German people relation with Adolf Hitler

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,001
Canary Islands-Spain
#1
I've been very sure that by 1940, Hitler relation with the bulk of German people was excellent, due to brainwashing, economic performance and first military victories in the war.

Might this is true for the 30's, but look at this apparently naive graph




German parents named their children Adolf increasingly through the 30's, with a peak in 1939

But starting in 1940, they dropped this option and the name plunged before the war was going clearly bad.

Is this an indication of a general state of mind? A popular perception that things were going in the wrong direction?
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,859
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
Well ... my German great-grandmother was already in Italy when Hitler got the power. What I can say, reminding what he told me when I was a child, is that she was proud to listen to Hitler's speeches at the radio. Overall living in Italy ... a country which won WWI [well ... technically, let's say this!] and which had a not irrelevant colonial power. She wanted Germany to be at least as Italy [imagine which were the inspirations of German nationalists in mid 30's!].

After WWII she discovered what that regime was doing ... but she never commented. I'm still wondering if she was Nazi or not. And I will carry this doubt with me, with a coin from 1922 ... a coin she preserved since it was the year when she got married with an Italian Alpine in Venice.
 
Likes: Futurist
Nov 2010
7,540
Cornwall
#3
Well ... my German great-grandmother was already in Italy when Hitler got the power. What I can say, reminding what he told me when I was a child, is that she was proud to listen to Hitler's speeches at the radio. Overall living in Italy ... a country which won WWI [well ... technically, let's say this!] and which had a not irrelevant colonial power. She wanted Germany to be at least as Italy [imagine which were the inspirations of German nationalists in mid 30's!].

After WWII she discovered what that regime was doing ... but she never commented. I'm still wondering if she was Nazi or not. And I will carry this doubt with me, with a coin from 1922 ... a coin she preserved since it was the year when she got married with an Italian Alpine in Venice.
She just sounds like an honest person. Hitler tapped into National pride in a big way, so there's a bit of internal conflict between that and the way things turned out. Whilst there were indeed honest opponents, who normally paid for it, the worst attitude is the 'oh I didn't support them anyway', sort of thing. What really?

I love it when someone brings a bit of comedy to the forum though - Italy won the war?
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,859
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#4
She just sounds like an honest person. Hitler tapped into National pride in a big way, so there's a bit of internal conflict between that and the way things turned out. Whilst there were indeed honest opponents, who normally paid for it, the worst attitude is the 'oh I didn't support them anyway', sort of thing. What really?

I love it when someone brings a bit of comedy to the forum though - Italy won the war?
Technically Italy won WWI. We know how ... the curiosity is that it was just "thanks" to that war that my great-grandfather met my great-grandmother. She lived in the property of her father in South Germany, close to the French border. When WWI started, his family got divided: the men to the front [Kaiser's cavalry] and the women went to stay c/o relatives in Austria, at Innsbruck. When, in the final phases of WWI the Italian forces defeated the Austrians my great-granfather entered Austria and met her ... Sometime I joke about this saying that my great-grandmother was part of the war booty!
 
Likes: Futurist

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#5
We all know now that nazism was a hateful, twisted force with a perverse ideology. But that dark side was largely hidden. What the average German witnessed was a return of law and order and a magical economic upturn; that went hand in hand with smart uniforms, trorch lit parades and fancy rallies, and if they weren't enough there was free camping trips for the kids and beer parties for the grown ups. So no big surprise that Adolf was a popular name to call your kid.
Germany suffered in WW I and though a vast many Germans were happy with rearmament and the salvation of national honour , the drift to war was rather less welcome. Besides women get a say in the naming of kids and choosing family names may have risen in popularity
 
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Likes: Futurist
Feb 2012
3,888
Portugal
#6
In the memories of one of Hitlers secretary she was discouraged to join the Nazis by her family. Also there is a documentary that says conservative German families didn't want their children in Nazi camps because of the risk of pregnancy and indoctrination against the family. Don't know how much of this was true or common.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#7
I guess it depends on who one reads;


For most of my life I simply accepted the common view of the Third reich.IE that 'ordinary' party members (in their millions) and ordinary German civilians, had no idea of the worst excesses of the Nazis.

