General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

Was Hitler really the worst? Why the ignorance?

Asked by MilkyWay (13695points) May 2nd, 2014

For those of you who don’t know, I’ll inform you of some facts relating to my question:

1. MAO ZEDONG- China’s so-called ‘Great Helmsman’ was in fact the greatest mass murderer in history.
China (1949–76) Regime Communist Victims 60 million
Most of his victims were his fellow Chinese, murdered after the communist takeover, starved or killed and tortured in labour camps in the Cultural Revolution of the Sixties.

Soviet Union (1929–53) Regime Communist Victims 40 million
Stalin imposed a deliberate famine on Ukraine, killed millions of the wealthier peasants as he forced them off their land, and purged his own party, shooting thousands and sending millions more to work as slaves and perish in the Gulag.

Germany (1933–45) Regime Nazi dictatorship Victims 30 million
The horror of Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship lies in the uniqueness of his most notorious crime, the Holocaust, which was carried out under the cover of World War II, a conflict Hitler pursued with the goal of obtaining ‘Lebensraum’. The war ended up costing millions of lives, and his Third Reich in ruins.

My question is quite simple. From the facts, we can see that Hitler was not the worst mass murderer in history. But most people I know and have asked, remain unaware of this fact, and most don’t even know who Mao or Stalin were, or what they did. Hitler is portrayed as the most disgusting human being ever (I’m not saying he’s not disgusting, because he is) but what I’m asking is why people don’t know about the other two disgusting scumbags in history who killed a lot more people and were horrible too. Why is Hitler so much better known? Why does the media/history/literature highlight his crime more than Stalins, or Mao’s?
Again, please don’t take my question the wrong way. What Hitler did was horrendous and I hope he burns in hell (if there is one) along with Stalin and Mao.

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46 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

It is not a contest. They all were jerks.

basstrom188's avatar

No he was not, but he was the leader of a sophisticated, educated and cultured nation which made it more shocking at least to the Western mind.

johnpowell's avatar

WTF is your agenda? Hitler is less bad kinda makes you look like a dick.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@MilkyWay “But most people I know and have asked, remain unaware of this fact, and most don’t even know who Mao or Stalin were, or what they did.”

I’m calling bullshits on this one, unless your survey group is a bunch of 1st graders.

ragingloli's avatar

Hitler was the only one who created an industrial killing machine for the sole purpose of exterminating undesirables. That is what makes him the worst.

whitenoise's avatar

Most people I know are aware of the other scumbags as well.

Maybe you ask the wrong people. Live in the US, maybe?

johnpowell's avatar

Maybe we should try to define this. Is the thing that makes it worse the numbers killed or the reason they were killed? Toss in some 9/11 for some real fun.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I think when your mass murdering skullduggery reaches beyond 20 million people exterminated, there is no longer a degree of who was worst.

The real question here is who is worst, people who think Hitler was an okay Joe because he executed or ordered the executions of a mere 30 million people compared to Stalin and Mao’s millions more; or people who think Nixon was worse….Oh wait a sec, they were equally horrendous too.

Cruiser's avatar

Whether they killed 10 people or 60 million, anyone that takes another’s life and deprives others of their God given rights to freedom because of race, religion or other reason is scum of the earth and a bastard child of the human race. No first place trophies given to any one of them.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@MilkyWay Hitler lost, thus he doesn’t get to write the history books. That’s why the others don’t get a lot of attention.

ucme's avatar

You could add Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe & many others to that collection of fuck ups, but there are no league tables for genuinely mad bastards.
Hitler was such a vile cunt, not so much for his crimes, as heinous as they were, but the pleasure with which he carried out his cowardly orders.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Don’t forget Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

ucme's avatar

…& the “wonely” guy with the crap haircut.

ragingloli's avatar

And do not forget Harry Truman.

ucme's avatar

Michael Jackson, child buggerer extraordinaire.

JLeslie's avatar

They were all bad, who is saying Hitler was the worst? It isn’t a competition.

Where did you get the 30 million number? I am not challenging it, just curious if that is everyone who died in Europe on all sides? I always think of the 9 million killed in the Holocaust when I think of Hitler, 6 million of which were Jews, but you make me realize there is also the World War II number to consider.

gondwanalon's avatar

@talljasperman “Jerks”? They were MF’n MONSTERS!!! What gets me is China still has large pictures and statues of red devil posted around Beijing. Likely as a simple of power over the people. Indicating that if you don’t behave then this is what you’ll get. Another Mao! You don’t see many pictures of Hitler posted anywhere in Germany. Unlike China and Russia it seems like the Germans have finally learned their lesson.

ibstubro's avatar

I think @Adirondackwannabe has the right tack. Hitler lost so his crimes were documented nearly as they occurred, and his opposition with intent on showing what a monster he was.

