Question of the week: I have heard you say that Hitler intended to kill the German people but was thwarted by his illness and the space-time dimensions. And you mention this on pages 174–175 of Why the Universe Is the Way It Is. I was wondering how you came up with that. Did you put it together in your own thinking or did you talk to someone or read something that put light on that part of history?
My answer: Hitler is an example of someone who was so overcome by evil that he increasingly made decisions that were spiteful and counter to his own best interests and certainly of the best interests of the German populace. This trend was particularly evident in the last year of World War II.
In the last few months of World War II Hitler knew that Parkinson’s disease would soon take his life and he finally realized that there was no hope for Germany winning the war. However, instead of taking any responsibility for the imminent loss of the war, Hitler blamed the German population. He concluded that they were unworthy of surviving the soon-approaching defeat.1
Hitler demanded that all Germans fight to their deaths. He even sent young boys armed just with obsolete rifles into battle to face the advancing Russian armies. Hitler executed any German leader who disagreed with his objectives or dared to question any of his orders.
Hitler and his propaganda machine also persuaded many Germans in 1945 that suicide was preferable to surrender to the allies. Between January and June 1945, over 10,000 Germans committed suicide, a conservative estimate according to this Wikipedia article. However, because of poor health and time and space constraints, Hitler was not able to execute as many German leaders as he wanted or to send as many civilians into pointless battle as he wanted. All this is documented in several biographical books written on Hitler’s life.2
My uncles, who fought in the Canadian 1st army and were assigned the task of clearing all the English Channel and North Sea ports held by the German army, told me how much they were grieved to have to kill the German defenders of those ports, knowing that they had families and knowing that Hitler had commanded them to defend those ports to their deaths. Because of Hitler, many Germans died pointless deaths. However, due to Hitler’s advancing ill health, poor decisions, and his confinement to just one dimension of time and three dimensions of space, many more German and non-German lives were spared.
- Volker Ullrich, Hitler: Downfall: 1939–1945, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York: Knopf, September 1, 2020).
- Ullrich, Hitler: Downfall: 1939–1945; Peter Longerich, Hitler: A Biography (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2019); Rochus Misch, Hitler’s Last Witness: The Memoirs of Hitler’s Bodyguard (Barnsley, UK: Frontline Books, 2017); John Toland, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (New York: Anchor, 1992).