11
   

Hitler: figurehead?

 
 
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 05:58 pm
was hitler just a dumb figure head, in front of a brains, or was he actually smart? my friend says the former...
 
Ragman
 
  3  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 10:01 am
@hamilton,
Your friend is no student of history. He WAS NOT a figurehead in any stretch of the imagination.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 10:05 am
Not only was he not a figurehead, he wasn't all that smart, either. The only talent he ever showed was gutter politics, and he was totally unable to understand men like Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt, who were not gutter politicians. He also had the character of a bully, which was what allowed him to force his wishes on Neville Chamberlain.

As is so often the case with demagogues of his type, he considered himself a military genius, which worked out very much to the benefit of the Allies. Hitler and his militay idiocy were the best friends of the prosecution of the war in Europe by the Allies.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 10:25 am
@Setanta,
I respect your knowledge of history but ... let's get real! He was not stupid. No one who went as far as he did could be considered as stupid. To say the least, he was misguided to the extreme and had no real grasp of modern or even primitive methods of gaining political intelligence. He was an egomaniacal as well as a megalomaniac. His common sense was often questionable AT THE LEAST!

So this not-so-smart, gutter-politican took over his own country, grew a generation of children who were totally brainwashed, steamrolled over many adjacent countries by force, meanwhile gearing up his country's industries for war and challenged the military power of the entire Free World all the while being stupid? This was far more complicated than being a simple bully or a gutter politician.

I agree completely about his own over-estimation of his own military expertise is what did him in. Grossly over-simplifying the matter, his actions with stretching the war effort by pursuing the 2 war fronts in the middle of one of the worst winters (in an area known for bad winters), particularly with the Russian front was total suicide. How do you expect to win a war or even a skirmish when your tanks ran out of gas and you can't reinforce any of the the supplies?

However, this man was not stupid. He allowed his own propaganda and rhetoric, his emotional fervor and nationalism and raw desire to be the most powerful force on earth to cause him to lose any objectivity and chance for his nation to succeed in the war.

His ambition and dysfunctionality indicated that he was totally insane and irrational and allowed Germany to destroy itself prosecuting in a manner that made it an unwinable war. The German's assassination attempts indicated that efforts were made to remove him from within. One attempt nearly killed him.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 10:51 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Not only was he not a figurehead, he wasn't all that smart, either.
The only talent he ever showed was gutter politics,
Well, he was a successful public speaker; better than W.



Setanta wrote:
and he was totally unable to understand men like Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt,
who were not gutter politicians. He also had the character of a bully,
which was what allowed him to force his wishes on Neville Chamberlain.

As is so often the case with demagogues of his type, he considered himself a military genius,
which worked out very much to the benefit of the Allies.
Hitler and his militay idiocy were the best friends of the prosecution
of the war in Europe by the Allies.
U fail to give Dr. Theodor Morell his due credit.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 11:18 am
@Ragman,
Hitler did not invent the "stab in the back myth" which he exploited. He did not invent the National Socialist German Workers' Party which he took over, and he did not found the SA, or their street bully tactics which he exploited. Every measure which lead to the recovery of the German economy in the 1920s and -30s was the product of initiatives and policies of the Weimar government.

His one great coup was in intimidating Neville Chamberlain. Édouard Deladier was not fooled, but he knew France could not face Germany alone, and he was therefore obliged to fall in with Chamberlain's idiot appeasement plan. When he arrived back in Paris after the Munich conference in 1938 which effectively handed Czechoslovakia over to Germany, the crowd at the airport began cheering. He turned to his secretary and said: "O, les cons"--which means "Oh the turds," best translated as "Oh, the assholes." He knew what time it was.

Hitler completely misjudged Churchill's resolve, he completely misjudged the power of the United States when he idiotically declared war on the United States to support a Japanese "ally" who didn't care if he lived or died. He completely misjudged the resolve of Stalin and the resources of the Soviet Union. He completely misjudged the value of strategic bombing without proper fighter cover (which he didn't have, leading to largely ineffective night bombing missions), and the alleged value of terror bombing. Terror bombing didn't work on England, it didn't work on the Soviet Union, and it didn't work when "Bomber" Harris did it to Germany (ignoring that it hadn't worked when he, Harris, had done it to the Iraqis in the 1920s).