There’s also the fact that, given your numbers, if Hitler had had Mao’s 27 years of rule, Hitler would have killed close to 68,000,000 if both killed at a steady rate. In fact, Hitler only had his killing machine up and running for a few years. Imagine what he could have done had he conquered Europe and been in power for decades?

Mimishu1995's avatar

Nobody really says Hitler was the worst…

jca's avatar

@MilkyWay: I think a better way to word this question would have been “Why is Hitler the most well known?” not “Was Hitler really the worst?”

ibstubro's avatar

In fact, the Final Solution didn’t happen until November of 1938, so in 7 years he killed 30,000,000 people. Systematically. Meaning that given Mao’s 27 years, he could have exterminated 1.2 billion people.

Hitler was the worst.

Even giving Mao 5 years to gear up, in 22 years Hitler could still have killed 940 million.

And I really should have run Hitler’s numbers as a SIX year reign.

Coloma's avatar

Evil sociopaths are only separated by degree, one victim or 100,000,000, really doesn’t matter.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@ragingloli “And do not forget Harry Truman.” I’m still laughing…but too true.

LostInParadise's avatar

What makes Hitler particularly despicable is not so much the 30 million killed in WW II, but the killing of six million Jews. Hitler engaged in genocide, and not just in his own country, but in every place he conquered. His objective was to wipe out all Jews in the world. I don’t think that there has been anything comparable in all of history.

As a side note, I wonder what would have happened if the Holocaust had not occurred. Is it possible that many of the scientists who fled Germany to work on the Manhattan Project would have instead been working in Germany? Might the Germans have beaten the U.S. in the race to create nuclear weapons? For all his evil intentions, maybe Hitler in the end acted against his own self-interest.

JLeslie's avatar

I think @jca is right, probably the OP feels Hitler is the most well known. I don’t know if that is true around the world, but certainly it is true in America and Europe. Germany seems to really care that something like that never happens again, so they do not shy away from the history, America has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel (although still very small) and so in America the memory of the Holocaust is kept alive, because we have a significant amount of survivors and children of survivors here. Not to mention the conflicts in the middle east brings up the holocaust now and them also.

Possibly in Asia Mao Zedong is more readily referred to as a homocidal monster, I don’t know.

@LostInParadise Zedong was genocidal also, and many others. One difference is 30% of the world Jewish population was killed during the holocaust, so as a percentage it made a huge dent in the population. We just finally are back to those numbers before the holocaust now. Not that we can think of people as percentages, each life counts.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie Hitler isn’t as “famous” as Nixon here :p

LostInParadise's avatar

@JLeslie , In what way was Mao genocidal? Seems to me he was an equal opportunity mass murderer.

Paradox25's avatar

I think this is a good question, and there’s no need to attack it. I believe the point the OP was trying to make is that there appears to be more of a stigma associated with Hitler when compared to other aristocrats. Perhaps the reasons are due to political correctness, where hate appears to be more acceptable when it’s done under certain pretexts.

I’ve seen the hypocrisy on quite a few fronts. Look at how chess grandmaster Alexander Alekhine was ridiculed for being a nazi sympathizer. However, chess grandmaster Mikhail Botvinnik was never ridiculed for being a Stalinist, and he was open of his fondness for his country’s aristocratic leader and politics.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise My history is very poor, but didn’t Moa purposefully target starve and kill many people?

There certainly have been other genocides around the world even if you don’t think Moa rises to the definition of genocide. Does it matter if Moa only targeted farmers and people who were contrary to his belief system of government or if he was targeting people of certain races or religions? He had some sort of method to his madness.

@Paradox25 I think you make a good point, but even Nazi sympathizers have been glossed over. Look at Henry Ford, he published a periodical sympathizing with the Nazis and barely any Americans even know it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Hitler is at center stage because his villainy had the greatest direct influence on ALL of us. No achievement in the history of mass murder and death can stand up to the second world war.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly Why ALL? All of east Asia, Africa, and Latin America? It doesn’t seem to me Latin America felt his affect in a way that they still dwell on Hitler like we do in some other countries, except maybe Argentina and Chile. I could be very wrong. Certainly Jews around the world no matter where they live don’t forget. I’m just answering based on my friends, so it isn’t anything but my own impression, I don’t have any real solid knowledge. I have Venezuelan friends who have talked about WWII with me in the past, but that is because she is Italian-Venezuelan and she was 5 when her brother was born in the basement of their building while the bombs were dropping overhead in Italy. My FIL who is Mexican once in a while makes a comment, but he was raised Jewish. I worked with a Jewish Chilean woman who went back to Germany when the wall came down to see her childhood home in East Germany. They had fled just in time. I don’t bring up Hitler enough to know how people around the world rank genocidal maniac leaders.

