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The Contender
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Hitler wasn't such a bad guy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/12/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,140 times Debate No: 60344
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




This will be an open debate all around, with the first round being for acceptance, and the others being for all and any arguments. To be honest I just like debating and wanted a challenge, so try to prove to me that Hitler was evil. I just hope people judge based on the arguments and not on predispositions.


I accept your challenge.
Debate Round No. 1


Alright, let's get this started.
1. Hitler was a great leader
-During the great depression, it took literally 4 TRILLION German marks to equal a single U.S. dollar. Adolf Hitler turned that all around. In today's world, Germany is the world's fourth largest economy. Hitler was the catalyst to get Germany out of depression
2. Morality is totally subjective
-Do you think abortion is wrong? whatever your answer, many people disagree with you. That doesn't make the other side total monsters, does it? If you think something like abortion, or stealing, or genocide makes you an awful person, that's YOUR opinion. There are many people who undoubtedly think one of your opinions makes you a monster. Are you going to agree with them just to win this argument?
3. Hitler did what he believed was right
Teddy Roosevelt once said "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." So many people in this world do nothing despite them seeing a problem in the world. Hitler saw what he perceived as a problem, and he went so far to fix it. How much time do you spend trying to make the world a better place? No matter how much you disagree with his personality or his actions, he's still done more for what he believes is right than you probably ever wil.
With that, I think i'll let you go.


I thank my opponent for initiating an intellectually stimulating debate, and echo his sentiments that voters should not just take my side because of preconceptions. Please vote based on the substance of the debate. It takes courage to argue a heavily controversial perspective, especially in the course of one's first debate.

A warm welcome to the DDO community!


unfavourable; adverse; having a harmful effect; lacking or failing to conform to moral virtue

Initial rebuttals

Firstly, my opponent cites the leadership and economic ability of Hitler. However, on the topic of whether or not Hitler was a "bad guy", his ability, that is, quality, is not really what we're addressing. When one employs the term "bad guy", when is referring, perhaps, to the quality of that person's character, but not of their intellectual ability. In this sense, while it is certainly true that Hitler was intelligent and flattened unemployment in Germany (as well as massively strengthening the economy primarily through industrial projects)(1), this does not help us determine whether or not he was a "bad guy". While it doesn't make him a bad guy, it also doesn't make him a good guy.

In the second paragraph, my opponent begins to broach the more appropriate context for considering Hitler's moral position. My opponent is correct in their assertion that morality is subjective. My opponent asked, "Do you think abortion is wrong? whatever your answer, many people disagree with you. That doesn't make the other side total monsters, does it?"

An interesting position, although unfortunately you have been hoist with your own petard. By your own admission, morality is subjective. That means that should, for instance, the majority of a population, consider a person to be a 'monster' (obviously in the metaphorical, moral sense), then to those people, that person is a monster. It is not possible to be an objective monster, in the same way one cannot be objectively bad or good; it is our ascription that determines the moral value of a thing or person, because there is no other way to make such a determination.

Because we are aware that good and bad, right and wrong, exist (albeit as intangible philosophical concepts), then it follows that we must derive those determinations somehow. Being objective, morality has no absolute truth. Some people might consider me 'bad' because I am in favour of the right for homosexuals to marry one another should they choose. To a person who disagrees, I am 'bad'. To a person who agrees with me, I might be considered 'good'. It is not paradoxical for it to be true that I am both good and bad, because they do not represent absolute truth, but others' ascription of moral value to me.

Based on evidence (which I will supply after my rebuttals), I make the determination that Hitler, his subordinates and the Reich, committed acts of heinous atrocity. This position is reflected by the world's majority, save for periodic eruptions of anti-Semites. Merely by the majority's ascription, it is possible to determine that Hitler was a "bad guy". While this may not be personally true for you at the moment, I hope to convince you and readers over the course of this debate that he was, in fact, a bad guy, based on the moral standard upheld by the majority.

