Hitler’s Talking Dogs

Pick your poison: killer sausages, talking dogs or toxic schnapps?

Comments: 105

  1. Does this really sound very different from the stuff they found at Compound bin Laden in Pakistan? Or the fatwas against political cartoonists, novelists, and film producers? Crazies are crazies are crazies no matter what the era or location?

    Give the US a few decades, and see what kind of documents are uncovered from the Bachmann presidential campaign. Her husband is out there "converting" homosexuals. Lord knows what she has planned for the rest of us once they take over the White House.

    Woof. Need I say more?


  2. It's interesting that these dogs apparently put up with the Nazis -- some dogs are pretty good at sensing out dangerous people and giving them a hard time, but maybe the Nazis did away with those. Or was there a canine Resistance, too?

    At least in this country, we relegated the talking horse (Mr. Ed, and nearly twenty years later) to TV.


  3. Sigh... Wonder if because of the plans you courageously disclose here, the 'German Shepherd' came to signify pro-nazi tendencies symbolically, especially its depictions in cinema, and when used in Allied Nations where the evil behind Nazism is taken for granted.

  4. I am just a high school student that always check the essay on the NY Times. I like this article, because it gave me different thoughts about Hitler. I always thought that he is a straight and mean person. Also, I want to know how to write like a adult. I want to be able to let other people understand my writing be giving really clear thoughts.

  5. I think rational folks should all be comfortably aware by now that Hitler and all his nazi followers were completely insane, just from their murderous habits and belief in 'aryan supremacy'. The talking dog nonsense is really just unnecessary icing on the cake.

    Hitler is totally old news though, I think a better column would have been on the destructive insanity of the current dictators of the world, like al-Bashir in Sudan, Kim Jong Il in North Korea, Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and far too many more.

  6. Hitler was a dedicated vegetarian, and the Nazis did a lot for the ecology. No, this is not a joke about them having killed more than 50 million people. They really did.

    One cannot escape the impression that they displaced their affection towards animals. There were very strict laws about taking care of animals (although SS officers in some places were trained with extreme cruelty towards kitten).

    On the battiness side, Mussolini believed in death rays (a popular belief at the time). The most amazing fact of all, though, is that, after France and Britain declared war to Hitler (September 3, 1939), the USA declared France and Britain "belligerent countries" and took sanctions against them.

    And this time one cannot accuse Murdoch: he was in primary school in Perth, Australia, son of his father, a press magnate..

    Not to be outdone by the U.S. Congress, American plutocrats ("Ethyl Corporation of America") sent hundreds of tons of lead tetraethyl, so that Hitler's Air Force could keep on fighting the French Air Force. America, you have got a lot to learn, to understand your masters.


  7. A review of old Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines from war times will show that wacky ideas flood societies in conflict. The Third Reich was as imaginative as any, but not that much more looney than what the U.S. came up with. We built bombs with bats that carried small incendiary devices, knowing they would search out attics and eaves to roost! Examples are endless, but the real game-changers are always the most obvious.
    My dog often talks to me. He's not very respectful, considering where his meals originate.

  8. Hang on! The plot to plant sleeper agents around the world may have been put in place. It may even have worked. It could possibly explain the recent actions of the "Allies" governments for the last couple of decades and the acute, intensifying ills from which we suffer. Somehow we seem to have reached the early 1930's level and the subsequent years seem to be just around the corner!! Very Germanic, indeed. Their talking dogs seem to have been replaced by our talking heads - from Politicians to Cabinet members to Bigtime bumbling bureaucrats to Generals.

  9. As always, Ms Dowd writes a delightful and inspiring prose, I love to read her insights. My only comment is to object to the statement that Caligula and Nero were crazy dictators. History is always written by the winner who may have the incentive to change what actually took place. Our knowledge about the early Roman emperors relies almost exclusively on Suetonius' work in the early second century, known in English as "The twelve Caesars". Writing under Trajan and Hadrian, he had all to win by blackening their predecessors. Augustus was a God so he could not be attacked but instead his wife Livia and his daughter Julia were vilified, as were his successors Tiberius, Caligula and Nero. Of course Nero persecuted the Christians and crucified Peter, so would any other emperor of the time have done. But there is little evidence that he set fire to Rome.

    A parallel is Shakespeare, who in real life was most lkely Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford. Writing under Elizabeth I and being her lover, the probable father of her only known child, he had to glorify her father Henry VIII and her grandfather Henry VII. And the earlier king, Richard III, thus became a hunchback, deformed both physically and morally. However, it can easily be shown that Richard III, the last York King of England, had nothing to win from the death of the two princes in the Tower of London. Henry VII did and he followed it up by having murdered all other potential rivals.

    Professor Johan Lybeck, PhD
    Noailhac, France

  10. Our government is involved in such craziness and never will see the light of day till we are defeated and someone gets to rummage through CIA and FBI files and the like. Even the Freedom of Information Act is a joke with censored lines, pages, sections. You can get completely censored documents.

  11. "It’s very rare to find a rational dictator. "
    It is an over generalization!
    East Asia was at one time or another full of authoritarian rulers who transformed their ramshackle economies into world economic powerhouses--the east Asian miracles. Lee Kuan Yew is a prime example of this genre. He was out and out authoritarian yet very rational in his economic decisions.

