Is it wrong to call Hitler a German?

May 2016
11
England
Do you consider Hitler to be a German?

Hitler was born in Austria, a fact he never denied. However, he considered himself German and believed Austria should have been part of the fairly new nation-state of Germany.

The Nazis published material that stated Hitler was born outside of Germany (Austria) but was a German.

Do you consider Hitler to be both Austrian and German or just the former?

If you were to hear someone in real life say that Hitler was German would you say "he was actually an Austrian" or "he was an Austrian German"?
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,217
Welsh Marches
German Austrians are Germans, it just that they are not citizens of the state of Germany. It is not as if Bavarians, Prussians and Saxons were not Germans before the unification of Germany.
 

Space Shark

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,474
Redneck Country, AKA Texas
Would you consider Stalin a Russian? He was born in Georgia, but effectively Russianized himself by the time he took power.

Same goes with Hitler. He may have been born in Austria, but always considered himself German first.
 

Pacific_Victory

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
7,654
MARE PACIFICVM
Yes, Austrians are ethnic Germans who for historical reasons had their own empire and state long before the 19th century and thus weren't incorporated into the new German one.

Not all Austrians are Germans, because of its imperial history, Austria has always had large minority groups, but the native Austrians are ethnic Germans.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,217
Welsh Marches
Would you consider Stalin a Russian? He was born in Georgia, but effectively Russianized himself by the time he took power.

Same goes with Hitler. He may have been born in Austria, but always considered himself German first.

That's not an exact parallel, because Georgians are not Russians, but (German) Austrians are Germans by culture, language and ethnicity. That was why the Austrians wanted to join Germany after WW1 (but were not allowed to by the victors). Similarly the Germans who ended up in Czechoslovakia.
 

mark87

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,096
Santiago de Chile
It depends on who said it, if it was just a regular person that I didn't really care about I would not correct them, as that would be petulant, however if it was someone that was a historian or a student of the humanities I would probably correct them gently.
The odd fact is that if it was not for Hitler himself there is a high probability that we would call Austrians German, it was the calamity of the war itself that created for the first time in modern history an Austrian national identity that is entirely separate of the German national identity. Things get even murkier when we contemplate the fact that Hitler renounced his Austrian citizenship after the great war, which wasn't much as Austria refused to extradite him back after the failed Beer Hall putsch and declared his citizenship thus void, he acquired then his citizenship from Germany, so technically he died as a German, so in another sense he is German. He was also stateless legally from 1925 to 1932, much like his preferred genocide victims after he became chancellor in Germany.
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
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May 2016
11
England
Interesting reading the replies. I don't think it's wrong to call Hitler a German considering he was an ethnic German but was simply born outside of the Reich.

Also, Braunau am Inn was historically Bavarian and only later became under Austrian rule, Hitler also mentions this in Mein Kampf ("Bavarian by blood but under Austrian rule").

If things had turned out differently, Austria would have been part of Germany and nobody would have thought of the Austrians as any different from say Bavarians. In fact, even now some people from Bavaria consider themselves Bavarian first and German second.

As already noted, an Austrian national identity only came about after WW2 when the Holocaust and other crimes committed by the Nazis became widely known.

I don't think it's wrong for a student or historian to describe Hitler as a German, as long as they elaborated and mentioned he was an Austrian citizen by birth and did not become a German citizen until 1932 but was an ethnic German.
 
May 2016
11
England
Would you consider Stalin a Russian? He was born in Georgia, but effectively Russianized himself by the time he took power.

Same goes with Hitler. He may have been born in Austria, but always considered himself German first.
Comparing Hitler's German identity and Stalin's Russian identity is like comparing apples and oranges.

Georgians are not ethnic Russians and have never considered themselves Russians. Austrians on the other hand are ethnic Germans and only became excluded from Germany after losing the German war in 1866, this did not cease the Austrian Germans from identifying themselves as Germans.
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
I don't know about Hitler being a German -but he was certainly an evil bastard. Mind you, when Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington-hero of Waterloo- was taxed with being Irish because of his undisputed Dublin birth he replied ''Being born in a stable does not make one a horse!''