My opponent then cited Hitler's pursuance of what he believed to be right as evidence that Hitler was not a bad guy. An interesting premise. However, all that really demonstrates is that Hitler did not see himself as a bad guy. This makes no declarative statement about whether or not he was, in fact, a bad guy. All that can really be used to determine this is majority opinion. This is how morality works. This is how laws work. We, the people, decide what is good or bad, right or wrong. While many Germans took Hitler seriously and saw him as a "good guy", and Germany had many allies, there was also a large group of people who thought he was, in fact, a bad guy, including vast populations within his constituency, all Jews, and much of rest of the West.

Further to historical opposition to Hitler being characterised as anything other than a "bad guy", it is also permissible to make retrospective assessments of past events. For instance, while most people would consider the lapidation of disrespectful children to be immoral or 'bad' today, when the Old Testament was written is was seen as perfectly acceptable. Just because someone, somewhere, found it moral at some time, this does not mean that we have to accept their assessment. This is one of the reasons why religions' creeping fingers are slowly being beaten back. We, as a collective populace, are beginning to make the decision that what happened before is not moral and that we should not repeat it. In the same way, it is permissible to decide that Hitler was a "bad guy", regardless of his self-assessment.

As an aside, it is widely believed that Hitler contracted syphilis from a Jewish Viennese prostitute, which I think we could agree would have caused his self-assessment of his own morality to be, at the least, compromised(2).


I make the judgement that Hitler was a "bad guy" based on the following facts:

- He socially, politically and militarily engineered the mass execution of Jews.
- He engaged in insipid racial elitism and functional eugenics.
- He was responsible for the brutalisation and murder of the disabled.
- He established a fascist dictatorship designed to imperialise Germany and the "Aryan race".
- A number of other well-known acts of inhumanity.

The abbreviated list above serves merely as a source of examples.
Because none of these things are inherently "bad", with "bad" being a subjective perspective, I must use my reasoning to make determinations about the reasons why I consider these things to be bad. I consider these things to be bad because they effect pain and suffering on countless millions (if not billions) of other people, which is in contrast, to use the example again, with homosexuality.

It is up to you, me and the readers to determine whether or not we think he is a "bad guy". In my judgement, he is, because the acts he committed were:

1. unfavourable to the vast majority (regardless of his own constituency, the majority population of earth thought it was unfavourable).

2. adverse. Trainloads upon trainloads upon trainloads of men, women and children sent to die. This outcome for them is adverse.

3. having a harmful effect. The harmful effect was not limited to Jews, blacks and disabled people. Innocents on all sides perished, and the social fabric of survivours was soiled.

4. failing to conform to moral virtue.

I suspect the fourth point will be our final point of contention, as the rest I barely have to actually argue for. Given that Hitler meets our definition of bad for three out of four points cleanly, and subjctively subjectively the fourth point for almost all people, I am happy to sit in the position of calling Hitler a "bad guy".

What do you think?

So far, you've only touched on the subject; whether or not he was a good leader or a good economist is not really relevant to the discussion about whether or not he was a good or bad "guy" (i.e. the moral character of Hitler as a person). Being proficient at something doesn't necessarily make a person good. I eagerly await your arguments in favour of considering Hitler a good guy.