  12. How about comparing these loopy ideas to some of the nutty things the Pentagon has looked into over the years like ESP and trying to train dolphins for underwater spying and demolition (I assume that's no longer of interest now that drones are all the rage). I don't think the Nazi's had a monopoly on crazy schemes. In the end it was Hitler's certainty of the correctness of his military and strategic "intuition" that brought his regime to ruin. Kinds of reminds you of "W"'s decision making style doesn't it?

  13. This juxtaposition of Hitler and puppies seems shocking at first, but crazy people have often demonstrated an odd affection for their pets. Come to think of it, Hitler was one of those people who start to resemble their pets. In the old newsreels of his speeches, he did sound like a barking dog himself. He also snarled, howled and I am pretty sure there was a lot of foaming at the mouth and drooling from all the drugs he took. As far as teaching his dogs to talk, I think it was just the opposite. He learned his vocalizations from them, but unfortunately picked up their bad habits too. According to Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", Adolf would collapse on the floor and start chewing the rug when he was frustrated. But it's edifying to know researchers have discovered new dimensions to his craziness. Just think of all the new episodes in the History Channel's ongoing series on Nazi atrocities.

    More heartwarmingly, researchers have also shown that dogs are even smarter than we thought. They surpass chimps in language recognition, anyway. On a recent PBS Nova ScienceNow show, Chaser the Border Collie showed off her recognition of more than 1000 words and even displayed some rudimentary deductive reasoning skills. But chimps, our closest genetic relatives, are not quite as swift when it comes to language. Like us, they do like to fight and kill just for sport and they are extremely talented at constructing rudimentary weapons. It's just too bad that humans are not closer to dogs in the unconditional love department.


  14. I don't know the quote about power, how it destroys and absolute power destroys absolutely. But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I think that common sense is when we have the same sense in common. I can only hope we share the same sense that we care about each other. In order for anythings to materialize, it has to matter. You matter, I hope that, that's the spirit of things.

  15. So now we know whence the CIA derived its clever anti-Castro plans, like making his beard fall out, sending him a poisoned wetsuit, and placing explosive seashells in his favorite diving locales. Great minds think alike.

  16. Can we have a headline contest? My entry:

    "Mein Furrer"

  17. Most of the Nazi High Command engaged in Necromancy, the Occult and various forms of Black Magic. They were all Pagans and Occultists. Many engaged in bizarre and wicked practices in their personal lives.

    That Adolf Hitler was batty along with being evil is already patently obvious to any one who engages in an even cursory reading of the History of the Nazis.

    That Hitler and his High Command were "batty" is the least of the shocking horrors involved in their wicked regime.

  18. In addition to loving animals, Hitler was also a vegetarian, a non-smoker and a teetotaler. Kind of ruins the image of all the good people running around trying to make the world perfect.

  19. Aren't tabloids fascinating entertainment? It's always fun to write about facts without doing any analysis.

    However, if we sneak back in time to the 1860s and then forward in time, we find that "science" was the universal fascination much as computer games are in our current era. All the Western nations had a rising crescendo of magazines and magazine articles devoted to the latest scientific wonders. Magazine racks bulged with their abundance. It seemed anything was possible. Rumors were rife.

    Naturally, in the crisis of war, the attitude was, "Got a problem? Create a science wonder." Such wonders had become an expectation of western societies. It was part of the propaganda used by both sides. In 1940 and early 1941, science and technology magazines featured many stories about fictional military wonders, U.S. and German.

    No doubt a myriad of modest experiments were tried in Germany just as occurred in the U.S. and the UK. No doubt some of those were reported by agents reporting anything unusual.

    Let's not, however, contribute to the idea that the horrific slaughter of WW II can be laid at the feet of a totally crazy Hitler. The man was a cunning, ruthless sociopath. He had hundreds of thousands ready and willing to abandon human ethics and decency to implement mass murder and destruction to avenge imagined wrongs.

    The great failing was that Western civilized nations kept deluding themselves that Germany was, "...not that bad." In a December, 1938, "Life" magazine article about Kristalnacht, a German woman tells the reporter, "Tell your readers we're not like this." The West could have stamped out the Hitler-led menace when the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935, or after the 1936 spectacle. The West preferred delusion to the reality in front of its eyes.

    Sadly, it seems we're back to preferring to avenge imagined wrongs, embracing the comfort of delusion to, in this case, avoid the funding needed for a national recovery for all Americans.

  20. So much time has passed that the documents which claim the calumnies that Ms. Dowd relays are questionable at best.

    Suffice to say that anyone who encouraged the Genocide of millions of Catholic Christians, Homosexuals, the Disabled and Gypsies along with Jews was deranged and "batty".

  21. Although the story has been weakly refuted, our CIA supposedly had a plan to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar. Not a lot different from the cigarettes-and-aspirin ploy. And Leona Helmsley left, what? $12 million to her pet poodle. Not sure how much loonier the "Furred Reich” is than was Helmsley.

    I'll own Hitler was insane, but he has company, and not just in Germany. Somewhere in America tonight, a lonely young man is climbing into bed with an inflatable doll who will accept his amorous advances without complaint.

    The Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com

  22. Adolph Elizabeth Hitler was crazy? I’m shocked-shocked.

  23. Maureen,

    Normally I enjoy reading your columns, but I cannot find the point of this rambling, gratuitous and insulting piece, or what it has anything with the issues we face today.

