Adolf Hitler was a genius. And every genius needs a powerful source of inspiration. Especially the genius who is obsessed with the monumental, the grandiose, the spectacular.
According to his friend Kubizek, Adolf Hitler (among his grandiose architectural projects) planned to solve Vienna’s housing problems by designing and building new houses for workers and plotted the grandiose cultural rebuilding of Linz and even Vienna by tearing down the old buildings and building the new, grandiose and magnificent ones.
Three decades later he will tear down two whole countries – Germany and Austria – unite them and transform this union into a radically new civilization. Nazi Germany. The Third Reich.
Inspired in part by music (which was not at all uncommon). Music by a very specific composer – Richard Wagner. Who was a unique and genuinely great composer – and a rebel. Like Adolf Hitler decades later, Wagner performed a revolution – only a revolution in music, not politics.
Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works and ultimately revolutionized opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art“).
He synthesized the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts (with music subsidiary to drama) creating an immensely powerful synergy and thus producing an extremely powerful impact on the audience. Essentially creating the whole alternative world and immersing his listeners there.
It was this alternative (and enormously emotionally attractive) ideal world where he could escape from emotionally uncomfortable (to put it mildly) “real world” that made Wagner so attractive to Adolf Hitler. It helped, of course, that Wagner was perceived as ardent anti-Semite (although whether he actually was one is highly debatable).
His friend Kubizek later recalled:
“Listening to Wagner meant to him not a simple visit to the theatre, but the opportunity of being transported into that extraordinary state which Wagner’s music produced in him, that trance, that escape into a mystical dream-world”
This dream-world is called an “alternative state of mind” which is highly useful to any creative individual (let alone genius).
Ian Kershaw added in his biography of Hitler:
“It was a world created with grandiose vision by an artist of genius, an outsider and revolutionary, all-or-nothing refuser of compromise, challenger of the existing order, dismissive of the need to bow to the bourgeois ethic of working for a living surmounting rejection and persecution, overcoming adversity to attain greatness.”
And that’s exactly what Hitler did three decades later. Inspired by Wagner (and other, less artistic, sources), being an outsider (he was an Austrian living in Germany), a revolutionary, all-or-nothing refuser of compromise, challenger of the existing order, dismissive of the need to bow to the bourgeois ethic of working for a living surmounting rejection and persecution, he did create an alternative world.
The whole alternative civilization, actually. Nazi Germany. The Third Reich. Overcame adversity (impossible obstacles, actually) and thus attained genuine greatness.
In his biography of Hitler, Ian Kershaw wrote:
“Wagner was for Hitler the artistic giant he had dreamed of becoming but knew he could never emulate”
Mr. Kershaw was wrong. Dead wrong. Adolf Hitler became much, much more successful than Richard Wagner. Wagner composed operas and Hitler created the whole real world. An alternative world. The whole alternative civilization.
Adolf Hitler once said (to Colonel von Stauffenberg, believe it or not):
“If you do not understand Wagner, you will not understand national-socialism”
Which was absolutely true. Wagner created a complete alternative world, and national-socialism (Nazi Germany, actually) was exactly that.
Consequently, it appears that it was Richard Wagner (a composer, of all people) who provided the crucial input and insight which enabled Adolf Hitler to finally discover his genuine Mission (first subconsciously and then consciously).
He was to destroy the existing political systems (Weimar Republic and Austrian Republic), unite them into the Greater Germany and transform this union into a radically new alternative civilization. The Nazi Germany. The Third Reich.
And then lead the Third Reich to victory in the apocalyptic battle with the existential threat – the alien nations and races.
Which he successfully did. Adolf Hitler did create the Third Reich and, although he lost the Second World War, he did win the apocalyptic battle with the existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Christian civilization – the Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin. Thus saving all of the above from destruction.