Sometimes two opposites come together with such force that our jaws have no choice but to drop in unison. In this case, this has to do with one of the strangest animation-related facts ever.
Back in 2008, a Norwegian museum director brought to light extraordinary claims that he had discovered cartoons drawn by Fascist dictator Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. Yes, that's correct: The man who committed one of the worst atrocities in the 21st century, tore Europe to pieces with his aggressive social and military policies, and led millions of people to their deaths, was actually a huge Disney fan.
William Hakvaag, the director of a small war museum in northern Norway, revealed that he found drawings in a painting visibly signed "A. Hitler." He had bought the images at an auction in the dictator's native Germany.
The colored cartoons depicted characters Bashful and Doc from Disney's 1937 movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which were both marked with the initials 'A.H.' Another sketch of Pinocchio was also part of the collection, although unsigned.
As to the authenticity of the images, Hakvaag was incredibly sure that their source is legitimate, performing numerous tests to prove they were dated from 1940. At the time, he also said:
"I am 100 per cent sure that these are drawings by Hitler. If one wanted to make a forgery, one would never hide it in the back of a picture, where it might never be discovered."
Additionally, he claimed that the initials on the sketches exactly matched other copies of Hitler's signature on official documents.
'He Thought This Was One Of The Best Movies Ever Made'
As for Hitler's personal connection to Disney, it's hardly surprising considering the man was a big fan of Snow White. According to Hakvaag:
"Hitler had a copy of Snow White. He thought this was one of the best movies ever made."
The fascination with the fairy tale partly stemmed from his obsession with German folk tales, such as the original Sneewittchen published by The Brothers Grimm in 1812. Disney's nod towards the old version of the story and particularly the concept of being the "fairest of them all" greatly pleased the formidable leader, especially considering the fact that German animation capabilities were less developed to attempt such feats at the time.
The adaptation's appeal was so real that during a 1938 visit to Germany, Roy Disney sold the animation to the country's Propaganda Ministry as one of the fifty American films bought by the Nazi regime that year. However, the feature was never shown due to the increasing anti-Americanism promoted within the state. Instead, it appears to have remained hidden away in Hitler's private cinema in his mountainous retreat of Obersalzburg.
Re-watch the original theatrical trailer that Hitler probably laid eyes on back in 1937:
Hitler Tried To Make A Career As An Artist
So, with Germany's former leader's interest confirmed as legitimate, what about his artistic prowess? In fact, that too has long been confirmed. Before his rapid rise to power at the end of the '20s, it's widely known that Hitler actually had tried to kick-start a career as an artist.
Long before his conquest of Europe, Hitler attempted to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna twice (both times unsuccessfully) in 1907 and 1908. Despite his rejections, he continued to create art and to this day, pieces attributed to him have continued to sell at auctions. For example, just a few years back in 2006, nineteen watercolors and two sketches allegedly created by him during his time in the army in the First World War were sold in England for £118,000 (approximately $170,000).
So there you go, folks: If the above holds true, this may mean that Adolf Hitler was a an avid Disney fan artist too. Now isn't that an unsettling thought!