The Instigator
Jade75
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

Adolf Hitler was an Intelligent Individual

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
socialpinko
Started: 4/7/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,207 times Debate No: 15845
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (5)

 

Jade75

Con

The purpose of this debate is to argue whether or not, overall, from an intellectual standpoint, Adolf Hitler was an intelligent individual. I am arguing the Con side in this debate. I will start with defining some of the terms mentioned in this first round exposition and that are at the core of this debate:

1. Adolf Hitler
"(1889–1945), German leader , born in Austria; chancellor of Germany 1933–45. He cofounded the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party in 1919 and came to prominence through his powers of oratory. He wrote Mein Kampf (1925), an exposition of his political ideas, while in prison. He established the totalitarian Third Reich in 1933. His expansionist foreign policy precipitated World War II, while his fanatical anti-Semitism led to the Holocaust." [1]

2. Intelligent
"Having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level:" [2]

These two terms serve as the general points of contention of this debate. I will present my argument as to why Hitler was not an intelligent individual in round 2, following Pro's acceptance of this debate. I would request that the first round of this debate is used solely for the definition of vocabulary and acceptance of this debate, and not for argument presentation. This is why I made the debate four rounds instead of three.

I await my opponent's acceptance and wish them, whomever they are, best of luck!

[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
socialpinko

Pro

I would like to expand on my opponent's definition of 'intelligent' if that would be okay. The definition which my opponent provided is a bit vague and I wish to provide a definition which is a bit more specific.

Intelligence: A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do[1]

This is all I have for this round and as such I will send the debate back to my opponent and await his opening arguments.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Jade75

Con

First, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate and wish him the best of luck.

I'd like to start my argument by wholeheartedly accepting my opponent's definition of intelligence. I will be proving how Hitler most certainly was not that intelligent of an individual. One of the most common misconceptions about Hitler is the theory that, since he got a 'lot' of people to follow him during his rise to power, that he must have been smart. First of all, while people did follow Hitler at the beginning of and during his rise to power, that 'lot' definitely did not constitute the majority. The results of the March 13, 1932 election stood as follows: Paul von Hindenburg, 49.6% of the overall vote; Hitler, 30.1% of the overall vote; Ernst Thaelmann, 13.2% of the overall vote; and Theodore Duesterberg, 6.8% of the vote [see citation 1]. Almost an entire seventy percent of the German people voted against Hitler in this election [1]. Joseph Goebbels, a strong Hitler supporter and the man who would eventually become Hitler's infamous propaganda minister, reportedly remarked, "We're beaten; terrible outlook. Party circles badly depressed and dejected." [1]. It was a similar result for Hitler in the April 19th, 1932 election: Hindenburg garnered 53.0% of the vote, Hitler 36.8%, and Thaelmann 10.2% [1].

On June 1st of that same year, the newly elected Hindenburg made the decision to appoint Franz von Papen as Chancellor of Germany. What was one of the first things Papen did? Dissolve the national Congress, of course! He then called for Germany's third legislative election in five months. This is the first point where Hitler's non-intelligence shows itself. Hitler and other members of his Nazi (National Socialist) Party were "determined to bring down the republic and establish dictatorial rule in Germany" [1]. They attempted to accomplish this goal by performing horrendous acts of violence, murder, and other extremely antagonistic actions. Chaos ensued, and martial law was enacted in Berlin. This was all thanks to Hitler's brash attempt at taking advantage of the situation Papen set up for him. This is a recurring trend in the actions of Hitler: the situation in which he was supposedly 'intelligent' in was usually set up for him by some other event. It wasn't Hitler's intelligence - it was outside events that pretty much anyone could have taken advantage of, with the proper guidance of course. Hitler was of average intelligence at best, and there are many, many situations where even that seemed to be stretching the truth. Even though he may have had people following him in greater numbers after these occurrences and into the future, if you have 100 idiots following another idiot, does that make the leading idiot smart?

The previously mentioned 'exploitation of prior events' that Hitler so commonly used to his advantage lies at the core of his Nazi movement. After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles imposed "particularly stringent treaty obligations upon the defeated Germany", due to the fact the Western powers viewed Germany as the instigator of the war [2]. The treaty forced Germany to concede territories that were previously under German control to Belgium (Eupen-Malm�dy), Czechoslovakia (the Hultschin district), and Poland (Poznan [German: Posen], West Prussia and Upper Silesia) [2]. However, the most "humiliating" clause in the entire treaty to Germany was Article 231, otherwise known as the "War Guilt Clause". This article forced the nation of Germany, as a whole, to accept FULL responsibility for World War I. This made them reliable for all material damages inflicted upon other nations [2]. The French still pressed further in the treaty, as they sought to limit Germany's ability to recover from the war due to the fact the French were worried Germany would be able to recover from the war and start an entirely new conflict. The treaty limited the Germans to 100,000 men, with conscription prohibited. It also restricted the German Navy to vessels under 100,000 tons, and no submarine fleet whatsoever. Additionally, it restricted Germany from having any kind of air force. [2]

