Transcript: The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - Episode 1

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Adolf Hitler,
the leader of a country rich in culture at the heart of Europe.
A man incapable of normal human relationships,
lacking all compassion, filled with hatred and prejudice.
Here, long before the Second World War,
Hitler was speaking about his political opponents with brutality,
"vernichtet", meaning destroyed.
'Vernichtet! [x4]
Hitler's hatred would lead to the Holocaust.
His desire for conquest would leave much of Europe in ruins.
Yet this man, so full of anger, was once loved by millions.
Here, in the mountains of southern Germany during the 1930s,
lay a place of pilgrimage.
On the slopes of the Obersalzberg was Adolf Hitler's home,
the Berghof.
And this is what many people thought of him.
'I myself had the feeling that here was a man
'who did not think about himself and his own advantage,
'but solely about the good of the German people.'
This film reveals why Hitler was so attractive to these people,
with insights from those who lived through these times,
many of whom were interviewed by the BBC over the last 20 years.
'The man gave off such a charisma
'that people believed whatever he said.'
But the truth is that Hitler did not somehow hypnotise the German people,
for this is a history that shows how charisma
is created in a relationship.
Hitler said that those Germans he considered racially pure
were better than anyone else, and many German believed him.
Hitler, always filled with hatred,
managed to make a connection with millions of Germans,
and in the process, this seemingly unlikely figure
generated a level of charismatic attraction
that is almost without parallel in history.
Munich, in southern Germany.
In 1913, the home to a strange 24-year-old Austrian,
somebody nobody at the time considered remotely charismatic,
Adolf Hitler.
He rented a room from a tailor,
and scraped a living painting pictures of Munich,
similar to this, for tourists.
He felt bitter and angry that his dreams
of being a great artist had come to nothing.

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A previous flatmate,
August Kubizek, described Hitler like this.
'Unleashing a torrent of hatred, he would pour his fury over everything.'
And Hitler would almost certainly have remained an unknown painter
if it hadn't been for a momentous event in world history...
..the First World War.
Hitler, as an ordinary soldier, fought over these fields in France.
'To the left and right, shrapnel abursting,
'and in between, the English bullets whistle.
'But we don't care.…read more

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When I first met him, he was like a tired, stray dog
'looking for a master.'
But Mayr detected in Hitler qualities he could use.
He decided to train Hitler as a propaganda agent.
Who's that?
Hitler was sent on a short course here at the University of Munich
and then started giving right-wing speeches to his fellow soldiers,
warning of the dangers of Communism.
It's only at this point that Hitler's thinking
seems to crystallize.…read more

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And one of the most popular tourist attractions of the time
was this monument, completed in 1875,
to Hermann, a tribal leader who had led the Germans
to victory over the Romans nearly 2,000 years before.
This later engraving claims a direct link between Hitler and Hermann.
Both portrayed as German heroes.
And Hermann was so important to the Nazis that Heinrich Himmler
took over Wewelsburg Castle nearby in the 1930s,
intending this place to be a centre of SS power.…read more

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A brutal vision.
'He who wants to live, should fight,
'and he who does not want to fight
'in this world of eternal struggle,
'does not deserve to live.'
Hitler believed that the fact that we are animals
is the most important thing about us,
and that so-called Aryan Germans were superior animals.
Hitler's vision from Mein Kampf was later expressed
in this propaganda film of the 1930s,
made after the Nazis came to power.…read more

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Hitler's charisma.
Here in Bamberg, one of Strasser's close associates was distraught
when Hitler chose not to debate policy.
He was a 28-year-old former journalist called Joseph Goebbels,
and he wrote in his diary...
"I no longer fully believe in Hitler. I am in despair."
But Hitler recognised the potential value of Goebbels to the Nazi Party,
so he now focused his attention directly on Goebbels.
Asking him to Munich,
passionately expounding his vision for the future of Germany,
and flattering him.
Goebbels was captivated.…read more

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Stormtroopers all had a big glass in front of them,
'practically a missile.
'The battle was pretty fierce,
'several people were hospitalized, some Stormtroopers too,
'they had face wounds.
'I had a head wound, I was bleeding.'
Hitler thrived in this atmosphere of violence and political crisis.
At election rallies,
he openly called for the destruction of democracy.
And for a new Germany to be united under his leadership.…read more

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Das ist die Hauptbedrohung, die ich sehe. Es muss etwas geschehen...
And so, von Papen and his friends,
backed an idea to make Hitler Chancellor,
as long as there were only a few other Nazis in the cabinet.
..Staatsmaennisches Verhalten.
On 30th January 1933, after lobbying from von Papen and others,
Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg.
For Hitler's supporters, this was the strongest proof yet
of his power as a charismatic leader.…read more

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Throughout Germany, the reality was obvious -
Hitler led a movement of violent revolutionaries
and was brutally suppressing any opposition.
But now he was Chancellor,
Hitler also wanted the support of all of those who lived in this land
that he considered "true" Germans.
Nazi Stormtroopers were still as ready to spill the blood of their enemies as they'd always
been.…read more

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Roehm and the senior leadership of the Stormtroopers
were all on holiday here, at this hotel then called the Hanselbauer.
Hitler and his entourage arrived at 6.30 in the morning.
Hitler walked through the lobby of the hotel
and up the stairs to the first floor,
where Roehm was asleep in this room.
Hitler, claiming that Roehm was plotting a coup against him,
arrested his old comrade along with the other leaders of the Stormtroopers.
Two days later, Roehm was shot.…read more


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