Born in 1889 in Braunau am Inn in Austria, Hitler was a man with an unhappy childhood. His fathernote whose wife (Hitler's mother) was his niece, also making Adolf his grand-nephew, and who was possibly Jewishbeat him frequently, inculturating young Adolf into violence and domination, before having the courtesy to die around his son's eleventh birthday. Adolf spent the rest of his childhood in Vienna with his mother, who led a Bohemian lifestyle, and his younger siblings, whom he bullied and bossed around.
With his mother dead and himself rejected from art school twice (which he blamed on Jews and modern art), he avidly took up arms in World War I and fought on the front lines, but joined the Imperial German army instead of the Austrian one, since he didn't want to fight side by side with Slavs. He was decorated with an Iron Cross for bravery, wounded, returned to the front lines, blinded by a gas attack, and returned to the front again. His war experiences would remain with him his entire life.
Except not really.
Hitler fabricated much of his war record, with the help of a few cronies who either were there with him or pretended to be, and the Nazis viciously sued anyone who remembered things differently for slander. He didn't join the Austrian army because when they caught up to him (he fled Austria to avoid conscription), he was rejected for being medically unfit; and he claimed rather audaciously that he had to get the personal approval of the King of Bavaria in order to serve in the German Forces (neither he, nor the hundreds of other Austrians in Bavaria who joined up, did or needed to do such a thing). Notably also, the famous picture of "war euphoria" (that was taken by Hitler's future personal photographer) where Hitler is seen cheering in the middle of a crowd was carefully edited to put him more centrally than he was, and most of the square was actually empty. War euphoria did happen and Hitler was just one of thousands who volunteered after it broke out, but it was also exaggerated, and the Nazis helped to do that for their own ends.
He served as a Regimental messenger runner (as opposed to the far more dangerous Battalion messenger runner), which meant he spent most of the war behind the front lines in relative comfort with regimental command. His Iron Crosses were almost certainly due to his proximity to a command position as many genuinely brave and heroic soldiers were overlooked where he was not, and many recipients had subsequently testified to that reality, that contacts determined reward. Most of the soldiers in his regiment hated him as a layabout, self-righteous sycophant and he avoided all but one of his regiment's reunions (the one where they made it clear they still didn't like him), though to be fair they weren't fond of any of anyone safe and secure in regimental HQ and only really turned on him when he started rising to power and began spreading lies about his military career and the war.
He also displayed a callous, frankly psychopathic indifference to the suffering around him in his letters from the period (to his landlord and his landlord's family- he had next to no contact with his siblings, except for money his sister sent him). His rank during this time is often mistranslated as Corporal, but was actually more equivalent to a high-ranked Privatenote in German armed forces and those of other countries built on the same model, Corporal ranks (Gefreiter and Obergefreiter) are riflemen like ordinary soldiers, the NCO ranks start at Unteroffizier (Junior- or Lance-Sergeant); despite an old myth, Hitler was offered promotion several times in spite of the belief of his superiors that he "lacked leadership qualities", but always turned it down because he liked where he was (and probably wanted to avoid too many responsibilities). When he did take part in combat, he displayed reckless bravery and got wounded at least 2 times: October 7, 1916 - Battle of the Somme, leg wound and October 14, 1918, Wervik - poison gas. His blinding after the gas attack was diagnosed as psychosomatic by the doctors. Maybe wounded a 3rd time on September 28, 1918, when Private Henry Tandey (future Victoria Cross recipient) had him in sights, saw him limping from a wound and refused to shoot him.
Despite his hopes, the war was lost... and lost in a way which did not see the German Army fully defeated in the field, but, in not only Hitler's mind but also those of the many who would later follow him, via the cowardly surrender of the nation's politicians. In the aftermath, the nation was forced to make concessions that would damage it for decades. German lands were stripped, and areas with German citizens who spoke German and wanted to remain German were seized and occupied. Germany refused to pay the reparation debt, and turned to inflationary monetary policy to pay Germans who refused to work in the occupied territories as a reward/incentive. And a few years later, the Great Depression came, plunging entire nations into hyperinflation and bringing Germany closer to being a Nation Half Empty. Long story short, Germany was a nation with a huge chip on its shoulder; the only thing it needed was a charismatic leader to stir up its xenophobic nationalism and get a really focused rebuilding effort started. Hitler was that man, and in 1938 he was named Time Magazine's Man Of The Year in recognition of his highly successful and (supposedly) peaceful reconstruction policies. Of course, this was before anyone knew he was a genocidal fuckhead (well, except paranoid scaremongers who read Mein Kampf, published 1925-26, and took it at face value), and, as always, it's worth noting that Time's "Man of the Year" designation recognizes a person's influence on the world and is not an award for good behavior.
Hitler believed in one of the since-disreputable major assumptions of the late-19th century eugenics movement, that of the supposed inherent genetic superiority of the North Europeans supposedly descended from pseudo-historical "Aryan" forebears; he really, really believed in it. At the time, genetic science was in its infancy and was poorly understood even by the finest minds in the emerging field. The Nazi leadership in fact sent sample collection teams to Tibet on the theory that "Aryan" seeds would result in crops that were hardier, more resistant to disease, and more fruitful than non-Aryan seeds. The general idea that the strong had to conquer, subdue and/or kill the weak was the foundation of Hitler's thinking. But it's not entirely clear what he imagined to be the purpose of this conquering and killing. A better world for the strong? The birth of a "superior" species? The fulfillment of some natural law? He said different things at different times.
There can be no doubt that Hitler loved Germany — or at least, the Germany of his imagination. The tribal Germany that smashed the Roman Empire and superseded it, the Germany of pagan myth — strong, respected, and grandiose. He commissioned great public works in Berlin seeking to dwarf the capital cities of other nations. Hitler's dream Germany was pure and unsullied, strong in body and mind, without Jews or blacks or homosexuals or gypsies or Poles or communists or disabled people or "asocials" or "loose" women or jazz or... well, you get the idea. Adolf was obsessed with notions of purity. Racial purity, political purity, even religious purity. Everything and everyone that was less than perfect by Hitler's standards, simply had to go. And he saw himself as a hero, a savior, perhaps even something like a god. When he finally realized he had lost the war — about a year after everyone else in the world realized it — he wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, and take all of Germany with him. At the end of the war, Hitler killed himself just as his greatest enemies, the Soviets, were advancing to within a stone's throw of his bunker. The whole thing must have seemed to him like Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung come to life. To the rest of the world, it seemed like an apocalyptic effort to take down a sort of Lucifer-esque figure — a madman who believed himself superior to everyone and everything.
When he shot himself with a Walther PPK- the very same one his niece killed herself with (or possibly / probably, the one he killed her with), the remaining senior Nazis burnt his body, but didn't do it successfully. When the Red Army arrived, they finished the job off and chucked the ashes in a river, deciding that they didn't want a shrine to the guy (though they did keep fragments of what they believed was his skull archived somewhere in Moscow... and they seemed to have been mistaken.)
An estimated 29 million people died because of him, and his genocidal insanity is legendary to this day. There are at least 553 published works of written fiction involving him, as well as over 10,000 nonfiction works of differing levels of detail. Hitler might have been TIME magazine's first choice for Person of the Century, as the most influential single human being in the twentieth century, dismissed either due to political influence or a criterion technicality.
Compare/contrast to Josef Stalin. See Benito Mussolini for his less famous and considerably more incompetent Italian counterpart.
See the Nazi Germany page for the rest of the most (in)famous Nazis.
In contention for the "worst person in the world" award, as is Darth Vader. Here is where you go to watch the two rap battle, and here is the rematch.
