Adolf Hitler seemed an unlikely leader - fuelled by anger, incapable of forming normal human relationships and unwilling to debate political issues. Such was the depth of his hatred that he would become a war criminal arguably without precedent in history. Yet this strange character was once loved by millions. How was this possible, and what role did Hitler's alleged 'charisma' play in his success? With the help of testimony from those who lived through those times, film archive - including colour home movies - and specially shot documentary footage, this film reveals how Hitler managed to turn from a nobody in 1913 - someone thought 'peculiar' - into the chancellor and fuehrer of the German people.
Runtime: 60 minutes
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - Political views of Adolf Hitler - Netflix
The political views of Adolf Hitler have presented historians and biographers with some difficulty. His writings and methods were often adapted to need and circumstance, although there were some steady themes, including anti-semitism, anti-communism, anti-parliamentarianism, German Lebensraum (“living space”), belief in the superiority of an “Aryan race” and an extreme form of German nationalism. Hitler personally claimed he was fighting against Jewish Marxism. Hitler's political views were formed during three periods: (1) His years as a poverty-stricken young man in Vienna and Munich prior to World War I, during which he turned to nationalist-oriented political pamphlets and antisemitic newspapers out of distrust for mainstream newspapers and political parties; (2) The closing months of World War I when Germany lost the war; Hitler is said to have developed his extreme nationalism during this time, desiring to “save” Germany from both external and internal “enemies” who, in his view, betrayed it; (3) The 1920s, during which his early political career began and he wrote Mein Kampf. Hitler formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925, but did not acquire German citizenship until almost seven years later; thereby allowing him to run for public office. Hitler was influenced by Benito Mussolini who was appointed Prime Minister of Italy in October 1922 after his “March on Rome”. In many ways, Adolf Hitler epitomizes “the force of personality in political life” as mentioned by Friedrich Meinecke. He was essential to the very framework of Nazism's political appeal and its manifestation in Germany. So important were Hitler's views that they immediately affected the political policies of Nazi Germany. He asserted the Führerprinzip (“Leader principle”). The principle relied on absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors. Hitler viewed the party structure and later the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Hitler firmly believed that the force of “will” was decisive in determining the political course for a nation and rationalized his actions accordingly. Given that Hitler was appointed “leader of the German Reich for life”, he “embodied the supreme power of the state and, as the delegate of the German people”, it was his role to determine the “outward form and structure of the Reich”. To that end, Hitler's political motivation consisted of an ideology that combined traditional German and Austrian anti-Semitism with an intellectualized racial doctrine resting on an admixture of bits and pieces of social Darwinism and the ideas – mostly obtained second-hand and only partially understood – of Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Arthur de Gobineau and Alfred Rosenberg, as well as Paul de Lagarde, Georges Sorel, Alfred Ploetz and others.
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - Anti-communism - Netflix
In Hitler's mind, communism was a major enemy of Germany, an enemy he often mentions in Mein Kampf. During the trial for his involvement in the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler claimed that his singular goal was to assist the German government in “fighting Marxism”. Marxism, Bolshevism, and communism were interchangeable terms for Hitler as evidenced by their use in Mein Kampf:
In the years 1913 and 1914 I expressed my opinion for the first time in various circles, some of which are now members of the National Socialist Movement, that the problem of how the future of the German nation can be secured is the problem of how Marxism can be exterminated.
Later in his seminal tome, Hitler advocated for “the destruction of Marxism in all its shapes and forms.” According to Hitler, Marxism was a Jewish strategy to subjugate Germany and the world and saw Marxism as a mental and political form of slavery. From Hitler's vantage point, Bolsheviks existed to serve “Jewish international finance.” When the British tried negotiating with Hitler in 1935 by including Germany in the extension of the Locarno Pact, he rejected their offer and instead assured them that German rearmament was important in safeguarding Europe against communism, a move which clearly showed his anti-communist proclivities. In 1939, Hitler told the Swiss Commissioner to the League of Nations, Carl Burckhardt, that everything he was undertaking was “directed against Russia” and continued with, “if those in the West are too stupid or too blind to understand this, then I shall be forced to come to an understanding with the Russians to beat the West, and then, after its defeat, turn with all my concerted force against the Soviet Union.” When Hitler finally ordered the attack against the Soviet Union, it was the fulfillment of his ultimate goal and the most important campaign in his estimation, as it comprised a struggle of “the chosen Aryan people against Jewish Bolsheviks.” Biographer Alan Bullock avows, Hitler “laid great stress” on the need to concentrate on a single enemy, an enemy he lumps together as “Marxism and the Jew.” Shortly in the wake of the Commissar Order, a directive pursuant to the German invasion of the Soviet Union, SS Deputy Reinhard Heydrich informed the SS of Hitler's geopolitical philosophy, which conflated Bolshevism and Jews, writing “eastern Jewry is the intellectual reservoir of Bolshevism and in the Führer's view must therefore be annihilated.” Considering the eventual Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), no additional inducements are really requisite concerning Hitler's hatred of communism, particularly since the Nazi persecution and extermination of these groups was not only systematic, but it was extensive both within Germany and only intensified in the occupied zones during the war under Hitler's leadership. Because Nazism co-opted the popular success of communism among working people while simultaneously promising to destroy communism and offer an alternative to it, Hitler's anti-communist program allowed industrialists with traditional conservative views (tending toward monarchism, aristocracy, and laissez-faire capitalism) to cast their lot with, and help underwrite, the Nazi rise to power.
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - References - Netflix