Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hitler Pictures

A Monster at Work and Play

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Adolf Hitler, taken by his personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann

Let's get this out of the way right up front: nothing on here is designed to glorify Adolf Hitler.

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Hitler probably loved this picture of himself. Mr. "I'm bad, I'm bad, I'm really really bad." Ok, fair enough. Tough guy. But why is he holding an egg in his hand?

If you aren't able to view this as simply an academic exercise in photographic evidence of a deceased world figure, you're in the wrong place.

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Good original color shots of Hitler are relatively rare. Most have been worked on fairly recently to 'enhance' them. I think this is the latter case, but a very good job.

No matter how you stand on one issue or another, Adolf Hitler dominated World War II and politics of the mid-20th Century.

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As part of that, Adolf Hitler was personally responsible for tens of millions of deaths of innocent people.

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Hitler trying so hard to act suave for Eva.

All of his images public disseminated were manipulated to make him appear to be dominant and always on duty. Well, almost all of them, a few that paint him in a somewhat comical light slipped through to posterity.

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Hitler and Ernst Rohm. It's not often that you find a clip of people throwing things at Hitler.

Thus, the photographic evidence almost inevitably tends to make him look good, to be doing something important - because that was the whole intent the entire time. Photos that put Hitler in a poor light certainly existed - they just weren't allowed to be shown.

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30th January 1933: President Paul von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (1847 - 1934) handing over the rule of Germany to the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. There is somebody still alive who also shook Hitler's hand. Do you know who it is?

You can sometimes tell that Hitler is annoyed by what he is wearing, but he's wearing it anyway because, well, he has to.

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Hitler at the 1933 Hindenburg meeting - how he really felt.

Hitler was quite dapper when he wanted to be, as shown by the below picture taken with Sepp Dietrich.

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Hitler, dressed to the nines, with his longtime crony Sepp Dietrich. This photo is a bit unusual because - details - it shows his stylish shoes. He liked heels, extra height makes one appear more commanding.

And in this picture below with Winifred Wagner.

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Winifred Wagner, one of Hitler's most devoted supporters but who had issues with his persecution of the Jews, trails the Fuhrer.

Almost all pictures of Hitler show him stern, or thoughtful, or occasionally smiling in a stiff way. These are poses he consciously wanted put out for public consumption. However, sometimes he let his guard down even when dressed in his clodhopper boots.

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In August, 1933, Hitler spent some time fooling around on his terrace with dogs and deer for "personal" photos like this. Why? Who knows. This was at Haus Wachenfeld, the predecessor to the Berghof (meaning, pre-1936).

For some reason, Hitler liked to pose with animals. Maybe he thought it would soften his image - though he usually went out of his way not to soften his image. Maybe he took these for Eva?

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An old crow... and a bird, too.

Hitler had a full range of emotions just like anyone else. He could be quite happy, and you can see the charm ooze out of him when with people he liked or wished to make feel good.

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Yes, this is Hitler, though some wish to dispute that because it does not fit the stoic Nazi image. It is a picture he hated. Hitler loved fedoras, but stopped wearing them in the '30s because they did not fit the image.

These pictures are a bit rarer, though, as he did not often want to portray an image of being obviously happy - and thus out of tight emotional control.

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His preferred public image was that he would only be happy after final victory, so the vast majority of pictures released to the public shows a determined, steely gaze. That makes pictures of him showing joy somewhat odd.

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Hitler giving a big smile to a guest in 1935. This was a side of Hitler that he seldom wished to publicize - he wanted to be feared more than loved.  

There also are photos of Hitler looking tired, or bored, or even sleeping. These are rare but turned up after the war in private collections. There are very few pictures of Hitler looking consciously sad, which is why the photo below is very unusual.

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Sad Hitler. I don't know the occasion. Perhaps a funeral?

Hitler affected the destinies of continents, so he is a historical figure worthy of study no matter what view you may have of his regime.

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I do not have any background on this. Hitler is at a ceremony, perhaps a funeral, but not necessarily - the Nazis memorialized the 1923 Putsch and other events from the party's early days with great regularity. Behind him is the Brown House, so this is in Munich. Perhaps it is after the bomb blast in late 1939 that almost killed him. Hitler wears his Blood Order medal on the right pocket of his SA uniform. A rare picture of Hitler expressing deep emotion. It also is a great picture of his hand (I know that seems king of silly.... but details about Hitler are what people like), showing that, unlike, say, Hermann Goering who always wore rings, Hitler did not typically wear much jewelry.

