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10 Intriguing Facts About Hitler

by Gareth May
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Few names conjure up such repulsion as that of the German Fuehrer. But for all the disgust there’s also a little bit of intrigue. Whereas figures such as Vlad the Impaler and Genghis Khan have been lost some of their barbaric reputation as we understand more of their historical contexts, Hitler’s presence is still felt strongly. It’s easy to forget—what with the accelerated times we live in—that it wasn’t even 100 years ago that Hitler committed the atrocities that shaped the world into the one it is today. We know much of the man but even more remains a mystery. Here are a few little facts you might have missed.

10 Hitler Was Inspired By Cheerleaders

Whack a pair of pom-poms on any man and he’ll be rendered harmless—even Hitler. But Hitler’s association with pom-poms goes well beyond that of a cheap joke. The infamous “Nazi salute,” a stiff-armed gesture, accompanied by the phrase “Heil Hitler” or “Sieg Heil,” was made mandatory for all civilians in 1933. The gesture was adapted from an Ancient Roman salute, but the “Sieg Heil,” translated as “Hail Victory,” came from somewhere far less martial.

According to documents created by the Office of Strategic Services (a wartime CIA) Hitler was besotted with American Football cheerleaders and marching bands. The documents include the observations of Hitler’s close friend Ernst Hanfstaengl, known to Hitler as “Putzi.” Putzi states that in the year of 1923, Hitler was a massive fan of football college games and their accompanying marches, and the “Sieg Heil!” shout was based on the cheerleaders’ techniques.
He also deployed college-style music to inject some excitement into his political rallies. Give us an H! Give us an I! Actually, on that topic . . . 

9 Hitler Had Feminine Handwriting

The arguments that Hitler was a homosexual have been raging for years. Some point to incidents in his youth in Vienna, others the numerous homosexuals in the early Nazi party. Whether or not the Gestapo destroyed evidence of Hitler’s early homosexual behaviour is something we’ll never know. But one thing we do know is that Hitler was by many accounts a very feminine man. American war correspondent and journalist William L. Shirer comically called Hitler’s walk “very lady-like” with “dainty little steps.”

But it was eminent psychologist Carl Jung who really put the high-heeled boot in. When Jung was asked to comment on an example of Hitler’s handwriting he announced it was “typically feminine.”

8 Hitler Had A Sweet Tooth

When we think of Adolf Hitler we rarely think of cupcakes and whipped cream. But Hitler was a big fan of the sweet stuff. It’s widely known that Hitler favoured a vegetarian diet and very rarely touched alcohol but when it came to chocolate he didn’t have the same restraint.

Between 1909 and 1913, the young, impoverished Hitler held down menial jobs as a carpet beater and railway porter—money was tight and so was food. During these years Hitler lived on bread, milk and butter, but would spend any spare coin he had on sugary treats such as poppy seed cake and nut cake, or else he would cook up an enormous plate of rice and milk and cover it in sugar and grated chocolate.

Hitler’s sweet tooth persisted into his later years: the aforementioned Putzi, then his piano-player, reported seeing him pile sugar into a glass of expensive red wine at a society dinner.

7 Hitler Hated The Dentist

We’ve all got our phobias. Spiders, the dark, Surinam toads . . . but like 10 percent of us, Hitler would get his knickers in a twist over a trip to the dentist. On one occasion, Hitler insisted on drawing out a root canal operation over eight days to spread out the pain. The big scaredy cat!

As a result of his dentist fear (and probably his sweet tooth) Hitler had pretty bad oral hygiene. He had awful breath, a multitude of abscesses and even gum disease. In 1944, Hitler required a total of 10 fillings. Open wide!

6 Hitler Was A Lay-About

The “lazy beggar” tag is reserved for university students, freelance writers and, now, autocratic megalomaniacs. Whereas other leaders got by with very little sleep—Margaret Thatcher famously only slept for four hours a night—Adolf was a bit of a slugabed, not rising until 11am at the earliest.

This could be explained by the fact that Hitler suffered from insomnia and would often toss and turn until four in the morning. Other have suggested his irregular sleeping patterns—as well as a tic with his eyes—are signs that Hitler was showing symptoms of early-onset Parkinson’s disease.

