While it’s highly doubtful that his name will resurge as a popular baby name any time in the future, Adolf Hitler remains one of the most famous and studied historical figures of all time nearly seventy years after his death. For such an infamous leader, it’s astonishing to discover just how many rumors and half-truths circulate to this day about the man responsible for the Holocaust.
We dug in and got to work, uncovering new facts about the man you thought you knew everything about. These twenty truths about the leader of Nazi Germany will not only set the record straight regarding any misconceptions you may have had; they will also undoubtedly surprise you.
A true ladies’ man
While most women today find the sight of Hitler’s face to be a revolting reminder of the evil that can exist in the world, many females found his physical appearance and supposed fearlessness to be incredibly dashing at the height of his power.
The utmost irony
According to The History Channel, Hitler suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, of which he was first diagnosed during the summer of 1941. While he has been criticized throughout history for his poor judgment and reaction time in response to the Battle of Normandy, many doctors and historians now believe that limited brain function, rather than laziness or apathy, may have been to blame. The fact that the disease struck Hitler in particular, a proponent of physical perfection, couldn’t be more rooted in irony.
Deep-set trust issues
History has obviously proven that Hitler was hardly as redeeming of a presence as his followers originally believed him to be, but just as strong as his untrustworthiness was his distrust of others. As his power continued to rise, so did attempts to assassinate and/or overthrow the famous ruler. Hitler’s unwillingness to trust even those closest to him led him to alter his schedule at the last minute on an increasing number of occasions as time went on.
A disturbing consummation of marriage
While even those who rarely paid attention in history class know that Hitler and his wife committed suicide together in 1945, few people realize that the two had just tied the knot only 36 hours prior to their deaths.
5. German by choice, not by birth
Hitler is most commonly associated with Germany, being that he served as the country’s chancellor and dictator during its darkest days. However, he was actually born to a poverty-stricken family in Austria. While Hitler’s impassioned speeches were filled with propaganda about the superiority of the German people, records indicate that his own parents lived in Austria for the entirety of their lives.
6. A not-so-elite education
To this day, Hitler is inarguably one of the most studied historical figures in schools around the globe. Regardless, Hitler himself chose not to continue his formal education after age 16, when it was no longer compulsory for him to attend. While some historians have incorrectly reported that Hitler never went to school, he did indeed receive the law-required amount of education in his home country of Austria during his adolescent years.
7. An automobile industry visionary
You may think about peace-loving hippies when you eye a vintage Volkswagon
Beetle, but the car’s history is actually rooted in Nazi history and forever intertwined with Adolf Hitler. Hitler was actually the one who spearheaded the production of the car, as he wanted every German family to have as much access to an affordable, reliable vehicle as their American counterparts had.
8. Artistic ambitions
Hitler didn’t always have visions of world domination in his mind; in fact, he aspired to be an artist and planned on pursuing his work instead of attending college after completing his general education during adolescence. Eerily, the subjects of Hitler’s watercolor paintings vary from romantic flowers and landscape scenes to desolate scenes of destruction he witnessed during WWI.
9. The TRUTH about the Judaism rumors
There are countless rumors about Hitler’s personal connections to the Jewish community that abound about the Web, most of which are completely false. It’s a common belief that Hitler’s mother was a Jew, but there is no solid evidence to prove this to be true. While his grandmother worked for a wealthy Jewish family for many years, there is no evidence that she became romantically involved with anyone from that family. Information about Hitler’s lineage is very sketchy and unknown. Some historians believe that Hitler intentionally marred his records so the public would never discover his true heritage, but there is no evidence to lend any validity to this idea. Basically, we will never truly know whether Hitler had any Jewish heritage in his family line.
10. Physical reservations
Hitler was very private about his body. He reportedly refused to take off his jacket in public because he believed the coat gave him an aura of authority and power, but he was also very particular about remaining covered up even in his private existence. For instance, he refused to ever disrobe during medical exams, even though he had the same private doctor for several years.
11. A feminine flair
After analyzing samples of Hitler’s handwriting, Carl Jung determined that the person who had composed the writings exhibited “the typical characteristics of a man with essentially feminine instinct.” Jung is fortunate that he assessed Hitler’s temperament after his suicide, as the dictator would have likely sought revenge on the famous psychologist for making such a statement.
12. A man of his own making
Have you ever wondered where Hitler gleaned the inspiration for that trademark mustache? When he was being fitted for a gas mask during WWI, military officials ordered that he remove his handlebar mustache so it would fit within the mask. Rather than completely shave it off, Hitler simply trimmed it to fit within the mask and reportedly told fellow soldiers that it would become part of his new identity. He was certainly right about that.
13. The man in the ring
Hitler was not a fan of sports and actually preferred attending circus shows. With that said, he acted as the chief organizer of the Olympic games back in 1936 when they were held in Berlin.
14. The beginning of the end
According to Hitler himself, his anti-Semitic, militaristic ideas were honed and shaped by his experiences as a soldier in World War I. Despite being an Austrian citizen, the future dictator volunteered to fight for the Bavarian army because he was residing in Munich at the time. During his term of enlistment, Hitler experienced his share of serious injuries, from temporary blinding by mustard gas to being hit by an exploding shell at the Battle of Somme.
15. Literary insights
While Hitler’s autobiographical book, Mein Kampf (translated into English as My Struggle), was initially written for those interested in subscribing to Nazism, the book became a huge success among the general populace. Eventually, the government officially issued copies of the book to both newly married couples and front-line soldiers.
16. Instability and insecurity
You probably could have guessed that Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun, was a rather unstable woman; after all, she did willingly marry one of the most evil men to ever exist. With that said, what many people don’t know is that Ms. Braun struggled greatly with her lover’s very public life and, most notably, her absence from it. His refusal to appear with her in public, an attempt to remain both powerful and chaste in the eyes of the public, fed her loneliness and depression. She ultimately committed suicide with Hitler, but she attempted to taker her own life at least two other times before her final death.
17. Man’s best friend
Even though he had no heart for his victims that he deemed as “animals” rather than humans, Hitler was quite the animal enthusiast. While it has never been officially confirmed, rumor has it that he even insisted on having his pets euthanized before he and Braun committed suicide, an attempt at keeping the animals from being inhumanely treated after he was no longer there to protect them.
18. Safety for no one
Based on his words of support for the Christian church, as well as the fact that he was raised in a Catholic home, one would presume that there was at least a small place for faith in Adolf Hitler’s life. However, according to a report from the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, there is abounding evidence that Hitler ultimately intended to destroy the Christian church as a part of his master plan. A manipulator to the end, he took advantage of the Christian belief that the Jews had denied Jesus’ place as the true Messiah, using this facet to promote anti-Semitism. It is a widely held belief among historians that Hitler was an atheist behind closed doors who viewed religion in general as frivolous nonsense.
19. Hatred for (almost) all
While Hitler’s main target was the Jewish community, Jews were hardly the only ones that he believed needed to be obliterated in order to purify “the master race.” He also ordered the enslavement and execution of homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, and those with physical and/or mental disabilities.
20. Propagandist libel
Some of Hitler’s earliest and most vocal critics were journalists. While much of what they reported about him turned out to be true, Hitler used his power to silence them, suing both individual writers and publications for libel and slander. Not surprisingly, he won such cases more often than he lost them.