There are so many photographs of Hitler that it even a large book or album would not be of sufficient size to display them all.

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This is probably the rarest photo on this page: Adolf Hitler wearing spectacles in a censored photograph taken by Heinrich Hoffmann. The photograph was censored personally by Hoffmann or Hitler - no photograph in spectacles was to be published. Whoever put that X over the photo was carrying out Hitler's wishes. Maybe Hitler himself? More likely Hoffmann. Perhaps Eva. Maybe Goebbels.

However, we can get enough here to have some idea what he looked like.

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This photo and the one below are two of the very few that show Hitler wearing his white uniform. This one is double-breasted, no belt. The Iron Cross dangles at the breast, and the Nazi armband really stands out.

While Hermann Goering liked to wear white, Hitler seldom did. He sometimes wore it to formal social occasions, such as the opera.

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Hitler wearing his single-breasted, dress white uniform with his dress brocade belt. Once again, we get the Iron cross and the armband.

Just always bear in mind that, like with the case of the picture above of Hitler wearing spectacles, he had to approve whatever went out.

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A 1925/26 photo, shortly after release from Landsberg. Evidently, Adolf is touring the countryside, as he is carrying a map. The cap he holds is probably something to keep his hair styled in the car, he often wore a driving cap. Look closely, what is that other thing that he is holding. Yes, it is... a whip. Why bring a whip when you are out for a drive? Come on, man .... it's Adolf Hitler. (Photo: Lotte Bechstein).

The only reasons something that we would consider unflattering survived were because the photo slipped through the cracks, or fashions have changed to such an extent that what looked proper then just looks comical now. The Nazis kept tight control over Hitler images. Heinrich Hoffmann went to the extreme lengths of burying some negatives in his backyard, because Hitler told him to destroy they... and if Hitler said to destroy something, you destroyed it or he destroyed you.

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Rare shot of Hitler and Hindenburg on 1 January 1934. Notice the guy in the back eyeing the camera? He's like, "Oh, you better have authorization for that!"

How he appeared in photographs matters because he was the most photographed and viewed person of his time - and the pictures weren't all flattering, at least to modern eyes. But the unflattering ones are interesting, too, because they show different sides of him.

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Say whatever you like about Hitler - sharp dresser. Obviously colorized.

The pictures range from the fantastic to the bombastic, with a little grandiose and theatrical thrown in now and then.

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A carefully choreographed and plotted shot of Adolf Hitler addressing a rally. This is the ultimate Fascist set-up, in part cribbed from Mussolini. Everything is straight lines, no lazy curves or anything out of place. The straight lines all direct the eye to Hitler, and the uniformity of design creates an aura of tight control and absolute obedience.

We are going to cover a lot of topics on this blog, and I want to get representative pictures of Hitler up now in one post all at once so that I don't feel as if I have to keep returning to him in practically every post to show he was important or how he looked.

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Among other things, Hitler was one of the most successful authors of the 20th Century. Now, everyone can quibble about the fact that Nazis were obligated to buy a copy of his first book (there were two, but the second was shelved) "Mein Kampf" (which you can buy from Amazon) and keep it prominently on display somewhere, thereby vastly inflating sales. However, be that as it may, only recently did his book become legal to sell in Germany. It quickly sold out -  "for educational purposes." So, think what you will, Hitler's book sold and still sells to this day.




Anyway, here Adolf Hitler is, once and for all, large and in charge.

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Note how perfectly symmetrical this setting is, even extending to the microphones and the sashes on the flowers before the podium. Subsequent studies have shown in other contexts that the human brain is attracted to symmetry. Hitler and his people seem to have figured this out in the 1930s.

Hitler, among many other things, was the greatest manipulator of mass emotions in world history. He did the standard politician shots such as a ceremonial first scoop of the autobahn, which look kind of odd now due to his overall history. If he had stuck to that, his legacy would be completely different, of course.

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Hitler digging the autobahn, 1933. Hitler was a bit like Vladimir Putin in that he would occasionally relish a physical challenge to prove how manly he was. See also the famous shot of him "walking the plank" at his June 1942 meeting with Marshal Mannerheim.

However, once the war began, he began playing warlord and was seldom far from a map.

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Hitler in Poland, 1939. He must have loved this shot, all these Generals hanging on his every word.

