Many strange, contradictory and often largely unsubstantiated rumours have arisen about Hitler, both in life and death. Of course many of these are little more than propaganda created by his enemies, in seeking to discredit him as a volatile madman.

Frequently these supposed ‘Hitler facts’ involve lewd allusions to his sexuality, issues of health and hypochondria, and not least his tenuous relationship with religion.

A particular favourite amongst mythologists is his alleged dearth of certain reproductive organs; this, however, would appear to owe more to the derogatory wartime songs of Allied soldiers than any firm evidence.

Another popular myth surrounding Hitler is his association with the occult and black magic, a subject addressed at length in a plethora of publications, many of which cite his fascination with ‘the Holy Lance’.

Both his time as a struggling artist in Vienna, and his encounters with Jews earlier in life, provoke considerable intrigue, as commentators seek to gauge the extent that these experiences shaped the thoughts of the future fascist dictator.  Many, for example, have drawn attention to his Jewish heritage (his great-great-grandmother was a Jewish maid).

Military History Monthly has trawled through the wilderness, seeking to separate fact from fiction.  We have selected a few of the more likely, yet equally beguiling, facts regarding the complex, tyrannical dictator.

1. Inspiration from cheerleaders

The Nazi rallying call, “Sieg Heil!” was inspired by American football cheerleading techniques, supposedly imported by his friend Ernst Hanfstaengl, who studied at Harvard.  Hanfstaengl was so impressed by the rousing qualities and camaraderie inherent at American sporting events, that he passed this on to Hitler, who would in turn seek to emulate the atmosphere at his rallies.

2. The vegetarian dictator

Vegetarianism would not be typically associated with a man known for merciless killing on such a vast scale.  However, Hitler’s dietary disposition did not stem for moral implications.  Supposedly, Hilter made the decision to become vegetarian following the autopsy of former girlfriend (and niece) Geli, who committed suicide by shooting herself in the heart.

Incidentally, she was not the only women in his life to attempt suicide, in another bizarre association with Hitler: The British born Unity Mitford shot herself in the head upon the announcement of war, and of course, Eva Braun (who had earlier attempted suicide, following the Fuhrer’s neglect of his mistress) famously killed herself along with Hitler in his Berlin Bunker, once defeat was imminent.

3. The Swastika

An Etruscan pendant, 700-650 BCE

For roughly six months during his childhood, Hitler’s family lived in the vicinity of a large Benedictine monastery. It’s coat of arms was adorned with a prominent swastika – a possible inspiration in later life.

A Native American basketball team, circa 1909

In fact, it is widely known that the swastika symbol has been used for thousands of years, in various incarnations.  Dating back to the Bronze Age, it has been been a staple in cultures from India to Scandinavia, before finally being claimed by the Nazi cause in the twentieth century.

The name itself comes from the Sanskrit, combing su (‘good’) and asti (‘to be’), meaning ‘good luck’.  The symbol was used by the British in WWI, adorning coupons and stamps of the British Saving Scheme.

4. Avoiding military service

Before the outbreak of World War I, in May 1913, the future dictator actually fled Vienna for Munich, seemingly in attempt to avoid military service.  He was arrested in January of the following year, facing a fine and a year’s imprisonment if found guilty of seeking to circumvent enlistment.

5. Handwriting

Having studied Hitler’s handwriting in 1937, the psychologist Carl Jung concluded that “Behind this handwriting I recognise the typical characteristics of a man with essentially feminine instinct.”

6. Man of the Year

On 2nd January 1939, Hitler was declared Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year 1938’.  However, far from a celebration of the man, Time noted that “Hitler became in 1938 the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”  The article continues: “The man most responsible for this world tragedy is a moody, brooding, un-prepossessing, 49-year-old Austria born ascetic with a Charly Chaplin mustache [sic].”

7. The Moustache

Hitler was advised to lose his trademark moustache by Dr Sedgwick, his press secretary, in 1923.  Hitler’s steadfast response was that “If it is not the fashion now, it will be later because I wear it!”

Much discrepancy has arisen over the true origin of Hitler’s infamous moustache.  His love of Charlie Chaplin is often cited as the chief inspiration.  His contemporary Moritz Frey, however, claimed it derived from a more practical consideration, harking back to his time as a soldier during the Great War – an order from a superior officer to trim his whiskers to accommodate the regulation gas mask.

Nevertheless, the short, stubby style was fairly popular in the region of Austria where Hitler grew up. Others suggest it acted predominantly as a visual aide, in creating the instantly-recognisable larger than life persona; the ‘toothbrush’ has certainly become synonymous with oppression and fascism, even over half a century later.  In 2010, a British comedian created a stage show specifically to raise the issue of its symbolic potency juxtaposed with its slapstick origins, seeking to claim it back for comedy.