Some side notes:
Hitler's famous rasping voice was the result of the injuries sustained in World War One.
It is not clear whether he was complete in the genitalia department, as few people really got to check, and Eva Braun was silent on the issue. Given that enemies of England tend to suffer the same injury, (Napoleon was rumored to be monorchid as well) this was likely allied propaganda of an informal sort.
He had no children.note A popular legend asserts that his surviving relatives have vowed never to procreate, in order to seal the entire bloodline, but this is doubtful. William Patrick Hitler's oldest son Alexander attests that he knows of no such pact among himself and his siblings. Of course, no one's about to openly admit being directly related to Adolf Hitler, let alone be able to prove it. note A certain Frenchman did admit late in his life, as he was apparently believing to be a result of Hitler's wartime romance with a certain cute Frenchgirl. However, the part about it being nigh-impossible to prove (and highly doubtful anyway, as Hitler would most likely disapprove of such a union) remains true.
Under the direction of his private brain care specialist, Theodor Morell, he was reputedly on a dozen doses of intravenous meth and cocaine ether a day by the end of the war.
Hitler himself had several: Jews, communists, Slavs, opposing political parties, the left wing of the Nazi Party, homosexuals, gypsies, blacks, "loose women", disabled people...
Most of Hitler's written works do not target anyone in East Asia specifically, with the rest of above populations frequent targets. The fact that Nazis granted EVERY Japanese the title "Honorary Aryan" does say something. Also, people like Himmler and even Hitler himself, stating in Mein Kampf, their actual admiration to East Asian cultures. So to some extent, Nazis are racists, but not straight line white supremacists.
Awesome Mc Cool Name: It must be admitted, unfortunately. His first name stands for "noble wolf". His last name is not particularly notablenote It comes from an Yiddish word meaning "cap-maker" (before it became synonymous with pure evil, that is), but the trope becomes apparent when one considers that he might have been named "Adolf Schicklgruber" if his father, then called Alois Schicklgruber, had not petitioned to be recognized as the son of his adopted (and possibly true) father, Johann Hiedler/Hitler, just thirteen years before Adolf's birth. From William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:
There may not be much or anything in a name, but I have heard Germans speculate whether Hitler could have become the master of Germany had he been known to the world as Schicklgruber. It has a slightly comic sound as it rolls off the tongue of a South German. Can one imagine the frenzied German masses acclaiming a Schicklgruber with their thunderous "Heils"? "Heil Schicklgruber!"? Not only was "Heil Hitler!" used as a Wagnerian, pagan-like chant by the multitude in the mystic pagaentry of the massive Nazi rallies, but it became the obligatory form of greeting between Germans during the Third Reich, even on the telephone, where it replaced the conversational "Hello." "Heil Schicklgruber!"? It is a little difficult to imagine.
The Dora Gun was an artillery battery so huge, one shell could level 4 city blocks, 23 miles away. Too bad it could only move on specially built parallel railroad tracks, and took days to be assembled for use. Here it is.◊.
Dora was only one of two, the other was called the Schwerer Gustav(Heavy Gustav). They were designed to take down the French Maginot Line, but the Germans passed it anyway so it was turned against Russia. Their eventual fate was that Dora was scrapped to keep the Russians off it and Gustav was captured by the US.
The V2 rocket was the first ballistic missile. It travelled faster than the speed of sound, so if you heard one fall, it meant that it had already exploded. It terrified the British, but fortunately it was very hard to aim at anything smaller than a city. Featured in Gravity's Rainbow. Even though it was more dangerous than the V1, it's predecessor (which was basically a pilotless plane turned into a warhead), it also cost as much as at least 20 V1s.
Big Badass Wolf: He seemed to have had an affinity of some sort for wolves. His first name derives from Athalwolf, Old High German for (as stated above) "noble wolf", and for this reason "Wolf" became his childhood nickname. He later used it as a pseudonym for himself in the 1920s, ostensibly for security reasons. When his sister Paula Hitler asked him for financial support around 1930 (she was fired from her job in Vienna when her employers found out who her brother was) he granted her request, but insisted that she go under the assumed name "Paula Wolf" from then on. Some of his military headquarters were named Wolfsschanze ("wolf's lair"), Wolfsschlucht ("wolf's chasm"), and Wehrwolf (lit. "defense wolf", probably a play on words with Werwolf i.e. "werewolf").
Bishounen: The manga version of Mein Kampf portrays the younger Hitler as one. Yes, there actually exists a Mein Kampf manga.
Black and Gray Morality: While Hitler's treatment of civilians is widely reviled (for good reason), pretty much every country on either side had its own share of atrocities.
Bling Bling Bang: He apparently owned a gold-plated gun which he carried with him regularly, which was taken as booty at the end of the war and is now in the possession of the West Point Military Museum.
Brilliant, but Lazy: One of his teachers described Adolf as "having unlimited talent" but he was too much of a dreamer.
His doctor from the late 1930s claimed he must have been an IQ "around 140 or better"note on the standard IQ scale of the 1930s, Stanford-Binet and he had the reputation of a photographic memory, able to learn entire booksnote if they aroused his interest by rote.
Completely Smashed Pedestal: Most Germans were probably aware that their Jewish neighbors had not simply moved on to happy new lives in a faraway land of peace and prosperity, but even many who were glad to be rid of them were horrified when the full story of what had been going on in the camps came to light. That especially goes for the German local civilians who were forced by Allied soldiers to tour nearby death camps to see what their government had been doing.
Chosen One: He considered himself as one for the German people.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It would probably be easier to name the groups he didn't throw under the bus on his climb to power. Most notably, he did it to the left wing of his own party, and the USSR.
Culture Police: The Nazis banned jazz, cabarets and avant garde music—the only thing allowed was classical "Germanic" music such as Richard Wagner. Even classical composers like Felix Mendelssohn were banned, because they were Jews.
Cyanide Pill: How he and Eva Braun killed themselves. He shot himself, too; he wanted to die a warrior's death, which involved death from some sort of weapon, but he was afraid of botching the suicide and falling into Soviet hands. He bit into the cyanide pill while pulling the trigger on his head, just to be sure.
Disproportionate Retribution — One German diplomat is assassinated. Retribution: 91 Jews murdered, up to 30,000 arrested and placed in concentration camps, 267 synagogues destroyed, and thousands of homes ransacked or burned down. This riot was called "Kristallnacht." Oh, and afterward the Jews had to pay for the caused damages themselves, and one billion marks as an additional punishment.
Hitler's hatred of Jews in general was viewed as this during his time as Führer. While anti-Semitism was by no means uncommon during that time (for many reasons, none of which have ever or should ever be justified), plenty of outspoken anti-Semites thought he was taking it way too far.
Bit him spectacularly in the ass when it came to Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav army installed a new government that was ambivalent towards the Nazis, and during the coup some ecstatic Belgradians spat on the German Ambassador's car. Unfortunately, the invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia delayed his preparations for Operation Barbarossa, which sheared off a good chunk of his weather window for capturing Moscow.
This trope was standard operating procedure by the Germans throughout Occupied Europe, although it varied somewhat from region to region (Poland would for instance be treated far more brutally than say, France). If a single German soldier, army or security officer or local official was killed (sometimes even for merely wounding them) by resistance groups they tended to round up anything from 10-200 people to be killed in reprisals.
