Adolf Hitler had a lot to be happy about at times. He went from a virtual beggar in the streets of Vienna to leading Germany and then the majority of continental Europe. He did this by indulging in his worst, most wicked impulses, which undoubtedly helped him to work off a lot of aggression.
After becoming the Fuehrer of Greater Germany, Hitler allowed himself more moments of public levity. Whether or not that was planned is debatable, but it did help Hitler to soften his image for his many female supporters.
There are some definite high points during his reign that stand out as happy occasions. One was presiding over the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. It was a dream come true for Hitler, as he commanded the world stage in an almost unimaginable fashion. He made the most of it despite some public relations setbacks such as Jesse Owens of the United States beating his Aryan supermen.
There was a famous incident during the Berlin Olympics when an American woman visiting from California ran over to Hitler's front-row box and planted a big one on the Fuehrer. Hitler roared with laughter and seemed to enjoy the kiss. After that, he sat in a private box in an upper tier.
Another highpoint, and perhaps the greatest, was defeating France in 1940. It is often assumed that World War II was just a series of defeats for Hitler, but, in fact, he reached his highpoint of popularity during the first two years of the war.
Barnstorming the Reich in his Junkers Ju 52 transport in the 1930s was also a pleasure for Hitler. Or, maybe he was just happy to get safely back on the ground. His plane was tricked out with some very advanced safety features, such as a personal ejection seat equipped with a parachute, though it just sort of dropped out of the plane when necessary. The same sort of equipment today is on board Air Force One.
Hitler also basked in the adoration of the masses. He fed on the adulation of the vast crowds at the annual Nuremberg rallies.
Hitler also enjoyed reading the newspapers. Of course, the Reich papers just printed what Hitler liked to see, so there weren't any big surprises in those. However, he also received copies of foreign (such as Swedish and English) newspapers. He liked to read about his triumphs.
Hitler also liked to tour the front now and then, especially during the early days of the invasions of Poland and Russia. He even visited the coastal fortifications on the French coast around Christmas in 1940.
Hitler's birthday was always a major event in the Third Reich. To a slightly smaller degree so was Hermann Goering's, but everyone went all out for the Fuehrer's birthday. It was understood by everyone that this was the time for Hitler's cronies to try to outdo each other in giving Hitler the most pleasing gift in order to curry favor. Everyone knew that Hitler loved paintings, as long as they were on certain themes. For some reason, Hitler held Frederick II of Prussia, the beneficiary of The Miracle of the House of Brandenburg during the 18th Century, in particularly high esteem. The above photo of Dr. Goebbels with the Fuehrer is hard to pin down to a particular situation, but the guess here is that Goebbels is presenting Hitler with the artwork as a birthday present, perhaps on 20 April 1939. Further, based on speculation, the painting may be a portrait of Frederick II. Whatever the situation, Hitler obviously is pleased and Goebbels has scored a major success in ingratiating himself just that little bit more with the guy who controlled his fate.
However, his happiest times outside of politics seemed to be spent in nature. He is often seen smiling in pastoral settings and with his dogs.
Hitler even managed a smile during his very last public appearance in March 1945. Now that must have taken some effort.
Hitler used the telephone a lot. He was captured smiling when he received some good news from a supporter in Bavaria during the 1930s.
Hitler also liked the ladies. He also liked to go to the opera. When he could combine the two, he was in heaven.
Hitler was photographed visiting the League of German Girls or Band of German Maidens (Bund Deutscher Mädel, abbreviated as BDM) from time to time. These apparently were public relations visits, but he sometimes would just drop in a group of them unexpectedly, too.
Hitler went on a sea cruise ca. 1930 with Geli Rabaul and her family. Above on the left, Adolf is quite happy with Geli and her sister. On the right, he seems a bit less happy with Geli's mother.
Everyone knows that Hitler's true love was Eva Braun. Eva replaced Geli in Hitler's affections. She then kicked Geli's mom out of the Berghof. Permanently.
But, in general, Adolf was happy with young ladies. In fact, he even at times seemed a bit boyish.
Hitler also could be jovial with his underlings. Of course, the joke invariably was on them, not him.
It is widely assumed that Hitler had an affair with the very Prussian and icy Inge Ley, above. Hitler seems a bit too... stiff in the above photo. Perhaps he's consciously trying to conceal any hint of affection so nobody catches on to what is really going on. But you can see a little smile playing across his face anyway.
One thing that is certain is that Adolf Hitler loved to drive. He had a collection of cars and a dedicated chauffeur. His chauffeurs, in fact, usually went on to high army commands regardless of their military qualifications. This actually didn't turn out too badly for the Wehrmacht because, as Hitler himself liked to point out, ordering men to their deaths in pointless and futile battles designed only to burnish Hitler's personal prestige was very easy in the Third Reich. Anyone could do it!
One must qualify, however, the observation that Hitler liked to drive. Hitler didn't actually drive. In fact, there is no indication that he ever had a driver's license, and it is unknown if he knew how to drive. It is better to say that he liked to be driven. Fast.
Hitler had a special car outfitted with a flashing light so that he nobody would slow him down on the roads. And, you wouldn't want to be the one to slow down Hitler in the Reich. No, you wouldn't. Definitely not.
But Hitler also could laugh while being adored by his public, too.
Nobody was going to make the Fuehrer feel bad. That was not your route to promotion.
So, Hitler did like to smile. But let's leave Adolf Hitler with a frown like he left so many others.