8. Hitler the Prankster

Allegedly, Hitler was a serial prankster, often playing jokes on his ministers and generals.  This would backfire on him tremendously, when a stunt on Hanfstaengl (who believed he was being set up for a suicide mission, whilst headed to Spain on a plane full of Gestapo men), let him to escape to Switzerland.  He would then seek refuge with the Allies, revealing vital information on his former friend and leader.

9. Sweet Tooth

Hitler had an incredibly sweet tooth, eating up to two pounds of chocolate per day, and even adding sugar to red wine before consuming it.

10. Very superstitious?

The superstitions of great dictators often rouse much interest.  A secret profile compiled by the OSS in 1942 found that Hitler would never remove his coat in public, however hot he may have been.  Whether this stemmed from a particular superstition, or simply his greater mission to maintain his ordered, authoritative presence remains to be substantiated.


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33 Comments

  1. Mona
    July 31, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

    History is written only by the winner, of course, so you can bet that most of this is baloney or hearsay. Go read Mein Kampf and get it straight from the horses mouth.

    Reply

    • Asia Franklin
      June 11, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

      A very interesting statement…you’ve implied. I very much find this article quite ironic.

      Reply

    • Paul
      June 21, 2013 @ 9:42 am

      Exactly. Learn how to be good by looking at the worst…

      Reply

    • Jim Kirby
      February 8, 2015 @ 7:55 am

      so your saying that his biography are facts. Really its thought processes such as yours that reflect our continued battle with human insecurities..

      Reply

  2. Rolf
    November 3, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Well said my friend

    Reply

  3. Craig paterson
    February 4, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    Yes because none of mein kampf is nonsense is it?

    Reply

  4. peyton
    February 7, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

    very interesting PLEASE POST MORE!

    Reply

  5. james
    March 16, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

    meine kanpf means my sturgle it was written by hitler (duh) in jail

    Reply

  6. estelle
    April 17, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    this makes me know about hitler

    Reply

  7. Caroline
    May 24, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    Post more please

    Reply

  8. T Belicia M
    May 30, 2013 @ 1:37 am

    I love this to pieces! The only thing I’m a little skeptical on the the red wine part because with further research I have found that Hitler swore not to drink alcoholic beverages after an incident early in his life. It could be that he’d only drink sweetened drinks or that he only abstained himself from hard liquor, but still it doesn’t keep me from liking this article all the more!

    Reply

    • jeremiah w
      March 14, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

      it was sweet because he added sugar and wine isn’t that alcoholic it is the least alcoholic of all alcohol beverages

      Reply

      • Walking
        November 23, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

        Wine is the least alcoholic of all alcoholic beverages??? lol!!

        Reply

      • Jim Kirby
        February 8, 2015 @ 8:03 am

        Of course it is low in alcohol because Hitler being such a quality human that he would never put hard liquor or drugs in his his body. That temple of humanity who….. What killed millions for no other reason than the man fricking hated himself and made the world pay…

        Reply

        • Al Cohoot
          March 27, 2015 @ 8:40 pm

          Wine can have as much alcohol in it as any other alcoholic drink – beer, vodka, whisk(e)y etc., etc. Have you tried non alcoholic (alcohol free) wine recently?

          Reply

  9. annon
    May 30, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    @mona you are so right! the germans loved hitler, he did alot of good for germany. ie rebuild the country, make jobs, made patriotism very strong. although what he did was awful. BUT if people had power to stop him, why didnt they stop him?

    Reply

    • Paul
      June 21, 2013 @ 9:39 am

      Because they didn’t have the power to stop him…

      Reply

    • FAAQ2
      October 26, 2014 @ 1:05 am

      You seem to forget that 70 million people died in WWII – 35 million Russians – 2.5 Million Germans, and don’t forget the 6 million Jews – My Mother-In-Law grew up in Nazi germany and has some interesting stories to tell. The main thing is that NO one was allowed to criticize Hitler – if you did you disappeared – !

      Reply

    • Jim Kirby
      February 8, 2015 @ 8:11 am

      The German people loved Hitler ?? No they feared the man. People c/mon some of you seem to admire or in some way respect Hitler. Very few if any human in history has proven to be as evil and inherently despicable as that man..

      Reply

      • Ernst Böhmer
        March 27, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

        They can say what they like about Hitler. He was a great man with the brush. Forget about your Rembrandt, your Van Gogh, your Manet, your Monet, your Picasso and the
        rest of your talentless and
        degenerate “Kunstmaler”.
        Now Hitler, he was a REAL painter.
        Two rooms in one day!! That’s what I call painting!!! Although he did have no sense of perspective and got carried away on occasions.
        I mean just look what he did to Czechoslovakia and Poland.

