The Messed Up Truth About Hitler

Hitler still holds the titles for "World's Most Reviled Man of All Time" and "Best Mustache Style Ruiner." Hitler was a man who overcame the odds to do terrible things, and managed to pull the wool over the eyes of millions. In fact, he was Time's Man of the Year for 1938. How did he manage? Well, he had a lot of drugs to thank, along with an unhealthy obsession with his image. A heaping dose of impassioned, red-faced screaming helped too. Thanks to a desperate climate in the aftermath of World War I, people were eager to lap up the vision Hitler laid out, turning out in crowds upward of 250,000.

In person, the man certainly wasn't attractive, but images of him are weirdly enthralling. Business Insider notes despite his below average height, receding hairline, and weak, clammy-palmed handshake, Hitler frequently received compliments on his steely, gray-blue eyes, though they were equally "dead, impersonal, and unseeing." As the classic window into the soul, Hitler's eyes seem to be a perfect metaphor for his messed up life.

Hitler's extremely super museum

The unrealized Führermuseum was part of a grand scheme of Hitler's to turn his hometown of Linz, Austria into the world's cultural hub, according to Daily Art Magazine. The museum was intended as a middle finger to cosmopolitan Vienna, the city where Hitler failed as an artist, enduring poverty and rejection from its Academy of Fine Arts as a young adult. 

The Führermuseum was a big motivation for Hitler's determination to plunder as much of Europe's cultural capital as possible, resulting in the looting of millions of valuable artifacts during World War II. Even before the war began, he collected art, financed partially by book sales of Mein Kampf. Hitler dispatched Nazi soldiers to buy paintings from Italy and France before the war, and eventually formed a commission of 20 specialists to collect and curate works for the Linz museum and others around Germany.

The target date was set for 1950, and Hitler was absorbed by plans for its construction, often visiting the scale model, which included an opera house, hotel, parade ground, theater, a giant library, and the museum, intended to house over 22 miles of art galleries. Though never completed, from 1940 onward, Hitler would receive gifts of photo albums of the stolen art to be featured in the museum, and during the last period of his life in the bunker, would stare wistfully at the model which became his only solace.

Hitler's alleged opioid blitz

Hitler was known for his charisma, and generally ate a very healthy diet. However, as the war dragged on and stress piled up, he began looking to other sources to supplement his natural charm. NPR describes his use of drugs and supplements in three phases. The first was relatively innocuous -– Hitler hooked up with highly regarded doctor Theo Morell in 1936, who was well-known for giving vitamin injections, which Hitler began to receive daily. This was a common practice at the time, and continued until 1941, when, like a less irresistible Austin Powers, Hitler realized he'd lost his mojo.

He was sick and unable to attend a Nazi military briefing, so Morell injected Hitler with opioids and hormones, immediately quelling his fever and allowing him to attend the briefing. Hitler may not have been fully aware of the ramifications of these sort of injections, but he was pumped in more ways than one, and began to receive them frequently. 

By 1943, he had reached his third phase of usage, with heavy reliance on opioids and other Morell concoctions, which Time says included steroids, cocaine, doping agents, and other stimulants. This continued until his death in 1945, at which point drugs were hard to come by. His later days found Hitler with a noticeable tremor which many thought might have been related to Parkinson's. The jury's out on that diagnosis, but there's no doubt he was jonesing by the end of his life.

The richest man in the Reich

Hitler, though morally bankrupt, put the "rich" in "Reich," amassing a personal fortune through a variety of means. The New York Times cites a documentary titled Hitler's Money, focused on the oft overshadowed sources of his wealth. Though banned today, Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, was a bestseller, earning him a rough estimate of $50 million in book sales. Hitler made it mandatory newly married couples be given a copy of the book by their local community, which were forced to buy it from the publisher. So not everyone who copped the Kampf truly wanted it.

Hitler's power made it easy to pad his pockets through rumored tax evasion and business deals, even with companies like Ford, whose German subsidiary gifted him 35,000 Reichsmarks for his 50th birthday, according to the Washington Post

It's also said Hitler made little distinction between his money and Germany's. The International Business Times cites a documentary estimating Hitler's worth at around $5 billion, but due to the blurred line between Hitler and the state, it's basically impossible to know exactly how much he was worth. Hitler and the Nazi party are estimated to have received "well over $3 billion" in corporate payments, and he pretty much saw them as his own expense account. So while there's no official number on Hitler's wealth, it may as well have been whatever Germany was collectively worth.

The embarrassing self-portraits Hitler wanted destroyed

Everyone in the digital age has taken a picture they wish they could eject outside of the solar system, usually involving duck faces and intoxicants, but Hitler beat us all in the game of photographic embarrassment. The dictator known for his fiery oration ending in ovation wasn't a natural, and meticulously rehearsed his public image and body language. Per Forbes, Hitler wrote in his bestselling book "every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great orators and not to great writers." In terms of scale (absolutely not morality), what Hitler achieved was "great" ... he did BIG things. Not good things, but big. Largely because of his rhetorical prowess.

