Hitler’s charisma lay in `piercing ice-blue eyes`

     Adolf Hitler’s piercing eyes hypnotised millions to slavishly follow him into the abyss of the Second World War, according to a new book. William Shirer, who as a foreign correspondent in Berlin in the Thirties saw Hitler at close quarters, thought his power lay in his piercing eyes. “They stared through you. They seemed to immobilise the person on whom they were directed, frightening some, fascinating others, but dominating them in any case. I would observe hardened old Nazi party leaders freeze as he paused to talk to one or the other of them, hypnotised by his penetrating glare,” Shirer stated. Now Second World War historian Laurence Rees too refers to his “famous stare”, in his book The Dark Charisma Of Adolf Hitler. He writes how Hitler would hold the eyes of the person looking at him much longer than was normal, the Daily Express reported. According to the book, many Germans considered Hitler as someone sent by the gods to lead their country to greatness. Rees writes that the quality of charisma is “value neutral” – that is the wicked can possess it as well as the benevolent. And throughout the whole of human history no one used it to more catastrophic effect than the fuhrer of the Third Reich, he stated in the book. Most astonishing facts mentioned in the book are Hitler’s allure for women. It may sound funny for such a man such as Hitler, a figure so patently absurd – a megalomaniac with a comical moustache – but the book says women often swooned on the streets in his presence. It reveals how his secretary Traudl Junge would open his mail and read the love letters sent to him. Women admired him even though he denied them any role in public or professional life. Pretty blonde Magda Goebbels was so fascinated by Hitler that she married his propaganda minister Josef Goebbels to be near him, it said. His charisma worked its spell on many outside Germany . Rees writes that members of the British elite were captivated by the fuhrer. Even an experienced politician such as former prime minister David Lloyd George would write in 1936 that he was “a born leader of men. A magnetic and dynamic personality with a singleminded purpose, a resolute will and a dauntless heart,” he claimed. Prime minister Neville Chamberlain – still appeasing Hitler even after his invasion of Czechoslovakia – clearly revised his first impression of him as “the commonest little dog I have ever seen”. He later admitted to the Cabinet that “it was impossible not to be impressed by the power of the man”. Some members of his government feared he had been “hypnotised” by the leader, according to the book.

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