I would think Japan would be more disgusted with America, since we dropped the bomb. When I was in Japan it was interesting that when I went to one of their history museums it barely mentioned the war. One little window with some mention of it.

JLeslie's avatar

Not to mention the Japanese were brutal to the Chinese and some other east Asians. Brutal during WWII and other times previous to that.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, the Japanese was responsible for the death of 2 millions (out of 6 millions) of my kind back then. And according to many historians, we got our independence back from the hand of the Japanese, not the French.

Adagio's avatar

Killing a few million fewer than some other historical figure makes the atrocity less horrific?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mimishu1995 How well do they teach history in your schools?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Well… In 1940 the Japanese came here. The French kind of stepped back and left the whole country for the Japanese. The Japanese did many nasty thing to the French like forcing them to pay large sum of money. Eventually the Japanese drove the French away. So technically we defeated the Japanese, no the French.

Oh, I’ve just realised that I only accounted for the day Ho Chi Minh read that “independence document” at Ba Dinh Square, not the Dien Bien Phu victory. My bad…

Brian1946's avatar

@Mimishu1995 “Oh, I’ve just realised that I only accounted for the day Ho Chi Minh read that “independence document” at Ba Dinh Square, not the Dien Bien Phu victory.” Was that in 1954?

Mimishu1995's avatar

That Ba Dinh Square event was in 1945, and the Dien Bien Phu victory was in 1954.

And the Ba Dinh Square event is sometimes considered “independence day” too, that’s why I mixed up…

Paradox25's avatar

@JLeslie My ancestors didn’t fare too well under Nazism, so I wanted to point that out before commenting further. My point was that should we be mad because of the reasons one aristocrat uses to torture and murder people? I think we have the potential to go down a very dangerous road in the future with the attitudes I see on this thread.

@Adagio Why are you (and others) attacking the OP instead of just answering a question posted in general? The OP never claimed Hitler was less evil because he killed less people.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Yeah, in 1945 an American was with Ho Chi Minh when he proclaimed independence. Then we reneged.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Paradox25 OK, now I’ll be on-topic. My guess is that Hitler’s crime is just too obvious. Hitler did nothing good during his life. All we can see he did was commit a big mass murder and be the main leader of the WWII. As for the two other “mass murderers” the OP stated, at least there were still something good they did in their lives. Stalin maintained the Communism (whose systems my country is still based on today) and Mao declared the independence for China. Some people might have tried to cover Stalin and Mao’s crime up because they were still two good leaders in some ways, while no one could find any reason to back Hitler up.

And FYI, in my country three people the government honors are Marx, Engels and Lenin. No one takes a single notice at Stalin and Mao.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Don’t let’s forget Idi Dada Amin while we’re at it. He once said,

“Sometimes people mistake the way I talk for what I am thinking.”


“It’s not for me. I tried human flesh and it’s too salty for my taste.”

And of course,

“In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.”

ucme's avatar

Amin was not forgotten, I included him already.

JLeslie's avatar

@Paradox25 You are going to have to explain for me more why you are bothered by the attitudes on this thread. Everyone is pointing out how horrific these leaders were. I think everyone here condemns them and would never want to see a repeat of any of these crimes whether they be considered genocide or war crimes or however defined. Don’t worry, I walk around knowing my people were, and still are by some, hated. That last shooting in Kansas is a reminder of why when I am in a “Jewish” place I feel vulnerable for the antisemitic nut jobs out there. 9/11 was a reminder to me that people will blow you up and if they dissapprove of your way of life. A reminder, it wasn’t new to me like so many Americans who felt like nothing like that would ever happen here in the contiguous 48. How can you grow up Jewish and not know hateful people will treat you like a cockroach that needs to be exterminated? I know, believe me I know.

The movie industry has a lot of Jewish people in it in America, so movies about the holocaust are more likely to be made, than movies about other genocidal maniacs. Jewish people also tend to be involved in the arts and historical preservation, so we have museums about Jewish life and about the Holocaust in multiple cities around America. The Holocaust is kept alive so people never forget in hopes that it never happens again. In turn, people here are very aware of that event in history. Jews talk about the Holocaust more than they do “the war.” When I was living in Michigan in the late ‘80’s and you brought up the war my friends focused on the Japanese. That surprised me even though of course the Japanese were an important part of WWII. They all had relatives in the car industy so it was the Japanese taking over huge pieces of market share so they focused on reasons to dislike them. I found it interesting.

syed_shaji's avatar

One day US govt will also come into that list as well.

basstrom188's avatar

Add the British and French Empires and two Czars (Ivan the terrible and Peter the great) to the list

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