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View Diary: Hitler. Was. Not. Vegetarian. (154 comments)

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  •  He was also (probably) not a paper hanger (9+ / 0-)

    I don't mean to direct this specifically to the diarist, and I'll probably end up sounding grumpier (and more confrontational) than I intend. But, Cardinal Mundelein notwithstanding, the claim that Adolf Hitler was ever a paper hanger is almost as dubious as the claim that he was a vegetarian: the only concrete evidence for the claim comes from a man from Ohio who claimed to have known Hitler while he was staying in Transylvania.

    That the claim has been so widely accepted is just another form of myth-weaving, albeit with a very different purpose: while Goebbels was interested in making Hitler seem larger-than-life, the "paper hanger" claim was adopted by those who want to delegitimize him. While I most certainly sympathize with wanting to put Hitler is as bad a light as possible, I think the atrocities he was responsible for from 1923 onwards do a sufficient job of that.

    I don't think it's a good idea to mythologize him, either for good or for ill. He was certainly no chaste vegetarian god-among-men like the Nazis sought to portray, but neither was he a uniquely talentless hack who I suppose just happened to fall into the job of genocidal, absolute dictator of Germany because he was such a failure at paper hanging, or house painting, or because he only had one testicle. He was a product of his environment, and while he deserves every last bit of blame and hatred that has been thrown his way, I don't think we can just write him off exclusively as a historical oddity.

    "Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead." - H.P. Lovecraft, 1936

    by seancdaug on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 08:51:37 PM PDT

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