Adolf Hitler and vegetarianism
In addition to being a teetotaler and a non-smoker, Adolf Hitler has been regarded by some historians as a vegetarian. On the other hand, biographer Robert Payne contends that Hitler's alleged asceticism and vegetarianism were fictional propaganda spread by Joseph Goebbels to emphasize Hitler's self-control and total dedication to Germany. It has been theorized that Hitler's diet may have been based on Richard Wagner's historical theories which connected the future of Germany with vegetarianism.
Contemporary accounts 
|“||Do you know that your Führer is a vegetarian, and that he does not eat meat because of his general attitude toward life and his love for the world of animals? Do you know that your Führer is an exemplary friend of animals, and even as a chancellor, he is not separated from the animals he has kept for years?...The Führer is an ardent opponent of any torture of animals, in particular vivisection, and has declared to terminate those conditions...thus fulfilling his role as the savior of animals, from continuous and nameless torments and pain.||”|
In a November, 1938 article for the English magazine Homes & Gardens describing Hitler's mountain home, The Berghof, Ignatius Phayrethe wrote, "A life-long vegetarian at table, Hitler's kitchen plots are both varied and heavy in produce. Even in his meatless diet Hitler is something of a gourmet — as Sir John Simon and Anthony Eden were surprised to note when they dined with him in the Chancellry at Berlin. His Bavarian chef, Herr Kannenberg, contrives an imposing array of vegetarian dishes, savoury and rich, pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate, and all conforming to the dietic standards which Hitler exacts."
According to stenographic transcripts translated by Hugh Trevor-Roper of conversations between Hitler and his inner circle which took place between July 1941 and November 1944, Hitler regarded himself as a vegetarian. These conversations were gathered together under the title Hitler's Table Talk. Written notes taken at the time were transcribed and then were edited by Martin Bormann. According to these transcripts dated November 11, 1941, Hitler said, "One may regret living at a period when it's impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume. But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian." On January 12, 1942, he said, "The only thing of which I shall be incapable is to share the sheiks' mutton with them. I'm a vegetarian, and they must spare me from their meat." In a diary entry dated April 26, 1942, Joseph Goebbels described Hitler as a committed vegetarian, writing,
An extended chapter of our talk was devoted by the Führer to the vegetarian question. He believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity. Of course he knows that during the war we cannot completely upset our food system. After the war, however, he intends to tackle this problem also. Maybe he is right. Certainly the arguments that he adduces in favor of his standpoint are very compelling.
Finally, in his table talks, Hitler spoke about vegetarianism on April 25, 1942 at midday, about Roman soldiers eating fruits and cereals and the importance of raw vegetables. He places the emphasis on scientific arguments such as naturalists' observations and chemical efficacy. Hitler also showed anti-meat tendencies in his personal life. Hitler disapproved of cosmetics since they contained animal by-products. He frequently teased his mistress Eva Braun about her habit of wearing makeup.
Second hand accounts 
People familiar with Hitler's diet indicate that he ate meat prior to the Second World War but adopted a vegetarian diet some time in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Dione Lucas, his cook before the war, claimed that he would eat stuffed pigeon, Bavarian sausages and sliced ham. Margot Wölk, who became his unwilling food taster during the war (in order to ensure that the food was not poisoned), stated that all the food she tested for Hitler was vegetarian, and she recalled no meat or fish.
Traudl Junge, who became Hitler's secretary in 1942, reported that he "always avoided meat" but that his Austrian cook Kruemel sometimes added a little animal broth or fat to his meals. "Mostly the Fuehrer would notice the attempt at deception, would get very annoyed and then get tummy ache," Junge said. "At the end he would only let Kruemel cook him clear soup and mashed potato." In addition, Marlene von Exner who became Hitler's dietician in 1943, reportedly added bone marrow to his soups without his knowledge because she "despised" his vegetarian diet. Hitler's physician, Theodor Morell, who from 1936 almost until Hitler's death by suicide in 1945, reportedly gave him "quack supplements" which contained animal components. Injected preparations contained placenta, bovine testosterone and extracts containing seminal vesicles and prostate to combat depression; at the time, extracts from animal glands were popularly believed to be "elixirs of youth".
Modern day analysis 
Food writer Bee Wilson is of the opinion that: "His distaste for meat knew no pity of animals." She went on to note that: "At mealtimes he often boasted - in graphic detail - of a slaughterhouse he had visited in Ukraine. It amused him to spoil carnivorous guests' appetites." This idea, however, is not supported by the BBC series The Nazis: A Warning from History. In this series an eyewitness account tells of Hitler watching movies (which he did very often). If ever a scene showed (even fictional) cruelty to or death of an animal, Hitler would cover his eyes and look away until someone alerted him the scene was over. The documentary also commented on the German animal welfare laws that the Nazis introduced, which were unparalleled at the time. The German psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm, believed that Hitler's vegetarianism was actually a means of atoning for the death of his half-niece Geli Raubal, as well as a means of proving to himself and others that he was incapable of killing.
On the other hand, author Rynn Berry, a vegetarian and animal rights advocate, maintains that although Hitler reduced the amount of meat in his diet, he never stopped eating meat completely for any significant length of time. Berry claims that many historians mistakenly use the term "vegetarian" to describe a "flexitarian" i.e. someone who simply reduces their meat consumption. Berry quotes a 1937 New York Times article which labels Hitler a vegetarian and in the very next sentence states that he "occasionally relishes a slice of ham and relieves the tediousness of his diet with such delicacies as caviar"; Berry points out that even as early as 1911 this would have been known as an incorrect use of the term "vegetarian".
