Posted 27 декабря 2021,, 14:00

Published 27 декабря 2021,, 14:00

Modified 25 декабря 2022,, 20:54

Updated 25 декабря 2022,, 20:54

What really differed Hitler from Stalin

27 декабря 2021, 14:00
Алексей Цветков
I am reading a huge, most recent and written by a professional historian biography of Hitler (Volker Ullrich, Adolf Hitler). People asked me why am I doing this. When I have mastered a significant part of the material, I can answer specifically. In such biographies, you look for clues. Looks like I found it.

Alexey Tsvetkov, poet

The riddle is formulated simply: how did an unlucky artist, a retired corporal, with an obvious inferiority complex, mobilize one of the most civilized nations in the world for monstrous crimes?

We are so accustomed to the facts known to us that the riddle does not seem to exist, it has been erased in our minds. To the extent that people write parallel biographies of Hitler and Stalin, as if there are real parallels besides mass atrocities.

There are, of course, small ones - Stalin is also a dropout, he wrote rhymes, and probably not without complexes. But the parallels end there, and they are trivial - there was no mystery in Stalin. He was originally a member of a terrorist group that seized power in the country in a coup, and then with the help of bureaucratic levers pushed back and ditched all former associates and became the sole dictator with unlimited power based solely on the threat. At the same time, he did not appeal to any popular masses, and it makes no sense to dig deep in this place.

Hitler himself led the attempt at a coup, but it failed, and he could have been lost in prison, if not for the sympathetic attitude of the Bavarian authorities. And then he bet on democracy, although he hated it, and eventually came to power with the support of leading far-right politicians such as von Papen and Hindenburg. How?

Traditional interpretations are just attempts to be brushed aside. Say, a gray personality, splashed up by chance, a psychopath, a madman, a sexual deviant, etc. But, to be honest, we are mostly gray personalities, but for some reason they don't throw us out - and won't throw us out. As far as insanity is concerned, it’s generally ridiculous: as if hating, torturing and killing our own kind throughout history was a deviation for us, not the norm. Ulrich collected from the previous biographies and materials to which he first got access, a portrait that explains everything much more convincingly, and a completely different picture emerges: Hitler was a genius. This word is somehow scary to apply to such a monster, and “evil genius” has an established meaning that is not related to the subject. Let's just say: the genius of villainy.

The main component of this genius was an unsurpassed oratorical talent, which is not at all reduced to the caricature into which he was turned, and whose equal, fortunately, we have not seen since and, most likely, will not see. He had an incredible ability to persuade - not by arguments, but by the rhetoric and art of the tribune of the people. His voice, which we only heard on a bad recording, mesmerized and mesmerized the audience. I have no place to cite here the whole bunch of testimonies, but here is one, very significant. Golo Mann, who can never be suspected of sympathizing with Nazism, the writer's son, and later a famous German historian, was present at one of these performances, and this is his impression:

“I had to defend myself against the energy and power of the speaker's conviction that one of my friends, whom I brought with me, of a purely Jewish origin, failed. “But he's right,” he whispered to me. This is “but he’s right” - how often I later heard this from those who listened to him, from whom I never expected it”.

That is, he could persuade not only the Social Democrats and Communists who had crowded into rallies, but even Jews.

Another component of this genius was, according to many, an exceptional acting talent, the ability to reincarnate. In addition to the hypostasis of the tribune of the people, there was the role of a kind uncle, a delicate guest in aristocratic salons, a simple man with a difficult youth among workers, a family friend - why, children loved him, he willingly played with the daughters of Goebbels and the sons of Winifred Wagner, whom he told bedtime fairy tales. He also had a comic gift for imitating famous characters, plunging the audience into laughter: after meeting Mussolini, he amused his surroundings, assuming typical Duce poses and shouting Italian slogans like “Giovinezza”, “Victoria”, “Bel canto” and “Maccaroni”. He knew how to charm people whom he clearly hated.

And one more thing: he had an absolutely phenomenal memory - for faces, for old episodes and incidents, he memorized photographically whole pages, barely glancing at them. He recited by heart long passages from Clausewitz or Schopenhauer, sometimes passing them off as his own thoughts. He crushed his generals with details of weapons, dates, calibers, numbers, keeping all this in mind ...

Original is here

From the editor:

The enthusiasm of Hitler's biographers about his incredible talents would well be correlated with the end results of his rule. And they are simply terrifying: Germany was thrown to the ground, tens of millions of people in dozens of countries of the world died in the World War, unleashed by an excessively talented villain, and the Fuhrer himself committed suicide, taking his closest associates to the grave (the Goebbels family, for example), and his own wife Eva Braun...