"The guy is like a hypnotist – a madman who can make a whole country nuts."

Indiana Jones[src]

Adolf Hitler (also known as the "Führer") was a German politician who became Chancellor of Germany and subsequently the leader of the Nazi Germany, ruling from 1933 to 1945. As dictator of the German Reich, Hitler's attempts at global expansion led to the Second World War with the invasion of Poland.

Hitler was described by Major Eaton as being "obsessed with the occult", hence his initiating a worldwide search for artifacts that included the Ark of the Covenant in 1936 and the Holy Grail in 1938. For these goals, Hitler sent his fiercest men, like Herman Dietrich or Ernst Vogel, and hired several people, like René Emile Belloq or Walter Donovan, in order to find them, but his attempts ended in failure.

Biography[edit | edit source]

"The Ark belongs in the Reich. Something of such antiquity belongs in Germany."

Adolf Hitler[src]

For four years, Corporal Adolf Hitler was courier during World War I. In 1923, Hitler and his fellow Nazis attempted to overthrow the German Weimar government. The Beer Hall Putsch failed and Hitler served nine months in prison for treason. While in prison, Hitler gained recognition through the publication of his autobiographical work Mein Kampf, which also expounded on his views of National Socialist ideology and Aryan racial superiority. His views attracted many other Germans who had felt betrayed by the weakening of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1929, the Wayua leader Maleiwa sought to entice Hitler into an alliance over the power of the alicorn, planning to later betray him in place of his own ambitions of global supremacy. Maleiwa, however, was stopped by Indiana Jones, before a meeting could take place.[1]

The 1930s saw the National Socialist German Workers' Party gain political power, and Hitler became Reich Chancellor of Germany. In 1933, the Weimar Republic finally collapsed due its poor economic decisions and Germany was taken over by Hitler and the Nazi Party.[2] He worked to remove many of the democratic institutions in Germany, proclaiming himself "Führer" after President Paul von Hindenburg died, and sought to rebuild the German industrial and military base, and began programs to harass and eliminate those who he felt were contaminating German society: Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals and political dissidents.

His interest in the occult and in archaeological artifacts prompted Nazi research and recovery expeditions into artifacts to either support his views of Aryan racial superiority or to be used as weapons against Nazi enemies.

Hitler met with the French archaeologist René Emile Belloq in 1936 to hire his services in acquiring the lost Ark of the Covenant claiming that such an antiquity belonged to his country.[3] Although the Ark was recovered in Tanis, Egypt thanks to the efforts of opposing interests led by Indiana Jones, Belloq and Colonel Dietrich's Nazi forces stole it back from Jones and Marion Ravenwood. Intent on opening the Ark before handing it over to Hitler, Belloq convinced Dietrich that viewing the relic's contents at a tabernacle on Geheimhaven, a Nazi-controlled Mediterranean island base, would be preferable to presenting a potentially empty artifact to Berlin. Ironically, Belloq's treachery likely spared Hitler's life, as the Ark's ghosts brought God's lethal wrath down upon Belloq and all the gathered Nazi soldiers present before sealing themselves back into the Ark, leaving Jones and Ravenwood as the sole survivors.[4]

After Indiana Jones had thwarted Hitler's plans on numerous occasions, including his pursuit of the Ark, the Führer personally assigned Hans Degen to assassinate Jones but the attempt also ended in failure: When Jones accidentally saved Degen's life, the indebted Degen felt honor bound to spare Jones on that occasion but later sacrificed himself to save the archaeologist and his friends from Ben Ali Ayoob.[5]

Hitler unknownwingly signs for Indiana Jones.