Reinhard Heydrich certainly applies in that regard. In retaliation for his assassination via a car bomb, the towns of Lidice and Ležáky were annihilated. Lidice in particular was horrifically disproportionate — all male residents over 16 were executed, the town was demolished and burned to the ground, and even the graveyard was dug up and all buried remains destroyed. Hitler's original orders were even more extreme. They called for the rounding-up of 50,000 random Czechs and executing them before the rest of the nation, which Himmler (the architect of the friggin' Holocaust mind you) advised him to downgrade to "just" completely razing two villages and killing its inhabitants, but only so that economic productivity in the region would be maintained.
On a smaller scale, the Ardeatine Massacre (fictionalized in the movie "Massacre in Rome"). An attack by Italian resistance groups that lead to the death of 32 German policemen patrolling in Rome was met with the execution of 335 (actually 320 were intended: 10 Italians were to be killed for every dead German policeman) randomly and hastily selected people in Rome (which included civilians, convicts, and prisoners of war).
Dystopia Justifies the Means: It shouldn't come as a surprise that Hitler had a rather hellish vision for the empire he ruled. Whether or not he honestly believed he was building a better world, or just creating a world he found more aesthetically pleasing, he ran a pervasive Police State where terror and massive repression was the norm, and a goal of creating a new type of man - the Aryan Übermensch - defined by his fanatical loyalty to party/state, his ruthless persecution of perceived enemies, a rejection of pacifism, compassion and "sympatheticism", and generally just a fit, brilliant, cold-hearted bastard.
On being told that his tyrannical policies in annexed nations would mean Germany would be faced with rebellion and terrorism for decades to come, Hitler claimed he was "delighted" at the prospect, because he wanted Germans to be in a state of perpetual alertness. He planned the annihilation of several ethnic minorities, principally the Jews who were targeted not just for supposed "racial" inferiority but also to eliminate their 'cultural influence' - namely, for spreading ideas like peace, love, and the "lie" that all men were fundamentally equal. He intended to stamp such ideals out and replace them with "virtues" of hatred, ruthlessness, self-aggrandizement and War Is Glorious.
Enemy Civil War: In addition to the Night of The Long Knives, where he had the SA purged and made an impotent organization because he saw their ambition as a threat to his power, Hitler constantly pitted his top lieutenants and subordinates against each other so they could never overthrow him. This was both to ensure his own supreme power and because he believed it was a kind of positive Social Darwinism.
Eviler than Thou: A telegram to Martin Bormann has him saying that all this racial supremacy stuff is rubbish; in reality, he's out to crush the Jews as an ethnic minority in the cultural sense, reasoning that notions like peace and love were introduced by and tied to them, and it was those notions that he was out to destroy. If that's true, then he was even more coldly rational and dangerous than previously thought. This was not For the Evulz, but a form of social engineering — he wanted to create a modern-day Sparta or Imperial Rome, and to that end he had to radically change Germany's cultural values. Getting rid of the Jews was his way. He actually admitted as much when he discussed the relation between Nazi racism and science with a common farmer: "I know perfectly well that in the scientific sense there is no such thing as race. But you, as a farmer and cattle breeder, cannot get your breeding successfully achieved without the conception of race. And I as a politician need a conception which enables the order which has hitherto existed on historic bases to be abolished and an entirely and new anti-historic order enforced and given an intellectual basis... and for this purpose the conception of race serves me well. With the conception of race, National Socialism will carry the revolution abroad and re-cast the world."
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Shines through in his assessments of some other countries' motivations for getting involved in the war. He kept insisting that the Americans would annex Canada if Britain were to become weak, that the British would annex French Africa if France became weak, that the British and Americans would try to destroy each other to attain world hegemony, etc. He basically believed that every other country besides his was also operating as a backstabbing, expansionist empire, not seeing that Britain absorbing colonies from their defeated French ally for instance would have been inconceivable to them on moral grounds alone. This might have been brought by his backstabbing-filled past.
And those amazing leather jackets that U-boat captains got! The NinthDoctor wore one because it was amazingly stylish, though he would likely object to any other connection to Nazis, especially considering their similarities to the Daleks (who were actually based on Nazis).
The clothing for the SS was made by top German clothing company Hugo Boss, so there's a reason they looked cool despite being linked with such horrible things.
Evil Sounds Deep: Hitler had a very deep voice when speaking normally, as heard in his recording with Mannerheim. When ranting during his speeches, however, he took a high, barking tone.
Evil Uncle: Hitler had a weird, controlling, excessively intimate relationship with his niece Angela "Geli" Raubal, who eventually committed suicide. With her uncle's own gun. After they'd been arguing for days. During that time, she'd been planning a trip to Vienna, where she was rumored to have a Jewish boyfriend. Even at the time there was speculation that Hitler had been in love with her and murdered her in a jealous rage (although no clear evidence exists even today)note witnesses could swear Hitler had been in the sleeping car train to Berlin the night of her death and arrived in Munich afterwards, being tipped by a telegram.
Evil Vegetarian: Many people think Hitler was this, though it is controversial whether or not he was actually a vegetarian.
He still did eat a small amount of meat and fish throughout the 1940s. There is a story recollected by Gregor Strasser which tells how he refused to eat for days after Geli Raubal's death, until his fellows dragged him to a restaurant and brought him a typical South German breakfast (with ham, bacon and so on). His face turned green, he said "take these corpses out of my sight" and from that day he avoided meat wherever possible.
Fascist, but Inefficient: Prior to the war years, Hitler was apparently quite fond of waking up late, taking long walks, watching movies, and otherwise being a pretty lazy totalitarian dictator. He took the view that things tended to sort themselves out if one didn't interfere too much. After failing to knock out the Soviet Union in a single blow in 1941 he went over to the opposite side because he believed the Wehrmacht was wholly responsible for failing to meet the invasion's intended goals, and resolved to micro-manage every single military operation from then on.
His policies also made the Nazi nuclear program a complete joke. It split into at least nine different programs, each actively competing with and hindering the others. Hitler's insistence that the scientists follow proper "German Physics" also crippled any real progress since it often threw out ideologically unacceptable physics essential to the nuclear program. In hindsight, said program was more of a comedy of errors than any real threat. And, for added Nice Job Fixing It, Villain points, the program also sapped the already overtaxed Nazi logistics, weakening the Nazi resource base further.
Fatal Flaw: Pride. The failed attack on Russia (and declaring war on the whole world at the same time) is just the tip of the iceberg.
For Want of a Nail: Out of the six children of his parents, only he and his younger sister survived into adulthood. He narrowly survived several near-death experiences, and several failed and aborted assassination attempts after becoming Führer. He also narrowly survived a shell explosion in World War One. His army buddies in the war used to think hanging around him was a decent way to live longer.
He almost went into opera stage production, under the written recommendation of then-major Viennese organizer Alfred Roller, in February 1908...but backed out at the last minute after being intimidated by Roller's stature on the Vienna art scene. In 1942, he told his personal staff that if he had taken Roller up on his offer, things might have turned out differently.
Not to mention that if he had managed to pass math in high school, he could have had a real shot getting into architectural school (he was specifically praised for his architectural drawings in his art school rejection letter).
There is a popular speculation that if Hitler had been accepted into art school, the great atrocities of the 20th century might have been avoided: that his financial problems following his final rejection led him to the slums of Vienna and later Munich, where he was exposed to poverty, desperation, and most significantly, ethnic minorities that fueled his hatred. Art school might have shaped his perceptions differently, or at least would have kept him occupied with something other than stewing in his own resentment during his formative years. Of course, as with all speculations...