Adolf Hitler was a lower-middle-class kid who was stuck in poverty after the death of his father. World War I changed his position in society and formed much of his outlook on life, politics and warfare. After becoming a very minor war hero, he shrewdly parlayed his army contacts into becoming a politician who evolved into the most feared and hated man in the world.

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Caption: "Adolf Hitler visits dying German President Paul von Hindenburg for the last time at Neudeck, 2nd August 1934. Hindenburg died that day and Hitler became the country's Fuhrer. From left to right, Hitler's Adjutant Julius Schaub, Adolf Hitler, the President's son Oskar von Hindenburg (facing Hitler), Secretary of State Otto Meissner and Chief Adjutant Wilhelm Bruckner. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)".

Usually that's not what politicians want - to be hated - but it worked for him, at least for a while. Besides, he was kind of following in the footsteps of Machiavelli, who said that it is better to be feared than loved.

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Adolf Hitler and his key lackey, Wilhelm Keitel

Nobody in history has been more feared and loathed than Adolf Hitler. There is absolutely no indication in the record that he cared a whit what people thought of him.

Hitler and Mussolini in Brest-Litovsk, Poland (now Brest in Belarus). The Brest Litovsk visit took place in August 1941, as Mussolini was Hitler's guest from August 25 onwards. On August 28, 1941 they visited Uman in the Ukraine. The Italian General on Mussolini's left is General Ugo Cavallero and it is likely that the Luftwaffe's representative was Field Marshal Erhard Milch, though at first glance it appears to be Goering. That appears to be Keitel between the two. The Germans captured the city from the Poles, then handed it over to the Soviets in accordance with treaty, then took it back. This was a rare visit by Hitler to a war zone. Credit to Raja Tirumalai in the comments for help on the identifications.

Still, while terrifying and loathsome, Hitler was, underneath it all, a politician. He understood the need for mass support of his policies, even if he didn't give a fig about what individuals thought of him.

It is easy to imagine from his final, feeble days that Hitler was some kind of milquetoast who only had underlings do his dirty work. In fact, as shown in this picture which appears to be from the late 1920s, he routinely carried both a dog whip for protection (weapons being prohibited) and also what pretty clearly (unless he has very long hands) is an illegal concealed pistol in his pants pocket. That may explain his odd expression in this picture, as he developed a phobia for violating the letter of the law after his incarceration. He would order the deaths of thousands - but he wanted it done legally

Hitler actively managed his image and, in fact, conducted the war with a constant eye to his own image and that of the Nazi Party, sometimes to the detriment of actual military operations. For instance, he kept the Berlin area on peacetime status even as Soviet forces stood only 60 miles away on the Oder River in order to maintain his popularity. He played at being a warlord, but he was a politician through and through.

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Unusual shot of Hitler wearing the SA hat. 'Reichsparteitag Nat.-Soz. Deutsch. Arb.-Partei.' 1927. Hitler always rode shotgun, invariably wore a cap in the car.

Virtually every image was carefully posed for his court photographer - which is why the few that weren't posed (such as when the camera caught him sleeping now and then or in the background of someone else's pose) are so revealing.

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Adolf could not help turning even an ordinary dog-walking outing into a heroic event for the cameras. He did this every day at the Berghof. The path leads to the teahouse.

It's easy to forget that throughout the war, he was as worried about German public opinion as he was about the front. His job early on was to gain supporters, and he was quite good at it, and then later it was to keep them.

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Hitler is all smiles during a 1944 troop visit. Himmler and Elvis stand behind him (as pointed out by a commenter below, I am just kidding, it actually is Hermann Fegelein (FEGELEIN!!!!) of the SS. Fegelein married Eva Braun's sister, Greta (right before D-Day, in fact). He later was executed for cowardice and desertion at the bunker in April 1945.

Many don't like to look at his pictures because he was such a terrifying human being, but doing so helps to understand the otherwise inexplicable appeal of the world's greatest monster.

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Hitler the politician arrives at a youth rally in Berlin, 1934. That limo would go for a pretty penny today. Notice he is holding his cap - it had a steel plate in it for protection, so was probably heavy. He thus is supporting it on the windshield and took it off just for a moment.

This collection of pictures is chosen to show the political side of Hitler. He was always "on," always thinking of the political angle.

