Did Hitler Do ANYTHING Beneficial?

Okay: disclaimer time…

Being half-German doesn’t mean I condone the actions of this monster, and for Og’s sake, PLEASE don’t send this to GD!:eek: Delete it, instead. Please?

(I am reporting this myself, so I’ll save y’all the trouble!)

From what I’ve read, he created the Autobahn system (the pre-cursor of our own Interstate, yes?).

So what else might he have done which might be considered as some kind of benefit?



Cheap clean nuclear power?

I assume you mean that they developed the A-Bomb because of Hitler and that we benifited by the use of nuclear power. Just thought I’d clarify that because there are some people around here without a sense of humor and this would go over their head. :smiley:

How about the Peoples Car?

How much did he have to do with design of the Volkswagen beetle? I have heard that it was his idea to produce an inexpensive, simply-engineered car that every family could own.

ETA: Beaten to it…

Hitler got rid of the post-WWI loans/reparations that were crippling Germany and that pretty much everyone agrees were terrible ideas to begin with. That clearly benefited the post-WWII Germany, but I think the whole world was better off without them.

German investment and research in rockets and jets significantly advanced the technology. Both US and Russian space programs depended a lot on ex-German scientists. Without Hitler’s interest in rockets and the war in general, it’s likely that the technology would have been low-priority and poorly funded for many decades. I wouldn’t be surprised if a world without Hitler was just now making our first manned flights to the moon.

The following things are not really Hitler’s doing directly, but did result from the war and his actions:

WWII went a long way toward beating the Great Depression here in the US and elsewhere. That could probably go into GD too… but no matter how much you like the New Deal, the bottom line is that the economy improving very slowly. The build-up for war and the increase in industrial capacity was the real trick to getting past it.

In addition, WWII got rid of a lot of the protectionist tariffs that were stifling global trade, and this stifling of trade was one reason the Depression was so bad.

Israel and the UN were also results of WWII, though there are plenty of people who aren’t sure those are good things.

From a purely domestic standpoint, he did manage to restore the German economy to some semblance of life. I don’t know if it was sustainable, but it was a heck of a lot better than the interbellum period, while it lasted.

The Master on the Hitler-VW connection.

Yep. Although Nazi philosophy had this bizarre obsession with manual labor. Huge portions of the Autobahn were literally built by hand by thousands of laborers working in mobile camps, where they could have probably been done a lot faster if they bought a few backhoes and cement mixers.

The Olympic torch relay and the popularization of the interlocking rings symbol.

"ATHENS, Aug. 13 (AP) - The most beloved emblems of the modern Olympics have a decidedly dark past.

The torch relay that culminates in the ceremonial lighting of the flame at the Olympic stadium was ordered by Adolf Hitler, who tried to make the 1936 Berlin Games a celebration of the Third Reich. Hitler’s Nazi propaganda machine also popularized the five interlocking rings as the symbol of the Games."

Hitler’s Berlin Games Helped Make Some Emblems Popular

What’s the Straight Dope on the medical experiments performed on people in the camps? Did nothing come from those?

I suppose they weren’t entirely worthless, but a lot of the experiments amounted to meaningless and cruel confirmations of what was already known. “We know people die in cold water… but we really should confirm that in the lab.”

I was just thinking about this yesterday, though not considering Hitler specifically. It’s true that the impetus of war brought about advances in rocketry; but I think von Braun would still have been working on it without the war if he could get the funding. I think the more important catalyst was the Japanese. Einstein warned Roosevelt of German experiments developing atomic weapons, but we actually used such weapons against Japan. By that time, Germany was whipped, and history shows that they were not as advanced (nuclear-weapon-wise) as was thought. But what happened was that the Soviet Union started working on nuclear weapons. I think (but am not sure) that it was the U.S. who first came up with the idea – or at least a weapon small enough – to be fitted onto a rocket. The U.S. developed efficient rockets that the Soviets couldn’t match; so the Soviets went the brute force route. This caused the U.S. to develop more powerful rockets to counter the Soviet threat. Voilà – Space Race, and the Moon missions.

Perhaps Hitler ‘helped’ the Space Race by trying to develop nukes; but I think it was the need (or ‘need’) to use them against that Japan that really kicked it off because of the Soviet reaction to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As for jet propulsion, the British and the Italians (primarily) were also developing jet power in the '30s.

Never saw a morbidly obese Nazi road worker did you ? Musta been that superior german metabolism :slight_smile:

One could argue that WW2 was gonna happen sooner or later and Hilter causing it to happen sooner was better for all involved than if it had happened later.

