Early in his extremely readable and widely admired history of the Battle of Britain (The Most Dangerous Enemy), Stephen Bungay puts Britain's situation after the defeat of France in context by describing the reaction to Germany's success around the world. At one point he writes the following:

Gandhi wrote in an Indian newspaper that Germans of the future would ‘honour Hitler as a genius, as a brave man, a matchless organiser and much more.’

Did Gandhi say this and is it, in context, an accurate statement of his views on Hitler at the time?

  • 14
    Assuming he did write that, it doesn't mean that he admired Hitler himself.
    – Aeronth
    Sep 18, 2013 at 11:30
  • 2
    I don't see a notable claim that Gandhi believed anything about Hitler other than what Germans would think of him. Sep 18, 2013 at 13:42
  • 1
    @WilliamGrobman The implied message of the quote does suggest that claim. I asked the question to test whether more context would clarify this (and there is already an answer that does). I posed the question because a good answer would help clarify Gandhi's views and avoid (possible) misuse of a potentially selective quote.
    – matt_black
    Sep 18, 2013 at 14:19
  • 3
    This is an obvious example of quote mining. The full context would make it absolutely clear what the intended meaning was (per @DJClayworth's answer). It seems that the author used some shady tactics here, 'mirite?
    – Zano
    Sep 18, 2013 at 15:43
  • @Sancho The context of the quote looks like it is intended to imply that even Gandhi had some sneaking respect for Hitler and that is how many are likely to read it. I think that good answers rather than any big questions address the issue (and we already have a good one).
    – matt_black
    Sep 19, 2013 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


The quote is from a paper called "How to Combat Hitlerism", which tells you something. Here's the full quote:

I doubt if the Germans of future generations will entertain unadulterated pride in the deeds for which Hitlerism will be deemed responsible. They will honour Herr Hitler as genius, as a brave man, a matchless organizer and much more. But I should hope that the Germans of the future will have learnt the art of discrimination even about their heroes. Anyway I think it will be allowed that all the blood that has been spilled by Hitler has added not a millionth part of an inch to the world’s moral stature.

It's in the context of a discussion of non-violent resistance, and discusses what might have happened had the Czechs and Poles employed it rather than meeting violence with violence. It's certainly not expressing general admiration for Hitler.

It should also be pointed out that this dates from June 1940, at which time Gandhi would have had no knowledge of Hitler's intentions for genocide.

References: here here here.

  • 4
    Excellent. That is the sort of context I was looking for that puts the quote in the relevant light.
    – matt_black
    Sep 18, 2013 at 14:06
  • The second reference isn't available for me. Also, do any of your references back up the claim in the last sentence (about having no knowledge of Hitler's intentions for genocide, and if he had known about it, would regard the holocaust as a bad thing)?
    – Golden Cuy
    Sep 19, 2013 at 2:57
  • 1
    The second reference is a book quoting the same thing as the others. In 1940 hardly anybody outside the inner circle of the Nazis knew anything about the coming genocide. Sep 19, 2013 at 3:34
  • @AndrewGrimm For example, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… claims, The sermons were reproduced and sent all over Germany to families, and to German soldiers on the Western and Eastern Fronts. ... The resulting local protests in Germany broke the secrecy which had hitherto surrounded the euthanasia program Aktion T4. Those sermons began in July 1941.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 19, 2013 at 7:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .