Gandhi’s Letters to Hitler

By the late 1930s, Gandhi’s method of peaceful
non-cooperation had already won significant concessions from the British Raj, including
the founding of a national administration and local and national legislative assemblies,
albeit still under British oversight. Gandhi, himself, was internationally famous
for his various acts of non-violent, civil disobedience, including his 241-mile Salt
March, which, while protesting Britain’s monopoly on salt and its high tariff, also galvanized
the Indian people against British rule altogether. With his reputation for effective, nonviolent
change well established, many implored Gandhi to write to Adolph Hitler, whose increasingly
aggressive regime in Germany had them worried that a second world war was imminent. For example, by February 1935, Hitler had
ordered the establishment of a German air force, the Luftwaffe, and by March 1936, Hitler
had sent troops into the Rhineland – both in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Also in 1936, Hitler had established pacts
with Italy and Japan, and in March 1938, Germany invaded Austria. At this time (1938), Hitler was named Man
of the Year by Time magazine. They stated, “Lesser men of the year seemed
small indeed beside the Führer.” That said, their reasoning for picking him
was not to honor his actions up to that point, but to widely publicize his exploits. They noted, among other knocks against him,
“Germany’s 700,000 Jews have been tortured physically, robbed of homes and properties,
denied a chance to earn a living, chased off the streets. Now they are being held for ‘ransom,’
a gangster trick through the ages.” They ended their article on their decision
to name Hitler the Man of the Year on the ominous note, “To those who watched the
closing events of the year it seemed more than probable that the Man of 1938 may make
1939 a year to be remembered.” Indeed, although Britain and France thought
they had “appeased” Hitler’s ambition, and ensured “peace in our time,” with the Munich
Pact (that handed only a portion of Czechoslovakia over to Germany) in September 1938, by March
1939, Hitler had breached that agreement by soon occupying the entire country. At this point, finally realizing that Hitler
couldn’t be trusted, Britain pledged to defend Poland if Germany invaded the latter. Seeing the writing on the wall, Gandhi sent
a short, typewritten letter to Hitler on July 23, 1939, telling the dictator:
Dear friend, Friends have been urging me to write to you
for the sake of humanity. But I have resisted their request, because
of the feeling that any letter from me would be an impertinence. Something tells me that I must not calculate
and that I must make my appeal for whatever it may be worth. It is quite clear that you are today the one
person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to the savage state. Must you pay the price for an object however
worthy it may appear to you to be? Will you listen to the appeal of one who has
deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success? Any way I anticipate your forgiveness, if
I have erred in writing to you. I remain,
Your sincere friend M.K.Gandhi
This letter never reached the German Chancellor, as it was, apparently, intercepted by the
British government. Shortly thereafter, Germany signed a non-aggression
pact with the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939 (which kept the USSR out of the war until
1941), and Britain signed the formal Anglo-Polish Common Defence Pact two days later. Germany then invaded Poland with its Blitzkrieg
on September 1, 1939, and on September 3, 1939, World War II formally began when Britain
and France declared war on Germany. Despite facing two powerful enemies, Germany
encountered little real resistance during those early months of the war. It tore through the European continent, and
by May 1940, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Norway were all occupied by
Nazi forces. The Battle of Britain, which saw the British
homeland pummeled by a months-long bombing campaign, began in July 1940. Over the coming months, nearly 30,000 bombs
were dropped on London, during which more than 15,000 people were injured or killed. Once again, on December 24, 1940, Gandhi sent
a letter to Hitler, this one significantly longer. Again addressing him as “Dear Friend,” Gandhi
explained that: “That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past
33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective
of race, colour or creed.” But, taking a harder line this time, Gandhi
chastised the Chancellor: “Your own writings and pronouncements . . . leave
no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity. . . . Such are your humiliation of Czechoslovakia,
the rape of Poland and the swallowing of Denmark.” He also challenged Hitler, noting that although
Nazi Germany had lifted the “science of destruction” to a level of “perfection”:
“It is a marvel to me that you do not see that it is nobody’s monopoly. If not the British, some other power will
certainly improve upon your method and beat you with your own weapon. You are leaving no legacy to your people of
which they would feel proud. They cannot take pride in a recital of cruel
deed, however skilfully planned. I, therefore, appeal to you in the name of
humanity to stop the war.” Accepted that both men shared a common disdain
of Britain, Gandhi continued: “We know what the British heel means for
us and the non-European races of the world. But we would never wish to end the British
rule with German aid. We have found in non-violence a force, which,
if organized, can without doubt match itself against a combination of all the most violent
forces of the world.” He ended with a final appeal:
“During this season when the hearts of the peoples of Europe yearn for peace . . . is
it too much to ask you to make and effort for peace?” If this letter ever reached Hitler, it apparently
was too much to ask. Bonus Fact:
• Although Gandhi was a prodigious writer, and was known to use a typewriter, it created
a cognitive dissonance in the great leader. Renowned for his disdain of technology, which
he thought was de-humanizing, Gandhi summarized his love-hate relationship with the device:
“I too detest the typewriter. I have a horror of it, but I survive it as
I survive many things, which do no lasting harm. If someone dispossessed me of the typewriter,
I should not shed a single tear, but, as it is there, I make use of it and even believe
that some time is being saved for more useful work.”

