The Instigator
Pro (for)
14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Adolf Hitler was a good Artist

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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/10/2017 Category: Arts
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,772 times Debate No: 104787
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (40)
Votes (3)




As Pro, I will be arguing that Adolf Hitler (chancellor of Germany from 1933-1945) was a good artist.


1.) good

a.) pleasant or enjoyable

b.) high quality, standard, or level

Due to Adolf Hitler going on to become leader of the Nazi Party and subsequently the Chancellor of Germany, we only have a limited set of art samples to judge. However, I will do my best to showcase their superiority. Con, will have to argue that Hitler's art is not good. He may argue that it is average/below par, or that it is simply awful.

Debate Structure:

-First round acceptance, second round opening arguments, third round rebuttals and closing arguments.

Debate Rules:

-No forfeits.

-Trolling is permitted.

My opponent for this debate will be levi_smiles, good luck to him.


Thanks to emilrose for presenting the topic.

As Con, I refute that Adolph Hitler was a good artist.

I look forward to Pro's case.
Debate Round No. 1


adolf hitler waz a gud artizt


Thanks to Pro for the excellent topic.

Let's note that good artist is definitionally subjective, rife with prejudgement. Artists are generally the makers of the art we like & we define our notions of what's enjoyable or high quality, what's good, what's art- around the art that gives us pleasure, carefully excluding the art we hate.

That said, there are some measures of Adoph's job as an artist, his professional conduct as an artist we can evaluate with some degree of objectivity: For example,

One of the hallmarks of pursuing life as an artist is the struggle. Starving artist is a stereotype, a commonplace, even today as it was so then. To be a good artist one must be persistent: your work may not be recognized all your life, may not be recognized until you're long dead, may never be recognized... and yet the work continues. Hitler quit. Adolph caved. Leaving the life of an artist to pursue a lucrative career in politics is capitulation, the easier rejection of one's identity as artist- with all the advantages and disadvantages that artist entails.

Hitler continued to to think of himself as an artist for the rest of his life but would the community of artistic endeavors in Germany or elsewhere in the Western World continue to view Adolph as an artist? Decidedly not.

Adolph robbed, imprisoned, and killed millions of people, including many artists. Adolph often targeted particular artists - cultural icons and those artists Adolph considered degenerate. Adolph often targeted artists in general, as a profession of non-conformists and malcontents.

Here is a short list of some artists killed at the Shoah:

We might reasonably suppose that the professional standards applying to artists are as lax, as laissez-faire as any. Nevertheless, we might also reasonably suppose that robbing, imprisoning, or killing professional colleagues, particularly en masse, would & ought be consistently likely to disqualify applicants for any professional consideration in almost any context.

In any community of professional artists, censorship is seldom smiled upon & the destruction of another man's work is often intolerable. But the Nazis burned many books and Adolph banned many books in many categories:

* The works of traitors, emigrants and authors from foreign countries who believe they can attack and denigrate the new Germany (H.G. Wells, Rolland);
* The literature of Marxism, Communism and Bolshevism;
* Pacifist literature;
* Literature with liberal, democratic tendencies and attitudes, and writings supporting the Weimar Republic (Rathenau, Heinrich Mann);
* All historical writings whose purpose is to denigrate the origin, the spirit and the culture of the German Volk, or to dissolve the racial and structural order of the Volk, or that denies the force and importance of leading historical figures in favor of egalitarianism and the masses, and which seeks to drag them through the mud (Emil Ludwig);
* Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Hackel, Benedict);
* Books that advocate "art" which is decadent, bloodless, or purely constructivist (Grosz, Dix, Bauhaus, Mendelsohn);
* Writings on sexuality and sexual education which serve the egocentric pleasure of the individual and thus, completely destroy the principles of race and Volk (Hirschfeld);
* The decadent, destructive and Volk-damaging writings of "Asphalt and Civilization" literati: (Graf, H. Mann, Stefan Zweig, Wassermann, Franz Blei);
* Literature by Jewish authors, regardless of the field;
* Popular entertainment literature that depicts life and life"s goals in a superficial, unrealistic and sickly sweet manner, based on a bourgeois or upper class view of life;
* Nationalistic and patriotic kitsch in literature.
* Pornography and explicit literature by Jewish authors.
* All books degrading German purity.