    My mother's family lived in Germany through the war. They were Volkdeutscher -- ethnic Germans brought to Germany from Romania by Hitler. The family was torn apart. My mother told me what it was like to be bombed and seeing big clouds of airplanes flying in the sky and the noise they made. She also described how after the war the cities were nothing but rubble. And how she was given a pair of shoes which were way too small, but they were the only shoes she had. How the Americans came in and treated them fairly, but then the Russians took over and they would shoot people. None of us in this time and place can even begin to understand that kind of experience.

    They may have fallen for Hitler, but the Germans suffered too, just as much as everyone else involved. Knowing my mother's experience, I believe the world is a lot less black and white than we lead ourselves to believe.

  24. This is news? Sounds a bit more like a historian desperate to publish scrounging around for any scraps that haven't yet been picked over. Hitler's lunacy was much, much more aptly illustrated by not-so-secret decisions he made.
    This stuff, albeit silly, is no more so than the KGB and their psychics or the CIA and their exploding cigars.

  25. Dear Ms. Dowd:

    My clairvoyant dog Polo checked in with the more than 100 of our relatives who were killed in the Holocaust and the response to your question, "Was Hitler crazier than we thought?" was a unanimous, "NO!".

    Polo did get a message from Neville Chamberlain, who apologized for not noticing that "crazy thing" at Munich in 1938.

    Polo would also like to know why if a top rate New York Times columnist feels a need to write about Hitler, we don't hear why people like Lars Von Trier think that it is now acceptable to explain to the world why Hitler was just a bit misunderstood and was probably a lot of fun at parties.

    While Polo's English is a lot better than my Jack Russell, I'll do my best to explain your answer to him.

  26. We should not forget that the CIA once concocted plans to kill Castro via poisoned cigars, and inserted eavesdropping equipment into the body of a cat. Ludicrous schemes are not confined to one country, nor are they all in the past.

  27. “At a Nazi study course, a talking dog was once asked ‘Who is Adolf Hitler?’ and replied ‘Mein Führer!”

    Liked that (true or not)!

    The Brits should declassify the Hitler files soon because we can all see how relatively sane Ghaddafi is these days.

    All this stuff about Murdoch in the UK media is such a dull substitute.

    Go Brits -- get the good stuff out !

    Don't make me call Mel Brooks. He's waiting in the wings now!!

  28. Why the US allow garbage like CIA and weapon producers who kill people for a living to use the most advanced technologies (EM mind control and EM scissors)? The answer is money. If a society is too money oriented, the results would be: greedy evils prevail.

    Hitler was only a fool who thought himself smart. Althouth he left a name for 70 years, but that may be deleted very soon, as human being evolve. Garbage like Hitler who kill people for a living would never be allowed to leave a name for whatever reason.

    Did you see any other country that allowed criminals and criminal heads (weapon producers) to use the most advanced technology besides America?

    I believe other planet also would not allow that happen because that will endanger their own planet not only endanger others. Aliens would not be so stupid to think that killing other people would not endanger themselves.

    Annie Xu

  29. I've long thought it probable that, in actual fact, Hitler was Beezelbub, and Stalin was Satan. Who cold out-slaughter the other? Stalin's wife killed herself, while Hitler and Eva and cronies killed themselves. Stalin was an ex-seminary student, who only visited his pious mother once in his 40-year demonic reign, and skipped her funeral altogether.
    Hitler turned on Stalin in Operation Barbarossa because the fallen angel inside him was unable to change its nature - like the scorpion crossing the river on the turtle's back, yet stinging it to death just the same. Hitler even adopted the lunatic notion that the Wehrmacht did not need winter clothing in the Russian campaign, their success was so assured.
    Neither Beezelbub nor Satan could stand the idea of worshipping the other. Between the two about 50 million Germans and Russians (Soviets) died, in a war that overall cost about 100 million lives, some accounts say.

  30. Thank God, the evil Hitler is long gone. If you were seriously concerned about all the evil he did, why do you not focus on today's evil?
    What about the fact that Afghanistan's opium trade has boomed ever since the occupation by the USA?
    What about the horrible drone strikes killing innocent people on an almost daily basis? Their bodies mutilated with intestines torn out; including innocent children and their mothers…
    What about Palestinians kept in Gaza like war criminals in a concentration camp? Mrs. Dowd, if you seriously want to criticize crimes you should focus more on the present evil where you can change something…..

  31. Some of these dogs were being trained as quality journalists.
    It was thought that only dogs would know how to place a lede so that it could be properly returned to and found where it actually may have been buried.

  32. A black irony of the Nazis' treatment of humans and animals: many of the experiments that the Nazis conducted on humans were "legal" by Nazi law, but would have been illegal if performed on animals, because the Nazis had introduced strict laws governing the use of animals in experiments.

  33. Today's current distate with dictatorship aside, it is fitting to remember one great "rational dictator" whose political skills, mastery of manipulation and unwavering self-discipline led her people and her nation to glory, respect and world dominance.

    Born into the ultimate of dysfunctional families (Daddy was Henvy VIII, Mommy the beheaded Anne Boleyn, and Sis "Bloody Mary"), Elizabeth I of England learned the art of power as a child. The chaos and sycophancy that marked her father's court served as life-long lessons to the young princess: never let personal whims get in the way of grand and admired leadership.

