Hitler a vegetarian?
- Hitler a vegetarian?
You people who say that we would all be more peaceful if we ate a
vegetarian diet always seem to forget that Adolph Hitler was a
That pretty well destroys your belief system, doesn't it?
The belief that Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian is widespread, and you
are certainly not the only one who carries it. But that doesn't make
Robert Payne is widely considered to be Hitler's definitive
biographer. In his book, Hitler: The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler,
Payne says that Hitler's "vegetarianism" was a "legend" and
a "fiction" invented by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of
Propaganda. According to Payne:
"Hitler's asceticism played an important part in the image he
projected over Germany. According to the widely believed legend, he
neither smoked nor drank, nor did he eat meat or have anything to do
with women. Only the first was true. He drank beer and diluted wine
frequently, had a special fondness for Bavarian sausages and kept a
mistress, Eva Braun His asceticism was fiction invented by Goebbels
to emphasize his total dedication, his self-control, the distance
that separated him from other men. By this outward show of
asceticism, he could claim that he was dedicated to the service of
his people. In fact he was remarkably self-indulgent and possessed
none of the instincts of the ascetic."
Rynn Berry is historical advisor to the North American Vegetarian
Society and is on the Advisory Board of EarthSave. Publisher's Weekly
wrote of his thoughtful essay, "Why Hitler Was Not a Vegetarian,"
that it "lays to rest the myth that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian."
In the essay, Berry writes of the famous chef Dione Lucas:
"Dione Lucas was a sort of precursor of the popular television
`French' chef, Julia Childe. One of the first to open a successful
cooking school in the United States, Lucas was also one of the first
chefs to popularize French cuisine on television in the 1950s and
1960s. During the 1930s, prior to her coming to the United States,
she had worked as a chef at a hotel in Hamburg, where Adolph Hitler
was one of her regular customers."
Indeed, Dione Lucas often cooked for Hitler. In her book, The Gourmet
Cooking School Cookbook, she makes it clear that this despot was by
no means the vegetarian Goebbel's myth would have us believe. Writing
of her recipe for stuffed squab, for example, she says:
"I learned this recipe when I worked as a chef before World War II,
in one of the large hotels in Hamburg, Germany. I do not mean to
spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to
know that it was a great favorite of Mr. Hitler, who dined at the
hotel often. Let us not hold that against a fine recipe, though."
Not only did Hitler eat meat, he went so far as to outlaw
organizations that advocated vegetarianism, and harshly rebuked all
proposals to ease Germany's food shortages that involved reductions
in meat consumption.
So the whole story that Hitler was a vegetarian is simply a myth,
invented by the infamous Joseph Goebbels. This man, as you no doubt
know, was not particularly loyal to the truth. In fact, one of his
more famous sayings is that if you tell a lie often enough, and loud
enough, people will believe it. Another was the bigger the lie, the
easier it is to get people to believe it.
The fiction that Hitler was a vegetarian was just one more of the
many lies that he told often and loud. It's certainly time that it be
seen for what it is a falsehood deliberately constructed to advance
the Nazi cause and to perpetrate an image of Hitler that obscured the
reality of who and what he actually was.
Hitler was not a vegetarian. However, many remarkable human beings
have been, including Mahatma Gandhi, Leonardo da Vinci, Pythagoras,
George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, and Dennis Kucinich.
And let's not forget Paul McCartney.
It's going to take a lot more than a few of us giving up meat to
arrive at a peaceful world, but everything we can do helps.
Thanks for writing and giving me the opportunity to address this
- "You people who say that we would all be more peaceful if we ate a
vegetarian diet always seem to forget that Adolph Hitler was a
vegetarian. That pretty well destroys your belief system, doesn't it?"
It sounds as if the evidence shows that "Hitler was a vegetarian" is a myth. But I don't particularly care if he was. The vegetarian/vegan diet is itself "more peaceful" than a diet that includes meat/animal products for the obvious reason that it involves less violence to animals. What Hitler ate can't change that fact.
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- I agree. What is the point of proving that every despot or bad person
wasn't a vegetarian? By extension, is every vegetarian a good person?
A more productive response to a claim such as "X was Y, and X was
evil, therefore Y is evil" is point out that it is a logical phallacy.
We're missing the point if we have to do a biography of every evil
human in order to prove that vegetarians are fundamentally... what?
Unable to commit genocide? Unable to be bad people? And do we have to
write exposes on Nobel peace prize winning omnivores to prove they
have a dark side? This quickly becomes quite silly, and even more
Hitler was a man. Hitler was evil. Therefore Gandhi was evil, because
he was also a man.
Aaron Burr dueled with pistols. Aaron Burr was right-handed.
Therefore, Mother Teresa enjoys pistol duels.
On 10/8/05, Thea Langsam <thea_langsam@...> wrote:
> "You people who say that we would all be more peaceful if we ate a
> vegetarian diet always seem to forget that Adolph Hitler was a
> vegetarian. That pretty well destroys your belief system, doesn't it?"
> It sounds as if the evidence shows that "Hitler was a vegetarian" is a
> myth. But I don't particularly care if he was. The vegetarian/vegan diet
> is itself "more peaceful" than a diet that includes meat/animal products for
> the obvious reason that it involves less violence to animals. What Hitler
> ate can't change that fact.
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- I don't know why folks are dumping on the posting about the Hitler
myth. It's an extremely common belief, often used in misguided
attempts to discredit vegetarianism. Sure it's a fallacious argument,
but it's easier to point out that it's just plain wrong than to try
to educate some people about the nature of logical fallacy.
So I was happy to read some authoritative citings concerning the issue.
"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally
look at the results." --Winston Churchill