The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 1 of 5 Adolf Hitler
The most damaging people in history are generally those with control and power over large numbers of other people. It therefore makes sense that leaders of countries are usually at the top of the list in terms of all time villains. These people can work their way up in "the system" without people recognizing how dangerous they are. By the time people do start to realize how dangerous he is it is too late.
Over time, he consolidates more and more power. Those who oppose him are done away with. He takes over the media in order to propagate his own agenda while snuffing out the truth. He has the nerve to impose his own vision of how the world should be onto everyone else. He takes over the educational system to ensure children are indoctrinated with his false, sick, and perverted ideology. These mis-educated children become damaged, stunted adults who are used as pawns.
The villain surrounds himself with goons and cronies who are obedient to his will. He takes credit for things he didn't do and denies hurtful things he did do. He creates a cult of personality around himself. In art and literature he make himself out to be more talented and majestic then he really is. He names towns, cities and streets after himself.
I have picked five villains of the past 100 years that are in my opinion, the worst of the worst. This is the first of what will ultimately be a five hub series. I will use masculine oriented pronouns as all five villains are male.
Wikipedia was used as a source in creating this hub. My past educational pursuits and resultant knowledge sufficed for the rest.
Adolf HItler was the leader of the Nazi Party and German head of state from 1934 to 1945. He became a dictator based on totalitarian and autocratic ideology and played a central role in the rise of fascism in Europe. He is the primary instigator and catalyst of WWII. Hitler wanted to establish Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe and some say to take over the entire world.
Hitler's rise to power is actually a familiar theme amongst the most terrible villains of the past 100 years and of history in general. There were a number of times he could have failed or died or been killed but he wasn't. There were a number of situations had they differed even a little he never could have become the killing machine that he was.
Hitler would "lay low" when he had to and talk peace only to mask his evil intentions. Hitler was such a liar. In his "peace speeches" of 17 May 1933, 21 May 1935, and 7 March 1936, Hitler stressed his supposed peaceful goals and a willingness to work within the international system (Wikipedia).
He formed strategic alliances when it served his interests.Those who resisted or opposed him were put in prison or killed. He greatly expanded the German military in spite of signed treaties not to do so.
Hitler had amazing speech making abilities and used this to the hilt to further his insane agenda. He was very charismatic in this regard and was able to manipulate and mesmerize the German masses. He appealed to German nationalism and reminded the German people of past, perceived slights. His speeches would often build in intensity and he eventually would be screaming and yelling like the madman he was.
I remember seeing the classic Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will, in college. All through it you see images of the German swastika and hordes of brain washed German civilians doing the seig heil salute There is also plenty of images and audio of Hitler giving speeches to the hypnotized masses; his maniacal ranting seemed to know no bounds. To an outsider the scenes are the manifestation of darkness, foreboding, and evil.
Hitler was a terrible racist and wanted everything for the German/Aryan people. He had a hatred for minorities; especially those of Jewish descent. He is responsible for the murder of millions of Jewish people...aka "The Holocaust". Also targeted were people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, political rivals, and others. Children perceived as disabled or handicapped were taken and killed. Concentration camps were established under Hitler; these organized, systematic, factories of death led millions to their graves.
Hitler justified invading other countries as a way to acquire additional living space for Germans. Let's not forget though that he was a madman. By using political tactics and manipulations he was able to get Austria to agree to a merger. Hitler also wanted parts of Czechoslovakia but they resisted. Germany subsequently invaded Czechoslovakia. Other powerful countries appeased Germany by doing little; other countries hoped against hope that raping Czechoslovakia would satisfy his apetite but they were wrong. Hitler ordered the invasion and takeover of Poland and this is what triggered Britain and France to declare war upon Germany.
During this period, Hitler built up his forces on Germany's western frontier. In April 1940, German forces invaded Denmark and Norway. In May 1940, Hitler's forces attacked France, and conquered Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium. These victories persuaded Benito Mussolini (another nutcase) of Italy to join the war on Hitler's side on 10 June 1940. France surrendered to Nazi Germany on 22 June 1940. The world found itself in a very dark place.
The UK suffered fierce attacks at the hands of Germany and almost fell but did not. Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece. Believe it or not, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941; he had signed a non aggression pact with the USSR just two years earlier. Germany seized large parts of the USSR but was stopped short of Moscow per the Russian Winter and fierce resistance.
A few days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor Hitler....you guessed it...declared war on the United States. At this point, the tide of the war had already begun to change; the Nazis had started losing some battles and lost Mussolini as an ally. Mussolini, for bringing such devastation upon Italy, was later killed by his own people.
At some point, Hitler began to realize he was going to lose. He ordered the destruction of vast amounts of German infrastructure to go down with him. On 30 April 1945, after intense fighting, Soviet troops closed in on his location. Hitler and his Wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide; she by biting into a cyanide capsule and Hitler by shooting himself with his pistol. Shortly thereafter, Germany surrendered.
The extent of suffering caused by Hitler is mind boggling. Most all towns across America lost great young men and women. My dad's brother was killed by the Nazis in fighting in Belgium. Russia seems to have lost the most people with estimates being twenty million--this equaled 20-25 percent of the entire Russian population. Many nations suffered horrendous heartbreak and loss.
When reading about the scope of Hitler's evil it almost makes one cry; it's as if hell opened up and the devil himself emerged to attack the world.
What would the world be like if Nazi Germany's insanity had prevailed?
After studying and doing research I am convinced that Hitler is the most terrible villain of the past 100 years. Perhaps he is the greatest villain of all time?
I fear we have not fully learned our lessons and another villain, like Hitler, could again rise to power and bring misery to the world. I hope I am wrong.
I am disturbed by those who deny the Holocaust happened. I am disturbed by the concept of neo nazis.
Has your life or those of your parents/grandparents been adversely affected by Hitler? I bet the answer for many of you is "yes".
Was Adolf Hitler the most terrible villain of the past 100 years?
Here are the other hubs in this series
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 2 of 5 - Joseph Stalin
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 3 of 5 - Mao Zedong
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 4 of 5 - Pol Pot
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 5 of 5 - Heinrich Himmler (Includes S