He had no idea how to use his naval resources--he squandered his destroyers in a pointless fight for Narvik, and at a time when the Germans has the best destroyers in the world, with the possible exception of the Japanese Imperial Navy. He attempted to use his high quality battleships and battle cruisers as commerce raiders when he didn't have overseas bases for them, and couldn't provide them air cover. Bismarck was crippled by open cockpit biplane torpedo bombers who could not have survived had there been anything like air cover. Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen ran the English Channel in broad daylight in 1942; the fighter commander, Adolf Galland, kept figher cover over the ships at all times, and they shot down every torpedo bomber the RNAS sent at them. Yet Hitler continued to think of his battleships as commerce raiders. Gneisenau so badly damaged in an RNAS and RAF air raid that she was taken back to port for a complete overhaul, and then was finally abaondoned. Scharnhorst was sunk off the coast of Norway operating alone against the Murmansk convoys. Tirpitz was so badly damaged by RNAS and RAF air raids in her fjord in Norway that she never again put to sea. Graf Spee had already been lost in the Battle of the River Plate, when attacked by three Cruisers, two English and one New Zealander, and was scuttled by her captain who then took his own life. Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Tirpitz had already demonstrated what they could have done to the Royal Navy during the Norway operations, and Hitler squandered that resource. Bismarck sank Hood in the Demark Straits in seven minutes, with the loss of all but three of Hood's complement of 1400 men. Hitler effectively squandered that resource, too, by making a commerce raider out of the toughest battleship in the world at the time, with the exception of the new Japanese fast battleships. The United States didn't have anything to match it until North Carolina came down the ways.

In 1941, the Germans invaded Crete in the attempt to cut off the British and New Zealand troops there--although they failed to prevent the evacuation of those troops, they achieved all of their other objectives, at great cost. Kurt Student's fallschirmjäger (paratroops) suffered extremely high casualties, but Student learned everything he needed to know to prevent a repetition. However, Hitler forbade any more large scale airborne operations. The Allies, though, learned a lot, too, and they used what they learned to use airborne troops effectively throughout the remainder of the war, both in Europe and in the Pacific. The fallschirmjäger, Germany's most highly trained and best equipped troops effectively became very expensive infantry.

Hitler did nothing effective to support Rommel in Africa, until it became apparent that the Germans would be driven from Africa. He left it to the Italians, who squander their navy and their merchant fleet in the futile effort to keep the war in Africa alive. Then, when all was obviously lost, he poured troops into Tunisia. Rommel described it as the largest self-supporting prisoner of war camp in history.

He would not allow von Paulus to fall back from Stalingrad with his battered Sixth Army, and when the river Volga froze, the Soviet Guards divisions (their elite formations) poured across the river and went through the Italians, Hugarians and Romanians like a hot knife though butter. The Sixth Army was cut off completely. Hitler's response was to promote von Paulus to field marshall, saying no German field marshall had ever surrendered.

I could go on like this for many, many pages--preventing jet fighters from entering production until it was too late, holding the armored divisions in the center of France as the Allis poured troops and supplies into Normandy, using the V weapons as terror weapons. However, there's no need.

Hitler was stupid, and you'll never convince me otherwise.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 11:44 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Interesting Hitlerian Wiki "facts":

Hitler's Addiction to Amphetamine

"Hitler began using amphetamine occasionally after 1937 and became addicted after the late summer of 1942. Albert Speer stated he thought this was the most likely cause of the later rigidity of Hitler’s decision making (never allowing military retreats)."

IMHO, it seems to be a bloody industry arounds the creation of literature and articles around explanation of Hitler's personality flaws, predelections and fetishes. As Set indicated, he had lots of help and some iron-willed and capable politicians and political experts as his human resources that more than made up for what he lacked, but as the war dragged on, he became futher unreachable intellectually and more destructive of the German war effort.