He gave over 5,000 persuasive speeches, insisted on writing them himself, and would edit them up to five times. To successfully deliver them, he workshopped his performance, learning to use his "well-shaped hands" and cold, grayish-blue eyes to offset his less than imposing stature.

His personal photographer took a staggering 2 million images of the leader, but the ones Hitler most wanted to remain unseen were those of Hitler rehearsing speeches, which he asked to be destroyed after examining them. Hoffman secretly kept them; they show Hitler practicing powerful oratorical movements like "forward stabs," "crushing fists," and "mock swoons," according to a study by Martha Davis, a clinical psychologist specializing in body language.

Half-niece, half love interest

All's fair in love and war, unless you're Hitler, in which case neither is fair. As for his half-niece, Geli Raubal, many believe she was his "maiden fair," and the two had an affair. According to All That's Interesting, Hitler first laid his steely gaze upon her in 1925 when Geli's mother became his housekeeper. She brought her two daughters, and Hitler was immediately entranced by the 17-year old, who was described as an "unusual beauty."

Later, Hitler asked the mother to take care of his larger Berghof estate, but asked young Geli to stay behind, offering to allow her to stay in the apartment, and the two lived together for the next four years. Many who knew them reported constant jealousy — Hitler for Raubal's flirtation with other men, and Raubal for Hitler's relationship with Eva Braun, who would eventually become his wife.

No one knows for sure what went on between them, but it ended in Geli's death, according to Vanity Fair. Though ruled a suicide, sources claim she had a broken nose, and the bullet came from Hitler's gun, which lay at her side. Theories include Hitler killed her because she wanted to attend music school, or she was pregnant with his child. In fact, there is an active petition to exhume her body, which was hastily buried following the scandal.

Keep it up, Hitler!

Red Bull is alleged to give drinkers wings, and little blue pills are purported to have a similar effect on a gentleman's nether-regions, and it appears when it came to male enhancement, Hitler may have been willing to try almost anything that would make him "strong like bull" in the boudoir. The Telegraph cites a book titled Was Hitler Ill?, which references the papers of Theodor Morell, Hitler's private doctor with a somewhat dubious reputation among the Nazi elite for treating patients like guinea pigs.

According to the book, Hitler received primitive forms of Viagra from Morell, and in 1944 he started getting injections of a "cocktail made from the semen and prostate glands of young bulls." To be fair, these reports may well be a load of bull themselves. Due to his deplorable actions, conspiracy theorists love to put forward potentially embarrassing theories about the dictator, such as the claim he was gay, had Parkinson's, or only had one testicle, which Time notes was never officially verified.

However, there's no doubt Hitler believed in Morell up his final days, and considering stress can significantly impact male virility and testosterone production, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and Hitler was undoubtedly stressed, he may well have needed some assistance in the bedroom. It sure would explain a lot about a deeply disturbed man.

Der Fuhrer's personal gas attacks

Among the many purported health issues of Nazi Germany's crazed leader was intensely bad gas. Supposedly, Der Fuhrer suffered "derriere furor" — frequent gas attacks.

The information came from medical records sold at auction, according to MNN, which amounted to 225 detailed pages from seven of Hitler's chief physicians. They contained everything from X-rays of his skull to sketches of the inside of his nose. But some of the most odious information comes in the reports of Hitler's fart problem, which he apparently took up to 28 different medications to control. Some of the pills contained strychnine, a well-known poison, "which probably explains his stomach pains," said Bill Panagopulos, president of the auction house which sold the documents. The reports go even further, claiming one of history's most reviled men required "cleansing enemas," activated with chamomile plants. Time reports chamomile tea is great for relaxing gastrointestinal muscles, helping gas to dissipate, aids in digestion, and relieves the stress that accumulates from attempting to annihilate an entire ethnic group.

Harvard Health points out stress is particularly important when it comes to gastrointestinal issues, and if you can't tell from his fervent oration and hellbent intention to rule the world, Hitler put the "Type A" in Adolf.

Hitler used women as personal poison buffers

Imagine the conflicted emotions you'd feel as a personal taste-tester for one of history's most powerful, and hated men. You'd be tasting meals fit for a health-conscious king (read: powerful maniac) in an era where food shortages were common. But you'd feel like you're playing Guy Fieri's Russian Roulette, where every bite may be your last. According to Smithsonian, Hitler had 15 personal taste-testers to ensure he wasn't going to be poisoned. There were many people trying to kill Hitler, and there were many attempts with varying degrees of success, according to History.

At any rate, in classic Hitlerian fashion, his taste testers were all young girls, drafted into service specifically for the purpose of being poison guinea pigs. As of 2013, one of the testers, Margot Woelk, was still living, and described the conditions to Smithsonian, saying "the food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta" ... and mortal peril.