Once could also argue that Hitler made sure nearly everybody possible was involved in WW2, also helping with the now popular notion of “lets never do that crazy assed shit again”.

Oh, and his contribution to the art of internet discussion cannot be denied.

Inspire one of the greatest novelty songs of all time?

Just as a side note, they’re changing the torch relay. After the 2008 relay protests, the International Olympic Committee decided that starting in 2010, the relay will only be inside the hosting country. It won’t go around the world anymore.

And Hitler wasn’t responsible for the Autobahn. The Autobahn was conceived in 1926 by a corporate/Chamber of Commerce group (HaFraBa) led by a guy named Willy Hof, and the first stretch of the Autobahn, between Cologne and Bonn, was opened in 1932, before the Nazis came to power. In fact, in 1930, when a bill was introduced into the Reichstag for funding to construct a national highway system, the Nazis voted it down. Then, after Hitler came to power, he nationalized HaFraBa and claimed that the Autobahn was his idea all along.

Being about to fix several electrical problems in a new Beetle in the next week, I may beg to differ. Oh, I know the original model was his idea, but the aesthetic is the same. God knows why they have to make procedures that are simple in other cars so difficult.

While often cited as the “cure” for the Depression in the manner you describe, I’m not sure it was the mobilization of the economy for war that did the job. Demobilization could easily have just put all the returning soldiers back into breadlines (there was a brief post-war recession). While pent-up US consumer demand had something to do with it, I think the post-war economic boom had more to do with being the “last economy standing”. The US emerged from the war with its industrial and population centers conspicuously not bombed into rubble, and thus was perfectly positioned to be the primiary supplier manufactured goods to the rest of the world.

So I think the only way the end of the Depression qualifes as a “Hitler-produced Good” is in the same way that you can see the Chicago Fire has having produced a great reconstruction boom.

Well, though- now thanks to those tests we have REALLY specific information though on what happens. Pretty much ALL our data for hypothermia and what happens specifically as the body breaks down over time comes only from the Nazi medical records. They also had some excellent studies on Malaria, drowning, and the pathophysiology of altitude sickness/decompression sickness, as well as seeing how the effects of Sulfa drugs would work on the human body vs. various diseases, and so on. The data has had an iffy past though, with some people refusing to use/acknowledge it, while others have realized that they cannot go any further without having to turn to the Nazi Data in order to continue their researchli.[/li]
So the Nazi Medical data though completely unethical, is still useful in some areas of research simply because we could not replicate such data without infringing on modern ethics. That data was able to quickly and horrifyingly bypass safeguards and advance human knowledge by basically using the best possible test subjects for a variety of horrible things.

But if you’re looking for positives- it certainly has provided benefits to advancing science, and also for better creating ethical standards so that such things won’t happen again.

Oops, timed out on a revision.

Interestingly, something similar could arguably be said of the doctrinal and qualitative superiority of the German Army at the beginning of WWII – A lot of the groundwork was laid by the General Staff in the Weimar era, particularly General von Seeckt. In this as so many other things, the Nazis merely exploited what fell into their hands.

Well there are lots of ecomomists that make excellent points that Germany could’ve paid back the reperations fairly easily if there had been the political will to do so.

If you recall in the Franco-Prussian War, Prussia (soon to be Germany) luimbered France with huge reperations. And the French astounded everyone by paying it back and quick. In fact this jolted the French economy and put France on an economic upswing.

So you can reasonably argue that Germany could’ve paid back reperations and that didn’t shatter the economy.

As for Hitler, well lots of other countries had dictatorships. Notably Italy, Spain and the Soviet Union. So you could’ve even seen a Germany under a dictator but one not so ruthless.

The medical data the Nazis did was so poorly recorded and researched that it isn’t worth much. This has gone down as “people don’t want to use it 'cause of the unethical way it was done,” but it was simplistic and poor quality and outdated even by the 50s.

Hitler’s autobahn was a positive thing.

The problem is almost everything Hitler did that was good, was militaristic in nature. For instance, he pulled Germany out of the depression by military spending. And that is what happened in the USA too. But because Germany was totally devistated at the end of the war, nothing good came out of that spending, as oppsed to the USA which was pretty much untouched by the war so it got rich.

You can find good in anything, so it’s incorrect to say “no good” came from Hitler, but outside of the autobahn it’s hard to find any lasting thing.

Oh you could say thing like the V-2 rockets, which were used as the basis for space travel was good, but there’s no reason to think someone else wouldn’t have thought of it later on. Perhaps you could claim it sped up the process of nuclear power and space exploration but again, there’s no reason to think it would’nt have happened without Hitler or WWII.