Biographer Robert Payne, in his biography of Hitler, The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler (Praeger, 1973) theorizes that the image of Hitler as a vegetarian ascetic was deliberately fostered by propaganda minster Joseph Goebbels. In the book, The Mind of Adolf Hitler, it is said:
"If he (Hitler) does not eat meat, drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke, it is not due to the fact that he has some kind of inhibition or does it because he believes it will improve his health. He abstains from these because he is following the example of the great German, Richard Wagner, or because he has discovered that it increases his energy and endurance to such a degree that he can give much more of himself to the creation of the new German Reich."
However, Alexander Cockburn writes:
Nazi leaders were noted for love of their pets and for certain animals, notably apex predators like the wolf and the lion. Hitler, a vegetarian and hater of hunting, adored dogs and spent some of his final hours in the company of Blondi, whom he would take for walks outside the bunker at some danger to himself. He had a particular enthusiasm for birds and most of all for wolves. [...] Goebbels said, famously, ‘The only real friend one has in the end is the dog. . . The more I get to know the human species, the more I care for my Benno.’ Goebbels also agreed with Hitler that ‘meat eating is a perversion in our human nature,’ and that Christianity was a ‘symptom of decay’, since it did not urge vegetarianism. [...] On the one hand, monsters of cruelty towards their fellow humans; on the other, kind to animals and zealous in their interest. In their very fine essay on such contradictions, Arnold Arluke and Boria Sax offer three observations. One, as just noted, many Nazi leaders harboured affection towards animals but antipathy to humans. Hitler was given films by a maharaja which displayed animals killing people. The Fuehrer watched with equanimity. Another film showed humans killing animals. Hitler covered his eyes and begged to be told when the slaughter was over.
See also 
- van der Vat, Dan (1997). The Good Nazi: The Life and Lies of Albert Speer. Houghton Mifflin books. p. 62. ISBN 0-395-65243-X.. See "Hitler's Mountain Home", Homes & Gardens, Nov 1938, pp. 193-195: "Hitler himself never smokes, nor does he take alcohol in any form." See also: Adolf Hitler's medical health, and Smoking ban. The first tobacco ban was imposed by the Nazi Party under direct orders from Adolf Hitler.
- Rudacille 2001, p. 88.
- Payne, Robert (2002). The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. New York: Dorset Press. p. 346. "Hitler's asceticism played an important part in the image he projected over Germany. According to the widely believed legend, he neither smoked nor drank, nor did he eat meat or have anything to do with women. Only the first was true. He drank beer and diluted wine frequently, had a special fondness for Bavarian sausages and kept a mistress, Eva Braun, who lived with him quietly in the Berghof. There had been other discreet affairs with women. His asceticism was fiction invented by Goebbels to emphasize his total dedication, his self-control, the distance that separated him from other men. By this outward show of asceticism, he could claim that he was dedicated to the service of his people."
- Proctor 1999, p. 136. "Several of [Hitler's] biographers point to the influence of nationalist antisemitic composer, Richard Wagner." See also: Moore, Gregory. (2002). Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81230-5. pp. 155-157:
- Arluke & Sanders 1996, pp. 144, 150.
- Arluke & Sanders 1996, p. 148. Quoted from Wuttke-Groneberg, W. (1980). Medizin im Nationalsozialismus. Tübingen: Schwabische Verlaggesellschaft.
- Phayre, Ignatius (November 1938). "Hitler's Mountain Home". Homes & Gardens. pp. 193–195.
- Bullock, Alan (1993). Hitler and Stalin : Parallel Lives. Vintage. p. 679. ISBN 0-679-72994-1.
- Hitler, Adolph; Hugh Trevor-Roper (trans.) (2000). "Hitler's Table Talk: 1941-1944". Section 66 (Enigma Books). ISBN 1-929631-05-7.
- Goebbels, Joseph; Louis P. Lochner (trans.) (1993). The Goebbels Diaries. Charter Books. p. 679. ISBN 0-441-29550-9.
- Hitler, A., & Cameron, Norman (2000). Hitler's Table Talk. Enigma Books. ISBN 1-929631-05-7
- Nikkhah, Roya (9 February 2013). "Hitler's food taster speaks of Führer's vegetarian diet". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Hitler's final witness". World: Europe (BBC News). 2002-02-04. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Wilson, Bee (October 9, 1998). "Mein Diat". New Statesman (London) 127 (4406): 40+. Retrieved 2009-07-17.[dead link]
- Berry 2004
- Doyle 2005, pp. 75-82
- Read, Anthony (2004). The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 327. ISBN 0-393-04800-4.
- Fromm, Erich (1992). The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 450. ISBN 0-8050-1604-X.
- Berry, "Why Hitler Was Not a Vegetarian"
- "The Mind of Adolf Hitler", Walter C. Langer, New York 1972 p.54-55
- Cockburn, Alexander (August 18, 2005). "Vegetarians, Nazis for Animal Rights, Blitzkrieg of the Ungulates". CounterPunch. Retrieved April 06, 2013.
- Arluke, Arnold; Clinton Sanders (1996). Regarding Animals. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-441-4.
- Berry, Rynn (2004). Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover. Pythagorean Books. ISBN 0-9626169-6-6.
- Berry, Rynn. "Why Hitler Was Not a Vegetarian". Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- Doyle, D. (February 2005). "Adolf Hitler's Medical Care" (PDF). : J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 35 (1): 75–82. PMID 15825245. Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Proctor, Robert N. (1999). The Nazi War on Cancer. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07051-2.
- Rudacille, Deborah (2001). The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The War Between Animal Research and Animal Protection. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23154-6.
Further reading