According to his Luftwaffe adjutant, Hitler was both an aesthete and mass murderer

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“In conversations generally I admired Hitler’s calm manner. I never found him to be an unpleasant person. On the contrary, for me he was an aesthete, and his open mindedness, tolerance, and chivalrous manner were the reasons why all people who came into contact with him found him human and congenial.”

– Nicolaus von Below, Hitler’s Luftwaffe adjutant in his memoir, At Hitler’s Side: The Memoirs of Hitler’s Luftwaffe Adjutant, p. 82

Obviously there are many who would dispute this including both those who often came into contact with Hitler and the millions who never knew him but were murdered on his orders. This small disagreement with General Guderian is an example:

In the last months of the war, Hitler’s explosive temper had become even more evident and Herr Colonel-General Heinz Guderian, as Chief of the Army General Staff, had a series of intense arguments with Hitler which often left Hitler cursing and yelling at Guderian and all the generals of the German Army whom Hitler constantly accused of being incompetent. On 28 March 1945, Hitler interrupted a situation briefing being given by Guderian on a failed attack earlier in the day. The Führer shouted and raved directing a stream of invective against the general staff and the army. Guderian could not hold his temper and there occurred a shouting match between Hitler and Guderian which paralyzed the other officers in the room and was without question something never seen before. Both men were shouting at the tops of their voices, Hitler’s spit flying around the room.

“Why did the attack fail? Because of incompetence! Because of negligence!” Hitler yelled. “Explanations! Excuses! That’s all you give me. Who let us down, the troops or Busse?” (The General commanding the attack). At that moment Guderian’s self control snapped. “Nonsense! This is nonsense! … to say that the troops are to blame – look at the casualties! Look at the losses! The troops did their duty. Their self sacrifice proves it!”

“They failed! They failed!” Hitler screamed.

“I must ask you not to level any further accusations against … the troops!!!!!!!!!!!”

The row continued, both men purple with rage, yelling at each other, pounding the table. Not one of the other officers could even moved they were so shocked nor did any of them remember exactly what was said or how long the argument went on. The Führer and Guderian almost came to blows. Finally, one of the other generals dragged Guderian to the other side of the room and Guderian’s ADC ran from the conference room, phoned the next ranking general on the staff and told him what was happening. They agreed on this strategy which they implemented immediately: Guderian’s ADC dashed back to the conference room, said an emergency required Guderian to speak to General Krebs, the next ranking general officer on the staff, immediately, and he pulled Guderian out of the room and put him on the phone with Krebs.

Incredibly, during the fifteen minute phone call Guderian regained his composure as did Hitler who summoned Guderian into the conference room, dismissed everyone except that lickspittle, Field Marshall Keitel, and calmly told Guderian that Guderian’s health required the general to take six weeks of convalescent leave beginning that evening.

“In any case I am absolutely convinced, even in the absence of documentary evidence, that the extermination of the Jews resulted from Hitler’s express order …”

– Nicolaus von Below, At Hitler’s Side: The Memoirs of Hitler’s Luftwaffe Adjutant, p 113

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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