Was Hitler good or bad? Why? Why not?

1 Answer
Jun 5, 2016

If he wasn't bad, who was?


He came into power playing on the basest fears of a desperate population, killed millions of his own countrymen, tried to completely annihilate the Jewish and Gypsy populations of Europe, looted their property, embarked on a war of conquest that was by any measure Europe's worst, and saddled his country with an impossibly huge war debt.

The harm he did to the world in general and to Europe in particular overwhelms anything he ever did that could go into the "good" column (like anti-smoking programs or keeping Communism at bay until 1945). Even in some bizarre value-neutral context, I am at a loss as to how he could be seen as anything but one of the worst humans to ever walk the Earth.

There are parts of the world where he is admired for having killed a lot of Russians, but there's been a severe drop-off in the number of parents who name their child "Adolph." The man's own relatives have overwhelmingly changed their last name to "Hiller" or "Hiedler."

Future historians might, with distance, take a more nuanced view of his "complicated" legacy (as they do for Napoleon and Genghis Khan), but we really aren't at that point yet.

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