Thursday, July 07, 2011

Historical Thursday: Hitler’s Talking Dogs

This gives me the giggles.  Even a week later - still giggling.

via There, I Fixed It - Redneck Repairs by Not-So-Handy Andy on 6/30/11

Oh Nazis, you so crazy. While the Germans, Soviets and Americans all had some pretty nutty ideas during wartime in the 20th century, the Nazis always seem to take the biggest slice of the crazy cake. During the Second War of the World, the Reich spent a fair amount of time and money research our canine friends in an attempt to turn them into more than just adorable companions.

It's no secret that Hitler was a fan of dogs. His German Shepherds Blondi and Bella stuck with him through the war; he killed the former moments before taking his own life in the bunker. But his love for the animals went deeper than playing fetch and a good long pet. Adolf had a feeling that the animals were vastly more intelligent than we had always believed. Believing this, he started a project that a UK newspaper dubbed Woofan SS, collecting dogs from around the country to join his special school run by a team of animal psychiatrists.
white trash repairs - Historical Thursday: Hitler's Talking Dogs
Tier-Sprechschule (animal speaking school) in Hannover was run by headmistress Margarethe Schmitt and home to dozens of furry friends including Rolf the talking dog and Young Hitler. The Nazis believed that these already intelligent dogs could be fürther groomed to be able to converse with humans; the ultimate goal being human-canine interaction to the point where the SS could have conversations with them.

They were first taught to tap out signals with their paws but the Nazis claimed the animals could do much more than this. One pup could apparently write poetry and another barked out the words 'Mein Fuhrer' after being asked his relationship to Hitler. The most ridiculous theory was that humans have a special telekinetic relationship with dogs, which they apparently tested by putting buckets on their head connected by some rope. But one terrier was especially talented:
Rolf, an Airedale terrier, reportedly 'spoke' by tapping his paw against a board, each letter of the alphabet being represented by a certain number of taps. He was said to have speculated about religion, learnt foreign languages, written poetry and asked a visiting noblewoman: 'Could you wag your tail?'
It was hoped that the dogs would be able to take over duties from SS officers and help guard concentration camps. Obviously, all of the claims were completely fraudulent and spread by the Germans as propaganda. All of this information was only recently discovered, when amateur historian Dr Bondeson published Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet Of Canine Curiosities, last month.

But really, who would be able to tell the difference between a barking dog and the German language anyway?
(Just joking, I speak a little Deutsch, please don't hurt me)
Enjoyed what you read? Check out all whole compendium of Historical Thursdays!
Pictures and Information courtesy of: The Daily Mail and Wikipedia.
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