There's a book called "Third Reich Victorious" which has ten self-contained alternate history scenarios that end with Germany winning the war. The first has Hitler joining the navy instead of the army, and becomes a well-disciplined officer of the fleet, transforming his mild anti-Semitism of the time into hatred merely of the British, and builds up a powerful fleet that manages to take on the Royal Navy when World War II comes around. It's actually a pretty good read.
Also if, Germany had a reasonably unbiased judiciary, Hitler would likely have been executed for high treason for his failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 instead of the ludicrously lenient five year sentence in a cushy prison cell instead, from which he was released after only a year.
Flanderization: There is an unfortunate tendency among history enthusiasts to look at the magnitude of his crimes and paint Hitler as an inhuman monster, whereas the sad, sad truth is that he was a very human and easily repeatable creature. Banality of evil, anyone?
Hitler is often painted as a coward and a General Failure, when in fact he was decorated for bravery in World War One and came up with some of the tactics that overcame the Belgians in 1940. His real General Failure moment was more for political propaganda reasons later in the war when he insisted that troops on the Eastern Front shouldn't retreat — which Stalin had also done earlier on.
Historians now have access to Hitler's war record, whereas the previously had to rely heavily on Mein Kampf and the dubious testimony of Nazi sympathisers who were with him (and, sometimes, not). It turns out that yes, he really was a coward or at least nowhere near as brave as he made himself out to be, spending almost the entirety of the first war relatively safe behind the front lines in Regimental HQ, and turning down promotions probably to avoid more dangerous work (or work, period — he spent days at a time not doing much). His Iron Crosses came more from sycophantic ass-kissing (of a Jewish officer) than bravery.
Also, one good set of tactics does not Alexander make - Hitler was a shockingly bad strategist, and made several blunders, over the advice of more competent generals, that ultimately cost him the war. They are too many to list here - see General Failure below.
For Science!: The excuse used for the Zyklon B experiment at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The Nazis wanted to find out whether a substance previously used for killing rodents will work on people. In 1941 600 Soviet prisoners of war and 250 sick Polish prisoners were put in the gas chambers and used as guinea pigs. It worked, unfortunately — and it worked incredibly efficiently. The victims died within 20 minutes. The Zyklon B gas was commonly used from then on in the concentration camps for exterminating what were mostly Jews.
General Failure: Whilst Hitler was not an invariably poor tactician, his grasp of strategy was very bad. He made several blunders with disastrous consequences, and most these were made over the advice of his top commanders:
Along with Field Marshal von Rundstedt, he ordered that Army Group A halt its advance on the British at Dunkirk, thus allowing the miracle of the "little ships" to take place. When von Rundstedt realized their mistake, Hitler stopped him correcting it because Goering wanted the Luftwaffe to have the prestige of destroying the BEF. Unfortunately, the Luftwaffe was not, as the Army informed Hitler at length, up to the job.
He was unable to view the North African theatre as anything more than a distraction, and when Grand Admiral Raeder suggested capturing the Suez Canal (and thus crippling the British Empire), the Arabian oil fields and invading Russia from the south, he dithered so long that the opportunity was lost.
He delayed his attack on the USSR because a coup in Yugoslavia had brought about a government he did not like (and rioters had spat on his ambassador's car). Hitler invaded and crushed Yugoslavia, but in the process lost much of Russian weather window, with disastrous results.
Rather than driving on Moscow, the centre of the USSR's armament industry, its rail nexus, and where fellow General FailureSemen Buedyenny had the main Russian armies, he tried to score a propaganda victory by capturing Leningrad and Stalingrad. By the time he resumed the drive on Moscow, it was too late, and a combination of winter and Russian counterattacks caused a near collapse of Army Group Centre.
He ordered Army Group South to capture Stalingrad and the Caucasus at the same time with the result that it captured neither. He then, despite having already cut the Volga, insisted that Stalingrad be taken for political reasons.
He ignored the massive potential for establishing friendly Slavic states by installing occupying regimes even more brutal and hated than those he had just overthrown.
He surrounded himself with yes-men and ignored practical advice he didn't like - he froze out Fritz Todt when the latter told him bluntly that Germany couldn't beat Britain and Russia in 1941 and replaced competent generals when their advice differed from his - in the words of his one time Chief of the General Staff he was "not a responsible warlord but a political fanatic." When his intelligence chief for the Eastern Front, Reinhard Gehlen, told him that the Russian's had a million men poised to attack the overextended Don front, he physically assaulted him.
He declared war upon the United States when he didn't have to and when the USA's entry into the war in Europe was in no way certain.
He put his faith in Wunderwaffe that ended up consuming valuable resources and ultimately proving impractical in combat.
Rather than try to hold the Allies on the Rhine and the Russians on the Vistula, he scraped Germany for active units and threw them into the Ardennes Offensive, which didn't even come close to its stated objectives.
He had a "mania" for ordering troops to stand fast at all costs, which prevented battle-worthy formations with retreating. The most famous example was at Stalingrad, where German relief forces under Hermann Hoth got within 30 miles of the city, but Paulus's 6th Army was prevented from breaking out. See General Ripper below:
General Ripper: He absolutely hated the idea of retreating, and this mania for standing ground at all cost led to catastrophe. A typical order comes from the Battle of Berlin:
Gerhardt Boldt: "Because the Russians had repeatedly thrown back the German lines by advancing through the underground and other railway tunnels to attack the German forces from the rear, he now detailed special units to open the locks of the river Spree, thus flooding the railway tunnels south of the Reich Chancellery. These tunnels were crammed with civilians and thousands of wounded. They were no longer of interest to him."
George Washington Slept Here: In his birthplace, the Austrian town of Braunau am Inn, the building where he was born is adorned by a memorial stone carrying the following words:
For peace, freedom and democracy. The millions of dead remind us; may fascism never return.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Hitler was renowned for his rage attacks, at one point telling his high command, "If you all had one neck, I would wring it!" He was actually paraphrasing Emperor Caligula, who was also well-known for his temper.
Heteronormative Crusader: Hitler banned the gay subculture that previously existed in Weimar Germany, and homosexuals were sent to concentration camps where they had to wear a pink triangle on their clothes.
Hitler Is Cthulhu/The Antichrist/God of Evil- Probably the most common depiction of Hitler is Hitler-as-Cthulhu, the ultimate evil who has come here to wage war and spread chaos and insanity against the world. This is subverted in real life; Hitler was a war hero, a patron of the arts, did not smoke, was nice to his secretary, had a relationship with Eva Braun and other women, and was very close to several members of his extended family. He had a pet dog, for christsake. There's no excusing his hideous crimes, but Hitler was one of us — a human. An important lesson to remember.
Don't forget Albert Speer... at the end of the war the guy betrayed him and he spared him. There's at last one testimony that these two people had argument like some couple in crisis.
I Can't Dance: More like he refused to because he believed it was effeminate.
Iconic Characters: Just try to find a fictional dictator created since the end of WWII who doesn't owe at least a little to him.
Idiot Ball: Plenty of people in the Soviet Union would have joined the Nazis if only Hitler's armies would have treated them humanly.
Some of them did join. There were several divisions of Waffen-SS formed from volunteers in occupied Soviet territory.
If I Can't Have You: when it seemed likely that the Allies forces were about to retake Paris, Hitler personally ordered the German garrison stationed there to burn the city to the ground. The final days of the German occupation finds General Dietrich von Choltitz fielding phone call after call from an enraged Hitler demanding "Brennt Paris?" . He ignored the order. (Although the extent to which von Choltitz is responsible for "saving Paris" is very disputed).
Sort of makes sense in terms of his psychology — forcing every last German to die for him in a doomed last stand would've been straight of out one of the apocalyptic Wagner operas he loved so much.