5 Hitler’s First Love Was A Jewish girl

Childhood sweethearts are a rite of passage for most people on this planet—even one of the world’s worst men got smitten at the ripe age of sweet sixteen. Whilst growing up in Vienna, Hitler fell under the spell of Jewish Stefanie Isak.

In typical teenage infatuation fashion, the young Hitler never said a word to Isak, instead preferring to pencil down his feelings in no doubt crude poetry. According to Hitler’s close friend August Kubizek, the young Hitler planned to kidnap Isak and kill them both by jumping into the Danube with her, but he eventually relented and let her be. Isak has said in interviews that she had no idea of Hitler’s feelings for her. Murder–suicide, while extreme, seems tame for the man he would go on to become.

4 Hitler Was A Cokehead

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Forget stockbrokers and rock stars, European dictators are the real coke fiends of the world. Hitler’s physician Theodor Morell began prescribing the German leader cocaine in 1944. Hitler took the cocaine via an inhaler, twice a day, and also used cocaine eye drops. What a raver!

The prescription was given to help with Hitler’s poor sinuses and throat. But the repercussions of heavy drug use could have been worse than a sore throat though—some historians say the cocaine could have affected Hitler’s decision making, rendering him susceptible to paranoia and fits of rage.

3 Hitler Suffered From Flatulence

As mentioned in the previous entry on this list, Hitler had a good relationship with his personal doctor, Theodor Morell. Morell was a bit of a mystic and his medical practises were what one might call radical for their time (his contemporaries called them “criminally negligent.”) All the same, Hitler clearly trusted the man and he charged him with finding a cure for his longstanding gastrointestinal problems.

Morell eventually managed to sort out Hitler’s bowels, prescribing him a concoction of amphetamines and gun lubricant, along with soothing chamomile enemas. But although one bowel problem was solved, another digestive disorder reared its ugly, odorous head—flatulence. Now that Hitler was unblocked, the gas had to come out somewhere. Morell eventually administered “anti-gas” pills consisting of belladonna and strychnine to fend off the foul flatulence, but it’s unlikely these highly toxic substances did much to improve the situation.

2 Hitler Had Injections Of Bull Testicle Extracts

We’ve already asserted that Hitler was a bit of a junkie—popping pills and shooting up at the bequest of Doctor Morell. But Morell would also recommend something else for the Nazi leader to take: bull testicle extract. Mmmm. Dinner is served.
Morell used extracts from young bulls’ prostates and testicles to kick start Hitler’s libido. This was whilst Hitler was having a bit of how’s your father with Eva Braun, a woman 23 years his junior. Here was a guy with the arrogance to believe he had the right to eradicate entire races from the planet and yet he needed some testosterone to pleasure his girl in bed . . . figure that out.

1 Hitler Was A Disney Fan

It’s hard to imagine Adolf Hitler settling down with a bowl of popcorn watching a movie marathon of Disney movie, but as the popcorn machine was invented in 1893 and Hitler expressed a great admiration for the cartoons, it’s entirely possible.

Revisiting the observations of his friend Putzi, we can reveal that Hitler was a keen whistler; according to Putzi he would regularly whistle Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? The chosen tune is a significant one. The name “Adolf” developed from the Old High German “Adalwolf” or “Noble Wolf.” During his rise to power, Hitler was called “Wolf” by various allies and his military bases and hideout often included the word in their title, such as Wolfsschlucht I, which was Hitler’s first military base on the Eastern front, and Werwolf in the Ukraine. The Fuehrer’s command headquarters were known as The Wolf’s Lair.

But the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t the only tune the whistling Hitler knew. When You Wish Upon a Star was another one, and it was this one, rather darkly, that Hitler chose to whistle as he looked out over the recently conquered city of Paris.

In 2008, a war museum in Norway exhibited artwork depicting Disney characters it claimed had been drawn by Hitler himself. The paintings included Bashful and Doc from the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs—which, incidentally, was one of Hitler’s favorite films—and they were all signed A.H.

Hoax or reality? The truth is, as with so many things Hitler, we will never truly know.

fact checked by Jamie Frater
Gareth May

Gareth May is an author and the co-editor of relationship website His 'n' Hers Handbook. His debut book, 150 Things Every Man Should Know, published in November 2009, was selected as one of the best books of the year by The Independent on Sunday. It has been published in the USA, Russia and China. His second book, Man of the World, was published in June, 2012. Born and bred in Devon, he now lives in London.

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