Adolph mocked and destroyed the works of many artists.

"the [1937] Degenerate Art Exhibition was organized by the Nazi Party in Munich to counterpoint the Great German Art Exhibition. It was recorded that over one million attended the exhibition in its first six weeks of showings. The collection had 650 works of art that were extracted from German museums and displayed them as "degenerate art." If a piece was found to insult Germany, to fail to apply natural form or classical style, or to depict real or perceived weakness of character, mental disease or racial impurity, then it fell under the category of degenerate art. Paintings were hung close together in uncomfortably small rooms, and were accompanied by hand written labels that often provided inaccurate information and condemning remarks. The political goal of the exhibit was to counteract the movement of modernism and claim that it was a scheme for people who were against Germany.... Nazi Art was defined as racially pure, easily understood, and depictions of people who exemplified the German race. The Great German Art Exhibit served to abolish any use of Modernism, Expressionism, Dada, New Objectivity, Futurism, and Cubism that had existed since 1910."

- Wikipedia, Paintings by Adolph Hitler

Would you be a good banker if you quit banking in your twenties?

Would you be a good farmer if most farmers found you particularly lethal to farmers?

Would you be a good banker if most bankers didn't endorse you as a banker?

Are you likely to have been a good farmer if most of the farmers around you thought you sucked at farming?

Well, Adolph sucked at artist. Ask the artist themselves. Wouldn't we have to agree that many, many works have been created in reaction to Hitler's life and that the overwhelming preponderance of that reaction has been rejection, condemnation, special malediction against the man and his history?
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks Con. Unfortunately, I was very pressed for time with my round two argument-so instead of forfeiting and ruining the debate, I thought I'd just post 'Hitler was a good artist' in a grammatically incorrect fashion. Because Con has an advantage over me with an extra round, I will outline my opening, rebutting, and closing arguments in this round. I ask that voters do not penalise my lack of arguments in round two, as they will be provided here.

Hitler, the Good Artist

As was specified in round one, I am not arguing that Hitler was the greatest artist to have ever lived, but merely, that his skill and technique can be considered 'good' and somewhat above average. Let's briefly summarise what an artist is, and what makes him/her 'good'; an artist is one who, in the purest sense of the word, creates. It's clear that Hitler was a very creative individual, given that he liked to explore different and revolutionary ideas; he was, a dreamer. In regards to his artistic skill as it relates to his paintings/drawings, the technique is most certainly there. Now, I am no painter myself, as literature and science are more my areas, but, I digress, I can still recognise a decent painting or drawing when I encounter one. I.e; I can distinguish the difference in skill by a painting made by a six year old, and one made a professional artist.

It can be asserted that anyone with an interest in art and with the desire to study art at school, probably could be considered a 'good' artist-they do not necessarily have to be wonderful. That Hitler wished to be an artist and applied to art school in Vienna weakens Cons argument somewhat because it demonstrates that A.) he had the interest, and B.) he probably did have some talent. You do not see a poor mathematician applying for math-oriented degree, and you do not see a biologist applying for a biology-oriented degree. The same, can be applied to the arts and humanities as well, as you also would not see a poor dancer applying to a dance school or a poor writer applying for a literature-oriented degree. Interest in itself, usually means skill.