    In the religious wars of her age, Elizabeth remained calm and purposeful as she cleaned up an England left nearly bankrupt by her profligate father and bloodied by her dogmatic sister. In an age not known for it, her thoughtful compromises afforded both an unstable realm and the fledgling Church of England the chance to grow and prosper.

    Cunningly declaring herself a "weak and feeble woman," Elizabeth consolidated great and expansive power while always showing the Dukes and Lords and other members of Parliament her "heart and stomach of a King -- and a King of England, too!"

    In addition to supporting the early American expeditionary voyages, Elizabeth's reign included a decisive defeat of the Spanish Armada (ushering in over 300 years of English dominance in world affairs); a true English Renaissance in art and literature (many consider it no accident that William Shakespeare was one of her subjects), and the love and admiration of not only her people, but the grand opinion-makers of her day. Her nickname was "Good Queen Bess."

    In a post-revolutionary, post-modern America where comfortable and spoiled citizens and politicians alike never seem to get anything done, there is something compelling about this great (single!) woman who did it all with keen intelligence, rational ruthlessness and true Elizabethan style.

  34. At least when there in a dictator one can find the source of the lunacy, but what to do when there is a large segment of the society practicing similar ideas against a particular group of people in order to mentally and economically colonize them. Just check the history of the USA in Puerto Rico and some its scientists and will find similar practices: from sterilizing women without their knowledge, imposing the English language without any consideration as to what the population wanted (a failed experiment), expatriate the Spanish-speaking Catholic clergy and replaced it with USA nuns and priests to impose a different language and version of Christianity, documented cancer experiments that border on genocide, studying children by elite leading educational NYC  teacher education institutions in order to demonstrate that the natives were inferior intellectually, and some say chemicals used in warfare in the mythical rain forest  or some of the other smaller Puerto Rican islands (go to Vieques and Culebra) and hear their stories and illnesses. And such practices and dissemination of related information is still around but up north no one seems to care.

  35. Whilst there are no arguments about Hitler on this, much of all this, and variants thereof, has happened during the Cold War on both sides. Obsession results in strange things and it doesn't require megalomania to initiate them.

  36. Sigh...more treasures lost in the Dresden raids.

  37. The degree of Nazi crackpot character that you have depicted here is such that Qaddafi appears not to be in the same league. Compared to what the Nazis did, Qaddafi is a mere blemish on human character. And how does all this compare with the old stories that some crackpots in the CIA had proposed to develop a powder that the agents would have sprinkled in front of Castro in public to make his beard fall off?

  38. I'd like to add that the Brits love their dogs as much as the Germans do.
    Then and now!

  39. On the other hand Herr Hitler hated smoking so much that in the late 1930s he sponsored studies that concluded how dangerous cigarettes were. The rigorous investigations accurately determined the cause and effect smoking has with cancer. After the war the scientifically accurate results were hidden from the world primarily because of the power of cigarette manufaturers. (Ms Dowd, please do a follow-up re this aspect of der Fuehrer, i.e., no one is entirely evil?)

  40. None of this compares in craziness to what everybody already knows.

  41. Reading your column today confused me briefly. I thought you were writing about the C.I.A trying to kill Castro!

  42. Equally interesting, Great Britain had similar plans just on a larger scale, such as biological warfare against Germany with anthrax. Eventually they decided against it, but only because they were afraid of fallout in the UK (not in continental Europe, though).


    During the Second World War, British scientists studied the use of biological weapons, including a test using anthrax on the Scottish island of Gruinard which left it contaminated and fenced off for nearly fifty years, until an intensive four-year programme to eradicate the spores was completed in 1990. They also manufactured five million linseed-oil cattle cakes with a hole bored into them for addition of anthrax spores between 1942 and mid-1943. These were to be dropped on Germany using specially designed containers each holding 400 cakes, in a project known as Operation Vegetarian.

  43. I clearly recall American plans to spike Fidel Castro's drink with an instant depilatory so that all his hair would fall off when he was giving a speech and to wire the olives in Cuban officials' martinis with microphones to monitor their conversations. The lines between adolescent boys" (I know that's an assumption) comic-book fantasies and unhinged reality are blurred.

  44. I am reminded of the scene in "Bananas" in which Woody Allen's character, upon assuming power, immediately declares that the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish, that all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half hour (and "wear it on the outside so we can check"), and that all children under 16 years old are now 16 years old. Upon hearing this, one of his underlings whispers to his comrade, "The power has driven him mad!"

  45. Crazy ideas are not limited to Germany. In the USA, we've tested LSD on unwitting civilians in the 1960s. There was the Tuskegee syphilis experiment on 200 black men to monitor the progression of the disease (without treatment). When it comes to bizarre experiments, our crimes have been just as heinous, if not more so, because they continue into the 21st century.

  46. Such loonytoon schemes have nothing to do with Nazism per se. They're usual with authoritarian police agencies. The CIA's Operation Mongoose in the 1960s, for example, came up with all kinds of crazy plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, including with an exploding cigar. No matter what the political nature of a government, the kind of person attracted to secret police work is likely to think this way.

