but only for 40 hours (sorry Kim Kardashian, he has you beat). Hitler and his wife Eva Braun both committed suicide in a bunker as Red Army troops surged on Hitler’s territory. Public didn’t know about their marriage until after their deaths.
11. Hitler introduced and led world’s first public anti-smoking campaign
Hitler used to smoke heavily as a teen. Some sources suggest that at one point he was consuming 40 cigarettes daily. But in his late 20s he stopped. He quit his smoking habit and called it “waste of health and money”. During his regime, he spoke vivaciously against smoking, calling it a “corruption” of youth. He also said that he was greatly sorrowed to see many “excellent men” been lost to the poison called tobacco.
Hitler encouraged his peers and friends to quit smoking. He would even offer money and prizes to people who would quit smoking. Hitler objected to the idea of soldiers smoking so freely.
During the World War II, Hitler said, “it is not correct to say that a soldier cannot live without smoking.”
10.During World War I, a British soldier spared his life to save Adolf Hitler
This story has been questions, but it is intriguing nonetheless. During World War I, Hitler was fighting in the French village Marcoing. Hitler was but an ordinary nameless solider at the time. According to sources, Henry Tandey, a British solider found a wounded German soldier in his line of fire. The soldier was so badly injured that he couldn’t pick up his rifle and aim.
Tandey didn’t shoot the soldier and the German soldier nodded in acknowledgement and ran off. Many historians, including David Johnson who wrote a book on Henry Tandey say that the story is a hoax. It is also said that Hitler saw a newspaper clipping of Tandey being honored by his regiment and recognized him. He is said to have saved the clipping in acknowledgement of Tandey’s actions.
9. Hitler was inspired by Henry Ford and hung a portrait of him behind his desk
Henry Ford was an iconic American businessman and industrialist who founded the Ford Motor Company. He was one of the first industrialists to introduce mass production and assembly line techniques. During World War I, Ford became a preacher of peace. He also wrote an anti-Semitic book called “The International Jew”. Ford was not too fond of Jewish people and inevitably Hitler adored him and called him an “inspiration”.
Hitler once said that he will do what he can to put Ford’s theories to practice in Germany. He was talking about both anti-Jewish thoughts and technical modelling of Volkswagen after Ford Model T.
In 1931, Hitler said, “Only a single great man, Ford, [who], to [the Jews’] fury, still maintains full independence [from] the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one hundred and twenty millions.”
8. Hitler was a vegetarian and formed various animal anti-cruelty laws
When Nazi Party came into power in 1933, they passed various animal protection laws. (Yes, the person who mercilessly killed millions of people… passed an anti cruelty law for animals.) These laws were the same that existed in England and other European countries, but Hitler pressed them with harsh penalties. Historians like Arnold Arluke and Boria Sax have revealed that the Nazi Party had a goal: to treat human beings and animals alike. Ha! Who was he trying to fool?
Within a couple of months in power, Hitler forbade hunting and kosher slaughter. He announced, “Im neuen Reich darf es keine Tierquälerei mehr geben” or -In the new Reich, no more animal cruelty will be allowed. Some historians also claim that Hitler was an “occasional vegetarian” – someone who would eat meat but very rarely.
7. A priest saved Hitler from drowning when he was four years old
It can be the labelled as the worst call for mercy in human history. A newspaper clipping from old German archives tells us that a four year old boy was saved by a passing priest. Historians believe the body was Adolf Hitler. His family had just moved to Germany, when a priest saved a drowning boy from the cold waters of River Inn in Passau in 1894.
Max Tremmel, a celebrated church organist in 1980, revealed his predecessor father Johann Kuehberger rescued Hitler. He said that Father Kuehberger, also a child himself at the time, saw a boy drowning and jumped in to save him. There is no way to prove the claim but we do have the newspaper clipping that coincides with the story. It is worth mentioning here that Father Johann Kuehberger never verified this claim himself, although he went on to live longer than Hitler.
6. Hitler protected a doctor and called him “Noble Jew”, he had helped his family and not charge them at a time of economic hardships
Eduard Bloch was an Austrian doctor and was the general physician of Hitler’s family. After the Nazi Union of Austria and Germany, Hitler gave special protection of Bloch and termed him “noble Jew”. Why wouldn’t he? Since Dr. Eduard Bloch had been very co-operative with Hitler at his hour in need.