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Even when surrounded by his Generals, he is careful to observe the little touches that define a politician: kissing ladies' hands, fussing with small children, posing self-consciously for campaign literature, waving self-consciously to crowds. Every gesture was planned and rehearsed. If nothing else, Hitler believed in preparation for his public appearances.

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Since we are on the topic of Hitler here, the issue of his heritage has been a matter of debate and intense interest for some since he first came to power.

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Hitler loved to read newspapers. In the morning, he would dedicate at least 2 hours reading copies provided by the Propaganda Ministry and his own press officer. In addition, he would read daily briefings on the international press prepared overnight. He broke this habit later in the war when the situation deteriorated. There is a story recited by Albert Speer in which a British newspaper printed a positive story about him being a capable technocrat - a very rare occurrence for any Nazi official - and Speer hurried to Hitler to tell him about it and explain that he had nothing to do with it because he was worried how Hitler would take it. In another instance, Hitler spotted a U.S. reference to the "Morgenthau Plan," which would have removed all German industrial capacity after a German defeat and turn it into a nation of farmers. He had Goebbels add that to the propaganda messages sent out to Germans.

In fact, during the late 1930s he ordered an investigation into his own line of descent. It was conducted by his personal lawyer Hans Frank. Of course, the results came back that he was a perfect Aryan. He did undeniably have piercing blue eyes. But was it the truth?

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Eva took this photo. Note her movie camera in the foreground. I don't know who Hitler is talking to, he's either fascinated or upset about something.

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Hitler's roving eye always finds the camera. There are few pictures of him from behind his head. I believe that is Eva, not sure.
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Eva took this snap of Hitler which found its way into a magazine. Nobody knew that Eva took it - it was credited to Heinrich Hoffman because Eva was still Hitler's little something on the side at this point. This is at the overlook on the way to the teahouse on the Obersalzburg, a walk Hitler took every morning.

Hitler's genes may have come from Africa and the Middle East, though what possible difference that makes to anything is highly questionable. Hans Frank had an odd thing to say about Hitler's heritage after the war. More on the heritage question here.

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Hitler's residence, as is well known, was the Berghof in Berchtesgaden. He would entertain visitors there throughout his life. In the 1930s, before the war when they became a security risk, he also entertained gatherings of Hitler Youth, BDM girls, and similar groups for festive occasions at the Berghof.

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The Berghof is sometimes confused with the Eagle's Nest. They are both in Berchtesgaden, but in completely different areas. The Berghof was up a slight hill in a residential area. The Eagle's Nest was on top of a mountain, and it required a lengthy drive up steep inclines to get there. The Berghof was destroyed at the end of the war by a bombing raid and then completely demolished, and only traces of its location (such as a retaining wall lining the driveway) remain. The Eagle's Nest survives intact and now is a tourist site and restaurant.

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The Eagle's Nest. I took this in June 2009. The Berghof site is down on the valley floor to the right. Hitler only came up here about seven times total to have tea. It is a long, steep drive up, but the scenery is magnificent. The building was an extraordinary achievement by German laborers.

It is very snowy in Berchtesgaden during the winter, of course.

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Hitler out in the snow. For him, it was all about image. He would not let a little thing like snow get in the way of greeting his adoring fans without his cap on.


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The Berghof. It was bombed into rubble in late April 1945, the the government finished the job some years later. Basically, nothing is left now but the original retaining wall behind it. The Berghof and the Eagle's Nest are two completely separate places, they just happen to be in the same municipality.

Note the Eagle's Nest in the background on the left as Hitler strides across his balcony to greet someone: unlike the Berghof where Hitler is running around making small talk, the Eagle's Nest still exists intact and is a top German tourist attraction. It would have been just completed around this time, 1938, and Hitler only went up there about a half-dozen times in his life - it's a long drive, then a whoosh up the bronze elevator. As the plaques there carefully note, it is not preserved as a "Hitler" memorial, but rather a memorial to the efforts of all the German workers who went to extreme lengths to build it on the edge of a steep mountain. It's worth visiting.




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Hitler and with famed film director Leni Riefenstahl. Doesn't she have that standard drama department appearance in her pose? "Oh, that is so mah-velous!"

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It was not required that ordinary people have portraits of Hitler in their homes. However, he was revered by women across the nation, as made clear by letter to him made public long after the war. So, not only did they have the pictures - they treasured them.

