Historical story

Why did Hitler become a vegetarian?

Hitler had many obsessions in his life. Paradoxically, given his insensitivity towards his fellow men, one of them was ... fanatical vegetarianism. Apparently, he planned to introduce a law in Europe that would prohibit eating meat completely. Was he doing it out of love for animals? Or was it something else?

Since Adolf Hitler became the head of the National Socialist Party, his life gained momentum. The amount of work he had to do to transform Germany in line with the philosophy expressed in Mein Kampf , took a toll on his health. At the same time, the awareness of a special historical mission which - in his opinion - he had to perform, made him constantly endeavor, sometimes exceeding the physical and mental capabilities of a human being.

Excessive stress, lack of exercise, inborn ailments and paranoid fears for his own life (Hitler was afraid, among other things, that he would "follow in his mother's footsteps" and get cancer, and those around him accused him of hypochondria), finally led him to the brink of endurance .

In a healthy body…

The remedy for these ills was to consist of numerous medicaments in the form of tablets, which he swallowed like candy, and injections made by obliging doctors. The phobia about his own health eventually led the Führer to completely change his diet. As Michael Kerrigan relates in his book Hitler. Man and Monster ":

It is not known exactly when Hitler decided to stop eating meat, but towards the end of his life became an orthodox and outspoken vegetarian . To his visitors, he served only meatless dishes (dishes that met the highest culinary requirements), and at the same time he lectured to them, often long and intricately, about the advantages of the new diet.

Hitler loved his German Shepherd, Blondie, more than the people around him. Was it his love of animals that made him become vegetarian?

When exactly did this happen? A prominent expert on Nazism, the author of Hitler's monumental biography, Ian Kershaw, notes that the Führer stopped consuming protein of animal origin after the death of his niece Gela Raubal in 1931. He also gives a possible reason for this:

[Hitler] was already suffering from chronic stomach pains which, in times of stress, turned into acute attacks. The medicine he was taking - an oil-based agent in the trenches to clean weapons - turned out to be a mild poison, causing headaches, double vision, imbalance, and ringing in the ears.

The intensifying digestive problems of the dictator certainly contributed to his decision to change the diet . However, an equally important - if not even more important - role was played by ideological issues.

Nazi =vegetarian?

Wanting to completely subordinate Germany to Nazi doctrine, Hitler planned to gradually impose vegetarianism on the whole of society. Consequently, between 1932 and 1938, as part of the "political awareness of one's stomach," German consumers gradually switched from meat to fish.

The Führer also reportedly envisioned a pan-European ban on eating animals. Whether it was possible to change the eating tastes of all citizens using the coercion apparatus - fortunately, we will not find out.

In addition, there are also the personal sympathies of the dictator, who had a special affection for animals, especially dogs. But did the love of pets have any meaning in the context of his vegetarianism? Certainly, this hypothesis cannot be completely rejected. Ian Kershaw emphasizes that Hitler preferred "brothers less" than people:"Even with the people of his closest circle with whom he has been for years, he showed no signs of a relationship, let alone friendship; He reserved his sincere interest exclusively for his young German Shepherd. ”

Michael Kerrigan takes a similar position in his book Hitler. The man and the monster ":" Many historians have emphasized the paradox of Hitler's attitude - one of the greatest criminals and genocides in the world was concerned with the fate of flock, sheep and poultry.

Therefore, one may be tempted to say - without fear of a mistake - that the reason for Adolf Hitler's transition to vegetarianism was twofold:the dictator was guided both by the desire to improve his health and by caring for animals that he valued more than representatives of his own species.


Trivia is the essence of our website. Short materials devoted to interesting anecdotes, surprising details from the past, strange news from the old press. Reading that will take you no more than 3 minutes. This particular material is based on:

  1. M. Kerrigan, Hitler. Man and Monster , Bellona 2019.
  2. I. Kershaw, Hitler , Vol. 1 &2, Rebis 2002.
  3. R. Grunberger, The Social History of the Third Reich , vol. 2, PIW 1987.

Check where to buy "Hitler. Man and Monster ":