Adolf Hitler, the first thing that comes to the mind on hearing this name is hatred. Adolf Hitler is the most hated man in the history. He was an evil man with no heart that today he has become a metaphor for ruthlessness.
Even though Hitler was inhuman and wicked with the Jews, he was an animal rights activist. This may come to as a surprise for many, but it is actually true. There are many accounts which prove that support for animal welfare in Nazi Germany was widespread propagated by Hitler himself.
Hitler had always been a non-vegetarian like any other German at that time, but something changed in his later part of life when he adopted Vegetarian diet. It isn’t clear when this radical change happened as he consumed meat till as late as 1937, but his public image as a vegetarian started making noise in 1942. There are many theories and personal accounts proving this statement, but the actual reason still remains a mystery.
“Do you know that your Führer is a vegetarian, and that he does not eat meat because of his general attitude toward life and his love for the world of animals? Do you know that your Führer is an exemplary friend of animals, and even as a chancellor, he is not separated from the animals he has kept for years?…The Führer is an ardent opponent of any torture of animals, in particular vivisection, and has declared to terminate those conditions…thus fulfilling his role as the savior of animals, from continuous and nameless torments and pain.” — Neugeist/Die Weisse Fahne (contemporaneous pro-Nazi magazine)
This account by Neugeist is rather convincing as he was very closely attached to his German Shepherd, Blondi.
Apart from being a teetotaler and a non-smoker he was also a vegetarian with a strong support for animal welfare.
Hitler didn’t keep his dietary habits to himself. He even tried to spread the message to stop people to eating meat and turning to fruits and vegetables.
In his table talks in 1942, Hitler addressed the issue of vegetarianism and stated how the Roman knew the importance of eating fruits, cereals, and raw vegetables. Hitler’s beliefs and dietary habits often lead to problems with his partner, Eva Braun who just loved meat. One of the personal accounts of Hitler reveal that everyday after midnight Eva Braun would “direct that there should be another light snack of turtle soup, sandwiches, and sausages”, these being her favorites. Hitler wasn’t happy with Braun wearing makeup that contained animal by-products and often teased her about the same.
Every person familiar with Hitler’s diet 1942 onwards agrees that he had adhered to a vegetarian diet, even giving up his favorite dish of liver dumplings. All the chefs and dieticians knew that Hitler had shifted to a vegetarian diet, but they sometimes added a little animal fat or broth to his meals for health reasons.
Hitler was so concerned towards the animals that while watching a movie, whenever there was a seen of animal cruelty, he would close his eyes or look away until the scene was over.
Other theory apart from Hitler’s love for animals come from a german psychoanalyst. Erich Fromm, believed that Hitler’s vegetarianism was actually a means of atoning for the death of his half-niece Geli Raubal, as well as a means of proving to himself and others that he was incapable of killing.
Another theory is based on Richard Wagner’s historical theory which is connected to the future of Germany with vegetarianism.
Walter C. Langer in his book “The Mind of Adolf Hitler” states:
“If he (Hitler) does not eat meat, drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke, it is not due to the fact that he has some kind of inhibition or does it because he believes it will improve his health. He abstains from these because he is following the example of the great German, Richard Wagner, or because he has discovered that it increases his energy and endurance to such a degree that he can give much more of himself to the creation of the new German Reich.”
These accounts have indeed come as a surprise that a man so ruthless would actually care about animals.