Predictably, the citizens of Germany and the other defeated nations viewed the treaty as an unfair punishment. The citizens were outraged at the 'punishments', and this only added on to the negative emotion and feelings that had been stoked by their collective defeat in the war. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I believe, states it best:

"The war guilt clause, its incumbent reparation payments, and the limitations on the German military were particularly onerous in the minds of most Germans, and revision of the Versailles Treaty represented one of the platforms that gave radical right wing parties in Germany, including Hitler's Nazi Party, such credibility to mainstream voters in the 1920s and early 1930s. Promises to rearm, to reclaim German territory, particularly in the East, to remilitarize the Rhineland, and to regain prominence again among the European and world powers after such a humiliating defeat and peace, stoked ultranationalist sentiment and helped average voters to overlook the more radical tenets of Nazi ideology." [2]

The point I am trying to make here is that it was less of Hitler's supposed intelligence that resulted in his political prominence, and more the situation he rose to prominence in. His party's notorious propaganda overshadowed its blatant stupid radicalism, and the fact that so many people believed that his party stood for the German nation's resurgence as a whole was the driving force behind his and his party's ability to garner any influence at all. Hitler's intelligence had little to do with this certain facet - it was more the idea that he WAS intelligent (among many other fantastical notions), as depicted by the Nazi propaganda and its corresponding ministers, that grew followers to his cause. This is highlighted by a speech by the previously mentioned Goebbels on Hitler and the media of the time:

"The newspapers today are filled with congratulations for Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler. The nuances vary, depending on the tone, character, and attitude of the newspaper. All, however, agree on one thing: Hitler is a man of stature who has already accomplished historically important deeds and faces still greater challenges. He is the kind of statesman found only rarely in Germany. During his lifetime, he has the good fortune not only to be appreciated and loved by the overwhelming majority of the German people, but even more importantly to be understood by them. He is the only German politician of the post-war period who understood the situation and drew the necessary hard and firm conclusions. All the newspapers agree on this." [3]

The conclusion to be drawn from all of this is that it was of German support for the supposed betterment of their country, not the German support of the supposedly intelligent Hitler, which drove so many people to support said Hitler in the fashion that they did. In all facets of his regime, it was more this love of country, not the love of one leader, that drew so much support to Hitler. Due to the fact I am running short on space in this round of the debate, I will hold off on my arguments against Hitler's intelligence as a military leader until the next round. One of the quickest things to point out about Hitler and the military, however, was the fact that Hitler was an egotistical maniac, bent on running a war by himself and killing anyone who opposed him. I wouldn't exactly call that smart, especially considering the outcome of WWII ended in Hitler's suicide.[4]

I eagerly await my opponent's response!

[1] http://www.fff.org...
[2] http://www.ushmm.org...
[3] http://www.ihatethemedia.com...
[4] http://www.historyplace.com...
socialpinko

Pro

socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Jade75

Con

I am sorry to see that my opponent his round 2 portion of this debate. That being said, I shall now continue my arguments...

Hitler, as a military leader, can be summed up best by this quote:

"Before the war, and still more during the conquest of the West, Hitler
came to appear a gigantic figure, combining the strategy of a Napoleon
with the cunning of a Machiavelli and the fanatical fevour of a Mohomet.
After his first check in Russia, his figure began to shrink, and towards the
end he was regarded as a blundering amateur in the military field, whose
crazy orders and crass ignorance had been the Allies' greatest asset. All
the disasters of the German Army were attributed to Hitler; all its
successes were credited to the German General Staff."
B. H. Liddell Hart [1]

Hitler may have appeared somewhat intelligent militarily at the start of the war, but after his unfair, pre-determined advantages were taken away by military defeats, the true Hitler was revealed to be somewhat of an insane and ignorant person. One of his greatest blunders was the infamous battle of Dunkirk.

The battle of Dunkirk took place in May-June of 1940. The conflict involved the Germans, the British, and the French. The German forces eventually managed to trap roughly 330,000 enemy men on the beaches around Dunkirk, and their destruction by the Germans was imminent. The men at Dunkirk were literally sitting ducks for a German onslaught, and it was entirely possible that all the men would have been killed if the Germans would have pressed the attack. Of course, Hitler, showing his absolute foolishness, decided to issue a "Halt" order. This allowed all 330,000 enemy soldiers to escape back to Britain after Hitler PERSONALLY squandered the best opportunity he had gotten so far at destroying the British army. Winston Churchill called it a 'miracle' and it illustrated one of the best points I am trying to make - Hitler's incompetence. [2] [3]

That, however, was not the greatest example of Hitler's incompetence.

