This morning as we were discussing “Schindler’s List,” my wife asked me how Hitler could be as he was. This made me speechless. I can’t imagine why Hitler could be so evil. This is a mystery to me, at least. I wonder what others think of this? How can there be such a person?
I don’t know, but Stalin was worse than him! (he doesn’t get brought up as much because he was on our side against Germany).
It comes from man desiring to be God–it’s very similar to the rebellion of the devil himself. So much so that possession may have been involved. Pope Pius XII attempted a long distance exhorcism on Hitler, but it failed–his chief exhorcist believed Hitler was possessed. Unfortunately, it failed for a variety of reasons.
Check out this article:
I think a lack of belief in God combined with a dehumanizing hatred of certain groups of people combined with a lust for power and the right timing for them to rise to power (an impoverished Germany; a Russia in the midst of a communist revolution) were just the formula needed for such an evil to take such a hold–though i would not completely rule out possessing as the force fueling the lust for power and the hatred.
Especially in the case of Hitler and the many assassination attempts that he survived it really makes you think that someone or something must have been helping him.
Hitler was by no means unique. Stalin killed more people – in the infamous collectivization famine, troops stripped the country bare and millions starved. The Soviets took pictures of starving people reduced to cannibalizing the dead – and used the pictures as proof those people deserved to starve!!
The Japanese killed about as many innocent civilians in China as Hitler killed. Pol Pot killed fewer people, but a greater percentage of the population (of Cambodia) than any other mass murderer.
Mao probably matched Stalin.
And let’s not forget the genocide of the Armenians, whom the Turks marched into the desert to starve in 1915.
And Africa has chronic genocides going – no telling how many have been killed there.
Fr Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican exorcist is convinced that Stalin as well as Hitler and other Nazis “were all possessed by the devil.”
“If one thinks of what was committed by people like Stalin or Hitler, certainly they were possessed by the devil. This is seen in their actions, in their behaviour and in the horrors they committed. The devil can possess not only individuals but also entire groups and populations. … I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed by the devil.”
I agree with Fr Amorth and I can think of a few others who would qualify.
It is my understanding that Hitler, Stalin and the Roman soldiers who tortured and killed Jesus were all demonically possessed.
How can anyone do evil? How can an abortion doctor kill just as many as Hitler or Stalin and sleep at night?
Parents do what they can to form a young conscience. But the community as a whole and the individual have their say in the development process too.
Grow up surrounded by anti-semitism being an acceptable thing, experience a depression and give in to the greedy temptation of exploiting people to give rise to your own success. We see just as much evil as Hitler in today’s world, it just is not as obvious.
Firstly, what do you mean by how “Hitler could be as he was?” Do you mean “how could he believe he was right in doing so much evil?” or “how could God create someone who could do so much evil?”?
Hitler wasn’t as blatantly evil as he’s made out to be. It’s not like he sat down at a table with his head generals and said “I’d like to order the execution of all Jews today. Make it gruesome!” and then laughed proudly.
True evil is much more subtle and real than that. To understand Hitler’s world view, familiarize yourself with pre-War Germany and modern White Nationalist revisionist literature. Imagine having no belief in an objective measure of good and evil, look at the gradual racial sanctions imposed in Germany over the course of a decade or so, and then you will begin to see.
Interesting thread. I’m reminded of a conversation that is purported to have taken place through the fence of an insane asylum, back when they were called insane asylums:
Inmate: Do you know why I’m in here and you are out there?
Passer-by: No, why?
Inmate: Because there are more of you than there are of me.
In the case of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al, charismatic leadership mixed with the insanity kept the “normals” in those societies from being able to recognize the insanity, and the fact that the minions of the leaders controlled all the guns prevented the “normals” from doing anything, once they did recognize the insanity.
And no, I am not trying to hijack this thread into an anti-gun-control statement.
If one does not believe in God, and they also realize the nothingness of man, there are two options:
Search of recognition
Peace and God Bless.
