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I'll put this here.

There's a question I keep coming back to. It's possibly the most elementary question anyone interested in history could ask.

What if Hitler had been a good man?

I often wonder about that. Would a dictatorship, even one run by a good man, eventually become corrupt? Or would history have turned out differently?

Robotbuilder 7 May 6

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Hitler would have thought he was a good ne great man. Dictatorships can only work well in the short term. Some form of emergency or such requires executive decisions to be made quickly. After time though even the best of people get stale and cling to power.
I did write a piece about democracy vs dictatorship and the socratic question "who is best to run a ship? The captain or the crew?" To focus the discussion, I sighted the mutiny on the Bounty. Both the legend and the historical reality. Interesting how that panned out. Boiled down to, if your in an open boat with 2,000 miles to civilisation to go. You want a dictator in charge.


Dictators have a habit of being in for themselves. I have looked for a good dictator and the closest I have come is a benevolent king and there was only a few of them in history.


If things were different they would be different, how do we no this time line isn’t the different one? Moot, Hitler was bad, Trump is bad, did we learn enough from Hitler to see what’s wrong with Trump? I wonder, but I’ll wonder while protesting because I refuse to be complicit by doing nothing!


I have a problem with this post personally. We've had previous posts on how someone might have stopped him from ever being born, snuffing him out in his crib or many assassination attempts not if he had been a good man. Raised Jewish I have nightmares of Nazis and concentration camps. I am angry at the German people for being greedy and complicit in the Night of Broken Glass which was the start of Hitler's dehumaniation of the Jews, Gypsies and homosexual communities. They knew what was going on as they saw their neighbors being dragged away to the trains-freight cars/treated like cattle. They moved into the Jewish homes, took valuables for themselves and raised their own social status. Greed, hate, ignorance are all excuses. I am also ANGRY at the United States for turning ships of desperate men, women and children away from US shores. And this trump administration is just as hateful, anti-immigrant and greedy. Thats what this post should be about. How it is happening all over again with Herr Trump.


It was the 'Brown Shirts' (SA) that gave Hitler his political win.

Plus, after the defeat in the WW1 many many young German men were left unemployed and miserable. The SA offered them a reason to fight back,at what they now saw as an injustice. While, they were away fighting for their Kaiser and country, the business savvy German Jews legally bought floundering companies and were successfully running them. Greed and nepotism was rife.

The Brown Shirts 'fed off' this misery and jealously and a dictator was born.

I wonder if the Nazis had won, how many more people would have be murdered.... too many.


There have been many benevolent dictators. The bottom line is that Hitler was not a good man, though he believed he was.


Only in an alternate reality. You have too much time on your hands.


I think of Plato and his vision of “Philosopher Kings” as the perfect form of government. Of course his book was followed fairly soon By Alexander (A philosopher king - tutored by Aristotle?). Its not at all clear to me that Alexander's rule was good for those he ruled and conquered.
They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It appears in history that there is a lot of truth to this. Those who aspire to absolute power are to be feared. ( I am of course talking about 45 now)

@Lonely: 45 is the 45th President of USA. Some of us prefer not to use his name as he basks in attention both positive and negative.


If he was a good man he would not have written Mein Kampf and the story would have stopped there: Adolf Hitler would have been barely known as a wounded PTDS soldier from the 1st world war and a struggling artist..


If he had been a good man, he would never have been in position to rise to power, and certainly wouldn't have used that power to become a dictator.

JimG Level 8 May 6, 2018

Personally I do not see how "dictating" how anyone else should live is ever a good thing let alone an entire nation. No-one is good enough to determine what is right for the individual within the masses and attempting to over others is what religion does so maybe things would have turned out differently but that does not mean better. The man at the top is the furthest one away from those at the bottom so how could any wise decisions be made on their behalf? The only way a dictatorship could work is if every single man, woman and child willingly gave up their own power and then it wouldn't be a dictatorship anymore anyway.

Re. "The only way a dictatorship could work......and then it wouldn't be a dictorship" is just not true. It ignores the fact that dictatorships happen. They are an historical, factual reality. Everyone does not have to willingly give up their own power of autonomy for it to happen. That power is taken from them. All that is needed is enough people (even a plurality, rather than a majority) to be persuaded that trading some self-determination away in exchange for the grand promises of the aspiring dictator...enough of them to let "Herr Autocrat" get into a position to change the democratic rules in his favor, and the dictator takes the rest of their rights away, all while selling it with propaganda as if it were a great thing.
Hitler was never elected supreme ruler of Germany. He exploited political insecurity in the mood of the country that was deeply politically polarized (as America is now) to build just enough political base. In Hitler's case, he persuaded the President at the time to appoint him Chancellor, then found loopholes to convince a weakened government to grant him special ( supposedly temporary) executive powers. Then once he had them, he dissolved the Reichstag/legislature and gutted the courts, destroying the democratic separation of powers, making himself dictator.