  47. Perhaps the "gynoids" should be revived and handed out to all elected officials at the time of their swearing-in.

  48. I'm not sure it is just dictators that come up with ummm "creative" solutions to problems, real or perceived.

  49. Surely this must be a joke.It's funny and the Brits are known for their sense of humor; say what you want but Germans are not stupid.
    Yes, Hitler was a monster but hasn't Germany proved time and time again that they are a good, functioning democracy.What would the rest of Europe do without Germany?
    Germany is not the country it was then. No way.

  50. If this intrigues you - there is a wonderful book out there called the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis that fleshes out this idea of dogs bred to be human.

  51. Paranoid delusions had led to catastrophe with Caligula or Nero or Hitler. It appears to be not the power alone leading to calamity. In the case of Hitler, it is traced to neurological illness with psychiatric overtones. It also applies to several of the popes when church ruled the state. One crazy thought in the most powerful person's head can cost millions of innocent lives. If airline pilots go through frequent rigorous testing for psychological and physical fitness, why not the elected leaders of states?

  52. One would surmise, he would of liked the dog in Finland.(extending right paw to monitor to give Maureen a high four on belly roll laughter column)

  53. The fascination with all things Nazi and Hitler continues.

  54. Humorous Op-Ed New York Times Piece on Hitler = Oxymoron.
    Are there no worthy topics , past or present, for Ms. Dowd to reflect upon?
    It dishonors the memory of the many millions whom Hitler systematically degraded, tormented and slaughtered, and the remaining survivors to describe Hitler as "batty" or to write a humorous essay about "talking dogs" regarding such an evil monster.
    Both the Times and Ms. Dowd have disappointed me today.

  55. As amusing as some of these stories are, and how potentially scary in others, of 20th century totalitarian despots, one almost feels Hitler to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the era, "no respect, no respect at all." Just to provide a "fair and balanced" view of the potentials of evil, it would be interesting to mine the depths of the depravities of Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, who, in terms of sheer numbers of people killed under their administrations make Hitler look a rank amateur. The world is far better off with them all consigned to the history books. But understanding them, and especially what allowed their rise to power in the first place, might help us keep the 21st century from having a Yogi Berra-esque sense of "deja vu all over again."

  56. Most accounts of Nazi Werewolf activity at the end of the war were faked, simply to keep Allied soldiers fearful. Not much here.

  57. There were rumors that The Nazis were developing super weapons with data they salvaged from a crashed UFO aircraft. The theory was presented in a television show on the History Channel.

  58. Thank God, the evil Hitler is long gone. If you were seriously concerned about all the evil he did, why do you not focus on today's evil?
    What about the fact that Afghanistan's opium trade has boomed ever since the occupation by the USA?
    What about the horrible drone strikes killing innocent people on an almost daily basis? Their bodies mutilated with intestines torn out; including innocent children and their mothers…
    What about Palestinians kept in Gaza like war criminals in a concentration camp? Mrs. Dowd, if you seriously want to criticize crimes you should focus more on the present evil where you can change something…..

  59. I was disappointed that Ms. Dowd chose to ignore recent speculation about Hitler's alleged use of amphetamines , and their widespread use in the Third Reich. Amphetamines are recognized as causing anxiety, paranoia and psychosis.

  60. It amazes me that so many people believe Hitler was some sort of evil genius. He was a idiotic paranoid hypochondriac. He demoted or killed everyone around him that had any talent, usually because they made the mistake of contradicting him in some slight way. If he hadn't surrounded himself with yes-men, Germany actually could have won the war. For a portrait of the real Hitler, read Albert Speer's memoir.

  61. Ms. Dowd:

    Hilter was certainly a lunatic. But not because he believed in talking animals.

    Lots of people at the time believed in talking dogs, horses, and other supposedly sentient creatures, including the editorial staff of the New York Times.

    An August 13, 1913 NYT spread speaks approvingly of the supposed intellectual abilities of the "Elberfeld Horses," owned by the man who acquired "Clever Hans" after Hans' communication was proven the result of unconscious signaling by his audience.


    On January 13, 1910, the NYT had a story, "A Monkey with a Mind," in which NYT journalists (along with psychologist Lightner Witmer) were taken in by a trained circus chimp.


    There was Lola, a relative of the dogs that inspired Hitler. Lola was the subject of a popular book, "Lola: The Thought and Speech of Animals."


    Back in the USA, we had the supposedly psychic typing horse, Lady Wonder. She was an attraction from the 1920s to the 1950s.

    Lady Wonder's supposed abilities were investigated by Joseph and Louisa Rhine of Duke University. Their studies resulted in two academic articles in 1929 in which they gave Lady Wonder a tentative stamp of scholarly approval. (Magician Milbourne Christopher discovered the secret.)

    I don't see anything in the NYT about Lady Wonder. But Life had a photo spread, and she was declared the real thing in Time in a December 15, 1952 story about how she supposedly typed out the answer to a missing child mystery.


    The fact that Hitler might have believed in talking dogs hardly made him insane, since that was the popular thing to do--and he had plenty of mainstream journalists and scientists to back him up. That he was believed by so many ordinary people, leading to the horrors of WWII, is the insanity that needs to be understood and feared.

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.
    Eastern Michigan University

  62. and your point is? you trying to draw analogies or just have fun telling us how cracy someone who murdered millions of people was..