        Reply

  10. missy
    June 2, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

    wow I would call Hitler many things but I certainly never had him down as a prankster…

    Reply

  11. Eric Eggimann
    June 17, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

    i think he was just extemely offended by the term “Gentile” for those who arent jewish, as well as some of the seemingly descriminatory things that follow suit with it.

    Reply

  12. steven sneddon
    July 19, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    if America did,nt get involved in the war he would have taken Europe and England. but he underestimated stalins Russia … what do you think.?

    Reply

  13. Fidel Ponce
    July 28, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    Hi! Here is a very interesting documentary about Hitler´s Children you MUST SEE! http://www.hitlerschildren.com

    Reply

  14. John Smiths
    November 30, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    His great-great grandmother was not Jewish.

    Reply

  15. Donald Rule, PhD, MD
    July 3, 2014 @ 4:17 am

    “Hitler Facts: 10 little-known facts” should really read: “Hitler Facts: 10 re-hashed LIES”
    ‘Facts’ 1-3 are mindless ‘observations’ derived from conjecture and/or baseless opinions so we will ignore these. “Facts’ 5-
    10 offer even more mindless drivel for mindless skulls. These will be ignored as well. ‘Fact’ 4 must be addressed however, because it further obscures, especially for historians studying Hitler the man, the already complex character that the real Hitler was. As such, lies like these are counterproductive to the craft of Historians and ultimately dangerous to the sanctity of History and consequently Truth itself.
    FACT 4. Avoiding military service. This is a blatant lie which surfaces from time to time on the electronic World stage we call
    the Internet. Here, any idiot can stand, loudly spout his warped perspective and call it ‘fact’. But a fact is a fact and in of itself, it can be nothing other than just that; a fact. All of the yellow journalism in the World and all of the vitriolic hatred of Hitler’s victims cannot change the fact that ‘Fact # 4 is a lie. While he may have been many things, Adolf Hitler was certainly not a coward. Unlike the crippled, blue-blooded Roosevelt or the alcoholic, cigar-chomping Churchill, Adolf Hitler volunteered for combat to serve his newly adopted Fatherland, Germany. Most if not all scholars today firmly believe that of all modern European wars, WW I was by far the deadliest for the common foot soldier. As a battlefield runner in a World of blood and guts, Adolf Hitler volunteered for missions on almost every occasion they were available and was both gassed and shot multiple times. For his troubles, Hitler received not one, but TWO Iron Crosses and a battlefield promotion to Corporal. The motives for his ‘Devil may care’ behavior are unclear, but none-the-less Adolf Hitler, far from avoiding military service, embraced it. Had he been permanently maimed or killed, the garbage on this page (and all over the Internet) that
    masquerades itself as ‘History’ would never have been posted and never would have needed to be corrected.
    Congratultions. You are now more educated that you were five minutes ago.

    Reply

    • Jim Kirby
      February 8, 2015 @ 8:23 am

      Doctor did you happen to attend school in some backwoods college.. Ie. Southern University of Bigotry. Come on now. Nothing but anger within me after reading your vile verbiage that only reinforces the need to be vigilant always for hatred..

      Reply

  16. Donald Rule, PhD, MD
    July 3, 2014 @ 4:29 am

    As a footnote, I’d like to add that I am NOT an apologist for the madman the World knows as Hitler. I am simply incensed at the way History in general is warped by thoughtless and politically motivated postings on the WWW such as the postings on this page. While making for entertaining reading, they are a danger to Historical truth.

    The fact that Hitler served ‘bravely’ in WW I in no way makes him a good or virtuous person. Finally and considering Hitler’s use of concentration camps and mass executions, my guess is that the man most probably also enjoyed battlefield carnage. Another fact that was lost here was this: Hitler enjoyed movies, especially films of his political enemies being tortured and executed. Did you like that one? It’s true.

    Reply

  17. Ivladi Iulian
    September 9, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

    My opinion… I am glad that he is dead…

    Reply

  18. Obscure facts about Adolf Hitler. - WAR HISTORY ONLINE
    October 25, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

    […] Source and read more: http://www.military-history.org […]

    Reply

  19. Herpderpded
    February 13, 2015 @ 6:16 am

    Hitler wanted to serve in the Imperial German Army, and not the Austro-Hungarian army. He made a personal appeal to a prince in Bavaria.

    Reply

    • Alphonto
      April 1, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

      Hitler was Austrian and a draft dodger. Since when do draft dodgers get to choose what army they want to join?

      Reply

  20. bbccjjghg
    October 6, 2016 @ 5:28 pm

    hitler likes disney

    Reply

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