@MikeInBatonRouge The question posed was would it have worked had HiItler been a good man. I said the only way it would work as a good thing is for people to give up their power willingly but then it would not be a dictatorship. I did not ignore anything. My point is that dictatorship is never good.

@CreativelyMe thanks for clarifying.


This is such a complicated question.

Here is my analysis. Hitler was a ruthless power seeking politician. And he found that power in Germany in the ruins of World War 1, and exploited that.

Note, also, he was Austrian.

Nothing against Austrians, I'm just saying he was not German.

Dictatorships are never good in my opinion. Of course, democracies can also be compromised. I am not thinking of the current President of the United States to be clear...


I know I am just repeating a theme, here, but it is right. A dictator does not rise to power solely on his own (any women dictators out there?)
It takes a general mentality of a large portion of a population to be receptive to the would-be dictator. Hitler rose through deception, gross displays of macho bullshit that admirers interpreted as strength, by stroking the egos of his listeners, telling them they are special, superior in some way, and that other, less worthy people, are to blame for all their hardships, in other words, by massive scapegoating. A good man, by my definition, would never have achieved that cheap, populist appeal needed to con his way to power.

Ever wonder why no matter who the president is, large portions of the populace remain convinced they are evil liars? The public looks for a leader who promises the moon. Politicians have to play a game of overselling themselves. No One lives up to the hype, no matter how noble their intentions. So lots of people write off politicians as all equally corrupt. What a massive mistake! So we now have a president who literally can't get through a single day without lying publicly. Lying is like breathing to him, but he just flings around accusations of others being "crooked" liars, and suddenly he can do no wrong. Ugh! Throw in his blatant greed and utter disregard for Democratic principles, and a Congress shirking its responsibility to act as check and balance, and we are in deep trouble.


I suppose the question could be interpreted as If Hitler and the Nazis had won the war, would Hitler have been a good man? I suppose some of the SS would have thought so, even in defeat a lot of them thought so, perhaps the world's perception of good and evil would have been changed if things had gone differently.


Schodinger's dictator...he is both good & bad until you look at him...then you risk being dead.


I guess good dictators, and mean good as in being good at being dictators, are just good manipulators and psychopath. I don't think that Hilter would have been able to kill someone with his own hands, but he knew how to manipulate people. I think we often tend to forget that a dictator without henchmen is nothing.
The goals are good by their standards and the fact that it might cost millions of lives doesn't deter them, probably quite in the contrary. Being able to take large numbers of lives promotes them to god status.
Fundamentally good people don't even become foremen.


If Hitler had been a good man he would never have risen to power.
To become a dictator by necessity involves traits that are fundamentally not good.
Ruthlessness, the ability to instill hate and fear in others, the ability to rabble rouse, the ability to put ones conscience on hold, the ability to lie convincingly, the ability to scapegoat effectively, nationalism disguised as patriotism and the ability to recognise and reward similar traits in others.
Had Hitler risen to power and then changed to be a "good" man he would undoubtedly have met with an unfortunate accident or illness and Eichmann (or someone equally ruthless and ambitious) would have replaced him.

@TheAstroChuck Even farther than that Hitler created a second and independent SS known as the Reichsführer-SS as well the more famous Waffen-SS, so that each could police the other and protect himself from his paranoid fears of traitors in both.


Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Also, Hitler would never have risen to power if he was a "good man". He played on the worst of his fellows to gain & consolidate power. Not good. His whole platform was twisted. Not good. Sorry, I enjoy alternative history scenarios in both a historical & science-fiction sense, but yours doesn't fly. without him being the demagogue that he was he would never have come to power.


That's a tough one. I generally like to believe that people are not born bad (minus the genetically unfortunate pathologies), and that people become bad through nurture.

So maybe Hitler was born a sociopath. On the other hand, maybe he was nurtured or abused in some way that led to him being a shitty person.

That being said, I don't think you can be a dictator and a good person at the same time; I assume he was a shitty person before becoming a dictator.

smox Level 4 May 6, 2018

He wasn't so no need for a discussion !

Fair enough. What little good there was in Hitler (he was a staunch animal rights activist) was expressed in nazi German laws which, while they did protect the welfare of animals, also had excessive penalties. Animals were better off in that country than people were, in other words.

I do appreciate all of the feedback this has generated. Personally, I can't see any good ending to the pursuit of absolute power.

I really do recommend doing some reading on nazi Germany. It was an odd mix of madness and utter chaos. Hitler's way of governing was to have long dinner parties, where he would ramble on about whatever came to his mind. It was up to his minions to translate what he said into policy.

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