Hitler family was not rich, in fact they were poverty stricken. Due to their economic condition, Dr. Bloch charged them a discounted fee and often treated them at no cost at all. During one of Dr. Bloch’s such visits, when he didn’t charge Hitler family, the 18 year old Hitler expressed his gratitude and said it would last forever – and it did.
Good deeds do repay, even if you have done them to Hitler. But of course, the doctor didn’t know what menace his farm boy patient would become in the future.
5. Hitler once begged a Mercedes dealership to give him a car loan
In 1924, Hitler’s Nazi Party tried to seize power through public unrest in Munich. They failed and Hitler was thrown in jail. We already know that Hitler was poor, what we are surprised to know is that Hitler could beg when he needed to! Hitler wrote of Jakob Ferlin who owned a Mercedes car dealership for a loan. He wanted to buy a car but was short on money. His request was denied.
In the same imprisonment he would write Mein Kampf. Mein Kampf would turn out to be a game changer for Hitler. In less than a decade, his party would become ruling party of Germany. Hitler would go on to own a fleet of Mercedes cars, after becoming a prominent politician.
4. American and British secret service put female hormones in Hitler’s food to make him “soft”
In a bizarre move of misogyny, lack of scientific knowledge and sheer stupidity, the British and American secret services launched a joint operation. The operation was to put female hormones in Hitler’s food to feminize him. Although they succeeded in putting hormones in his food, it didn’t achieve the desired result – not by a long shot.
It was a good plan, or so they thought. Estrogen is odorless and tasteless, so it would easily go unnoticed when Hitler’s food tasters examined his meals. Even if the plan did go as planned, it would have been a slow and subtle process. A male wanting to transition to female has to take estrogen pills for the rest of their lives and it takes about 175 pg/dl of estrogen in the first 2 months for a transgender male to start to seeing any changes at all! So really, with the amount of estrogen actually making it into Hitler’s system, the only thing that we gave Hitler was softer skin and a higher libido. Way to go secret service. Gross.
3. Hitler suffered from Ailurophobia – the fear of cats
It turns out that Hitler, had a weakness after all. It was a weakness based on phobia of cats. Unlike with the Jews, Hitler didn’t hate cats. He didn’t consider them second class animals in comparisons with dogs, horses or monkeys. Whenever Hitler saw a cat or was close to one, he felt the sweaty palms, cringing and tingling on his spine. (I wish I could see Hitler once in that state of terror).
If you think Ailurophobia is an odd thing for a fearless man to have. You are about to be shocked. What does Hitler share with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini? – Yep, they all had it too. Maybe Ailurophobia is a “thing” of brutal savage men.
2. Both Hitler and Osama bin Laden were declared dead on May 1
You cannot deny that Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden do go together. They share crimes in killing innocent people, genocide, terrorism and much more. But one thing you probably didn’t know these two shared was their death day. Both Hitler and bin Laden were announced dead on May 1 (Hitler had committed suicide the day before, but it was announced to public the day after).
May 1 is also considered the Labor Day – a day celebrated for working men around the globe (that should remind you when Hitler and bin Laden died, from now on). Some theorists say that Osama bin Laden was killed much earlier but was announced on May 1 to coincide with Hitler’s death.
1. Hitler asked US, Great Britain and some other countries to take in Jewish refugees before the Holocaust – they all refused
In the ultimate shocker of a fact, we have saved the best one for the last. Did you know that Hitler gave United States and Great Britain a chance before the Holocaust to take in refugees? An offer which US, GB and many other countries refused. Imagine how many casualties could’ve been avoided if US and GB had opened their doors to the Jewish people.
Évian Conference was held in July 1938 to discuss Jewish refugee problems. Hitler made a statement when he heard about the conference. He said that if other countries are willing to take Jewish people, he would arrange for them to leave.
Hitler said, “I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals [Jews], will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships.”
The conference quickly failed since all the countries refused to accept Jewish refugees, citing different reasons.