August 7, 2008


"One may regret living at a period when it's impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume. But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian."- Adolf Hitler. November 11, 1941. Section 66, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"If I offer a child the choice between a pear and a piece of meat, he'll quickly choose the pear. That's his atavistic instinct speaking."- Adolf Hitler. December 28, 1941. Section 81, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"The only thing of which I shall be incapable is to share the sheiks' mutton with them. I'm a vegetarian, and they must spare me from their meat."- Adolf Hitler. January 12, 1942. Section 105, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"At the time when I ate meat, I used to sweat a lot. I used to drink four pots of beer and six bottles of water during a meeting. … When I became a vegetarian, a mouthful of water was enough."- Adolf Hitler. January 22, 1942. Section 117, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"When you offer a child the choice of a piece of meat, an apple, or a cake, it's never the meat that he chooses. There's an ancestral instinct there."- Adolf Hitler. January 22, 1942. Section 117, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"One has only to keep one's eyes open to notice what an extraordinary antipathy young children have to meat."- Adolf Hitler. April 25, 1942. Section 198, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"When I later gave up eating meat, I immediately began to perspire much less, and within a fortnight to perspire hardly at all. My thirst, too, decreased considerably, and an occasional sip of water was all I required. Vegetarian diet, therefore, has some obvious advantages."- Adolf Hitler. July 8, 1942. Section 256, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

"I am no admirer of the poacher, particularly as I am a vegetarian."- Adolf Hitler. August 20, 1942. Section 293, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

Debating Hitler's Vegetarianism

Question:On May 30, 1937 The New York Times reported, "Hitler is a vegetarian, ... although he occasionally relishes a slice of ham and relieves the tediousness of his diet with such delicacies as caviar...". How can such allegations of Hitler "occasionally" eating meat be reconciled with the apparent fact that Hitler was a vegetarian?

Answer:Whenever people make an extreme change in diet it is entirely normal for them to "occasionally" suffer from a lack of willpower during which they will temporarily revert to their old eating habits. As time goes by, the frequency of their backsliding diminishes until eventually the transition to their new diet is complete. It's a natural weaning process: three steps forward for every one step backward until the goal is reached. Accordingly, there is nothing damning nor surprising in any allegations that Hitler "occasionally" ate meat, as was claimed in The New York Times article dated 1937. Such unsubstantiated claims, if accurate, merely indicate that Hitler's transition to vegetarianism was a routinely gradual one that may not have reached completion until the 1940's,* (by all accounts, Hitler's lasting effort to go vegetarian began in the 1930's). All things considered, there is nothing to suggest that Hitler's vegetarianism was anything less than a sincere struggle marked with honest failings in its formative stages. *Notice that all of Hitler's vegetarian remarks quoted throughout this webpage are from the 1940's.

Question:If Hitler was really a vegetarian then why did his Nazi party close down vegetarian societies?

Answer:The Nazis were intent on stamping out all manner of potentially subversive organizations. Vegetarian societies fell victim to that blanket policy -- undoubtedly because of their suspected pacifist ideals. However, individual vegetarians were not persecuted unless for some reason unrelated to their diet. In fact, they were given special allowance to take credit notes that had been issued for meat and use them for dairy products instead. About 83,000 vegetarians freely participated in this program. Significantly, one vegetarian magazine, (THE VEGETARIAN PRESS), was even allowed to continue publication as long as it did not use the term "vegetarian movement" and did not advertise vegetarian meetings. These glaring allowances plainly demonstrate that Hitler's Nazis were never against vegetarianism in and of itself. Source: THE VEGETABLE PASSION: A History of the Vegetarian State of Mind. Janet Barkas. 1975 Scribners New York.

Question:Is it logical to speculate that Hitler's vegetarianism was purely a propaganda myth spread by his Minister of Information -- as uniquely theorized by biographer Robert Payne three decades after Hitler's death?

Answer:No. Germany had always been a nation overwhelmingly comprised of die-hard meat eaters -- people who tend to have a predictably negative reaction to vegetarians. Hitler therefore had nothing political to gain by claiming to be a vegetarian. If anything, he was at risk of offending the bulk of his followers by admitting to a dietary philosophy that was in direct opposition to their national traditions -- a consideration which perhaps explains why no other western leaders have ever dared to go vegetarian! We can therefore logically conclude that Hitler's vegetarianism was as real as it was radical.Historians Alan Bullock, Ian Kershaw, and John Toland are indisputably the three most highly acclaimed Hitler biographers. Each of their extensive Hitler biographies was written after Robert Payne had published his speculative denial of Hitler’s vegetarianism. Neither Bullock, Kershaw, nor Toland gave any credence to Payne's unfounded theory. On the contrary, all three concluded that Hitler became a vegetarian.

Question:If Hitler was really a vegetarian, why didn't he pressure the Germans to stop eating meat?