Here, we can review some of Hitler's artwork:

Tree at the Track

Vienna State Opera House

Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ

Old Quarter of Vienna

Rebuttals/Closing Arguments

What is also apparent is that on the contrary to what Con has stated regarding Hitler supposedly losing interest, his passion for art was maintained throughout his life; to the extent that Hitler would still visit art galleries and so on. In fact, here are some pictures of Hitler viewing some artwork:

Viewing a statue:

It is also a well-known fact that artists love to contemplate, often while travelling:

In addition to this, the 'good' artist is expressive:




Now, regarding Cons statements on Hitler killing Jews and thus not being a 'good' artist, this is ridiculous. One can absolutely be a good artist and still happen to commit ethnic or religious cleansing; as I said, Hitler was a dreamer, and he dreamed that he could restore the Fatherland to its former glory. That you disagree with him instigating the murder of six million Jews, and millions of other people, should have no impact on your judgement of his art. For example, I think that Stalin was quite a nefarious person, but I'm still sure that he was very good in bed, Hitler likely was as well, due to how passionate and intense he could be. It's blatantly apparent that on the basis of Hitler's political conduct, Con is arguing with a bias. Note: this debate is to discuss Hitler's art, not what he did in his professional life.

Con also asserts that just because Hitler removed and brought about the burning of some literature (namely Jewish and communist), he again can't be considered a good artist-which once more, is beyond foolish. Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear, which is a rather strange thing to do, and is now idolized in the world of art by many. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was also somewhat eccentric, and hardly a pillar of morality given that he was arrested multiple times, he even once threw a plate of artichokes at a waiter. I'm almost certain that Hitler never engaged in such acts.
Then you have Benvenuto Cellini, who stabbed the man who killed his brother-at least Hitler did not kill anyone with his own bare hands.

Moreover, Con referred to struggle and claimed that it cannot be associated with Hitler, when Hitler's entire life was based on a struggle; from losing his brother during childhood, to being pressured by his father to pursue interests he did not wish to pursue, to then losing his father suddenly, to becoming a poor artist in Vienna, to then returning home to look after his dying mother alongside his siblings. His next struggle, was to establish and popularize the Nazi Party, and then become Chancellor of Germany. It's important to emphasize that the Nazi Party was not an overnight success; far from it, it actually took years to flourish, and involved many early hardships-like being imprisoned. Then, there was the task of making Germany a great nation again; which was no small feat indeed. Like many other artists before and after him, Hitler eventually committed suicide-but, his legacy, will go forever. I will finalise my argument by noting that Hitler, because he was a very versatile artist, also wrote a book called 'Mein Kampf', which ironically for Con, translates as 'My Struggle'.

Here is a quote from it:

'I am firmly convinced today that, generally speaking, it is in youth that men lay the essential groundwork of their creative thought, wherever that creative thought exists. I make a distinction between the wisdom of age- which can only arise from the greater profundity and foresight that are based on the experiences of a long life, and the creative genius of youth, which blossoms out in thoughts and ideas with inexhaustible fertility, without being able to put these into practice immediately, because of their very superabundance.'


Essentially, Pro"s tactic is to define the good artist as generically, as inclusively as possible. Unable to make the case for Adolph as a painter of particularly high quality (Pro"s definition), Pro dilutes the qualifications. If an artist is merely one who creates, then anyone"s an artist; those who express a particular interest "probably could be considered good."

But is Pro"s standard particularly useful in application to our inquiry? If a musician set aside her instrument in her youth but continued to listen to music, would we call her a good musician? If a director failed to qualify for film school but still watched movies sometimes, would we call him a good director? If her writings were generally thought trite and unimaginative by her fellow writers, would a voracious reader still qualify as a good writer?

Pro reveals her bias in this statement: "this debate is to discuss Hitler's art, not what he did in his professional life." But for those who are called to the life of an artist, who make the sacrifices of dedication, practice, and continual application, the professional life of an artist is inseparable from the work, the product of the artist. It"s like saying let's discuss David Bowie"s songs, not his musical career- how would separate them?

I have argued that artists who give up working in their youth are objectively less likely to be remembered as good artists. Pro has countered that Adolph continued to view art & was therefore still an artist; but reading is not writing; movie-going is not cinematography.

I have argued that robbing, imprisoning, and killing many colleagues is objectively disqualifying in most professional contexts. Pro has offered no counter.

I have argued that censoring the work of many colleagues is objectively disqualifying in most professional contexts. Pro has offered no counter.

I have argued that destroying the work and reputation of many colleagues is objectively disqualifying in most professional contexts. Again, Pro ignores the argument.

Pro has instead countered that my argument is based on political bias- a charge I refute. I made no suggestion that Fascism or Nationalism or even anti-semitism are inherently disqualifying. One can discern some of Adolph"s political perspective from the books he banned or the paintings he mocked but I argued against the censorship of other artists generally. The impulse to dominate the conversation, to smother the voices of others under a pillow of political correction is anti-art whatever the political perspective employed.

Pro has offered that the qualities of a good artist as:

Sometimes looks at art.

But this describes just about all people sometimes (and even some animals), depends on mostly subjective interpretation, & makes no effort to distinguish an artist from any other profession. Many fine artists are taciturn or grumpy: are they therefore not artists? In R1, Pro promised to demonstrate the superiority of Adolph"s work but has offered instead platitudes without any measurable hierarchy. Is Pro arguing that Adolph is a superior artist because he was particularly kind?

Pro has pasted 4 paintings in an effort to demonstrate Adolph"s superiority as an artist. None of these works are particularly engaging on an aesthetic level but they are useful as any to evaluate Adolph"s technique.

"Tree at a Track" is Bob Ross 101: every young artist uses the splay of a flat brush to produce a leafy effect. The poorly observed lines of perspective give the path an amateurish, foreshortened feeling and the dull palette flattens the composition further, lending the eye no focal point, no journey.

"Vienna State Opera House" is probably technically the best of these 4, which is to say nothing to write home about. We should note that the trolley is off its tracks- a line of cars at right angle to the viewer is much easier to paint than a line of cars curving away. The colors are again muted and beige- we get no sense of the brilliant copper green roof of the opera house or the glow of its white marble colonnades.

"Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ" is just creepy and bad. Pro tip: if your subjects" faces are pale and pasty, offset the face with bright color to make the features pop. If super-white Jesus is wearing a white smock and super-white Mary is wearing a white veil and mantle, they"re going to look flat & uninteresting. Adolph tries to fix this by creating a mysterious red glow between them but the effect is more demonic than angelic and Jesus"s unnaturally orange hair isn't helping. The proportions of Jesus" face are all wrong- ears too small, eyes too large. The overall effect is a twelve-year old trapped in a toddler"s frame- very creepy. Look carefully at Jesus"s hand to notice the gap between the lowest digit & the second lowest- either Adolph painted a right hand on his left arm or Jesus has an extra finger- either way, technically weak.

"Old Quarter of Vienna" Again, the palette is flat & dull - the eye is drawn nowhere. The perspective lines are atrocious-all the buildings look lopsided and dilapidated. Look at the wheels of the carriage: the far wheel is badly distorted & partial. And we can see both the left & right sides of the square house at center - truly amateurish drawing.

In pre-war Vienna, technically proficient artists were a dime a dozen. Far more capable painters were literally starving in the street. That Adolph lacked a sharp eye was not necessarily disqualifying but for a new artist to succeed he must bring something to the table. While European art was exploding with revolutionary new subjects & techniques, Adolph stuck to styles executed more expertly by painters a hundred years before. On his best day, Adolph"s work was moribund & uninteresting, a beige cliche begging for commercial success in the absence of inspiration.

Then as now, Adolph sucked at artist. pls. Vote CON
Debate Round No. 3
40 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Raumulus 2 years ago
Damn Hitler was good.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Were this 7point, probably argument tied, sources to pro, conduct to con.

Unfortunately con began to argue against himself, complaining about pro attempting to move the goalpost so that an artist is anyone who creates, then continuing his insistence that a good artist is defined by continual acts of creation within their medium. Would Steven Spielberg still be a good filmmaker had he quit the industry after film school? Based on what he made in film school, yes.

Pro did successfully argue that Hitler would not have been a commercial success, but that was diluted by his own argument that a true artist may be unrecognized in their lifetime.

A lot of this debate was clearly off topic, how intense Hitler could look, would only count if the art in question was acting (con could have flipped pro's own goalpost by comparing everything Hitler could be considered an artist in, and averaging out to average or less). If Hitler was a bad person, of course he was, but the logic that it discounts everything else was unsound.

Where con definitely could have won, was his unsourced claim about how common proficient artists were (it would prove Hitler was average or less). No evidence was given to support this, mere opinion.

Pro's big win was on the sources, and the reminder that it's not a debate on if he was great, but merely good. More discussion of the artistic form would have been much better, but they fit the definitions for good provided (namely, pleasant to look at). Con easily could have included a couple awful drawings from Hitler (I looked them up), but such was not done, so the existence of those cannot impact my vote. This was an area were con pushed too hard with what was given, even unable to imagine buildings having more than one shape (that hand is freaking me out!), proving he was sub-par could have been done, but downright awful? The attempt failed.

Without any comparison to other painters, pro wins.
Posted by frankfurter50 2 years ago
He did have a heart. I'd like to plunge a big stake through it.
Posted by Nataliewardwood 2 years ago
I would say that Hitler was a really good artist and still had a heart. Hes a human to ya know...
Posted by Simple_Logic 2 years ago
Good is subjective

The perception of what is good is different between individuals

If someone believes he was a good artist, then that idea exists in their mind as good
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
This debate had a lot of potential and was surprisingly disappointed.
Posted by Emilrose 2 years ago
Your vote sucks, Coveny.
Posted by simtuzi 2 years ago
As I'm not professional at studies of art I have no intensions on disagreeing with totally qualified art professors of Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. So for the debater. What credidentials you do have, for you to cast vote of no-confidence so easily against the late director of this fine school?
Posted by Emilrose 2 years ago
beat that
Posted by levi_smiles 2 years ago
P: I would ask what difference his political beliefs make to his artistic talent?

C: Perhaps none, probably a lot. Many artists are inspired by and draw deeply from political beliefs.
You might note that my argument does not address Adolph's political beliefs as disqualifying, rather his professional beliefs: some in this profession must be driven out, some categories of professional work must be erased (albeit for political ends), some in this profession must be killed. Any group or class of people is likely to disqualify a candidate for membership on the grounds of wholesale destruction of that group or class, no? Regardless of political belief.

P: He may have killed people, but that doesn't by default make him a poor artist.

C: Agreed. I met Robert Blake a couple of times and he sang very nicely in spite of killing his wife many years later. I enjoy the work of William S Burroughs although he shot his wife dead at a party while drunk one time.

P: And one could argue that he didn't cease to create art, given that his temperament continually remained that of an artist (something I will elaborate on in the debate), and that he maintained an appreciation for unique ideas and cultural movements.

C: And so you might argue that he might still be called an artist in some respects, in spite of quitting the life and forsaking the sacrifices. But that's not a good artist. Doesn't a good artist respect the codes and standards of an artist? Wouldn't you say killing many artists violates those codes and standards?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments...
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con attempts to make some arguments about Hitler as a person, that he quit art at a young age, and thus is not a "good" artist. This doesn't make any sense to me. Sure, that might mean you won't go down in history as a decent artist, but that doesn't mean you've never demonstrated decent artistic skill. Pro's arguments aren't particularly convincing, because she just shows a bunch of Hitler's paintings and doesn't explain why they are especially good. However, I think that they are definitely "pleasant" to behold in my opinion. I think that Pro's points about Hitler's personality as well as his continued interest in art are sufficient to mitigate Con's confusing arguments that Hitler was not a good artist because he stopped at a young age and caused alot of evil. Con's arguments criticizing the paintings were his best bet and if he had actually been the first to present the paintings and critique them he could win. But since he did it in the last round I give a slight Pro win.
Vote Placed by Coveny 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: While Con went on about the personal life of Hitler which may have been the trap of this whole debate in the closing argument he addressed Hitler's paintings. His assessments seemed fair, but for me bringing up the flaw of the trolley not being on it's tracks proved Hitler was not a "good" artist per the definition of "high quality, standard, or level". As a just for the record thing, Hitler was a horrible person, and I feel like discussing, if he was or wasn't a good artist should be nullified by that fact.

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