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Thread: 'Hitler Considered Himself an Artistic Genius'

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    'Hitler Considered Himself an Artistic Genius'

    Art historian Birgit Schwarz talks to SPIEGEL about why Adolf Hitler saw himself as a genius and how his obsession with art affected his political views.

    SPIEGEL: Ms. Schwarz, countless books and academic papers have been written worldwide about Hitler, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Now you are claiming that it's time to correct our image of Hitler. In what sense?

    Birgit Schwarz: In my opinion, people have underestimated the notion that Hitler considered himself an artist, in fact, an artistic genius, and that much can be deduced from this self-image, this overheated artist's ego. However, this has hardly played a role in the research to date. That's the starting point, from my perspective, because it can help us gain a better understanding of Hitler as a person, as well as his system of power. Hitler's deluded view of himself as a genius is based on the confused system of thought emerging in the late 19th century, which centered on the idea that a genius -- a strong personality who outshone everything else -- could do anything and could do anything he pleased.

    SPIEGEL: That sounds like a debatable view. Historians will complain.

    Schwarz: Perhaps. But I believe that it's important to amend the history of his personality. Aside from that, I'm looking forward to the debate.

    SPIEGEL: Hitler's relationship with art is well-documented. He earned money with his watercolors and wanted to become a painter. Later he became an insatiable collector, a passion which turned into the most brutal art theft of all time. All of this is well known. What, then, is supposedly incorrect about the current image of Hitler?

    Schwarz: There is a widespread view that he was not truly fascinated by art, and that although he collected art and used it to cultivate his image, he then hid it away in basements and mines. Someone like Göring was constantly bragging about his collection, but many believe that Hitler wasn't actually that interested. But it was very deeply ingrained in his personality.

    SPIEGEL: What makes you so certain?

    Schwarz: The previously underestimated observations of his contemporaries, for one. For example, there was the Italian archeologist and art historian Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, an accomplished expert who was not on Hitler's side. He became one of Italy's great intellectuals after the war. In 1938, Bianchi Bandinelli was asked to play the role of tour guide during one of Hitler's state visits, and Hitler spent hour after hour admiring paintings. According to Bianchi Bandinelli, it was evident in Hitler's body language that he was truly entranced by the art.

    SPIEGEL: But Mussolini was simply annoyed by the time Hitler spent looking at art.

    Schwarz: Yes, but sources like Bianchi Bandinelli's account show that there is something important missing from our picture of Hitler, something we still need to understand and that hasn't been taken into account until now. In fact, a very different image was built up over decades, namely of Hitler and his fight against so-called degenerate art.

    SPIEGEL: But that too is an important part of his relationship with art.

    Schwarz: Of course, and it was probably fueled by real hatred. At the same time, art was very important to him throughout his entire life.

    SPIEGEL: Doesn't the perception of Hitler as an artist make him seem less evil?

    Schwarz: No. In fact, his love of art led directly into the heart of evil. But neither is it the root of everything else. His fanatical pursuit of his own cause, and his self-image as a genius, contributed to his powers of persuasion and, therefore, his success. Art was part of his life until his last hours, even playing a role in his private will, in which he mentions his collections. This was someone who issued the so-called Nero Decree (Ed's note: Hitler's Nero Decree, issued in March 1945, ordered the destruction of any infrastructure which could be of use to the Allies.) while at the same time making sure art treasures were rescued. But no one is willing to admit to his obsession with art.

    SPIEGEL: But the story of how Hitler flew to occupied Paris and visited the main sights at dawn is legendary.

    Schwarz: This obsession with art was interpreted as nothing but a cultivation of his image and propaganda. When you look at his biography, you understand that art was vitally important to him much earlier, and that he needed it for self-affirmation.

    SPIEGEL: Prominent historians, particularly the brilliant Ian Kershaw, see the young Hitler primarily as a failed painter. He wanted to study painting, but he was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts twice, in 1907 and 1908. Why don't you accept this interpretation?

    Schwarz: Of course, being turned down was a fundamental shock to him. But the Hitler research community believes that he accepted his failure, and that he gave up the artistic world. But in reality he always retained his self-image as an artist and as someone obsessed with art. The rebuff from the academy was probably what prompted him to consider himself a genius.

    SPIEGEL: In your opinion, he saw himself as someone who had been underestimated. But where is the difference between "failed" and "underestimated," which is so critical to understanding Hitler?