With respect,

Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to start out by congratulating my opponent on presenting great arguments exceedingly well. With that being said let's move on to my arguments.
1. Morality is not democratic
-My opponent seems to think because morality has no definitive premise other than what we make of it, whatever the majority of people consider to be moral is. However, that is not the case. China and India combined make more than half of the world's population, and share multiple cultural similarities. Does that mean they're "more" moral based on sheer numbers? You said earlier you're in favor of homosexuals being able to marry. India passed a law less than a year ago literally making it illegal to even partake in homosexual acts, and they're one of many countries who are overall opposed to it. Based on your own argument, you must be immoral. And with your moral compass so skewed, how could you possibly judge someone so revered by his people during his time? Adolf Hitler must be moral after all, if someone as morally bankrupt as you is attacking him.
2. Quantitatively, Hitler did more good than bad
-Hitler may have led mass genocide, but he also banned vivisection (the cutting of live animals), led many medical studies including how to treat victims of hypothermia, and many other good things. Does doing one bad thing make you a bad person? I say, in a life of good, no. Additionally, if it weren't for Hitler repairing Germany's economy, they wouldn't be the economic giant they are today who helps to support the European union. Half of Europe might be bankrupt.
3. You can't blame Hitler for the extermination of the Jews
-This one has several different reasons.
A. The world has had a deep history of antisemitism. Almost every old European country has attempted to exterminate and/or excommunicate the Jews. Spain did at one point, the Roman Empire did multiple times, and others did as well. Even before Hitler's rise to power, Germany was facing much antisemitism. Hitler just rode the roller coaster, and the rest of Germany really went along with the propaganda Hitler used to come to power. Are you saying that much of Germany's population was less moral than you? That somewhat refutes your argument that what the majority of people decide is moral is moral. Hitler merely made camps for the Jews of Germany, the exact same thing the United States did to the Japanese because it was the "right" thing to do. In fact, are you from the United States? Because during world war II there were beatings and even public hangings of German peoples by Americans who thought they were doing the "right" thing.
B. Blaming Hitler just because he was leader is like blaming Obama for the USA's obesity. Hitler may have been leader, but all he did was form labor camps for the Jews. He did not make their horrendous conditions, or commit the murders there. Why would he even make labor camps if he just wanted to kill all Jews? And why would he want to expend all those resources while he was fighting a war? The fact is all Hitler wanted was to win the war, because the Treaty of Versailles gave Great Britain and France free licence to bully Germany and drive them into poverty, going so far as moving their military into Germany's factories to directly take their products. If someone did that today, the United Nations would be all over it. Can you really fault Hitler for trying to stop the world's biggest bullies?

I hope we can all see that Hitler has in fact been demonized by historians. He was just a German (well Austrian) man who tried to stop Britain and France from bullying the world and plunging his country into depression. I will admit the means Germany used may have been less than ideal, but doesn't the end justify the means? Overall, Hitler just did what he thought was right for the world and actually made many aspects of the world better. Who else can say they go that far to help the world?


In this, the final round, I will rebut your contentions as clearly and articulately as I can manage.
Concomitantly I aim to convince you readers that Hitler was a "bad guy", and that simply by applying that moral judgement to him, he becomes a bad guy.

Rebuttals and arguments

Firstly, my opponent is either misinterpreting or misrepresenting my position. My assertion was that laws are democratic, and that laws are informed by the morals of the population. That is, laws reflect our collective moral position. As our collective moral position changes over time, so, too, do laws. This is how the principle of common law works. I will give a simple example to more clearly illustrate my point.

Let's take two countries; Australia and America. For the most part, Americans are in favour of an armed populace. That is their collective moral position. Australians, on the other hand, argue that the population should not be armed without special reasons and licence arrangements. That is their collective moral position. The laws in the two respective countries reflect their relative moral positions on the issue of gun ownership. If we were to take your example of India and China and say that the entire planet should conform to their belief system, you are missing the point. Individuals have their own moral systems which are usually informed by the society they are brought up in. Subsequently, laws are made reflecting the needs of that group of people. However, the moral standard applied to those people doesn't have to be the same in other countries, as demonstrated by the Australia-America example.

Extrapolating this information to the Second World War, we can determine that Germany (among other supporters of the Axis) held a general anti-Semitic conviction, and that to them, this was 'true'. However, in other countries, like England, Australia, New Zealand and towards the end of the conflict, the U.S., made a determination that this action was not moral, and this was equally 'true' for them.

So now we must make the determination about whether or not Hitler was a "bad guy".Whether he thought he was acting morally or not is irrelevant. In asking the question, we must make the determination. In this round, I hope to convince you that my determination that Hitler was a "bad guy" is more agreeable than the converse. While, as stipulated, this moral finding can only be 'true' for those that find it to be, I intend to convince you of my position that Hitler was a "bad guy".