  63. The issue of whether Hitler suffered a mental illness was most credibly resolved by Dr. Fritz Redlich in his exquisitely researched book, "Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet." He spent years reviewing the medical records and determined that while Hitler possessed any number of bizarre attributes, he wasn't mentally ill in the medical sense.

    Dictators like Hitler are unique when considering what they're willing to do to others. But calling that "mental illness" provides an excuse for evil that's not warranted. Hitler, like other dictators, possessed a distorted world view that somehow became the guiding force in what was once a cultured intelligent society. Interestingly, the U.S. may be currently in the grips of the same process, as strange and off-kilter views of the world gain support.

  64. An interesting if some what oddly placed article. Not sure if linguistic or political leanings of canines can be properly sorted out in such a limited space. Worth noting the US had a significant canine effort. As noted on the PBS 'History Detectives', an experimental station was established in Louisiana for training of a corp of Japanese "hating" dogs.
    The theory was to let loose a torrent of crazed canines to seek out the Japanese who in theory gave a particular scent that could be used to train a kill instinct. Fortunately dogs have more sense than some government contractors and the project quickly was shut down once demonstrated no distinct ethnic or racial scent could be determined.

    As an afterthought ever wonder why Nazi TV books and such never seem to end? Did not know until today that Hitler had two dogs. As I explain to the wife , some new tidbit always awaits the curious mind.

  65. Leave it to The Sun to have the courage to report about WWII era gynoids.

  66. Hitler was undoubtedly clinically insane but also politically ambitious, charismatic, talented, and very smart.

    Poking fun at schemes hatched by desperate Nazis as Allied forces closed in on Berlin is amusing, but Hitler's legacy is not amusing at all. The Nazi philosophy of white supremacy lives on in America, embraced by such organizations as the KKK, the American Nazi Party, the National Socialist Movement, and others. One group, based in Milwaukee, has decided to call itself the World Church of the Creator; its religion is Creativity of the World Church of the Creator. This group is legally a church. Racism is their religion.

    A few semesters ago, I had a freshman student who was a person of color adopted and raised in a small town in Minnesota. He was part of a group research project that had selected "Hate Groups" as their topic. He chose the Church of the Creator as his responsibility. He based what he had to say to the class on the website of this group, which presents itself as an innocuous religious sect and foregrounds its good charitable works, as well as its family values and family friendliness. The KKK website does this as well. In his presentation, he painted that same picture of the group for the class and at one point actually said, "You might want to join it." I had to explain to this student that these people would as soon lynch him as say hello to him, because from their perspective he is a "mud person."

    Hitler's Mein Kampf continues to be printed, sell steadily, and read uncritically. People are as susceptible today to the idea that their skin color makes them superior to other human beings as the Germans were. People who don't have much else to bolster their self esteem are most vulnerable. In our current economy, I'm sure their ranks are growing. People like to blame others for their misfortunes. And somehow, students are leaving U.S. high schools with no clue about what "Nazi" really means or what real Nazis actually did.

  67. The crazy post-war schemes such as doped cigarettes, chocolate, and aspirin to destabilize the allied powers are no more delusional than the plot hatched by E. Howard Hunt and other Nixon-era "intelligence" officials who attributed mystical power to Fidel Castro's beard, which like the biblical Samson, they believed to be a key element of his popularity. The United States attempted to suborn someone close to Fidel Castro to put itching powder on Fidel's boot laces or other items of clothing, which would work its way to Castro's beard, causing him to scratch so that his whiskers would fall out, or be shaved, which they believed would result in a loss of appeal and leadership.

    This kind of thinking does not require the power of a despot, but stems from living in an isolated bubble, surrounded only by people of like opinions, so that one's ideas are not challenged or thoroughly exposed to the light of day. Thus George W. Bush's marginal comment on a briefing paper, "wrong answer", shifted post-9\11 focus to Iraq.

  68. Although Hitler was a nut case, he did love dogs, even if to a fault. Most dogs are aware of much more than people realize. And who cannot appreciate a seeing eye dog.

  69. I'm no fan of Hitler or the nazis but what is so much more remarkable (or bizarre) about attempting to teach dogs to talk than attempting to teach chimpanzees to read?

    Can we just leave the mid 20th century behind already and focus on the real crises facing us today? Can we focus perhaps on current genocides, as opposed to genocides of 70 years ago?
    Never again? Really?

    It may make certain parts of the population feel better if we endlessely belittle one particular dead dictator. Beyond that, it really serves no purpose in either providing insight into current dictators or in solving the real tragedies that face us now.

  70. When I read this column to my dog, she had only one thing to say: "Area 51."

  71. Even the darkest clouds have a silver lining. But what a price to pay: Dresden for the Comfort Dolls.

    Who said," We are no longer barbarians"?

    The talking dogs are still out there, Mo, madder than ever.

    We don't need more Comfort Dolls, we need more leashes.

  72. Ah, Nazi Germany, the gift that keeps on giving. Need a villain? A heroine? wacky military plots? Plans to conquer the world? A pot boiler to light up a lazy summer day? Just go to the pinnacle of aryan civilization and mine for more stuff to fascinate the public with. As other commenters have noted, there's enough craziness around now. Maybe an expose on how power has corrupted our political parties, and their perverse ideas to conquer the world, would be more appropriate.