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Hitler addressing a party rally

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The Fuhrer thanks Josef Burckel on the occasion of the Saar victory, in the morning of 15th January, 1935. This information from "Adolf Hitler: Bilder aus dem Leben des Fuhrers," published in 1935.

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A typical propaganda picture, taken at a party rally in Nuremburg

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A painting done by Hitler before World War I. He applied to art school and was rejected. His style is not so much bad as it is simply boring, similar to a carefully done paint-by-numbers job. His paintings today sell at auction for major amounts of money, and the identities of the winning bidders are usually not disclosed.

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Another Hitler watercolor. This, of course, is of the famous Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein. There is no record of Hitler having gone there - it would have been quite a trip from Vienna for someone with little money - so it may have been simply a copy from a postcard or something. It has that classically touristy look to it. Not to be too much of an art snob here, but the only impressive thing about this painting is its utter and complete lack of any spark of originality whatsoever.

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Hitler with his buddies during World War I. Hitler marked with the "X" on the left, long before he trimmed down his moustache. No Iron Cross yet. There are some who claim that he was in a homosexual relationship with a mate during this period, but of course there is no solid proof of that. In fact there is another rumor that he fathered a child in Belgium during the war. So, he was either homosexual or virile, take your pick, that's about how much is known on that subject.

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Hitler being released from Landsberg Prison on 20 December 1924
December 19, 1931: Hitler serves as best man at Goebbels' wedding to Magda. Hitler was a big believer in the institution of marriage, though he was only married for one day in his entire life. What is perhaps most interesting about this shot is that it is a rare one where Hitler is not the center of attention, but in the shot almost by accident, and out of uniform as well.

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Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess (left), and Julius Streicher (right) outside at the third Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. (August 19-21, 1927). Hess, Hitler's scribe in Landsberg, gradually receded in prominence during the 1930s. Among the elite Nazis, he was probably one of Hitler's biggest supporters, but others elbowed him out of the way until, completely eliminated from any position of power, he finally took his Quixotic flight to England in 1941. Streicher remained friends with Hitler, but he was perhaps the oddest Nazi. He would stride through the streets of Nuremberg cracking a bullwhip, among many other truly weird things. He was hanged after the war for Crimes Against Humanity (he published "Der Sturmer," anti-Semitic trash).


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"When Hitler and Mussolini met on June 13, 1934, in Venice, Mussolini was the big shot. It was the first meeting between the two dictators, and the last time Hitler appeared in mufti, before taking full power. Two months later, Hitler became the Fuhrer of the Third Reich." - Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Hitler's half-brother Alois Hitler Jr. Love the creepy lighting. It's an old Hollywood trick to make someone appear sinister by lighting them from below, shining upwards.

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Adolf Hitler baby picture

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A nicely labelled shot of Hitler and cronies, some of whom he had shot not long after this
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Adolf Hitler along with Gerd von Rundstedt in Hitler's Mercedes-Benz G-4 in the early days of World War II. The driver is SS-Sturmbannführer Heinz Linge. Everybody loves you when you're conquering Poland and France! Rundstedt was one of those older Generals, like Marshal Mannerheim of Finland, that Hitler secretly admired.

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This shot and the next two pictures were taken by Hitler's personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffman. Hitler used them to practice his gestures for his speeches. He wanted them destroyed after using them, but Hoffman buried them in his backyard and retrieved them after the war.

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Purely from an artistic standpoint, I hope Hitler realized that this pose made him look ridiculous.

Adolf giving the German people the finger.

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Hitler with Hess in the background. Hess receded into the background during the 1930s, this must have been fairly early on. That may be Keitel behind Hess.

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Hitler apparently at a funeral. One of his oratorical techniques was to stand quietly, arms folded, waiting for complete silence before beginning his speech.
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Hitler examines destroyed Polish Armoured Train No. 13 "General Sosnkowski" at the town of Łochów, with General Wilhelm Keitel, the Chief of Staff of the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). The armoured train was seriously damaged by the Luftwaffe on 10 September while covering the retreat of the "Modlin" Army. Among other things, this famous shot is one of the few showing Hitler packing a sidearm, and also a rare instance of him in recently 'liberated' territory. He did not visit the front very often.
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Another picture of Hitler during his September 1939 trip to Poland. Once again, Hitler is wearing his sidearm, so this may have been the same day as the shot above. He did not need to do it anyway: his immediate security detail comprised at least 30 heavily armed SS (always invisible in these kinds of propaganda shots) and his uniform/cap is believed to have been armoured.