There is not the least reason to think this was so. You don’t have to presume demonic possession to explain what they did.
For what may be the best consideration of what motivated Hitler, read John Lukacs’ book “The Hitler of History.”
Everyone has a potential Hitler inside of them. It comes from falling farther from grace. Seperate yourself far enough and you are capable of anything.
[quote=Karl Keating] For what may be the best consideration of what motivated Hitler, read John Lukacs’ book “The Hitler of History.”
Another book I would suggest is Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”
While living in Argentina in 1960, Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped and smuggled to Israel where he was put on trial for crimes against humanity. The New Yorker magazine sent Hannah Arendt to cover the trial. While covering the technical aspects of the trial, Arendt also explored the wider themes inherent in the trial, such as the nature of justice, the behavior of the Jewish leadership during the Nazi Régime, and, most controversially, the nature of Evil itself.
Far from being evil incarnate, as the prosecution painted Eichmann, Arendt maintains that he was an average man, a petty bureaucrat interested only in furthering his career, and the evil he did came from the seductive power of the totalitarian state and an unthinking adherence to the Nazi cause. Indeed, Eichmann’s only defense during the trial was "I was just following orders."
Arendt’s analysis of the seductive nature of evil is a disturbing one. We would like to think that anyone who would perpetrate such horror on the world is different from us, and that such atrocities are rarities in our world. But the history of groups such as the Jews, Kurds, Bosnians, and Native Americans, to name but a few, seems to suggest that such evil is all too commonplace. In revealing Eichmann as the pedestrian little man that he was, Arendt shows us that the veneer of civilization is a thin one indeed.
*]1. What is in our own hearts, that could lead us down the same path ?
*]2. What stops us doing the same works as Hitler ?
*]3. Are we, in our circumstances, any better ? “He who hates his brother is a murderer” - to shed blood is not necessary.[/LIST]Hitler was a human being like ourselves, who had the opportunities, attitudes, technology (& things like that) to act as in fact he did.
A long time ago, I read about a 15th-century friar who was beatified (I forget the name :(, but he was Italian :)). The interesting thing about him, was that he was described as having “lapsed from a life of high fervour” into a life in which he practised sorcery. Then he repented. Which is why he is recognised as having shown the holiness of Christ in his life - for it is that which makes the saints holy.
The point is, that we can go in very different directions - for better or for worse; great sinners can become great saints, and people of great holiness of life can fall very very far. One of the Apostles denied Christ, another was His persecutor. In this life, our state at any one moment is never fixed - not because God is not faithful, or unwilling to give us stability, but because we are unstable - so our state is always precarious, even though God is not precarious at all - the uncertainty is in us, not in Him. He does not change His ways to us at all - any change is in us, & in our position relative to Him. As St.Philip Neri pointed out, saints & sinners do not differ in their origin.
Why does anyone turn out as the person he or she finally is ? ISTM that this is something God alone knows. If we were in the circumstances of others than ourselves, we might do worse than they. As your heading points out, we are dealing with a mystery here - if not with several: human freedom of choice, sin, Divine Providence ##
Read Hitler’s Willing Executioners / Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.
It’s heavy but fascinating reading and gives an in depth view into the antisemitsm of Germany for 200 years prior to the Holocaust.
Hitler was a natural product of his times and the virulent anti-semitism of Germany. The only difference between him and the majority of his fellow Germans was his gift of oration, organization and delegation.
This book is indeed excellent!
The Daily Mail (your link to the article) is a right wing tabloid and supported the Facists druing WWII. I would at least try to find another source for that article.
Well said. There is a tendency to make Hitler into the devil. He may have done evil deeds, but he was like the rest of us. A human with free will and the ability to choose good or evil.
I think it is a terrible mistake to separate folks like him into a category that is almost aloof and seemingly so different . We should realize we each could go down the same road.
Saying brutal dictators were possessed by the Devil kind of lets them off the hook doesn’t it? I’m not willing to do that. Rather, I say they were men given enormous talent by God and they chose to use them in the cause of evil.