Hitler remains a central figure in the history of the world between the 20th and 21st Centuries. He used his own policies and opinions to control the resources and expertise of one of the most developed European countries. During his leadership, Hitler contributed to the start of a significant war that transformed the whole world. With these and many other achievements of Hitler, he is still the centre of interest of many scholars and the public. However, what arouses more interest is the personality of Hitler, and knowing him as a person, what he believed in, and what influenced his choice of policies. Fortunately, today, there are a considerable number of sources, which can help unravel these questions. Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, is an informative piece, particularly about Hitler’s thoughts and parts of his life.
This book comprises notes of Hitler’s thoughts about the war period and his enemies, art, his childhood period, nature, religion, science, and technology. Two of Hitler’s secretaries, namely Heinrich Heim and Henry Picker during mealtimes, recorded Hitler’s conversations. This book is resourceful in bringing out the person in Hitler, as well as his impeccable intellect. Hitler was regarded a genius by many people during his time, because of his ability to talk authoritatively on a variety of topics. He was a thoughtful man who highly participated in discussions on important topics. Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944 mainly includes Hitler’s address about his enemies, the plans he had foe Germany, and his perspectives on organized religion and its impact on Germans and other world populations.
The fact that Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944 was written makes Hitler get credit for being among the few world leaders who valued diaries and memoirs. Hitler advises that, “”Please keep these notes most carefully, as they will be of very great value in the future. I have now got Heim to make comprehensive notes as a basis for these minutes (Hitler 20). Another such leader was America’s Churchill, who also kept diaries and memoirs. These two leaders also wrote their own speeches, however, Hitler is known to use a personal rhetorical theory in his speeches. Keeping a record of speeches, talks, and important decisions made is healthy both during and after one’s leadership term. This enhances the aspect of accountability of the leader to their actions and decisions, as well as painting the personality of the leader in question. Therefore, by allowing for the recording of this, Hitler comes out as an organized leader.
Hitler, just like any other leader, had his own views and opinions on the aspect of race. In his conversation with his subordinates and officials about race issues, Hitler portrayed an aspect of merit in him. One can read his ambivalence when it comes to matters of ethnicity and race. He showed his willingness to exempt the race factor in his policies and ideologies. One time, during a conversation with one of his officials, he considered the non-Germans as being equal to Germans. This shows that Hitler, to some extent, had an allowance and tolerance for people of other races. Although Hitler was against the Jews, there are specific times that he made exemptions. Apart from the inclusion of two Jews, Milch Erhard and Rogge Bernhard in the German Army, his interaction and admiration of particular foreigners also portrays a different picture of Hitler’s take on race. In addition, Hitler’s ridicule of Himmler’s “biologism” as primitive as well indicates his open mind about race. Therefore, it can be argued that Hitler’s racism, as most people know it today, is a historical construct, which historians made basing on who won World War II.
Hitler’s views on vital issues are contradictory, if a comparison of different memoirs is done. For instance, Otto Wegener’s memoirs and Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, are filled with different views of Hitler on the same topic. One major contradicting issue raised in most of Hitler’s memoirs is his views on religion. There is still an argument whether Hitler was a Christian or not. However, in Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, the themes of Christianity and the Jews take the most part in Hitler’s conversations. Writers who are against Christianity, claiming that Bormann was anti-Catholic, have dismissed this book.
An examination and analysis of religious views of Hitler in this book, point to the fact that, Hitler was generally opposed to Christianity and organized religion. However, even though he was against the Christian religion, Hitler was not opposed to the central figure in Christianity, which is the Christ. In addition, his arguments against Christianity and organized religion are from a political point of view, and not from a religious point of view. In Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, Hitler talks passionately about Jesus, the Christ, who is the centre of Christianity, as seen, “The decisive falsification of Jesus’s doctrine was the work of St. Paul. He gave himself to this work with subtlety and for purposes of personal exploitation. For the Galiean’s object was to liberate His country from Jewish oppression. He set Himself against Jewish capitalism, and that is why the Jews liquidated Him (Hitler 76).
Today, there is an assumption by most people that Hitler was against Christianity and Christ. However, as seen, he showed negativity toward the Christian religion and the general organized religion. What is confusing is why he talked positively and in admiration of Jesus, while bashing Christianity. This is not proof enough that he was against Christianity. He does not pass any condemnation on Jesus, but instead he aryanizes Him. “Christ was an Aryan, and St. Paul used his doctrine to mobilize the criminal underworld and thus organize a proto-Bolshevism.” (Hitler 143). Hitler therefore, regarded Jesus as a man who came to liberate the Jews from their oppression by Romans. The fact that he does not condemn and accuse Jesus based on his Jewish roots, is reason enough to rethink about Hitler’s stand and judgment of Christianity, considering he was also born and raised by a practicing Catholic mother. Since he believes that the Jews killed God, he justified his extermination of the Jews as God’s way of revenge, provided he carried it out in the most humane way.
Conclusively, Hitler remains a central figure in the world history because of his contributions to different important world historic events. The type of leadership he employed in his rule in Germany, his relations with other world countries, and the level of influence he had in global issues, are all aspects of Hitler that make him a historic figure. However, his leadership style has been a source of many controversies and his name bears a controversial picture. Nonetheless, all world leaders have had their good and ugly sides, going by the judgment of political analysts and experts. Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944 presents us with important insight of who Hitler really was, away from the public generalizations. Hitler is portrayed as an authoritative leader who did not admittedly embrace discrimination based on race or religion. He however believed in facing enemies of his country in whatever way, to get solutions to obstacles they presented to his country. This book can be a trusted source of Hitler’s beliefs, as it comprises conversations of Hitler himself, which were noted.
Hitler, Adolf. “Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, 1941-1944: His Private Conversations.” Trans.
Norman Cameron & Stevens, R.H. London: Enigma Books, 2008.
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