Monday, April 20, 2009

Ivy League History: Students Think Hitler Is the "Greatest"

Thanks to Clarice Feldman at American Thinker for passing this on:
For those of us surprised by the thinking of the denizens of the groves of academe, JOM poster, Daddy, reminds us that there is nothing new here:

Last week I finished Walter Isaacson’s “Einstein”. Einstein had moved to Princeton in 1933 and remained there until his death in 1955. During the 30’s, he was world famous, beloved, quirky and kind. To my surprise, in a section called Prewar Politics, the author writes the following on page 445.

“A survey of incoming freshmen in 1938 produced a result that is now astonishing, and should have been back then as well; Adolf Hitler polled highest as the “greatest living person.” Albert Einstein was second.”
Naturally, I had to check the references on this one, and, sure enough, the cited 1939 New York Times article offered confirmation, available online here:
HITLER IS 'GREATEST' IN PRINCETON POLL; Freshmen Put Einstein Second and Chamberlain Third

November 28, 1939, Tuesday

Page 23, 236 words

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27-- Princeton's freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as "the greatest living person" in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian. Ninety-three votes were given to the German Chancellor, as compared with twenty-seven to Albert Einstein in second position and fifteen to Neville Chamberlain in third. [italics mine]

Just for the record, Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

Galley Slaves reproduced the rest of the article:

In answer to a criticism, which suggested the use of the word "important" rather than "great" for the poll, The Nassau Daily pointed out editorially that the dictionary defines "great" as "eminent or distinguished by rank, power or moral character."

The Princeton yearlings gave most votes to President Roosevelt as the greatest living American, with Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert Hoover in second and third positions, respectively. President Roosevelt ranked fifth, behind Mahatma Gandhi, as "the greatest living person."

A third term for the President, however, was opposed by 368 votes, while only sixty favored it. Most believed he would run but would not be re-elected.

Only 120 Nassau first-year men said they would fight overseas, but 413 would defend this country against invasion. The present war is considered "imperialistic" by 199, "ideological" by only fifty-nine.

The class preferred a Phi Beta Kappa key to a varsity letter in athletics, and thought the chairmanship of the Daily Princetonian was the most desirable campus position. [italics mine]

By 1945, Winston Churchill replaced Hitler as "the greatest living person" in the Princetonian mind but, by then, 355 students and alumni had sacrificed their lives as members of the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II; another 72 million souls had been slain in battle, died or been murdered while imprisoned, or died of starvation as the result of the war.

Note: Neville Chamberlain's now infamous refusal to recognize Hitler's thirst for conquest was summarized in his words: "Peace with honor" and "Peace in our time."


  1. We forget that a lot of people were fooled by Hitler and the Nazis. It wasn't just Chamberlain. We've deomnized the Nazis (not that it isn't deserved) so much that we forget that they were people and the warning they gave us is now pretty much lost.

    People seem to believe that the Ivy League is beyond such deceptions. Historically, that's been so wrong it's not even funny.

  2. You people are absolutely ignorant. Please watch and learn the truth about Adolf Hitler. He was not a monster and, as always, you've been purposely duped by the alleged victors. Enjoy, "Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told."