  73. As I remember, the CIA was going to kill Castro with a loaded cigar. The whole world is full of crazies. It is nothing new that Hitler was insane. I love your column Maureen and this one too but I am not surprised.

  74. It's not megalomaniacs, its dog owners. It's common knowledge that most dog owners have a higher regard for their pets than their human neighbors.

  75. Himmler was the one responsible for much of this nonsense. He was rather credulous for any scheme a charlatan would suggest. He sent an expedition to Tibet, having heard about the strange mystic powers of the Lamas and hoping to get them for his SS. He thought that he was the reincarnation of an ancient German king. Himmler could make even Hitler seem grounded in reality.

  76. What is most surprising is that thousands of average German people followed the orders of this deranged maniac. Hitler himself had no innocent blood on his hands, except perhaps the pill he gave Blondi. His followers were the ones hypnotized into laying aside all empathy and compassion, and publically torturing and killing millions!

  77. When i read this column I couldn't help thinking about a book i read a couple of years ago called
    "Lives of the Monster Dogs" by Kirsten Bakis, about a race of dogs bred by German Scientists in the 19th century to serve as soldiers. It fits right in to this column

  78. Ideologues, then and now, perceive a different reality, describe it differently, and cannot be moved from their convictions. I describe how an ordinary, decent, good-willed physician becomes a Nazi ideologue in my novel, Shadows Walking, eventually committing "crimes against humanity." Please see my website, www.shadowswalking.com

  79. Remember the CIA's plot to kill Castro with fake prescription pills or an exploding cigar? And the US navy's plans for dolphins to plant explosive charges and other military missions? Wasn't there something recently about using wasps for surveillance? Or the unit skewered in Men who Stare at Goats? It's comforting to think from a distance of Hitler as crazy, far scarier to consider him a persuasive politician who captured the fervor of a minority mood and turned it into a massive modern war machine. Don't let's be too complacent.

  80. I'm not sure what the point of this article is. But I find the wry amusement offensive, and the telling, incomplete.

    The facts are that the Nazi regime enacted elaborate laws to treat animals humanely, at the very time that they were enacting laws to treat Jews inhumanely. One of the new laws for Jews was that they couldn't have pets, and so their pets were taken from them and killed. Humanely, of course.

    Do you find that ironic and amusing?

  81. To solve a severe milk shortage in Cuba in the 1970's, Fidel Castro wanted to create midget cows so people could have them in their back yard. Amazing how dictators think alike.

  82. My dog is definitely smarter than I am, but that's not saying much.

    To #4: The best way to learn to write is to write. Keep at it. The easiest way to be clear is to be honest. If you don't feel like you're sticking your neck out when you are writing then your writing is probably not worth reading. Good luck!

  83. I don't think you can call any leader who gets elected sort of democratically and then manages to pass legislation eliminating elections, "insane". Didn't you recently have a president who tried to change the constitution so that he could get more than two consecutive terms? The lust for power is not insane, it is a facet of a type of human nature. What is frightening is that people vote for dangerous people. Hasn't happened in the US in living memory has it?

  84. I'm not ready to walk around with a gynoid in my backpack, but maybe Hitler, himself a barking dog, recognized that sexually transmitted diseases would something to be reckoned with one day.

  85. Are you sure this information has only recently been declassified? This sounds like the CIA's playbook.

  86. Ms. Dowd. You are an excellent and an influential writer. However, I am not sure what is the point of this column? As a Jew, the thoughts that come in mind after reading your column are that people try to paint Hitler as insane in order to acquit their guilt or fear that such as thing can happen again. It was a sociological phenomenon (Supported by Media, churches mob, books and democracy). Hitler’s ideology and its execution worked very well while the world stood silent for his murderous acts of babies, elderly, and women just because they were Jewish. I know there are millions of victims from the Nazi Regime that are not Jewish, but so there are in other wars with crazy dictators…This one was different and we need to learn from it that it was a deviant human manifestation of something all of us can be part of or even participate (see Milgram experiment) if not carful enough at the political, legal , psychological and sociological levels ………In my community teens are still burning Swastika while the police is slow to act.. Google swastika in street Brighton NY and see

  87. Hitler wasn't insane. What's wrong with you? He was popular in his own country and elsewhere and his extant ideas were no more insane than those of his contemporaries.
    You laugh and call someone insane in the safety of the present. What kind of opinion piece would you have been writing about Hitler were you living in 1940's. Hindsight is 20/20. No one started calling Hitler crazy till after he was defeated. In a Democracy you can call them crazy before, during and after they leave office; at least in theory.

  88. There is a wonderful novel by Kirsten Bakis, published in 1997, entitled "Lives of the Monster Dogs." It explored this German fascination with intelligent dogs (her mad scientists weren't Nazis, but much earlier vintage--the experiments began in the 18th century). The plot brings the dogs into the modern era, and takes things to an extreme that, believe it or not, never quite feels unbelievable. I read it years ago, loved it, and found it compellingly readable. It would make a fine film if adapted properly, though I believe the material is a bit too heady for the average American inclined to watch films about talking dogs.