Also, he ordered himself to be burnt after his suicide, so that nobody could display his corpse as a spoil of war.
Ironic Death: He allegedly shot himself while biting down on a capsule filled with hydrogen cyanide...also known as Zyklon B, the same poison used to gas millions of Jews to death in the Holocaust, which Hitler ordered.
Just Between You and Me: Mein Kampf, published in 1925-1926, told the world exactly how he believed the Jews controlled everything and exactly how he planned to stop them. The word "vernichtung" — annihilation — was used over and over again in this context. Too bad no one paid attention or maybe just refused to believe it.
Hitler specifically refused the publication of Mein Kampf in France, given it clearly sets up the goal of taking revenge upon it (and contains some racist opinions about French people, too). In 1934, a French editor tried and published it to warn his fellow citizens. Hitler sued him... and won upon violation of copyright. There was finally an approved translation published in 1938, which was of course heavily edited, to the point of falsification. Logically, Mein Kampf was also completely banned in France under German military occupation, for fear of feeding La Résistance.
Just the First Citizen: The title of "Führer", which Hitler adopted when he became leader of the Nazi Party and elevated to a government title when they took power in Germany can be simply translated to "guide", although it is generally translated as "leader", which is more in line with fascist philosophy. Note that it was styled as the leader (Der Führer) when referring to Hitler in the third person, not just "leader" by itself. Although not even nearly as ubiquitously used as Führer, Hitler also awarded himself a number of bombastic titles over the years designed specifically to invoke this trope, including "First Soldier of the German Reich", "First Worker of the New Germany", and "Supreme Judge of the German People". In something of an overlap with Modest Royalty, Hitler's ceremonial uniform was also much more staid than you would expect from a man in the process of conquering the world. He wore a plain uniform with only the awards that he earned in World War One, which looks funny in contrast to, say, Goering, who swanked it up with silks and furs and every medal and ornate bling he could lay his fat hands on.
Kneel Before Zod: Demanding that France sign their armistice to Germany in the same train car that the armistice of 1918 was signed in, at the exact same location. In a further show of disdain to the French he just stood up and left in the middle of negotiations, leaving his military lackey Keitel to finish the discussions with the French delegates. All before taking the car back to Berlin and blowing up the entire site bar French Marshal Foch's statue, just so Foch would look over a wasteland. And then, at the end of the war, blowing up the train car in order to prevent it being done to them.
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: While he was quite knowledgeable on some topics (architecture and oratory, for instance), he feigned aptitude in numerous other fields of which he had only surface mastery, and had an arrogant opinion on virtually everything, which he usually insisted on lecturing his cohorts on. He seriously maintained for instance that the inhabitants of New Zealand were a tree-dwelling species of humanoid. Without irony.
Large Ham: As any video of his speeches shows, he screamed and gestured like there was no tomorrow in public appearances.
Like You Would Really Do It: Many anti-Semites were actually shocked by the Final Solution, even if they had sometimes proposed things like that themselves. Himmler tried to talk Hitler out of it.
Lucky Bastard: History's most infamous example, to the point where the term "Devil's Luck" was coined because of him.
Made of Iron: Despite being the target of around 40 assassination attempts and lots of idiotic medical and dietary decisions, and this guy still refused to die! He eventually had to do himself in, and he apparently had to redo his own death because he botched the first half, and his own men had to finish the job.
Magnificent Bastard: Played straight, then subverted. For about 10 years from 1933 until late '42 Hitler was on an absolute roll, eliminating his enemies, outplaying (not to mention out-charming) foreign politicians and men of influence, digging Germany out of the shithole that is the Great Depression and building up a seemingly unstoppable war machine and achieving in a matter of months a conquest of Europe that took Napoleon several years. Some military experts regard him as a gifted amateur — his problem was he was too aggressive and incapable of accepting losses, for example refusing to yield conquered land even when it was tactically expedient to do so. His gigantic ego, failing mental health and his marriage to the Villain Ball came down on him later. Hard.
His policies for getting Germany out of the Great Depression were actually quite asinine. The Keynesian-style economics employed was actually the brainchild of Hjalmar Schacht, the Economics Minister, but he protested because Hitler focused too much on public works and especially military re-armament. Since both are run by the state, this meant that though unemployment was driven down the German economy wasn't actually gaining all that much capital and was set for another economic disaster a few years down the road. Conquering other countries and stealing their resources was the only way the army could pay for this. Of course, Hitler planned for war all along, so that wasn't a problem for him, but the economic imperative — if he even understood it — was not his reason for wanting war. In fact Hitler said on more than one occasion that he did not care about economics and considered that fact one of his strengths — his economic policy was pretty much based around It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.
May-December Romance: Eva Braun, who was 23 years his junior. Allegedly, as a 28 year old German soldier in World War I, with a 16 year old French girl, Charlotte Lobjoie, which produced a son, Jean-Marie Loret. Had a short relationship with Maria Reiter in 1931, whom he had met when he was 37 and she was 16.
Mis-blamed: He's often held up as an example of the inevitable moral bankruptcy of atheism...and as an example of the inherently intolerant and oppressive nature of Christianity. This is actually sort of understandable, since both his public and private statements about religion are so contradictory that it's just about impossible to figure out what he believed. (The general scholarly consensus is that although he didn't mind using the Jews' supposed complicity in the Crucifixion to justify his antisemitism to others, his personal attitude toward Christianity was actually fairly contemptuous. He wasn't a strong atheist or anything, though, nor was he particularly opposed to religion in general.)
Modern Major General: Hitler was many things, but a military genius was not one of them. His army's early victories came about due to the brilliant leadership of generals like Erich von Manstein and Heinz Guderian. Once Hitler started trying to personally direct the war effort out of fear that his stellar generals might overshadow him, he began replacing them with Nazi yes-men who had more loyalty than talent. That's about the time everything started to go downhill.
However, this is often Flanderised. Hitler was described as a "gifted amateur" tactically (not strategically), certainly more than you'd expect for someone who never rose above corporal in the army. His reputation was in part made by an idea he had to deal with the Belgian border fortresses during the invasion of the Low Countries — the Belgians had made the turrets so huge and impenetrable, the Nazis could just land gliders full of commandoes on top of them.
Momma's Boy: A few pop-psychologists attributed his deep hatred for the Jews to the death of his mother, who died of cancer while being treated by a Jewish doctor.
But on the other hand, Hitler specifically ordered said doctor not to be killed. While the above sounds like a good Freudian Excuse, he didn't actually seem to blame the doctor, although he was truly desperate when his mother died — the doctor claimed he had never seen a young man so desperate in the same situation.
After the Anschluss, the doctor, Eduard Bloch, actually wrote to Hitler and asked for help after his practice had been closed. He came under Gestapo protection and was allowed to live undisturbed until the paperwork for his and his wife's immigration to the US had been finished.
Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Rather creepily, Hitler became a firm believer in this by the end of the war. Because the Soviets had defeated the Germans in the Great Patriotic War, his racist and Social Darwinist attitudes led him to conclude that the "eastern races" were obviously more deserving of survival, and thought they would ultimately complete world conquest after destroying the "decadent democracies of the west". It's one of the reasons he came to denounce the entire German nation, and deemed them unfit to even survive as a people – trying to effect this by ordering the destruction of all German infrastructure and even the bare means of survival.
Name's the Same: There was apparently a US soldier during the time of World War II who was also named Adolf Hitler. When asked if he was going to change his name, he replied "let the other guy change his name."