Secondly, my opponent talked about quantity of action. Because of a lack of citation, my opponent has cherry-picked details about Germany's economy that suit his argument, but are not factually accurate. My initial rebuttal will simply be that doing good deeds does not revoke one's badcko)Chrome/36.0.1985.125Safar For instance, let us consider a man who routinely brutalises, rapes and murders defenceless children in very slow and agonising ways. He has not yet been caught. As it happens, he thinks that what he's doing is moral. Additionally, he makes quarterly donations to an orangutan sanctuary, often helps the elderly cross the street, volunteers at a homeless %07%round, % makes a conscientious effort to mediate his carbon emissions. Quantitatively, he does "more good than bad things". However, it is an absolute absurdity to assert that "he is not a bad guy because he does good things, too". The fact of the matter is that he commits acts of monstrosity against children, and that makes him a "bad guy". No court would rule that his good deeds absolve him of his crimes. No amount of spin will placate distraught parents from their bereavement. No society would accept this injustice. Not in the U.S., not in Australia, not in China and not in India. A high-ranking Save the Children official (the group responsible for KONY 2012) was arrested on child molestation charges and sent to prison. Just because he worked for a charity and did a lot of "good" things, doesn't mean he is acquitted of his crimes(1).

Similarly, it follows that Hitler is responsible for his crimes.

My opponent claimed that the German economy is still strong because of Hitler. This is not factually accruate. As aaccurateresult of the Potsdam Conference and associated war reparations paid by Germany (and its subsequent partitioning, annexation and administration by Allied governments), Hitler's effects on the economy were removed(2). The strength of today's German economy is complicated, but in simple terms comes from a mix of labour market reforms, massive skill base (around a quarter of all German children undertake apprenticeships in upper secondary school), and unrivaled manufacturing prowess(3).

Thirdly, my opponent claimed that one cannot blame Hitler for the extermination of the Jews.
My grandmother (still alive) lived in Poland during the occupation of both Germany and the Soviet Union. She has been interview, provided testimony and her story is available for viewing online at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her mother was executed in Auschwitz (I've been afraid to ask, but presumably Zyklon B or carbon monoxide). The story is similar in narrative to six million others. And the extermination of Jews was explicitly ordered by Hitler. Saying that he didn't pull the trigger is as ignorant as saying bin Laden wasn't flying the planes. Hitler directly and incontrovertibly ordered the extermination of the Jews(5).

Saying that blaming Hitler for the destruction of millions of lives is equivalent to blaming Obama for obesity is fallacious. The two are not even remotely similar. Obama can be held accountable for acts of war and killings he is directly responsible for ordering.

You need to do some research on the Nuremberg Trials(6).

You have also presented a weak case in light of the tu quoque fallacy(4). Just because Spain and other countries experienced antisemetism does not make it acceptable. This is like saying that because a person has committed a bank robbery, he has set the precedence for the acceptability of bank robberies. Absurd.

No, I am not an American.

My opponent attempts to make a poor connection between my explanation of subjective moral philosophy and the German populous. Just because it was moral, to one group of people, at that time, doesn't mean it was moral for others at that time, or moral for us now. I am asserting that Hitler was a "bad guy", right now, based on my definition of 'bad', and that not only did many people consider him bad enough to fight a war against him at the time, but that we are sufficiently knowledgeable to make our own moral determination now.

You say Hitler had nothing to do with their conditions. This is also entirely false, as the conditions were a direct result of his orders. Not only did he expect Jews and non-Aryan prisoners to be treated worse than Aryan prisoners, but he explicitly demanded the construction of mass extermination facilities(7).


Many people are responsible for the atrocities of WWII. Hitler, a tyrant and a despot, was one of them. "Hitler wasn't such a bad guy" is a factual misrepresentation of his character and behaviour. Morally, the assertion that Hitler "was bad" is not invlaid, and in my judgement, is the only appropriate (although weakest variety) position to take on the topic of Hitler being a "good" or "bad guy".

Hitler was, by all reasonable modern and retrospective moral standards, a "bad guy".

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 3 years ago
Thanks to my opponent for the debate.
Some strange coding error occurred in a couple of lines, if you can't figure out what I meant I'll try to fix it in the comments section but I don't think too much was cut and it seems serviceable.

Best of luck at the polls, and in your future debates.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: con managed to refute most of pro's rebuttals and held up his own part, proving Hitler a very bad guy indeed.