Asked in World War 2Germany in WW2Adolf HitlerWorld of Warcraft
Would Hitler play World of Warcraft?
November 27, 2008 9:13PM
The answer might depend on what Hitler you are talking about. The Hitler who died in 1945 might have had a different level of interest in video games than the struggling artist Hitler 1909. However, based upon what we know of the man's interests and personality, we can make some generalized speculations.
Hitler's early aspirations in life, before the First World War were to become either a painter or an architect. However, his inability, and perhaps unwillingness, to draw people led to his rejection from the prestigious Academy of Arts Vienna. Most of Hitler's surviving art work consists of landscapes. After his rise to power, Hitler used his position to influence the development of both disciplines. Hitler commissioned, and actively participated in the design of architecture commissioned by the Third Reich. He also collaborated with Ferdinand Porsche in the design of the first Volkswagen, providing input on the body design of one of the world's most distinctive designs.
The union of art and technology was a significant part of the Nazi strategic vision, and Hitler's interest in both subjects influenced the style and methodology of Nazi propaganda. Compared to their contemporaries, the Nazi party was innovative in its use of techniques that would be associated with the current disciplines of graphic design and advertising. Hitler was also interested in film, which was probably the most high tech communication medium at the time, and the Nazis made great use of it in communicating their message. The party also had what would be recognized today as a distinctive logo by a modern graphic designer; a design that is attributed to Hitler himself. Given these facts, it is likely that Hitler generally would not have been adverse to new mediums of communication, and entertainment, particularly ones that would have allowed him to communicate his message in a more engaging and immersive way.
Psychologically, Hitler may have suffered from one of a variety of personality disorders that would explain his abhorrent behavior, and the ultimate legacy of his regime. Variously he has been described as having anti-social, narcissistic, and borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is probably the best choice of the three as it by definition includes symptoms of the other personality disorders, and explains a number of Hitler's actions through his life.
Individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder tend to lack a firm sense of self identity, and often attempt to reinvent themselves throughout their lives in order to fill the void. In the case of Hitler, he both adopted a new last name, having gone by the name Schicklgruber until he was 39, and attempted to obliterate his past by turning his father's hometown into an artillery range. Borderline personality disorder also tends to manifest itself as an inability to form consistent tastes and interests, and often is accompanied by addictive behavior. Borderline personality disorder is also characterized by a world-view that is very black and white. Sufferers tend to either love or hate things, ideas or people (often irradically and inconsistently), and have very little gray area in between.
If Hitler did have borderline personality disorder, there are compelling reasons why he might or might not have had an attraction to video games. The ability to reinvent himself and to release his aggression may have made a virtual environment attractive. Additionally, a propensity towards addictive behavior might have resulted in forming a pathological attachment to video games. However, the inability to consistently form interests over a long period of time may have worked against his forming the initial interest necessary to form such an attachment.
From a political perspective, however, it is unlikely that Nazi ideology would have rejected computer gaming out of hand. It is more likely that Hitler, and his propagandists, would have taken an interest in the new medium as a propaganda tool. World of Warcraft, with its loose basis in Nordic and Germanic mythology might have integrated nicely into the Nazi's desire to recreate their culture in a the framework of a revitalized mythogy using themes indegenous to their culture.
So, the answer to the question is possibly yes, and possibly no. If the Nazis had seen video games a corrupting, they would have supressed them. However, the more likely possibility is that they would have used them for their own purposes. Hitler's hands-on approach to propaganda would have meant that during his leadership, he probably would have experimented with, and provided input into the design of games, and might have used World of Warcraft as a framework to tell his own story. As an individual, the creative and immersive aspects of the game might have proved intersting at an earlier part in his life. However, it is unclear whether World of Warcraft, or any video game would have held his interest over a significant period of time. Regardless, Hitler probably would have either been an obsessive player or a vocal critic.