Why Germans Supported Hitler


Why Germans Supported Hitler

by Jacob G. Hornberger

It has long intrigued me why the German people supported Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. After all, every schoolchild in America is taught that Hitler and his Nazi cohorts were the very epitome of evil. How could ordinary German citizens support people who were so obviously monstrous in nature?

Standing against the Nazi tide was a remarkable group of young people known as the White Rose. Led by Hans and Sophie Scholl, a German brother and sister who were students at the University of Munich, the White Rose consisted of college students and a college professor who risked their lives to circulate anti-government pamphlets in the midst of World War II. Their arrest and trial was depicted in the German movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, which was recently released on DVD in the United States.

Of all the essays on liberty I have written in the past 20 years, my favorite is “The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent,” which I am pleased to say was later reprinted in Voices of the Holocaust, an anthology on the Holocaust for high-school students. The story of the White Rose is the most remarkable case of courage I have ever come across. It even inspired me to visit the University of Munich a few years ago, where portions of the White Rose pamphlets have been permanently enshrined on bricks laid into a plaza at the entrance to the school.

A contrast to the Scholl movie is another recent German movie, Downfall, which details Hitler’s final days in the bunker, where he committed suicide near the end of the war. Among the people around Hitler was 22-year-old Traudl Junge, who became his secretary in 1942 and who faithfully served him in that capacity until the end. For me, the most stunning part of the film occurred at the end, when the real Traudl Junge (that is, not the actress who portrays her in the film) says,

All these horrors I’ve heard of … I assured myself with the thought of not being personally guilty. And that I didn’t know anything about the enormous scale of it. But one day I walked by a memorial plate of Sophie Scholl in the Franz-Joseph-Strasse…. And at that moment I actually realized … that it might have been possible to get to know things.



2 Responses to “Why Germans Supported Hitler”

  1. Jack Mehoffer Says:

    I don’t know if people have figured it out yet, but the America as we all knew it, is dead. This is what bi-partisanship gets you. Judges whose reasoning sounds like he’s judging a cat fight between the high school prom queen and her rival. Why should I expect anymore than that, look at the man who appointed them. We have two judges on the Supreme Court who flat lied to get confirmed and who knows how many district and circuit court judges who did the same. Good luck in stopping this dictatorship now. We have a Democratic leadership who refuses to utilize the one tool they have to stop Bush. Any legislation they pass to curtail his imperialism will get vetoed. And the brownshirts in the Republican party will never overrule his veto. So what, other than impeachment, can be done to stop these two madmen in the White House. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, you had better rethink this position. Otherwise you might go down in the history books as the leaders of an opposition party, who when they had the chance, refused to stop a madman as he systematically dismantled the Democratic system of Government of the US and installed a dictatorship. Get some backbone and do your constitutional duty and protect our democracy!!!

  2. james Says:

    this is all a loud of hairy taint

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