A Dictator who wanted to be an Artist

 

He named himself Führer (The Leader). The Austrian-born German politician, Adolf Hitler has been on the study table of many a scholar and probing minds. The world holds this man of short stature (physically) in extreme disregard for reasons more than one. His unpardonable fetish towards ethnic cleansing bore him flaks from innumerable corners, long after he had stopped breathing.

Hitler is an absorbing case study that needs multifarious interpretations. We know much about his full-grown tyranny and less about his juvenile days as a son and an aspiring artist. Adolf came into this world with a burden of illegitimacy bestowed upon him. He had no choice. His father was a dedicated thrasher who made him feel more timid and vulnerable. Conflict between father and son took a despicable turn when the man of strict Austrian ideals tried forcing his way on young Hitler, who breathed German.

A rebel started grew his first wing when German Nationalism got the better of Hitler. It was a challenge that future tyrant couldn’t run away from. He wanted to see his father down on his knees.

Wrongs befell Hitler at quick successions. Force was used to get him admitted in a technical high school despite his own wish to be a student of a classical high school and become an artist. By that time frustration had already started seeking a vent. Shrinking personal space, dictatorial fatherhood and stifling growing up culminated into a psychotic development of his thought process.

By the time Hitler reached his 15th summer he already had something annoying in him. He turned little secluded and lot alienated. Bohemian life in Vienna went a long way to bring out the Maverick entity in him. Refusal wooed him throughout his academic and personal pursuits. Being twice denied admittance in the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1907–1908), his “artistic dream seemed physically impossible”. His works were reduced to this expression – unfitness for painting. Becoming an architect kept the senile hope alive but detour arrived soon. His not-so-strong academic skill prevented him from being an achiever.

Hitler’s childhood shaped him into an all-devouring despot with moth-eaten sympathy. It was his defeated self who uttered, “I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.” The sense of vacuity in life tore off his peace of mind and painted him as a restless oppressor who would stop only at the sight of pain, who would revel when others groan and celebrate people’s subjugation. His abject notion surfaced in his much controversial remark: “Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless.”

War was ‘useful’ to him because peace had been rendered useless during his foundation days. He couldn’t come to terms with the reality that his artistic epiphany was left unrecognized, unappreciated and uncalled for. Hitler struggled as an amateur painter recreating scenes from postcards and selling his creations to every enthusiast he came across in Vienna. Leading a life in a shelter for the homeless and then moving into a house for poor working men perhaps made him anti-elite, anti-affluent.

It is to be noted that in 1920s and 30s Jews belonged to the rich sections of the society holding respectable positions in both Austria and Germany. The Jews owned all private banks in Germany and they even mastered complete control over the stock exchange. Successful and prosperous Jews perhaps bred abhorrence in Hitler’s mind.

His unflinching courage was a compulsion – an insatiable desire to prove it to the world. The comment “Germany will either be a world power or will not be at all” does explain his ulterior motive. He avoided grey areas. A failure in personal front desperately wanted compensation – acceptance before people by force if not by ideologies. His childhood humiliation and untimely death of his dream pushed him to the extremity from where he can become big.

For making oneself accepted, one needs to understand the pulse of the nation. But Hitler was not concerned about folks. In fact his errand was too grand to bother about miniscule issues. He was uncompromising with his newly found mission as his vehemence resounded, “I have no use for knights; I need revolutionaries.” The revolution he ideated and the ‘New Order’ he envisaged were born more out of malice than genuine concern. A hypochondriac, Hitler lived a measured life battling insecurity and abrupt end. 

The frantic pace at which he dwarfed humanity, the audacity with which he doled out deaths to millions, could only be a design of a mind preoccupied with the idea of being a successful totalitarian. Now you know what he meant when he said “Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.”

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