Despite his many flaws, Hitler was a vegetarian, according to Woelk. "He never ate any meat during the entire time I was there," Woelk said of the Nazi leader. "And Hitler was so paranoid that the British would poison him — that's why he had 15 girls taste the food before he ate it himself."

Third Reich and the seven dwarves

Documenting Hitler's crimes and eccentricities would take longer than it would take monkeys to write Hamlet, but among the quasi-infinite list, there's one that stands out as perfect representation of both.

It starts with Hitler's fascination with Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which itself drew inspiration from a German fairy tale. George Washington University's History News Network says he purchased a copy for his private movie theater, considering it one of the greatest films ever made. He was also embarrassed Nazi Germany couldn't replicate the level of technical prowess the movie represented. According to Reuters, he may have even tried his hand at a few Seven Dwarf watercolors, which a Norwegian museum director found hidden on the back of a painting signed "A. Hitler" that was bought at a German auction.

Here's where things get downright creepy. Knowing Hitler loved Snow White, Josef Mengele, the sadistic Nazi Doctor dubbed the "Angel of Death" made him a special home movie featuring a family of seven real dwarfs, according to All That's Interesting. To be fair to Hitler, he probably never knew this family existed, but the dwarfs were kept as pets by Mengele, who subjected them to daily torture at Auschwitz, equally invasive and excruciating. The family ended up surviving thanks to their unique status. Had they not been seven in number, they'd likely have been boiled alive or dissolved in acid, which Mengele did to other dwarfs.

Adolf Hitler, pioneer of the blow-up doll industry?

Having fought in World War I, Hitler was keenly aware his Nazi grunts might need an outlet to do some of their own grunting. Time cites author Graeme Donald, who reportedly uncovered information Hitler ordered the production of blow up dolls for Nazi soldiers while researching his book Mussolini's Barber, which compiled wacky military stories.

The "Borgchild Project," as it was allegedly known, began in 1940, when Heinrich Himmler wrote to Hitler about health risks German soldiers were subject to from sexual liaisons. "It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health just for the sake of a quick adventure," wrote Himmler. STD's especially were of concern, so Hitler OK'd the plan and work began on a small sex doll known as a "gynoid." To assist in the doll's attractiveness, the Nazi's approached Hungarian actress Kathy von Nagy if they could model the doll in her image. Wisely, she refused, so they left the doll's face blank, aside from the Nazi-standard blue eyes and blond hair. After extensive "testing," they ordered 50 dolls for troops, most of which saw minimal action, since they were so weird. By 1942 the enthusiasm for the project had all but deflated, and they canned it.

Whether Nazi sex-dolls were real has been disputed, with many claiming it to be a hoax, but as is the case with Hitler, we'll never be sure just how much the truth has been inflated.

Adolph Hitler, dedicated follower of facial fashion

There's no evidence Hitler hated mustard, but he undoubtedly was not a fan of mustard gas, which he became intimately acquainted with in the First World War's trenches. 

Wired cites the biography of a writer who fought alongside Hitler in World War I, Alexander Moritz Frey, who claims Hitler was ordered to trim his mustache into its iconic shape to fit newly issued gas masks. When Frey first glimpsed Hitler, he saw a "pale, tall man [who] tumbled down into the cellar after the first shells of the daily evening attacks had begun to fall, fear and rage glowing in his eyes... A full mustache, which had to be trimmed later because of the new gas masks, covered the ugly slit of his mouth."

This report implies he was rocking a Kaiser mustache, the big caterpillar type curled at the edges, which was popular with the German elite at the time. However, Vanity Fair points out the so-called "Hitler" 'stache was popular well before Hitler rocked it, thanks to Americans, who wore it as "the anti-Kaiser" mustache look. First known as the "Toothbrush," it was en vogue by the turn of the 20th century, and became a fashionable look for men in both Europe and North America before and during World War I. More likely, Hitler just wanted to look cool.

The cycle of evil

The makings of the Fuhrer began with his father's furor, resulting in a dysfunctional childhood. Hitler's father Alois was not a gentle man, who often took his frustration out on his family in the form of physical violence. According to History Place, the senior Hitler spent his life as a civil servant, and was used to giving orders and having them followed. If his children disobeyed, punishments could be fierce. 

After Alois' eldest son, Alois Jr. ran away from home, young Adolf would bear the brunt of his father's physical violence. The Guardian cites excerpts from the journal of Hitler's younger sister Paula, painting a clear picture of the family's troubles: "Fearing that the father could no longer control himself in his unbridled rage, she [Adolf's mother] decides to put an end to the beating. She goes up to the attic, covers Adolf who is lying on the floor, but cannot deflect the father's final blow. Without a sound she absorbs it."

The violence had a profound and immediate effect on Adolf, who would in turn take out his anger on his younger sister, despite the fact he was almost a decade older than her. His youthful troubles were compounded by the death of his younger brother Edmund from measles, when Adolf was 11, and the death of his father just two years later, leaving Hitler as the head of the family at age 13.