In 1938, Hitler was presiding over a bookburning rally in Berlin outside the Institute of Aryan Culture. As he was being escorted from the forum, he came face to face with a man in a Nazi officer's uniform who held a book in his hands. Not knowing the man was a disguised Indiana Jones or that the book was the Grail Diary his agents needed to use to find the Holy Grail, Hitler took the book, motioned one of his aides for a pencil, signed the book, and returned it to the startled 'officer' before continuing on his way.[6]

Seeking to expand Germany, Hitler first used diplomatic means to gain territories in building a greater German state, then invaded Poland in 1939, initiating World War II, unraveling the promise of the world's leaders to bring peace following the Great War and catapulting the world towards the very tragedy that the world's leaders had wanted to prevent.[7]

In 1943, Hitler sent Doctor Edwin Gruber to investigate rumors of people impervious to bullets in Haiti and recover the formula if possible, but Gruber perished in the attempt.[8] On December 16, 1944, under Hitler's direct orders, the Third Reich army launched a brutal surprise attack that caught most of the Allied generals off guard except George Smith Patton, Jr., starting the Battle of the Bulge.[9] In 1945, Hitler appeared in a vision to Jones where he claimed ownership of the Spear of Destiny.[10] Later that year, with the defeat of Germany likely, and Berlin near invasion, he committed suicide.

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

"The Führer is not a patient man."

Herman Dietrich[src]

A savage and racist dictator, Adolf Hitler ruled Germany with an iron fist. As described by Indiana Jones, Hitler was like a "hypnotist", a madman who could make a whole country nuts, thanks to his persuasion.[11] However, as noted by Colonel Herman Dietrich, Hitler lacked patience and demanded progress.[4]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Adolf Hitler was portrayed uncredited by the late Michael Sheard in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Sheard had previously played Oskar Schomburg in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sheard also appeared as Admiral Ozzel in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back with Harrison Ford and Julian Glover.

Sheard had already played Hitler several times before playing him in Last Crusade - in the TV movie Rogue Male (1976); in a two-part episode of the TV series The Tomorrow People (1978), entitled "Hitler's Last Secret"; and in the TV movie The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission (1985) - and would go on to play him one more time, in the documentary Hitler of the Andes (2003). He also played Heinrich Himmler (who was portrayed by his late friend Ronald Lacey in Last Crusade) three times in his career.

During the development of the film's script, written by Jeffrey Boam, Indiana Jones was not to have a face to face encounter with Hitler originally, instead viewing him from afar. He would also trap Elsa Schneider inside Hitler's car trunk so that she could not raise the alarm.[12] Though these concepts had changed by the finished version of the production, Indy only view Hitler from a distance in the film's Read-Along Adventure adaptation.

Contrary to popular thought, the real Adolf Hitler was never a huge fanatic of the occult. Another possible anachronism is that it's said by some that Hitler was left-handed but he can be seen signing Henry Walton Jones, Senior's Grail Diary with his right hand. However, evidence has shown with the real Hitler signing, writing and even bowling with his right hand.

The scene with Indy's meeting with Hitler is reproduced in the video game Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure where the player has the option to give him any document to sign. Contrary to the canonicity of the film, the player can give him to sign a copy of Mein Kampf or a travel pass, which he can use to bypass Nazi guards later in the game. The player also has the opportunity to punch Hitler which will result in a game over, but the game will reward the action with 10 IQ points.

Matthias Jäger from Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix.

LucasArts had planned to resurrect Hitler for the plot of Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, their intended follow-up to the popular Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis video game, but the game was cancelled. In the Iron Phoenix story, former Nazi scientist Doctor Matthias Jäger revives Hitler with the Philosopher's Stone two years after World War II. However, the Führer returns from the grave malformed and kills Jäger for bringing him back with no military to fight with. Indiana Jones later tricks Hitler into destroying himself with the Philosopher's Stone. Dark Horse Comics adapted its story as a comic series but Hitler does not appear. Instead, a disfigured Jäger bears a strong resemblance to him and receives Hitler's fate from the game.

During the development of the fourth Indy film, Frank Darabont's script, then Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, included an appearance by Hitler as part of an alien vision to German doctor Von Grauen who seeks the return of the "glory" created by the Nazis. Hitler's form grants Von Grauen's wish by draining his life away. Although Hitler didn't appear in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, he is briefly visible in one the teaser trailers for the film as some footage of the Berlin bookburning rally scene from Last Crusade was included.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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