    Schwarz: If he had seen himself as failed, he would have had to abandon his idea of being an artist. That's what Ian Kershaw, for example, claims. And (German historian and Hitler biographer) Joachim Fest didn't take Hitler's self-image as a genius seriously enough. Many believe that Goebbels didn't start consistently referring to Hitler as a genius until later on.

    SPIEGEL: And that was indeed the case.

    Schwarz: But for Hitler it was more than a propaganda strategy. He seriously believed he was a genius, long before Goebbels referred to him as such. And it makes sense that Goebbels constantly described him as a genius. A genius shouldn't refer to himself as a genius. He needs a community of admirers. His conviction that he was a genius, in my interpretation, was at the center of his entire worldview.

    SPIEGEL: For a time, Hitler survived by painting watercolor scenes of Vienna. He was apparently fired by an architecture firm where you believe he worked, because his performance wasn't good enough. He then moved to Munich, where he hung around in cafés. That doesn't sound like someone with the creative urges of a genius.

    Schwarz: On the contrary. Let me give you an example. A competition for an imposing building project of the late Kaiser period was announced in Berlin. The opera house was going to be rebuilt. We don't know if Hitler attempted to officially enter the competition -- in fact, it's unlikely -- but it appears that he did draw some of his own designs. He believed that he could hold his own with the most famous architects.

    SPIEGEL: Why didn't he seek public attention?

    Schwarz: A genius can shine in secret, hoping that he will make a big splash one day.
    Continued: http://www.spiegel.de/international/...4210-2,00.html

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    The Jews won't leave that noble European alone. I'd love to see a merciless world war against Israel, just love it, really put them in their place, and reduce their numbers to a travelling circus. The planet deserves it.

    England is getting sick of the jews, America is getting sick of the jews,
    Germany is getting sick of the jews, France is getting sick of the jews, Italy is getting sick of the jews, Spain is getting sick of the jews,
    Africa is getting sick of the jews, Russia is getting sick of the jews, the Arab world is getting sick of the jews, China getting sick of the jews. History repeats itself and they've got it coming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wodens Day View Post
    England is getting sick of the jews, America is getting sick of the jews, Germany is getting sick of the jews, France is getting sick of the jews, Italy is getting sick of the jews, Spain is getting sick of the jews, Africa is getting sick of the jews, Russia is getting sick of the jews, the Arab world is getting sick of the jews, China getting sick of the jews. History repeats itself and they've got it coming.
    Where do you get that idea from? If you replace it with muslim you got a point. But not with what you have written. At least for the European situation.

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    The Muslim problem is a symptom not the cause. In the public mind the Muslim has been made the enemy. The Jews don’t care if Europe gets invaded by Islam they just won’t tolerate them anywhere near Israel.
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimner View Post


    The Muslim problem is a symptom not the cause. In the public mind the Muslim has been made the enemy. The Jews don’t care if Europe gets invaded by Islam they just won’t tolerate them anywhere near Israel.
    Think about that for a moment. What happens when Muslims have the military capacity of Europe? It will not be another '6 days war'.

    As for the article... they are just being egotistic themselves. He was an artist and there is nothing more to say. It is like me claiming 'Jesus Considered Himself a Carpentry Genius', or 'Mohhamid Considered Himself a Paedophilic Genius'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kogen View Post
    Think about that for a moment. What happens when Muslims have the military capacity of Europe? It will not be another '6 days war'.
    I agree, though the objective for the Jews is the mongrelisation of European blood. To that end the influks of Arabs is desirable. by the time there are enough half-bloods they won’t be Islamic or at least extremist Islamic anymore (once they tasted the good life so to speak) and even if Europe was conquered (instead of only invaded) by Arabs and there was a realistic threat to Israel the US would bomb the EU from the face of the earth. Face it Arabs in the EU serve the same purpose that Mexicans serve in US.
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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    Hitler considered himself an artist, in fact, an artistic genius, and that much can be deduced from this self-image, this overheated artist's ego. However, this has hardly played a role in the research to date. That's the starting point, from my perspective, because it can help us gain a better understanding of Hitler as a person, as well as his system of power. Hitler's deluded view of himself as a genius is based on the confused system of thought emerging in the late 19th century, which centered on the idea that a genius -- a strong personality who outshone everything else -- could do anything and could do anything he pleased.