  89. It is not a very wise to tag A. Hitler as just another power hungry guy and crazier than we thought. Hitler was a very complicated person with a dynamic will that led to enormous destruction. If we're lucky, we won't see his kind again, but chance is embedded in history and we're not always so fortunate in avoiding dangerous men. That's the crux of the matter. We need to be vigilant and understand his kind so they cannot inflict worldwide destruction again.

  90. Every human being is a mix of good and bad; although the two aren't always in balance.

  91. With the benefit of hindsight and more than 50 years of accumulated scientific research into cognition and especially brain imaging, it now seems laughable to try teach dogs to talk. However, given the state of knowledge at the time (Freudian pseudoscience applied to humans, behaviorism applied to animals)it does not seem so stupid to me to at least given it a try.
    Poisoning is a time honored method of dispatching your enemies, even if the methods described seem child-like or quaint.
    How do we know there were not successful sleeper cells? How did all those nazi guys end up in Argentina and Paraguay? If the OSS, MI5,etc. did know about any, why would they tell us?
    Have Hitler's remains been recovered, or are there just accounts of his death by those having an interest in propagating a myth? Poor Blondi, m aybe Adolph wacked her to cover up his escape, so the Allies couldn't use her to find him?

    I hate the tone of Dowd's piece. Hitler and the nazis were not a bunch of silly bumbling fools beyond Mel Brooks' satire. They were evil people, not stupid ones. The tone of pieces such as this demeans and dishonors their millions of victims, as well as those brave and clever enough to defeat them.

  92. Really funny in a really horrible way.

  93. Ms. Dowd gives dictators a bad name. I believe Marcus Aurelius was a dictator, and he had many good qualities. Julius Caesar, and perhaps Abraham Lincoln, had dictatorial powers and used them generally wisely. Augustus Caesar wasn't too bad.
    It may be that dictators have no more quirks than the rest of us, but more ability to indulge them.

  94. Thanks, Maureen, for this so witty stuff.

    During war time the truths is the first casualty.
    During the peace time the victor is writing own version
    of history. This is an obvious, almost trivial thought…

    The most notorious were Soviets and Brits.
    Those nations created the world history from own
    national-centric view point which was in 50% a lie.
    The aspect of superiority of “our” MORALITY was then stressed
    frequently by the propaganda machine.

    Today, our good USA is slowly directing itself into this
    cul de sac, too, how unfortunate… Yes, we may never learn
    how the things are done by our masters HERE…

    Nazis were an abhorrent lot, of course, but not only them…

    Since one of the comments invoked the name of Shakespeare,
    one clarification from this side: Shakespeare was not an
    Englishman, his name was John Florio, and his father’s name
    was Michelangelo Florio, the Italian exile.
    This may add some extra vibrancy to your excellent writing,
    Maureen, even if a bit out of topic…

    Rolland Norman

  95. I beg to differ. I do not think Hitler was insane. To say Hiltler was insane can lead to excusing his evil acts. Evil exists. He was pure evil. Had he been insane he would have stood out and been locked up as madman. Instead, he had a massive following. This was no mass pychosis. People followed his evil view, because it resonated with their dark side.

  96. Hitler was a right-winger and a figurehead for big business, especially the armaments, steel and coal industries that benefited from government contracts for rearmament. Some of his first and major contributors included steel and weapons magnate Fritz Thyssen and coal magnate Emil Kirdorf. I disagree with the modern tendency to psychologize Hitler and the Nazis because this focuses on Hitler's supposed lunacy while keeping his big-business financial backers out of the historical record and out of the public mind.

  97. Regarding the Nazi's "love" for their pet dogs, it sounds like their purported "love" for their country and citizens, which was contingent on slavish and unquestioning obedience to their wishes and the furtherance of their purposes. One of the trials for an S.S. Officer to test their obedience and fealty to the Fuhrer was to raise a German Shepherd puppy as a beloved pet for their years of training, and on the eve of their graduation into the Officer class to personally kill the dog, to prove their ability to feel softer emotions was sublimated to the harsher demands of their calling. If that isn't a demonstrably sick regime, I don't know what is.

  98. We do our own crazy weapons programs, every bit as strange as those you are mentioning ... maybe with the exception of the dogs. Then again, I think we still try to talk to porpoises.

  99. Not much crazier than the Japanese launching fiery balloons on the air currents from Japan to the United States' northeast forests to set them afire.
    Didn't someone once say that war is Hell?
    Well, if they didn't then I'm saying it now!

  100. I finally understand why The Times continues to publish Ms. Dowd's writing. The editors clearly intend to turn the once venerable paper into a tabloid.

  101. Joseph #30 How about all the peoples of Syria, Iran, etc. who are citizens of despotic regimes? Have you seen pictures of Gaza lately? New hotels, crowded beaches, new schools being constructed.

  102. Well, that reminds me of a story I once heard of the new Nazi regime planting mines on man's best friend in the sea, the dolphin, why would anyone take a creature so incredibly divine as to save human lives and turn them into cold blooded killers. You see madness, or insanity is not restricted to just one country, as there once was a land where freedom and democracy thrived that now spends their childrens children fortunes on so many gadgets for the military that they make Ming the Merciless resemble Annie Oakley.

  103. Comic book history at it 's worst .

  104. Interestingly, German are always flabbergasted by Americans who have the same crazed love for dogs than Nazis (and also, for that matter, for blond women and the military). Did you know, for instance, that FDR war buried with his beloved dog?