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Hitler at the map table. Looks like Halder on the right, February 11, 1942. Am not positive, but that looks like Romanian Conducător General Ion Antonescu to the left
A smiling Adolf Hitler greets a soldier, playing the politician. Pictured at the center with goggles is Hitler's aide-de-camp Heinz Linge. (1941)

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Goering looks on as Hitler ponders a smaller than usual map in this obviously posed picture. One of the Wehrmacht's complaints throughout the war, but particularly towards the end, was that Hitler waged war entirely from his maps. They did not give him a true idea of the front and the conditions he was imposing on the men.

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That appears to be Ernst Rohm dead ahead.

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August 1938: Adolf Hitler and Herman Goering during a vacation on the Obersalzberg. Photos of such relaxed instances were usually kept from the the press because of Hitler's insistence to cultivate the image of the "Perennial Soldier" always at work for the best of Germany. After the war, plenty of such photographs came to the surface. It is a bit odd that Goering is dressed casually, but Hitler is in full uniform including armband. There are very few pictures of any sort of Hitler not very formally dressed precisely as he wished the public to see him. No tee-shirts or open collars for him. He was likely dressed this way for a photo op. Note also his military haircut, which looks awfully like the current North Korean dude's doo. And that may not be a coincidence. (Ang, Federal Archive).

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A posed photo most likely taken the same day as the one directly above. Note Goering adopting a rather ostentatious "heroic pose."
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Hitler and Goering in a more formal setting. Hitler has his military cap on with civilian clothes, which isn't really proper - but he is outside, and the hat was lined with lead to protect against snipers. Besides, he could wear whatever he liked. Not sure what the occasion is, but they don't look very happy - maybe a military funeral?


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Hitler with Luftwaffe pilot Major Helmut Wick, receiving the Knights Cross on the occasion of his 40th confirmed kill. Wick was shot down over the Isle of Wight during the Battle of Britain on November 28, 1940 when his tally was 56 kills. They usually let Luftwaffe fighter pilots keep going until they got to triple digits (or got KIA), and sometimes didn't stop them then, either. (colorized).

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One of many pictures of Hitler being nice to German children

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A creepy, badly-retouched picture of Hitler at a pre-war (apparently 1938, but not sure) Christmas party for German soldiers. This was intended to make him look good and was a postcard shot.

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Eva Braun with Hitler at tea at the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus. Hitler had all his food tasted before he ate. "For more than half a century, Margot Woelk kept her secret hidden from the world, even from her husband. Then, a few months after her 95th birthday, she revealed the truth about her wartime role: Adolf Hitler's food taster. Woelk, then in her mid-twenties, spent two and a half years as one of 15 young women who sampled Hitler's food to make sure it wasn't poisoned before it was served to the Nazi leader in his 'Wolf's Lair' in what is now Poland."

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Hitler's Tea Party at the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus: "You can say what you want about Hitler but he was a fun guy to have tea with — a font of amusing jokes and stories." Sharp dresser here, too. Here he is with Gertrud Deetz, wife of Albert Forster, Gauleiter of Danzig. Thanks to Raja Tirumalai for the identification.

Incidentally, the picture above of Hitler with Frau Deetz is pretty well known. However, there is someone cut out of the shot on the left - you can just make out his chair over there. Bet you didn't know that, or who it was.

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Yep. Hitler's quack Dr. Morell was usually nearby, even at brunch with a young lovely.

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Hitler looking ridiculous giving a Hitler salute to guests after a New Year's party, 1936. He made it a point to always appear to people as if he were constantly working and never relaxed, even on occasions such as this. But come on, Adolf, give it a rest. Like, what, no armband, too?

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler with Blondi at the Berghof, talking to Josef Thorak, an Austrian-German sculptor who worked on statues for the Berlin Olympic Stadium in 1936 among other works. Thorak was a protege of Albert Speer, who liked his work. Thorak was in the news in May 2015 when some horses he designed for the entrance of the Reich Chancellery were located. After the war, he fell into obscurity, as the public did not share Hitler's (and Speer's) monumental scale. “He understood me,” Thorak told Time, “and if what I do is art, he understood art.” His work, aside from its associations, is talented but still is all about fascist imagery, though one could also say that it is simply a 1930's style of art that is reminiscent of WPA works in the US.
Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler with baby deer at the Berghof

