Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 H - Hitler


Adolf Hitler: 1889-1945: National socialist, leader of Germany from 1933-1945, born in Austria. Started the second worldwar - 1939-1945 - and is responsible for at least 20 million civilian deaths (apart from military deaths, that is).

Like Stalin, Hitler is in this dictionary to remind my readers that philosophy - the writings of philosophers - have practical consequences, sometimes on a very large scale: Just like Marx was a major inspiration of Lenin and Stalin and Mao and  communism, Nietzsche was a major inspiration of Hitler and nazism, while communism and nazism wrecked the lives many millions, and destroyed much of civilization in the countries ruled in the name of these political ideologies.

And while it is not easy to give a rational answer to the question to what extent philosophers like Marx and Nietzsche can be held responsible for the acts and crimes of men who lived after they died, and who may said to have abused their writings, it also is true that their teachings were easily combined with the totalitarian spirit that inheres in most political ideologies and religions anyway, since it - groupthinking - is a major human weakness.


See also: Dictatorship, Groupthinking, Heidegger, Leaders, Nietzsche, Stalin, Totalitarian


Lacoeur Ed.

 Original: May 10, 2010                                                  Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top