    LOL ... that's as far as I got and that was pushing it. This entire opinionated article is just babbling one person's made-up opinion.

    this overheated artist's ego LOL

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    SPIEGEL: Why didn't he seek public attention?

    Schwarz: A genius can shine in secret, hoping that he will make a big splash one day.
    A misleading reply to a question his friend Kubizek had already poised.

    It wouldn't have been impossible for him to find someone of his caliber in Vienna, unlike in Britain (according to Otto Strasser, Hitler believed peace with Britain would have been achieved sooner if the British could have produced a comparable statesman. In his speeches and private conversations, Hitler went so far as to say that the British never had produced a great composer like Beethoven). "So he had no reason to avoid people on moral grounds. As a matter of fact, it was not arrogance that held him back." (Kubizek)

    Kubizek's attempts at explaining Hitler's reluctance to mingle with the public life are scattered through his work:

    "Perhaps he felt that he belonged to a different social class."
    "It was rather his poverty, and the consequent sensitiveness, that caused him to live on his own. Moreover, he thought he was lowering himself if he went to a social gathering, or any kind of distraction."
    "Perhaps what drove him to his intensive studies was his instinctive feeling that only a thorough education could save him from descending to the level of the masses."

    On the last point, we at least have testimony from Hitler himself in Mein Kampf: "I found it difficult to understand how men, who always had reasonable ideas when I spoke to them as individuals, suddenly lost this reasonableness the moment they came under the influence of the mass." (an observation matching Goethe's!)

    I think Kubizek has covered the exoteric aspect sufficiently here. But if you also take into account his testimony of Hitler's frequent contact with Nature, it'd seem Hitler systematically avoided people in order to avoid being worn down by their, hmm how shall I put this, lower vibrations. Most people live their lives cut off from Nature. The NS belief was that people survive in their imprint, manifestation, and legacy. Every stone they threw, every laugh they shared, every memory they left behind, etc. It follows that the majority of people living in the cities have no inclination to visit the natural places and that this tendency rubs off of them and unconsciously passes itself onto others. It was by no means coincidental that many Germans of that period (according to Speer) were retreating to the natural places. This is what distinguishes the world minority from the majority, they hear and readily respond to the call. But as Speer noted, it needs to be done as individuals, not as a group (pagan cults, mass-movements). It shouldn't be merely jumping the bandwagon as eager opportunists do. One must really feel Nature's call to return to her (I certainly don't, I can't imagine life without a computer and internet. When I was a Christian, I was brought along on a trip to a mountain and I couldn't stand being separated from home) and have some grasp of fate's operation in order for the trip to be productive.

    Incidentally, Hindu and Christian "prophecies" also describe the good people's retreat into the mountains. We hear of ancient Noahs in all nations being helped to escape the coming cataclysms. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul (although I don't trust him) is said to not have immediately conferred with the other apostles but went into Arabia. In the gospel narratives, Jesus is said to have went up to the mountains alone to pray. The Church has nothing to gain from it's followers conducting themselves in this manner. It's possible that these visits are not interpolated, but remnants of the uncorrupted NT. They were allowed to remain since the Church couldn't understand their significance.

    Also, you have to distinguish between two kinds of genius: cultivated talents and cultural guides (the latter include inventors, artists, musicians, reformers, religious founders, and great statesman). The former is nothing special, if reincarnation is a thing. If Hitler's oratory was merely cultivated over multiple lives or the product of training and practice (as Strasser noted, Hitler's alleged Jewish mentor Hanussen failed to anticipate being killed despite his foresight. The same goes for all the occultists arrested by Hitler's Germany, as Goebbels said in jest), why would I be following him over others? Anyone who hasn't destroyed his affinity for creativity can achieve it. I chose to follow him under the strong impression that the life instinct/creative cultural ability was awakened in him (as was the case with Luther and Goethe) through his visitations to the woods and fields, and subsequently the mountains (i.e. Freinberg). He said in his Table Talks that he found only idiots in the forests, but found men of real caliber on the mountains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenrune View Post
    LOL ... that's as far as I got and that was pushing it. This entire opinionated article is just babbling one person's made-up opinion.

    this overheated artist's ego LOL
    Hitler was not an artistic 'genius' but he was certainly a competent artist and was able to make a living from it for a while.

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