Answer:Hitler understood that if he had pressured the German people to abandon their traditional diet then they would have opted to abandon his movement instead. Here, Hitler explains the dilemma to one of his navy admirals:

"Above all, don't go believing that I'll issue a decree forbidding the Navy to eat meat! Supposing the prohibition of meat had been an article of faith for National Socialism, it's certain our movement wouldn't have succeeded."- Adolf Hitler. January 22, 1942. Section 117, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

Elsewhere, Hitler explained that he faced a similar dilemma with regards to prohibiting hunting:

"Personally, I cannot see what possible pleasure can be derived from shooting. … I have never fired at a hare in my life. I am neither poacher nor sportsman. …[But] if I excluded poachers from the Party, we should lose the support of entire districts."- Adolf Hitler. September 2, 1942. Section 308, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

Question:Even if Hitler was a vegetarian, isn't it true that it was purely for health reasons?

Answer:Hitler identified his vegetarianism with his disdain for hunting:

"I am no admirer of the poacher, particularly as I am a vegetarian."- Adolf Hitler. August 20, 1942. Section 293, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

From that, it is logical to infer that Hitler's vegetarianism was in part a reflection of his well-known love for animals.

"I love animals, and especially dogs."- Adolf Hitler. January 25, 1942. Section 125, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

Question:If Hitler loved animals, "and especially dogs", then why did he test his suicide pills on Blondie, his cherished canine companion?

Answer:In the devastating hours before his looming suicide, a distraught Hitler made the painful decision to poison his beloved dog Blondie, rather than risk leaving her in the enemy hands of the barbaric Stalinist troops that were rapidly closing in on his bunker. It reasonably seemed to be the lesser of two evils and therefore the humane thing to do. For the record: Hitler and his devoted bride, Eva Braun, voluntarily ingested the same lethal cyanide as Blondie, and for the very same reason - to avoid falling into merciless enemy hands.

Question:Why didn’t Hitler more openly express that his vegetarianism was based in part on moral consideration for animals, if indeed it was?

Answer:If Hitler had more openly declared his moral reasons for going vegetarian it would have been construed as an attack on the moral character of the vast majority of Germans who were voracious meat eaters with no great consideration for animals. By prudently choosing to instead emphasize the health-related motives for giving up meat, Hitler greatly reduced the risk of his followers becoming alienated by his vegetarianism. It’s a common diplomatic strategy practiced by many vegetarians when surrounded by meat-eaters with whom they need to stay on co-operative terms.

Question:Could anyone soft-hearted enough to love animals be hard-hearted enough to authorize the slaughter of millions of innocent humans?

Answer:Animal lovers are acutely sensitive to the horrific suffering that humankind routinely inflicts on animals. Therefore, it is only logical that some animal lovers would develop an extremely hard-hearted attitude toward humans. In their minds, any suffering imposed on humankind might be seen as appropriate karmic payback on behalf of animals. For example, in order to justify his persecution of the Jews, Hitler used graphic films of how Jews slaughter animals.* * [The Jewish tradition of "kosher" slaughter requires that animals be kept fully conscious as their necks are slit and they are bled to death. It is an unsightly practice which appears demonically cruel even to most meat eaters. It had been declared illegal by Hitler's 1934 animal protection laws.]Source: ANIMALS IN THE THIRD REICH. Boria Sax. 2000. Continuum Publishing, New York.

Question:Did Hitler suffer from any medical problems that might disprove his Vegetarianism?

Answer:According to all accounts, Hitler did not make a lasting effort to go vegetarian until the 1930's. Previously, he had admittedly been a meat-eater for the majority of his life and would therefore have been left with some cumulative, residual, effects of his former meat-based diet. Also, Hitler was the sort of vegetarian whose diet often still allowed for egg and dairy products. That means he might have wound up suffering the same maladies as meat eaters, (because fat and cholesterol are as prevalent in egg and dairy products as they are in meat).

The Final Witness To Hitler's Vegetarianism BBC NEWS. February 4, 2002:HITLER'S FINAL WITNESS

Adolf Hitler, one of the greatest mass murderers in history, is remembered by his secretary as a kind and paternal man who ate little aside from mashed potato and passionately loved his dog.

Hitler's secretary, the last surviving witness from his inner circle, has finally published her memoirs of the final days of the German Fuhrer.Traudl Junge was just 22-years-old when Hitler selected the slim blonde from a pool of hundreds of young applicants to become one of his secretaries, in December 1942. As Soviet troops began their advance on Berlin in April 1945, Mrs. Junge - then Miss Humps - followed her boss into the relative safety of the bunker beneath the chancellery. It was here on 28 April, as the bunker shook with each explosion outside, she took down what was to be the final document of the Third Reich, Hitler's last will and testament. Two days later, Hitler and his newly wed, Eva Braun, committed suicide."I admit, I was fascinated by Adolf Hitler. He was a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend. I deliberately ignored all the warning voices inside me and enjoyed the time by his side almost until the bitter end. … It wasn't what he said, but the way he said things and how he did things."

Such things included his modest appetite, and the way he ate only side dishes - always avoiding meat.

His Austrian cook Kruemel believed that life without meat was not worth living, and would often try to sneak a little animal broth or fat into the meal. "Mostly the Fuhrer would notice the attempt at deception, would get very annoyed and then get tummy ache. At the end he would only let Kruemel cook him clear soup and mashed potato." After a light breakfast, one of Hitler's favourite activities was to walk his sheepdog Blondie."Hitler's greatest pleasure was when Blondie would jump a few centimetres higher than the last time, and he would say that going out with his dog was the most relaxing thing he could do."

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