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler greeting a member of the German Maidens with that weird Germanic cheek squeeze. They were the corollary group to the Hitler Youth. Note the masses of maidens in the background. She likely had just given him those flowers he is holding, which someone is about to take from him. Every single girl watching envied this girl, who likely was some kind of leader. If you look closely, it appears that the girls in the background are giving the Hitler salute.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler in front of the Church of our Lady, Nuremburg, 1934. While Hitler had no use for religion or the Vatican, he wasn't averse to using religious symbols to galvanize the people when he felt like it.
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Adolf Hitler with General von Blomberg, the minister for war, and Field Marshal von Mackensen during a wreath-laying in the Unter den Linden for war heroes, Berlin, 1936. Note the officers saluting in the traditional way -- still no Heil salute in the army. The practice was maintained throughout the war with only the Waffen SS establishing the Heil as the routine form until at the 20 July 20 1944 Attentat, at which point it became required throughout the Wehrmacht. Neither Mackensen nor Blomberg served during World War II.


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Hitler in Paris 1940. He looks remarkably uninterested. It was very early in the morning, and he preferred to sleep in, but he did it this way for security reasons. Once he had seen the Opera House, he was good to go, but stopped at a few other tourist spots like this because, you know, he was there, and he wasn't ever going back. Hitler did not know this, but he did save his own life on several occasions by taking these kinds of quick visits are odd times and with no planned itinerary.

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A remarkably modern-looking picture of Hitler inspecting something or other at the International Auto Exhibition in Berlin, Germany - probably not that lamp in front of them. If I am thinking of the right Auto Exhibition - were there more than one? - this would be in 1938.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler liked big guns. This was the biggest. Also completely useless.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler addressing crowds from his Munich balcony, specially built for occasions like this. Before that, he just leaned out the window kind of awkwardly. One of the perks of becoming Fuhrer.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler postcard from the pre-war years. Kind of scary! Hitler, take another picture with a little kid or something!

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler looking out over Prague cathedral, 1938. "I own you," he is saying in this picture, and he was right.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler shaking hands with Neville Chamberlain 1938. Hitler looks happy, and he should, as Chamberlain is handing over to him and his allies Czechoslovokia without any fuss whatsoever. It wouldn't be so easy with Poland.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler visiting his parents' graves at Leonding, Austria, 1938, after Munich. He hadn't been there in 20 years.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler visiting the old trenches of his 16th Reserve Regiment during World War I. From the characteristic mouth puckering and braid, that looks like Heinz Guderian nearest the camera, but that's just a guess

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler with a German girl at the Obersalzberg (Berghof, apparently). Note the huge Nazi flag in the background, Hitler wearing the armband, never misses a chance to get those symbols in. She was named Rosa Berneli (or Bernile) Nienau, from Munich. She visited on her birthday in the summer of 1933, and Hitler invited her out of the crowd and up to Haus Wachenfeld for strawberries and whipped cream. Hoffmann made maximum use of propaganda photos taken of the two together during this and other visits - the one seen here on the right below was published as a postcard with the caption "Thanks for the Birthday Invitation." Hitler, with no children, developed what may have been a genuine fondness for the girl. Berneli turned out to have a Jewish maternal grandmother and Martin Bormann ended the visits. However, Hitler did allow her to visit now and then despite knowing of her ancestry.

This is a "well known postcard" with Rosa.

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They knew all the propaganda tricks.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
German women loved Hitler before and during the war, as if he were a modern movie star. Afterwards, well, not so much, except maybe for Hanna Reitsch.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler blessing a child, to the mother's (and apparently child's) delight. I am tempted to identify her as Rosa, just a guess.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler knew how to impress the ladies with his pimp ride. Here, he greets a group of girls before giving a May Day speech to members of the Hitler Youth and its sister organization, the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Girls), at the Lustgarten, Berlin, 01.05.1939. If you want to make an impressive entrance - this about sums it up.