Never My Fault: Even when it became abundantly clear that his strategy had totally failed, and when his Empire was in ruins, he claimed that it was the fault of "cowards" in the Army and "incompetents" in the air force. Even before he shot himself, he claimed that if only General Wenck's 12th Army (who were too busy helping civilians escape across the Elbe) or Obergruppenfuehrer Steiner's Army Detachment Steiner (in reality less than twenty tanks and a depleted infantry division) had marched to his rescue. Needless to say, even if they had followed his orders, the chances of them affecting the outcome were miniscule. Hitler had an enormous talent for both shifting blame and self-delusion.
Nice to the Waiter: His secretary, Traudl Junge (while admitting that he was evil) said that he was "a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend".
Non-Idle Rich: People usually ignore (based on his rather dull private life) that he was a very wealthy man, leaving aside the fact he held absolute mastery over the second economy in the world at the time. By some clever arrangement made by Martin Bormann and others in the late 1930s, he gained royalties for his appearance on postal stamps and for the publication of Mein Kampf (even nowadays it it sold by the tens of thousands each year, during the Reich millions of copies had been purchased both by people and the state organizations). He never used money as ordinary people do, at times he even lacked a wallet for money and someone from his entourage held ready small amounts of money if the Führer needed them to buy something (as he reduced his public appearances to the bare minimum when the war started, there were less to zero reasons for this anymore).
Oedipus Complex: Well the rivalry against his father and the attachment to his mother (which was Hitler's warmest memory especially during his Vienna years, but unfortunately died) were what what led to his Freudian Excuse.
Older Than They Think: So Hitler invented all this Nazism stuff, right? Wrong. Many of Hitler's ideas that made up the ideology of Nazism were unoriginal and rooted in Germany's past; all Hitler did was put them together as one ideology. First of all, Hitler's idea of a Volksgemeinschaft (people's community) was to bring the "pure" German people together, under a strong national unity government controlled by one, unquestionable leader. This was based on the fact that Germany had never had a democracy before the Weimar Republic, and that all the Weimar governments were made up of coalitions and were very indecisive — and as a result many people wanted a strong, centralized leadership. Hitler's racism is based on the ideas social Darwinists and eugenicists, such as Alfred Ploetz and Lanz von Liebenfels. The idea of antisemitism has its roots deep in the past, stretching as far back as ancient times. Lebensraum, which literally means "living space" was also an old idea of expanding Germany's land towards the east, forming a Greater Germany, and using the Slavs, who inhabited that area, as slaves. Which is exactly how Germanic languages, including English, got the word slave. It filtered back into English in the 1200's via English knights who had fought with the Teutonic Order in the East, and displaced the archaic word "thrall".
One Mario Limit: As the caption atop the page shows, it's hard to find someone named Adolf after him let alone someone with the surname "Hitler". Or both. In 1939 there were 4500 people with the surname Hitler in the New York phone directory. By 1945, there were three. Surviving relations in America changed their names.
The Only One: His massive ego often led him to believe that he was the only person truly fit to perform any job. His micro-management of the German military by assuming multiple posts himself led to an entertaining bit of bureaucratic hilarity in the military chain of command in the spring of 1942: Hitler, as the commander of Army Group A (tasked with conquering the Caucasus) answered to Hitler, as the commander-in-chief of the German army, who answered to Keitel, as head of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, who answered to Hitler, as the Chief of State of Germany.
Parental Incest: He had a creepy, obsessive, excessively intimate relationship with his niece, who probably committed suicide to escape his control. Although there's no clear evidence, even before his downfall Hitler was widely rumored to be in a romantic relationship with her.
Praising Shows You Don't Watch: About Friedrich Nietzsche. Hitler liked to throw around stuff about Friedrich Nietzsche, the Übermensch concept and the "will to power", even though Hitler's reading of Nietzsche wasn't really extensive (it was Mussolini who read Nietzsche and described his relation to Fascism), and Nietzsche would have certainly despised the Nazis' nationalism, antisemitism and herd mentality. The term Übermensch as used by the Nazis was also used to refer to something completely different from Nietzsche's actual philosophy: the supposed racial "superiority" of the Aryan race and the German people (the "master race"), as opposed to the "inferior" Untermenschen (sub-humans) such as the Jews, Slavs, gypsies, etc. This led to a Hitler Ate Sugar mentality regarding Nietzsche (though Nietzsche seems to have largely recovered from this).
Propaganda Machine: With many of his methods being copied by a majority of the world's politicians.
Secret Police: The Gestapo. And the SD. Heck, there was a whole network of private security forces such as the SS and the earlier SA, largely given the job of eliminating social "undesirables" and dissenters. But above all, they were created to protect Hitler's power.
Supervillain Lair: Hitler had nearly a dozen Führer Headquarters littered throughout the Reich and Occupied Europe. Not all were used by him and instead by Wehrmacht generals. One of the most notable is Wolfsschanze, his Eastern Front headquarters. It took the Soviets until the 1950s to clear all of the mines that had been laid in the area. He also had plans for a gigantic palace when the urban redevelopment of Berlin was completed, right next to the even larger Volkshalle.
Surrounded by Idiots: Inverted. Most of Hitler's staff were actually quite competent. Hitler in the meantime created a convoluted chain of command that kept every branch from working in concert, with himself at its head, so that the military couldn't coordinate very well. Not to mention that he insisted that the D-Day invasion would happen at the Pas de Calais, despite many many reports that proved otherwise. He didn't do anything to try and stop the Normandy landings until after the breakout, and by then the Allies were well into France.
Take Over the World: According to his unpublished sequel to Mein Kampf (released after the war as Zweites Buch or "Second Book"), Hitler envisioned that after his new war would be over European Russia would've been annexed to Greater Germany, and the rest of Europe subjugated to a German-Italian-British alliance. Together with Britain he then desired to initiate a final war on the United States at some indeterminate point in time.
The Beard: Some people have alleged that Eva Braun was this and that she was kept around because [A. she reminded him of his mother and [B. to keep people from using his possible homosexuality as blackmail. Whether this is true or not is questionable.
The End of the World as We Know It: In Winston Churchill's speech about Hitler being a "monster of wickedness", he stated that once Hitler started his career of bloodshed, genocide and destruction, he could not stop. Had he won the war, those of Jewish descent in Britain and countless other countries would be pretty much doomed. And if he did manage to completely exterminate Jews, Roma, the disabled, etc., Hitler would probably have moved on to the Slavs and then any other groups he saw as standing in the way of total Germanic racial superiority. Who knows how far it could have gone?
Thicker Than Water: His sister, Paula was interrogated by US intelligence officers after the war, where she said this about him: "The personal fate of my brother affected me very much. He was still my brother, no matter what happened. His end brought unspeakable sorrow to me, as his sister".
Villain with Good Publicity: In Germany, before it all came crumbling down. Many people tend to forget he was legally appointed and enjoyed popular support (albeit backed up from the start with threats of violence toward those who didn't support him), which only makes him more scary in retrospect. Quite a few historians have said that if Hitler had kicked the bucket around 1935-1938, he would have been remembered as one of the greatest of all German Chancellors, on par with Bismarck. He would have lost some points over antisemitism, but at that time it was not really all that out of place.
So in other words, if Hitler hadn't started a global war, destroyed or tried to destroy whole nations, been responsible for the direct or indirect deaths of dozens of millions of innocent people, and after all that, let his country be ground into the dirt by invaders largely because of his own incompetence, historians might not have treated him so badly? After all, everybody makes a few mistakes you know.
