Is Xi Jinping China's Hitler
My Germany: Was Adolf Hitler a fan of China?
"Badly nourished, hollow-cheeked with dark hair that hit him in the face" and "shabbily dressed" is how a former roommate in a Vienna men's dormitory described Adolf Hitler in 1910 when he was living there as a postcard painter. At that time he had just as little idea of his later political rise in Germany as his few acquaintances.
Then, by chance, he met a Chinese couple named Cheung who fell in love with him. He was fed and generously supported financially. After the annexation of Austria, Hitler let search for his former patrons - in vain. Hitler expressed his deep gratitude to the Cheung family in his autobiography. This anecdote is often told on Chinese social networks. It was particularly widespread in the 70th year of Hitler's death.
The expert has no evidence
However, it doesn't seem credible to me. In any case, there is no corresponding passage in "Mein Kampf". I ask the historian Peter Longerich, who published a thousand-page "Hitler biography" last November.
Factual and rich in detail - the new Hitler biography
Before that, he had already put the life stories of Himmler and Goebbels on paper. If anyone is familiar with Hitler and the Nazi dictatorship, it is Peter Longerich. In his scientifically dry way he replies: "I haven't found any confirmation for this. But you can't completely rule it out." If he had actually had contacts with a Chinese family, he would have had reason to keep it quiet because of his racist attitudes.
Because Hilter also considered Asians to be inferior. "During the Nazi era there were attempts in Germany to prevent marriages between Germans and Asians," said Longerich. Hitler made only one exception to his aversion to the Asians: "He admired the Japanese as a warrior people." In addition, there were strategic considerations: through an alliance with Japan, the attention of the USA should be directed more strongly to the Pacific region. This saves me the trouble of dispelling another rumor: that Hitler really couldn't stand the Japanese and actually preferred an alliance with the Chinese.
Pretty much best friends?
The website of the People's Newspaper, the organ of the Communist Party of China, is also involved in the creation of the myth. A report entitled "Love and Hate Between Chiang Kai-shek and Hitler" caused a stir. The nationalist president praised German virtues and sent his younger son to Berlin to learn from the Germans. That may be true. But then the author put forward a spectacular thesis: "When the National Socialists came to power, both countries went on their honeymoon."
Peter Longerich is familiar with the Nazi era
The posting of German military experts to China was cited as an example. Including the former head of the Army Command, Hans von Seeckt. But this exchange had started before Hitler took power. "In Nazi Germany, these advisors were not seen as emissaries from the Reich, but rather as loners," says Peter Longerich. Hitler put an end to the more pro-Chinese course of the Foreign Office when Japan attacked China in 1937. "Hitler and his foreign policy advisor Joachim von Ribbentrop sided with Japan in the Sino-Japanese conflict," says the historian.
Then what about the affectionate correspondence between the German dictator and the Chinese president that the Chinese author writes about? And what about the small gifts between the two of them that were supposed to keep the deep friendship? If Hitler had actually felt so much for the anti-communist Chiang Kai-shek, then he would have hidden his feelings damn deep. Because the historian Peter Longerich is not aware of any pro-Chinese statements during the so-called table talks between Hitler and his confidants.
A fan of Chinese culture?
DW editor Zhang Danhong
The legend of Hitler's fondness for Chinese culture is also unknown to him. According to this, German translations of Chinese classics are said to have piled up on his bed. Hilter is said to have been particularly impressed by Sunzi, who philosophized about the art of war over 2500 years ago. When Erwin Rommel was appointed commander in chief of the German Africa Corps, Hitler is said to have given him a copy of Sunzi's strategy book with his own comments, which moved the general to tears.
But rumors do not come true because they are adorned with countless details. Sunzi could not have been Hitler's role model, because the Chinese were a great pacifist. War is only waged if it cannot be avoided, is his top priority. If Hitler had adopted just a spark of Sunzi's wisdom, he would not have led Germany into the abyss.
The question remains, why do some Chinese want to bring their country closer to Hitler at the bend and break? The man with the anachronistic beard is often admired. "In China I keep hearing that a relatively small country like Germany occupied and defeated almost all of Europe during World War II. That was a great achievement," says China expert Thomas Heberer. In his opinion, behind the admiration lies the desire for a strong leader who unites the country and makes it strong and powerful on an authoritarian basis.
The Chinese, however, hardly know anything about the unprecedented crimes of National Socialism. "Chinese students know no more about the background of the Second World War than the Germans do about the Opium War," writes Sven Hänke in his recently published book "Naked Wedding: How I Learned to Love China". The former DAAD lecturer tells of his experiences in the Middle Kingdom in a humorous way. "When you tell a taxi driver that you are from Germany, he usually says: 'Germany is good. Football is good. Hitler is good.' I always answer: 'Hitler not good. Hitler bad. Football good.' "It would be best if he should add:" Hitler, Japan, friends. " The fact that the alleged idol has allied itself with China's historical archenemy, of all places, should also rob his Chinese fans of the last illusion.
Zhang Danhong was born in Beijing and has lived in Germany for over 20 years.
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