That award goes to the Battle of Stalingrad.

Stalingrad is considered by many to be the "turning point of World War II" and was responsible for the loss of 250,000 German men - a.k.a. the entire German Sixth Army [4]. The German attempt to capture the city was effective if judged by the amount of land in the city they effectively captured, but was less effective when the fact that the portions of land they captured during the day were taken back by the Russians at night. While the fighting for the control of the actual city was taking place, six Russian armies of one million men, led by Marshal Zhukov, surrounded the city and called for the German surrender. The Germans were headed for a disaster, but the forces, led by General Paulus, could have broken out of the trap in the first stages of the enemy assault.

Guess who ordered them not to do so. That's right. Hitler.

Hitler's order to Paulus read as follows:

Supreme Commander to 6 Army, January 24, 1943
"Surrender is forbidden. 6 Army will hold their positions to the last man and the last round and by their heroic endurance will make an unforgettable contribution towards the establishment of a defensive front and the salvation of the Western world." [4]

Yes, intelligent.

Due to the fact the forces were now unable to break out of the Russian trap, they had to face other enemies, such as the Winter. Food, ammunition, and morale quickly ran low. So what did Hitler do? Promote Paulus to Field Marshal, of course! As if that would somehow change the fact that a million Russians were about to hand the Germans one of the most crushing defeats of the war, all thanks to Hitler's order. By February 2nd, 1943, the German army surrendered in the wake of a complete and utter military disaster. With so much manpower lost, Germany set itself up for a fall in the rest of the war, and when they really needed the extra manpower and resources, such as when the Russians advanced on Germany, they did not have them. All thanks to Hitler's incredibly stupid decision to "fight to the last bullet." [4] Now, Hitler at least honored the soldiers that fell at the battle, right? Of course not. He organized a national day of mourning in Germany for the "shame von Paulus had brought on the Wehrmacht and Germany"[4]. To put the final nail in the coffin, Hitler stripped Paulus of the rank he had been so quick to give him before.[4]

All of that being said, Hitler's stupidest decision had to have been declaring war on the United States.

After being entrenched in years of war with Russia and England, on December 11th, 1941, Hitler declared War on the United States. Yes, that makes sense. He was already fighting two of the strongest nations on the face of the planet, and then he decides to declare war on a third. The man's total ignorance, arrogance, and belief that he could defeat three ostentatiously strong nations at once was exemplified in this decision, and the lack of intelligence, militarily or otherwise, shown by this action, really does speak for itself.

I await my opponent's response.

[1] http://www.au.af.mil... (Note: If this particular link appears ineffective or broken, it may need to be copy + pasted into the address bar to be viewed. Sorry for the inconvenience if this does occur.)
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://historyimages.blogspot.com...
[4] http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...
socialpinko

Pro

I apologize to my opponent for last rounds forfeit. I honestly thought I still had a whole day to respond. Anyways I will try to salvage the rest of the debate here and refute my opponent's arguments.

In response to my opponent's quote at the beginning of R3 I will respond by stating that military intelligence is not the only type of intelligence. Our agreed upon definition of intelligence regards it as more than mere book learning or academic skill. Intelligence is defined as the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, and comprehend complex ideas. All of these things were donr by Hitler. An example of his intelligence would be that he saw the state of his country and REASONED that it was caused by the Jews. He then PLANNED to exterminate them and other religious and racial minorities. Extermination, genocide, and world domination were his PLAN to SOLVE the problems which were affecting Germany at the time. Also all of these are examples of THINKING ABSTRACTLY. And an example of learning from experience would be that Hitler learned that he would not make it as an artist and therefore set his oratory and political skills to seizing power of Germany.

To my opponent's examples of the battle of Dunkirk, the battle of Stalingrad and Hitler's declaration of war on the U.S., I again state that military intelligence is only a single type of intelligence. I have adequately shown above that Hitler was an intelligent person, albeit in different areas than one would expect of a military and political leader. My opponent must concede that Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein while incredibly intelligent would not fare so well in a military venture.

My opponent has so far only shown that Hitler was not a good military leader which I will happily concede. I must ask how the U.S. would fare if Isaac Newton were put in charge of American forces during WW2 instead of Eisenhower.

