The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13774, Adolf HitlerA profile piece on arch-villain Adolf Hitler focuses on how his charisma propelled him to the leadership of Germany, in the BBC News Magazine:

Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader but he still formed a connection with millions of German people, generating a level of charismatic attraction that was almost without parallel. It is a stark warning for the modern day, says historian Laurence Rees.

At the heart of the story of Adolf Hitler is one gigantic, mysterious question: how was it possible that a character as strange and personally inadequate as Hitler ever gained power in a sophisticated country at the heart of Europe, and was then loved by millions of people?

The answer to this vital question is to be found not just in the historical circumstances of the time – in particular the defeat of Germany in World War I and the depression of the early 1930s – but in the nature of Hitler’s leadership.

It’s this aspect of the story that makes this history particularly relevant to our lives today.

Hitler was the archetypal “charismatic leader”. He was not a “normal” politician – someone who promises policies like lower taxes and better health care – but a quasi-religious leader who offered almost spiritual goals of redemption and salvation. He was driven forward by a sense of personal destiny he called “providence”.

Before WWI he was a nobody, an oddball who could not form intimate relationships, was unable to debate intellectually and was filled with hatred and prejudice.

But when Hitler spoke in the Munich beer halls in the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in WWI, suddenly his weaknesses were perceived as strengths.

His hatred chimed with the feelings of thousands of Germans who felt humiliated by the terms of the Versailles treaty and sought a scapegoat for the loss of the war. His inability to debate was taken as strength of character and his refusal to make small talk was considered the mark of a “great man” who lived apart from the crowd…

[continues in the BBC News Magazine]

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  • Andrew

    > At the heart of the story of Adolf Hitler is one gigantic, mysterious
    question: how was it possible that a character as strange and personally
    inadequate as Hitler ever gained power in a sophisticated country at
    the heart of Europe, and was then loved by millions of people?

    http://disinfo.com/2010/09/childhood-and-totalitarian-dictatorship/

    • Roark

      David Icke probably knows.

  • BuzzCoastin

    it is more likely that Hitler was a product of monied interests
    that needed a dupes to run their military-industrial-bankster complex programs
    or more likely, an archetype
    when it comes to death & destruction

    Hitler is the modern archetypical world villain
    even though Der Homeland
    had exceed his record of death & destruction long before WW2
    a place where Democracy plays the role of Hitler

    • alizardx

      fairly accurate, but doesn’t conflict with the “dark charisma” narrative. People with charisma are easier to market by definition.

  • Brian Jones

    the occult roots of nazism nicholas goodrick clarke – the only study that attempts to accurately answer this profound question in any detail.

    • alizardx

      You might like Peter Levenda’s Unholy Alliance, IIRC, Clarke book is one of its sources.

  • Marklar_Prime

    In a Germany ravaged by hyperinflation Hitler kicked out the private European central bankers which created the “German miracle” of economic recovery as it was called making himself beloved by millions of Germans and cementing his spot as Time Magazines’ 1939 Man of the Year. It took one hell of a lot of craziness to knock him off of that wave of popularity. End of story pretty much.

    Barrack (I’ll murder you without trial using a m@#$&r F@$#ng drone) Obama would be just as popular if he did the same but the two headed fascist party will never allow fiscal sanity to take place until we collapse under our own weight like the USSR did.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Caption:

    “Sniff dieser finger! Ich befehle dir! Sniff meine finger!”

    Yah. I think I would have found his charms totally resistable.

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    We have people like that now. :( Better watch out for these individuals.