These days, I'm not so sure. For example. Himmler's Eninsatzgruppen followed behind the Wermacht killing the untermenchen; Jews, gypsies, communist and anyone else they didn't like the look of. True enough, but it has been recently discovered that the Wehrmacht was also involved in the holocaust, and on a significant scale.

To keep this post from becoming too bloated I refer you to a quite good Wikipedia entry

War crimes of the Wehrmacht - Wikipedia

As for 'ordinary Germans', I've become convinced that the majority of germans actually had a pretty good understanding of what their government was doing in their name. First, it needs to be recognised that the Nazis did not invent antisemitism. In fact in some parts Eastern Europe, especially Lithuania and the Ukraine, the local populace enthusiastically helped murder the Jews.

When we think of Nazi concentration camps, we tend to think of the mega camp of Auschwitz -Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, Dacau and Sorbibor. In fact the Third Reich established concentration camps IN THE THOUSANDS, inside and outside of Germany:

"Most people are familiar with the names of the major concentration camps- Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Treblinka, for example - but few realize that these were not the only places where Jews and other prisoners were held by the Nazis. Each of the 23 main campshad subcamps, nearly 900 of them in total. These included camps with euphemistic names, such as “care facilities for foreign children,” where pregnant prisoners were sent for forced abortions.
The Nazis established about 110 camps starting in 1933to imprison political opponents and other undesirables. The number expanded as the Third Reichexpanded and the Germans began occupying parts of Europe. When the U.S. HolocaustMemorial Museumfirst began to document all of the camps, the belief was that the list would total approximately 7,000. However, researchers found that the Nazis actually established about 42,500 camps and ghettoes between 1933and 1945. This figure includes 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettoes, 980 concentration camps; 1,000 POW camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm; Germanizingprisoners or transporting victims to killing centers. Berlinalone had nearly 3,000 camps."

How Many Concentration Camps?

Finally, I came across a very interesting book: 'HITLER'S WILLING EXECUTIONERS ; Ordinary Germans And The Holocaust' (Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Abacus 1996)

Goldhagen argues that the majority of Germans could not not have known, and provides strong evidence for his claims.
 
Dec 2017
271
Regnum Teutonicum
#8
While this graph indeed shows a correlation of the popularity of Hitler with the naming of children "Adolf" (the name began to slowly lose popularity with beginning of the century), one should also keep in mind, that people got a little money when they named their newborn (I think it was the 6th or 8th child, when it was a son) Adolf. And when you had a son as 6th/8th child and didn't name him Adolf you were seen as suspicious by the authorities.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,334
San Antonio, Tx
#9
We all know now that nazism was a hateful, twisted force with a perverse ideology. But that dark side was largely hidden. What the average German witnessed was a return of law and order and a magical economic upturn; that went hand in hand with smart uniforms, trorch lit parades and fancy rallies, and if they weren't enough there was free camping trips for the kids and beer parties for the grown ups. So no big surprise that Adolf was a popular name to call your kid.
Germany suffered in WW I and though a vast many Germans were happy with rearmament and the salvation of national honour , the drift to war was rather less welcome. Besides women get a say in the naming of kids and choosing family names may have risen in popularity
This just goes to demonstrate how clueless people really were in Germany as to what was going on. Aside from the rather obvious (and very smelly) presence of concentration camps, the economic facts on the ground were that Germany was really bankrupt prior to WW2. It was necessary for the Germans to garnish the national treasuries of Poland, France, Holland, Greece and Belgium to pay for German re-armament. Up until the commencement of hostilities in Poland, Hitler (and Hjalmar Schacht) needed to drain these treasuries in order to pay for the massive German re-armament.

The German people made a literal pact with the devil through their twisted mentally-ill pact with the devil. Many Germans of normal intelligence probably suspected that “something was rotten in Denmark” and not all was well but went along with it in the hope that they would “win” before the German nation was called to account. They were wrong and Germany was destroyed in the process. Sic transit tyranus
 
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