5 Reasons You're Picturing Nazis Wrong

#2. They Weren't All White Dudes

You're a savvy reader of Cracked, so you already know the German army wasn't just one big sea of broad, blond-haired Nordic faces. Hitler himself looked about as Nordic as Cheech Marin. But you probably assumed they were all white, because the Nazis sorta had a thing about cultural diversity. And it was a thing they held to strictly, except for the one time a bunch of Indians joined up to fight for Hitler:

The world came this close to a Hugo Boss turban.

Well, OK -- actually, they joined up to liberate India from British control. But in those heady days, Germany seemed like the best shot at making that happen, so around 5,000 Hindi and Muslim patriots found themselves fighting under the swastika. And kind of sucking at it, to be entirely honest.

German Federal Archives
Here we see them with Irwin Rommel, who was shoring up his "not racist" street cred for after the war.

The Indische Legion fought briefly at Normandy until they realized what utter bullshit that whole battle was and opted to fuck off for Switzerland. They were lightly shot at by French Moroccans, captured, and then shipped back to India and jail, because no one should get away with helping Nazis and not serve a little time.

Unless they're really good at math.

#1. The Nazi Leaders Were All Huge Nerds

Ever wonder what it'd be like if a bunch of socially stunted Internet nerds found themselves running a nation? That bizarre fantasy was once reality. Adolph Hitler, history's most despicable warlord, was obsessed with a children's book series all of his life. The author was a dude named Karl May, who wrote novels like this:

May's books were a series of young-adult adventure novels written about thrilling conflicts in a distant and exotic land: the Old West. For Hitler, they might as well have been the works of R.A. Salvatore or J.K. Rowling. It was the kind of books young kids read to distract themselves from the fact that the real world is way less interesting than gallivanting around a fantastic land with weapons and awesome hats. Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, whatever ridiculous name it happened to be, we all had at least one heroic character we obsessed over as kids.

Hitler's obsession never ended. Once he wound up in command of the world's most powerful military, his obsession went well beyond simple fandom and into true nerdy obsession. For his entire life, the Fuhrer was utterly convinced that May was an unrivaled genius. He considered this pacifist young-adult fiction author with no military experience to be a strategic mastermind. Hitler's attitudes toward the Blitzkrieg and even the invasion of Russia were based in part on this fucking guy:

See? It's not just my crazy ass drawing these conclusions. When that whole "invading Russia during the winter" thing turned out to be exactly as bad an idea as it's been for everyone but the Mongols, Hitler doubled down on his ridiculous fantasy novels, demanding that his generals read more of these children's books so they could finally grasp the tactical genius of a man whose actual fighting experience didn't extend beyond the common cold.

Heinrich Himmler, meanwhile, was obsessed with knights and magic. He turned Hitler's bodyguard and fearsome instrument of genocide, the SS, into a mock knightly order, complete with their own castle and round table. Inside his (admittedly kind of cool) medieval fortress, Himmler would hold bizarre magical rituals and presumably scream "LIGHTNING BOLT" while throwing Koosh balls at his trusted adjutants. Yes, at the heart of the Third Reich was a goddamn LARP.

Why do evil madmen get all the best fortresses?

Joseph Goebbels, on the third horrible mutant hand, was an A/V geek. You might have guessed that from the whole "He was the Nazi propaganda minister" thing, but his love of film went a little beyond normal interest. As Russian soldiers drank Berlin down like a big, shrapnely glass of vodka, Goebbels urged his employees to die horribly because in a hundred years, it'd make a sweet-ass movie. His last words to them were, in essence, "If you die well, they'll pick Ryan Gosling to play you in the movie version of this. If you die poorly, I dunno ... Nicolas Cage, probably."

Hermann Goring is the only Nazi high official who doesn't fit cleanly into a nerdy stereotype. And he was fat, so I'd say we're at least halfway there.

Mountain Dew: Code Red was his thirstenfuhrer.

Robert Evans runs Cracked's personal experience article team, and does a bunch of other stuff too. Here are more of his Internet writings.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

Robert Evans

  • Rss

More by Robert Evans:

See More

Other Columnists:

See More
To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!