Set: I have no intention of convincing you of anything. You have your views, I have mine. I don't discredit your's nor do intend to debate them. If you state that Hitler was stupid that is an opinion ONLY - not fact. My view is, as I stated, my opinion bcased on the historical events. IMHO, stupid people just don't get to the position of power that he did for so long and have such an impact.

You're right that he did not invent the National Socialist German Workers' Party which he took over. However, what he did do was take that party and strengthen it to the poinjt that made it one of the most powerful forces in German politics.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 12:03 pm
There is the Peter Principle where your rise is stopped by some inability. Hitler had street smarts. His use of gliders in overcoming the Belgian defence in the early start of German aggression helped solidify his miltary planning position and agreeing to Von Manheim's invasion path through the Ardennes to France. Sometimes the early successes pave the way for later defeats. It was Guderian's innovative use of Blitzkrieg that really told the story.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 12:07 pm
@Ragman,
Quote:
However, what he did do was take that party and strengthen it to the poinjt that made it one of the most powerful forces in German politics.


Well, i don't agree with that, either. In the presidential election which he lost to Hindenberg, he polled 35% of the vote. In the subsequent Reichstag election, that's just what the NSDAP polled--35%. After the Reichstag fire (and i have no opinion on whether the SA engineered that or it was just a fortuitous coincidence), left-wing parties were outlawed, but even then the NSDAP only managed to poll fractionally more than 44%. Hitler was only able to govern by virtue of a coalition with the DNVP (the German National People's Party). Hitler negotiated (in bad faith) with the Centre Party, the Catholic party, eventually promising to retain all Catholic civil servants, and to remove the debilities under which Catholics operated publicly in most German states. He then announced his plan for the Enabling Act in the garrison church in Potsdam, in an event orchestrated by Goebbels, which convinced the nation that he had the support of the army and the junker class. He ate fumble pie in front of Hindenberg, and it worked. To pass the Enabling Act, he needed a two thirds majority, which, with the support of the Centre Party and the arrest of a couple of dozen Social Democrats, he was able to achieve. I give him full credit for his cynical political moves--but i see no evidence that he was "smart."
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 01:04 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
I give him full credit for his cynical political moves--but i see no evidence that he was "smart."

That's rather like saying "I'll admit he was smart, but I'll never admit that he was smart." Everything you cite would support the conclusion that Hitler was a genius. After all, if he was only able to gain 35% of the votes in an unfixed election and still become dictator, that shows some uncommon ability on his part. It's something, after all, that guys like Ludendorff or von Papen or the leaders of the German socialists weren't able to accomplish. Likewise, Hitler wasn't alone in pursuing "cynical political moves," but he was the only one who managed to come out on top. Von Papen and Hugenberg couldn't do that, nor could Hitler's fellow sociopath Röhm. History is certainly replete with examples of the lucky idiots who failed their way to the top, but Hitler wasn't one of them.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 01:34 pm
@joefromchicago,
thank you, Joe.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 02:55 pm
Like many historical despots, he was a master manipulator and he understood human psychology. He knew what buttons to push to make people feel important and superior, or fearful and paranoid. He was a talented showman who could broadcast an aura of charisma to weak people who wanted a savior without asking the price. His downfall came from his ego overruling his common sense - and in that sense he was stupid. He was only a figurehead in the way the Devil is a front for evil.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 03:02 pm
@joefromchicago,
No, it's not, it's not like that at all. Making cynical political moves is no evidence of intelligence, just a lack of scruple. Mentioning von Papen is rather ironic, though, given that Hindenberg said he's never appoint Hitler the chancellor, yet von Papen talked him into it. Without that, Hitler would not have been in a position to pass the Reichstag Fire act, and eliminate the letist competition. Ludendorf was a nut bag, i can't imagine why you even brought him up. I also did not at any time attribute his success to luck. I'd say he was fortunate in this allies--usually, although not always. His ruthlessness helped when people like Rohm became a liability. Ruthlessness also doesn't necessarily indicate intelligence.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 03:10 pm
By the way, before this gets too far out of hand, and someone comes up with cheap courtroom tricks, i didn't describe him as an idiot, either. As a matter of fact, i did not originally describe him as stupid, i just said he wasn't all that smart. It was Ragman who characterized that as stupid, and i ought not to have fallen in with the use of that word. Stupid he might not have been, but i'll stick with my original assessment--he wasn't all that smart. The original post asks if he was a dumb figurehead, or if he was actually smart.
kuvasz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 03:45 pm
@Ragman,
The man was a clever sociopath who understood people and knew how to manipulate them, a trait many outstanding salesmen have. The problem was that the product he sold was hate.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 03:52 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