There exists a film of him just a few days before his death, and when one compares a photograph of him from 1940, he looks about 25 years older; he has a sort of hunch to his back, as if he suffered from osteoporosis, his face was pale and wrinkled-looking, his hands shook, and his walking was a sort of slow shuffle, as if he was very physically weak, and he basically looked half dead already.
The fact Dr. Theodor Morell had doused him for 5 years almost continuously with dozens of mostly useless drugs which ranged from cocaine to meth compounds didn't help him to get healthy either.
Arguably his Villainous Breakdown began in the winter of 1941-42, as his army starved and froze in Russia, and just got worse from there. Joseph Goebbels' diary describes how he developed severe chionophobia (fear of snow) after that event, though he seems to have suppressed it.
Villain by Default: Name one non-White Supremacist work made after 1945 which portrays him as a hero unironically. We'll wait.
Visionary Villain: As horrific as it was, he did have a vaguely coherent plan for restoring Germany's former great prestige and power, and did achieve quite a lot domestically before the inevitable defeat.
We ARE Struggling Together: There were actually a number of factions in Germany who were trying to assassinate or depose Hitler for various reasons, even if it was only because they were afraid Hitler's war efforts would lead the country to ruin. Unfortunately, they were working at cross purposes and Hitler outmaneuvered them all.
The Nazi's original idea was of a grand alliance with Britain, and that the English and the Germans would "share" the world: the English holding supremacy on the seas with an overseas empire, while the Germans would hold supremacy on land with a continental empire. The Nazis had this view because the inhabitants of the United Kingdom are, after all, Anglo-Saxons and Germanic in origin (barring the Celtics of course), and so in Hitler's view they would of course be natural allies. In fact, Hitler saw the success of the British Empire as proof of the superiority of the Germanic race. Not only did this not happen (turns out the British were not at all interested in this arrangement) and the Nazis wound up going to war with their ideological ally, but Hitler found himself, at least at first, in an alliance with the Soviet Union, his ideological enemy. Even so, Hitler never really gave up on the idea of an alliance with Britain, and thought that after he had won the war they could still become allies.
What an Idiot: Explain to me again your reasons for getting into a war with the entire world at the same time, Adolf?
Oh heck, at least that has some tidbits of rationality as Russia was a danger and Hitler wasn't going to conquer Britain anytime soon because the Royal Navy might object. What about just declaring war upon America out of the blue for no other reason then that he was absurdly pleased with the Japanese for Pearl Harbor — even though he couldn't possibly do any lasting damage beyond a few weeks of torpedoing merchantmen?
You Are a Credit to Your Race: Used the trope early in his life. His mother, to whom he was devoted, was dying of breast cancer when Hitler was still a teenager. Struggling financially, he begged her incidentally Jewish-Austrian doctor to help his mother, who then did most of the medical examinations and assistance for reduced prices or pro bono. Although his mother did die, he granted the doctor eternal gratitude, describing him as an Ehrenjude ("noble Jew"). It's a historiographically contested issue whether Hitler had already decided on exterminating the Jews at this point in his life, but by that time he had already been violently hostile towards them in general for several yearsnote He had written in Mein Kampf he held sympathy for the integrated Austrian Jews of his childhood, but traditional Jews he met in Vienna horrified him to the point of nightmare.. When the Nazis' persecution of the Austrian Jews began in 1938, he placed the doctor under SS protection and allowed him to emigrate from Germany after Bloch contacted him. This ability to allow for exceptions to his violent racism only serves to make him an even bigger bigot.
While the above is controversial, it is well-documented that Emil Maurice, a prominent Nazi, had a Jewish great-grandfather. Hitler insisted that he and his family be declared Honorary Aryans.
You Have Failed Me: Hitler believed Germany had failed him and tried to make sure Germany didn't survive him. Apparently losing all their young men in battle, having all their cities burnt and blasted to a pile of charred rubble, and having their reputation ruined for generations wasn't loyal enough service for such a magnificent creature as him.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Again, to Stalin (though it turned out to be Hitler who had outlived his usefulness to Stalin). And later on (just before his death) to the entire German people.
He pulled a political version of this on the German National People's Party (DNVP in German). At first, the Nazis and DNVP formed an alliance to give the Nazis a majority in the Reichstag. After the Nazis gained full legal power, Hitler quickly made it his goal to destroy all other parties, and so passed a decree banning the DNVP.
Notorious for doing this to his military commanders. Usually it was less because they had failed him and more because they had ignored his idiotic orders or (God forbid) pointed them out to him.
The more interesting works of fiction involving Hitler:
Anime and Manga
Under the name "The Dictator," Hitler appeared in the twelfth Dragon Ball Zmovie, Fusion Reborn. When the gates of Hell open, Hitler (and the entire Nazi army) escapes alongside numerous prior villains of the series. Goten and Trunks make quick work of him, especially when they become Super Saiyan.
Hitler: Blond hair? Blue eyes? Super strength? I should be recruiting them!
Hitler's dog Blondi is a Historical In-Joke in Petshop Of Horrors He's actually a Kirin, a magical animal that gurantees victory, in the form of an exceptionally handsome German Shepherd. Unfortunately for Hitler and the Nazis he can also be very fickle.
In The DCU, Hitler supposedly got hold of the Spear of Destiny (the lance that pierced Christ on the cross), which gave him power over any superhuman who set foot in the Nazi sphere of influence; this was used as an in-universe explanation for why the Justice Society of America didn't simply march into Berlin and have the Spectre turn him into a bug and step on him. Granted, they -tried-, but one foot onto Axis territory and the heroes become just regular joes.
In Hellboy, Hitler was Rasputin's benefactor (and thus indirectly responsible for "Project Ragna Rok", which brought Hellboy to Earth), but otherwise history went the same as in our world for him. In The Movie, on the other hand, it's noted that he faked his death and waged an invisible war against American supernatural agents until being killed in the 1950s.
Not quite, in the comics Hitler does fake his death only to battle Hellboy sometime after the war. While Hitler's body was destroyed in the fight, his head was left intact and found by Nazi loyalists who managed to save Hitler's brain like in the eponymous film. In a twist, his brain is placed in a jar, mounted on the body of an ape and gains Psychic Powers, and would go on to become The Savage Dragon villain, Brainiape (Hitler's brain also gained the ability to survive without a body and move about on it's own, for some reason).
They cloned Hitler in the DC Comics as well. Early issues of Outsiders. Only thing is, they got a really young version, one who still had his morals. Once he figured out what the heck happened, he killed himself.
The reason Hitler was used as a villain so often in Golden Age comics is because the comics industry in the 1930's and 1940's was one of the few illustrating jobs available to Jews, so many of the first comics writers were first or second generation American Jews with family still in Europe.
In the Archie-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic book, Hitler's brain is used by villain Armaggon in order to power a time machine. In a latter arc, the brain is revealed to be capable of independent function, and it activates the time machine in order to travel to the tail end of World War II, where he teams up with...Adolf Hitler. After the turtles arrive to retrieve the brain, Raphael punches out Hitler Classic while saying "This small gesture is for the millions, perv... For the millions!" Afterwards, as the turtles are preparing to leave, Hitler holds them at gunpoint, accusing them of being demons, and leading to the following conversation:
Leonardo: Welcome to hell.
Hitler: Ja... You, demons, you...you do not speak German? You speak English like the Americans...? So, the subtleties of hell are laced with irony. No matter. You...you have come for my soul, ja?
Leonardo: We already own your soul, fool. We have come here for your brain.
