“What people noticed about Hitler was not the madness of his actions; even the most hostile observer soon saw that behind the first deceptive cloud of noise and excitement there was an amazing certainty and purposiveness in his movements. But what always surprised men who spoke with Hitler face to face was the poverty of his arguments and explanations, particularly in private conversations, where it was not brilliance or wit that mattered, but thinking.”
“The lack of demonstrable reality in nearly all his utterances permits us to characterize the unquestionable intellectual power which carried him so far and so high as a stream in which all substance is pulverized.”
“Hitler’s indifference to facts which he does not regard as vitally important explains his strange relation to books. He does not allow them to instruct him, but only to confirm his opinions. He has given us his ideas on how books should be read: Do not read too much, for that will only give you useless ballast; this kind of learning only removes you from the world. Feeling, however, enables the expert reader ‘to perceive at once everything which in his opinion is fit to be permanently retained as expedient or generally worth knowing.'”
“‘You would be astonished,’ said a man who knew him well, ‘to see Adolf Hitler’s library. Whole walls full of the most beautiful books. And all of them unread.'”
– Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer, 1944
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