No, it's not, it's not like that at all. Making cynical political moves is no evidence of intelligence, just a lack of scruple. Mentioning von Papen is rather ironic, though, given that Hindenberg said he's never appoint Hitler the chancellor, yet von Papen talked him into it. Without that, Hitler would not have been in a position to pass the Reichstag Fire act, and eliminate the letist competition.

Clearly von Papen and Hugenberg made cynical political moves and lacked scruples too, but they never ended up as dictators of Germany. Something, therefore, must have distinguished Hitler's unscrupulousness from that of von Papen and Hugenberg. You could say that Hitler was just better at it, which I suppose has some measure of truth, but then that just raises the question of why Hitler was better at being unscrupulous than his political allies/patsies. I'd argue that it's because Hitler was unscrupulous and smart, whereas guys like von Papen and Hugenberg were unscrupulous and, ultimately, rather dumb.

No doubt you'd disagree, but I suspect that's because we have radically different definitions of what it means to be "smart." Hitler, without question, was no Einstein, but then I doubt Einstein could have ever taken over a country the size of Liechtenstein, let alone Germany. Different tasks require different skill sets. Hitler would have made a lousy nuclear physicist, just as Einstein would have made a lousy ruthless dictator. Hitler's success can't be denied, and there's little evidence that I can see that he attained that success through means other than his own. The fact that he succeeded where others failed is, I think, a fairly good indication that it was Hitler's own efforts that led to his success. Maybe that doesn't make him smart -- just smarter than everybody else.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 04:15 pm
@joefromchicago,
That would only be true if you can prove success as a ruthless politician is evidence that someone is smart--which i doubt. David Crockett seems to have been one of the best stump politicians in our history. It got him elected to the Tennessee legislature and twice elected to the House of Representatives. In both of those houses, he was the despair of his party, frequently rambling on at length about subjects which interested no one, and had no discernable relation to the interests of his constituents. He frequently proposed legislation directly opposed to the policies of the Democrats. Nevertheless , he proved very adroit at getting elected. His performance once elected does little to convince one that he was all that smart--which is exactly how i see Hitler.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 05:59 pm
@Setanta,
Lengthy, rambling, irrelevant monologues are a sign that the person is not smart. I'll keep that in mind.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 06:38 pm
@joefromchicago,
Snide mischaracterizations are pretty much your style. Crockett is relevant because he's someone else who was not all that smart, but who succeeded in politics. I wouldn't consider Neville Chamberlain nor Warren Harding to have been the brightest pennies in the bank, and yet they both rose to the highest executive offices in their respective nations.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2011 07:05 pm
@hamilton,
With the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, what if Hitler's actual goal was to NEVER have Germany gain hegemony over his birthplace, and beloved Austria. If that was a goal, then losing the war would achieve that goal. That would explain a war on two fronts, and being in Russia as the winter started. Also, not putting more focus on value of the U-Boats. Just a thought.
 

Related Topics

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYONE! - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WIND AND WATER - Discussion by Setanta
Who ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall? - Discussion by Walter Hinteler
True version of Vlad Dracula, 15'th century - Discussion by gungasnake
ONE SMALL STEP . . . - Discussion by Setanta
History of Gun Control - Discussion by gungasnake
Where did our notion of a 'scholar' come from? - Discussion by TuringEquivalent
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Hitler: figurehead?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 10/17/2019 at 07:45:07