In the countless hours I spent researching German history, it seems to me that Otto Dietrich gives the most balanced description of Adolf Hitler, the main points listed below.
When Otto Dietrich was invited in 1933 to become Adolf Hitler’s press chief, he accepted with the simple uncritical conviction that Adolf Hitler was a great man, dedicated to promoting peace and welfare for the German people. At the end of the war, imprisoned and disillusioned, Otto Dietrich sat down to write what he had seen and heard in 12 years of the closest association with Hitler, requesting that it be published after his death.
Dietrich’s role placed him in a privileged position. He was hired by Hitler in 1933, was his confidant until 1945, and he worked – and clashed – with Joseph Goebbels. His direct, personal experience of life at the heat of the Reich makes for compelling listening.
I bold points I find interesting.
by Otto Dietrich
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published 1955 by Henry Regenry Company
Jul 17, 2018 Robert rated it it was ok
• Was surprised by the Reichstag fire (25). [Page 17 in 2010 edition – editor]
• “Newspapers allegations about his intentions often gave him ideas” (38).
• “went to war with a pocket edition of Schopenhauer’s works in his pack” (77). [instead of a Bible. Schopenhauer was an atheist. Page 61 in 2010 edition – editor]
• “Possessed an extraordinarily comprehensive theoretical knowledge of warfare” (79).
• “could learn nothing and would take no advice” (95).
• Underestimated American manufacturing (103).
• “was the victim of his own ideas” (111).
• “despised those whom he thought too smart to be strong. Of the masses, he remarked: the less intellect and the fewer intellectuals among them, the stronger would be their faith and the greater their force. . . Subordinated all his ideas to the ambition for power which so completely dominated him” (123).
• “It was Hitler’s nature to carry all things to extremes until they were transformed into their opposites” (124). [His “magical thinking” that Michael Hoffman addresses?]
• “Incessantly attacked the nation’s judges for being ‘remote from life'” (124). This is an idea associated with Nietzsche.
• “was always afraid that prudence would cripples youthful vigor. For that reason he deliberately gathered young people around him, kept aloof from the experience of age, and hated the ‘intellectual reservations’ of the mature” (127).
• “decided what the will of the people was” (128).
• “could not bear being by himself” (137). [had no peace – editor]
• Had people stay up with him until 4 in the morning when he could go to sleep (139, 216).
• Read foreign newspapers as a check to sycophants (140).
• “could not concentrate sitting down and keeping silent” (141).
• “was so wrapped up in himself that he was unaware of the strain his egotistic talking imposed upon others” (145).
• Talk was the very element of his existence” (146).
• “fanatical opponent of smoking” (147).
• “[had] nothing to do with astrology or any kind of occultism” (148).
• “had a special antipathy for novels, which he never read, and for poetry; poems were an abomination to him” (149).
• “. . . From the works of Nietzsche Hitler culled only the cult of personality and the doctrine of the superman ; he was not interested in other aspects of the philosopher’s writings” (150).
• “had not the slightest feeling for spiritual values or ethics” (150).
• “declar[ed] that the teaching profession was basically unmanly, that actually only women should be permitted to go into the field of education” (152).
• “Talked of providence but “personally was sharply hostile to Christianity and the churches” (154).
• “was convinced that Christianity was outmoded and dying. He thought he could speed its death by systematic education of German youth. Christianity would be replaced, he thought, by a new heroic, racial ideal of God” (156).
• “could not permit himself to participate in any sport unless he could be superior to all competition” (162).
• Would race other cars, until after an accident limiting the speed limit to twenty-five miles an hour in all towns (166).
• Set up a Strength Through Joy organization (175).
• “One of his favorite stopping places in East Germany was Finckenstein Palace” (178).
• Had been “a member of the artistic proletariat, so to speak, an artist who virtually peddled his water-
colors and drawings on the street and among the art dealers of the city” (180).
• “thoroughly disliked” Christmas atmosphere” (181).
• “always carried a dog whip in his hand wherever he went” (185).
• Only visited coffee houses as a private person in Munich (185).
• “On traditional holidays of the Party he regularly went to the Café Heck for the evening” (187).
• “was a complete vegetarian. . . . ” (204).
• Had insomnia (204).
• Called those who were not vegetarians “corpse eaters,” and despised alcohol (205).
• To animals he ascribed the ability to think, and for them he felt sympathy- not for human beings (206).
• “Hitler’s humor was distinctly artificial, more often the product of his sarcastic disposition than of genuine humor” (207).
• “Every evening after dinner Hitler would see one or two movies” (214).
• “issued a strict ban forbidding the newspapers from disillusioning the masses about the art of magic by publishing ‘explanatory’ articles” (215).
• “Of the six women who stood in some closer human relationship to him in his life, five died by suicide, or had attempted suicide” (221).
• “recognized only unconditional submission to whatever he himself defined as duty to the nation” (238).
• Worked on bunkers as hobby in the last years of the war (251).
• “[The people] had been ruined by his will to power. When his last hopes vanished, there vanished also his ideas of national existence as an exclusively heroic process” (257).