The dark charisma of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler was far more than the frenzied madman of popular perception, argues Laurence Rees. Here was a charismatic politician, brilliant at articulating the fears and desires of the people

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler sits at a table facing a group of young uniformed National Socialists crowded into a small room in the 'Braune Haus' or Brown House, Munich, Germany, c1935. (Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the October 2012 issue of BBC History Magazine

Stop for a moment and imagine Adolf Hitler. Picture him in your mind. Who do you see? I imagine you see a figure not unlike the portrayal of Hitler in the film Downfall (2004). A shouting, aggressive, unhinged character. Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler in Downfall, shook and screamed so much that one key scene from the movie has become an internet phenomenon, with comical subtitles on a host of subjects being set to Ganz’s incredible ranting.

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