Hitler: [Point gun to his head] Nein. Nein. You shall not take my mind... You shall not take my b—
The comic book Fallen Angel features Dolf, the German-speaking bartender and proprietor of Furor's, the bar in which Liandra, the eponymous fallen angel hangs out. He is revealed to be a racist. He introduces himself thusly:
"I've been a painter, a writer...dabbled in politics. Made some enemies."
The first American comedy film to mock Hitler, however, was You Nazty Spy!, which both Moe and Larry considered their best film. Interestingly, the film shows Moe/Hitler being given power by powerful munitions concerns and things spiraling out of their control. This was a common idea among Americans at the time, based around Hitler's plans for the re-armament of Germany.
In the bad movie They Saved Hitler's Brain Hitler's followers try to find a new body for the preserved brain (in the original film actually Hitler's head) into a new body. Parodied and copied often enough (as in Irregular Webcomic!) to have turned into a sub-trope in itself.
The Irregular Webcomic! example of the Hitler's brain subtrope comes from the fact that LEGO don't do a Hitler figure, but do do a brain in a jar.
Little Nicky: Hitler, quite aptly in Hell, appears briefly in a French Maid's outfit and getting a pineapple forced in his ass.
The 2004 German film Der Untergang / Downfall is remarkable for depicting Hitler during his final days as a human being instead of a scarecrow. It took some flak for the possibility of inspiring neo-Nazis by portraying him too sympathetically and daring to show him having a measure of compassion for his secretary and underfellows. This seems to have been avoided, as a realistically depicted Führerbunker!Hitler is still a failed human being by all accounts.
Remarkably, he does get assassinated. Mostly through sheer luck, a turncoat officer, and a vengeful disguised French Jew with assassination on her mind as well.
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his father infiltrate a Nazi book-burning rally in order to recover the father's stolen diary. Indy does get it, but is accidentally shoved before Hitler himself, who autographs the book.
C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America: The Confederacy is an Axis power, but Hitler is unable to reach an agreement on whether or not to go through with the final solution or keep its victims alive as slave labor.
The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin. Hitler is not directly a character in the book, but his surviving followers, Dr. Mengele among them, have cloned Hitler, placed the boys referred in the title in various families with a husband much older than his wife, as in real Hitler's family. And to finish it off, they plan to kill the surrogate fathers while the Hitler-clones are still young.In a Twist Ending, it appears that it succeeds with the last clone.
In the alternate Magitek universe novel Operation Chaos, the protagonists are in Hell and at a loss to understand the identity of a mustached man with a strange armband who speaks with a strong German accent, and why the most powerful demons tremble at sight of him, or why he uses the "ancient and honorable symbol of the fylfot (swastika)". Their alternate history never had a Nazi Germany.
The short story Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky by Ken Scholes imagines a world where Hitler's Abusive Father had a change of heart and showed his son some love, which encourages Hitler to pursue a career as an artist. It's actually a pretty good story; there's even a creepy lampshading of Hitler's true history, where this "Good Hitler" has a nightmare about being a genocidal dictator and wakes up in a cold sweat afterward.
In Worldwar, Hitler leads Germany through the expanded WW 2 as the aliens invade, and is succeeded by Himmler upon his death.
In TL-191, where Germany won WW 1, he makes a brief appearance as Guderian's staff sergeant, with the implication that he would stayed an unremarkable antisemitic NCO without the public anger at the loss of the war. Unfortunately, his Expy Jake Featherston is there to start the war as leader of the Confederate States of America.
In the Presence of Mine Enemies had him win the war, though through unspecified means. The United States was never involved in the original conflict, allowing Nazi Germany to grow stronger and obtain nuclear weapons — which were used against the United States in a crippling surprise attack a decade later.
The short story Ready for the Fatherland is about General Manstein assassinating Hitler in 1943 in the heat of the moment (after Hitler refused to allow him to retreat from the Soviets in order to set up an encircling attack). Manstein takes over Germany and forces a stalemate peace resulting in a four-way cold war.
Appears in the Animorphs Megamorph #3 (involving a great deal of time travel) as a lowly jeep driver during D-Day. The Animorphs discuss killing Hitler, but are unable to resolve the moral issue of killing a man who — in that time line — was innocent.
In the short story "Southern Strategy" by Michael F. Flynn, in which Germany won WW 1, Hitler has become a major political leader in Germany, and has gained massive support for his cause through his speaking skills and charismatic personality. His cause is the furthering of animal rights and the banning of tobacco.
The Castle In The Forest by Norman Mailer presented Hitler's origins with a heavy dose of Brother-Sister Incest: A brother rapes his sister; in time he then rapes their daughter, and the product of that union is Hitler. It gets worse from there.
A dystopian Alternate History Europe where Hitler won the war is the premise of Brad Linaweaver's novel Moon Of Ice.
The core of Len Deighton's novel 'XPD' is the conceit that Hitler and Churchill had a conference to negotiate a cease-fire in France in 1940. This secret can not be allowed to spoil the history as agreed upon, so we get a settling of old scores in a thinly-disguised James Bond-ish romp through Europe, London and Hollywood.
The insanely controversial novel The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. In this novel Hitler escapes to South America, grows old and is finally captured and put on an impromptu trial in the jungle by Jewish Nazi Hunters. What made it controversial is Hitler's speech which he gives in his own behalf, claiming (among other things) that he is the Messiah and should be honored as he lead to the creation of Israel. Incidentally the author, George Steiner, is a British Jew whose parents had escaped Nazism.
In "Timeslides", an episode of the third season of Red Dwarf, the crew discover Time Travel via entering pictures or film. Holly digs up footage from Nuremberg and Lister enters standing next to Hitler. The episode's credits feature the line "Special Guest Star: Adolf Hitler as himself".
Heil Honey, I'm Home!, a sitcom which portrayed Hitler and Eva Braun living next door to a Jewish couple. It lasted only one episode.
Assassins Creed II posits that Hitler was one of The Knights Templar, and conspired with FDR, Stalin and Churchill to start World War II to establish a New World Order to Take Over the World for the Templars. And it would have worked, too, if it weren't for those meddling Assassins! Hitler killed a body double inside the Führerbunker, only to be ambushed and killed by an Assassin who'd been waiting outside for him to make his escape attempt.
A one-off joke in Ansem Retort explains Hitler's anti-Semitism...well...
DiZ: You turned into a rabbi and laughed at Hitler's paintings. YOU FUCKED UP PRETTY BADLY!
In A Greater Britain, after the Anschluss is contested by Austria and Hitler's bluff is called, war comes before Germany is ready and it does not go well. He gets assassinated in a military coup in 1938.
In Weimar World he dies as an unknown during the Austrian Civil War.
In Holding Out For A Hero Gustav Stresemann Survives he never becomes Chancellor thanks to, well, what it says in the title.
AH Dot Com The Series, in the episode "Dinos and Nazis and Deroes, Oh My", had a surviving Third Reich in the centre of the Hollow Earth, led by an aged Hitler plugged into a cyborg throne. He gets killed at the end by an exploding robot herald reprogrammed by Landshark.
The Simpsons. Bart wrecked Hitler's car. Cue Nelson's question "What did he ever do to you?"
It was also implied (in the episode Bart makes a crank phone call to Australia) that Hitler is living in Argentina.
Other episodes showed Hitler in Abe Simpson's flashbacks of WWII.
Hitler's head appears in a Duff bottle on a brewery conveyer belt.
Captain Planet And The Planeteers. Never named and with a less distinctive moustache in 'A Good Bomb Is Hard To Find', in which two of the supervillains travelled back in time to sell the Nazis atomic weapons. He apparently was filled with so much hate that he could hurt Captain Planet just by staring at him. Talk about strong mojo...