I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 3
Jade75

Con

**I apologize, but due to time constraints and some things that came up I was not able to fully complete this round of the debate. I will have to end with a very brief closer**

I thank my opponent for his response and will now make my final arguments and refutations.

Firstly, as this is the final round of the debate, I will seek to prove how Hitler was not intelligent in reference to the definitions my opponent mentioned in his round 3 argument. This will blend nicely with the arguments I was previously developing in other rounds.

1. "Intelligence is defined as the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, and comprehend complex ideas"

Hitler clearly lost the ability to reason of the course of his tenure as chancellor of Germany. The many mistakes that he made were evidence of this. Militarily speaking, he had little to no ability to solve said problems mentioned, as I said in my third round argument. Just because he thought he was able to plan and (barely) do the things provided in the definition previously mentioned doesn't mean he did them correctly. The fact that he almost single-handedly "guided" Germany to so many defeats in a War he supposedly thought he was able to win is evidence that, just because he is seemingly intelligent due to some of the things he did, his failures highlight the bad side of all of his aspects. His lack of intelligence is easily noticeable due to the fact that he experienced numerous failures during his life - whether they were strategic, diplomatic, or personal [1]. He did not "seize" power of Germany - I demonstrated this in my second round argument. His "plans" were near-sighted and were mostly all failures. "REASONED that it was caused by the Jews"? His reasoning was insane - and he probably was as well [2]. Planning means nothing if the plan is flawed or incorrectly applied to the situation at hand.

I apologize for my briefness, but I believe I have accurately demonstrated as to why Hitler was unintelligent.

Hitler wasn't intelligent - he was just a lucky person who didn't realize luck could run out.

I urge a Con vote while I thank my opponent for this debate and for all the viewers who read our arguments.

[1] http://vanrcook.tripod.com...
[2] http://www.freeinfosociety.com...
socialpinko

Pro

My opponent has not responded to my refutations from last round. I correctly showed that Hitler certainnly fits the definition of 'intelligent' which my opponent and I agreed upon. My opponent simply reiterate that Hitler was not a good military strategist, obviously Einstein and Newton would most certainly fail as well as they were intelligent but in different ways, and then brings another point that Hitler was not a good politician. Again, have Newton run for president and we'll see how well he does.

Looking to my opponent's first source from R4 we see some mistakes made by Hitler but also some success which my opponent conveniently left out of this debate. I will list them below.

From http://vanrcook.tripod.com...

-Ability to assemble and control a group of talented and ruthless individuals - Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Bormann, and Speer - for his top echelon. These men were the German leaders of World War 2. They were very capable but don't turn your back on them!

-Successful use of bullying and bluffing techniques to seize Austria and Czechoslovakia without a fight.

-Adoption of blitzkrieg techniques, with the highly mobile Panzer divisions, to quickly conquer Poland, France, and other Western European countries. More conventional leaders would have used conventional trench warfare techniques and a World War I type stalemate might have occurred.

Hitler was able to come to power over and control a large group of people, took Austria and Czechoslovakia with ease, and adopted the blitzkrieg techniqie which allowed him to take over several European countries. My opponent has not refuted my reasoning from R3 and I have shown more intelligent attributes of Hitler from my opponent's own source. For these reasons I urge a a Pro vote.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by american5 3 years ago
american5
I like this debate and I don't think Hitler was smart he was just lucky he did not end up dead until 1945 I mean who tells his army not to retreat or surrender when they are obviously doomed and instead just lets them die like in Stalingrad
Posted by Pastafarian 3 years ago
Pastafarian
Hitler was one of those useful idiots Stalin was talking about.
Posted by neopuff 3 years ago
neopuff
This is interesting, I have never heard someone say Hitler wasn't intelligent. And this is coming from a young Jewish girl :P I'll definitely keep tabs on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by anarcholibertyman 2 years ago
anarcholibertyman
Jade75socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with con that hitler was simply lucky but he could not refute pros point that there are multiple types of intelligence and hitler exhibited at leat one of those.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 2 years ago
quarterexchange
Jade75socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Hitler was losing his mind towards the end of the war.
Vote Placed by bradshaw93 2 years ago
bradshaw93
Jade75socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro showed that military intellience is not the only type of intelligence.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
Jade75socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: A quick web search reveals Hitler's IQ was estimated at 141, intelligent. Con was really arguing that ideology can overcome intelligence, which it does. However, Pro forfeited and left arguments unanswered. Pro should have won, but didn't.
Vote Placed by TUF 2 years ago
TUF
Jade75socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to con due to forfeit. Arguments social. Hitler was indeed intelligent, abiding by Pro's definition. Of course he handled alot of things differently than others, and had rather different philosophies, he still was a relatively intelligent man.
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