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Hitler being nice to a child before the masses

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler greeting more German boys

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Yet another picture of Hitler with children

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
"Children pay homage to the Fuhrer" 1934
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 Hitler and Helga Goebbels. They died within hours of one another in the Berlin bunker.
Another shot of Hitler with a Goebbels child, perhaps Helga again. Next time you see a picture of a politician posing with a baby, remember this shot.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler signing autographs for Hitler Youth

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Hitler with children at the Berghof. An obvious propaganda shot, like virtually all of his appearances with children. I don't have a date on this, but whenever it was, there were several pictures taken that day. This was most likely circa 1935-1937, he would have been in uniform later and the Berghof was finished being refurbished for him only in 1936. Perhaps a house-warming party in 1936.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler with some children decked out in their Sunday best

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Same children +1, now posed and in color. Hitler with the armband.
Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Adolf Hitler greeting a child in front of his Ju 52, some time in the 1930s. She is probably welcoming him to the city. She appears to be a member of the female counterpart to the Hitler Youth. Note how perfectly the plane's swastika gets in the shot like a halo over Hitler's head, Hoffmann knew what he was doing.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A picture dated 1937 shows German Chancellor and Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler receiving flowers from a little girl. Note the similarity to the photo above - these photo ops were very carefully staged by the propaganda people. I am tempted to identify also as Rosa. AFP PHOTO (Photo AFP/Getty Images)

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler flying to Berchtesgaden, 1 June 1943. He had an elaborate escape mechanism built into his seat should the plane develop problems - something that killed several top Generals such as Hans Hube and Werner Molders.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Berghof in winter - you can see the huge terrace famous from the news reels

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler's trousers after the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt. The bomb was under the table, the lower parts of his pants legs are shredded. His legs must have hurt like hell after that, but he carried on with his normal duties for the rest of the day, including a state visit with Mussolini (his last).
Hitler, left of center, at the time of the 1938 Anschluss. Goering, in the middle, is presiding. This may have been the high point of Hitler's success, all gain with no pain.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Another shot of the Nazi hierarchy. Hitler at the Kroll Opera House April 28 1939. This was around the time when Italy was invading Albania and Hitler was entering his "Pact of Steel" with Mussolini. It's all very, I don't know, Wagnerian or something. This was shortly after Hitler's birthday, which that year was celebrated with wild acclaim and may, in some respects, have been the best day of his life.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Nazi Party leadership conference 1929. Everybody is neatly labelled so that they could be shot a few years later. Mistakes were still made by the killers, though.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
A rare shot where Hitler is not the center of attention - he is back there napping in the sun, his bullet-proof cap and vest carefully on (the surrounding mountains were good terrain for snipers, though no one ever took a shot), leather boots, leather jacket - the works. Goebbels is speaking, looking like he's on the Riviera with those shades, while Rudolf Hess looks more than a tiny bit bored. Hitler never would have approved this picture, he never allowed shots where he didn't look like the Big Nazi. Here, though, he was asleep and didn't know. Probably nobody told him about it later, either.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler with Hitler Youth on the Obersalzberg 1937. Note the German Maidens in the background awaiting their turn with the Fuhrer.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler in Fournes, April 1915 Still long mustache, still no Iron Cross. Just a guy.
Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Here is a close-up of Hitler with his mustache. Word is that he was not trying to imitate Charlie Chaplin when he cut it down, but rather simply fit it into a gas mask.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler at Godesberg, cruising on the Rhine, always the politician greeting admirers on the shore

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler arriving somewhere in his Junkers Ju 52. Making crowds wait while news was flashed to them about his progress toward them was one of Hitler's favorite tricks to whip up audience excitement. He traded in the three-engine Ju 52 for a four-engine Condor in 1939.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler on his train. What an odd smile.
Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Adolf Hitler and his German Shepard Blondi on the balcony of The Berghof, May 1942. Blondi was a gift of Martin Boorman in 1941. Times were still good, and Hitler and the staff loved the dog. He had the dog poisoned in the bunker right before killing himself. Good dog. Bad man.

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Hitler in his touring car.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler and Mussolini. Rare to see how short Mussolini was, he was careful to downplay that.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Hitler and Otto Skorzeny, his black ops guy, appropriately shot in heavy shadows. Just a guess, but this could have been when Hitler briefed Skorzeny in 1944 about participating in the Ardennes operation. Pictures of Hitler during this period were usually dark like this.

Adolf Hitler worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Speer (right) with Hitler and Keitel (left) at a demonstration of new weapons early in 1943. Hitler loved to witness weapons and Luftwaffe testing, but sometimes Goering showed him things that weren't really ready yet, and then Hitler drew the wrong conclusions.

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Hitler and Himmler 1934. This was when Himmler was still just an overgrown cop.