100 thoughts on “Gandhi’s Letters to Hitler

  • How different the current Indian PM is in regards to mans violence just ask the suffering and dying Kashmiris under 800,000 strong Indian army for 72 years?!?

  • Don’t forget to mention he would sleep nude with his 12 year old niece. Oh and he believed black people were second class.

  • 4:54 as a German, I can confirm that this is one of the most true things Ghandi has ever told somebody.

  • It's so cute how you pronounce "Luftwaffe". It sounds like waffles (air waffles ^-^). Actually, the "a" in "waffe" is pronounced as a short a, like in … in …um. can't think of a single english word with a short a in it

  • For once, I feel like you could've slowed down on this vid to tell us a proper tail of the two most influential people in history.

  • Sooo
    Gandhi not only urged the jews to give themselves up peacefully to the nazis and accept torture and death…but called hitler a friend? This is the problem i have with pacifists. So committed to no war they bend themselves into pretzels

  • Look, all of you people in the comment section.. it's not Ghandi it's "Gandhi".
    Because there is another motherfucker named Ghandi, actually Ghandy.

  • Too bad Gandhi's letters did no good with Hitler. Gandhi himself is said to have been a horrible human being and treated the people around him awful.

  • You can not deal with a German/Austrian madman in 1939 or a sick racicist German desendent in 2020 in the USA!!!

  • If Gandhi had the balls to side with us early on, Hitler wouldn't of got out of europe… Both Gandhi and the Pope assisted in Hitlers domination.

  • Didn't Ghandi get a medal for the murder of Africans he committed to prove the racial superiority of the Indian people? Ghandi was a monster and a conman.

  • One of the biggest ironies was that Ghandi didn't want India and Pakistan to separate. At the time, that decision was seen as the best hope for peace between two major cultural bases sharing the same landmass. That didn't quite work out, did it?

  • Maybe the Joos was trying fuck gemany over think about if a group of people is all way the victim it make my think way r the Joo r victim maybe there evil steeling r money oil gold raping and killing r kids the Joo believe it ok to merry and have sex with a 3 year and a 1 day it like pokeing them in the eye of anyrelagen have a pedo relagen I do not like it wrong to justify this. me:you know the Joo r pedo right
    Stager girl and guy: o it ok it what the believe in it there religion.

    Just because it there religion dose not make it right

  • Simon you ought to be ashamed what you were saying about Chamberlain and appeasement. It is nothing but far-right warmongering propaganda.

    "historians argued that appeasement was probably the only choice for the British government in the 1930s, but that it was poorly implemented, carried out too late and not enforced strongly enough to constrain Hitler. Appeasement was considered a viable policy, considering the strains that the British Empire faced in recuperating from World War I, and Chamberlain was said to have adopted a policy suitable to Britain's cultural and political needs. Frank McDonough is a leading proponent of this view of appeasement and describes his book Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement and the British Road to War[72] as a "post revisionist" study.[73] Appeasement was a crisis management strategy seeking a peaceful settlement of Hitler's grievances. "Chamberlain's worst error", says McDonough, "was to believe that he could march Hitler on the yellow brick road to peace when in reality Hitler was marching very firmly on the road to war." He has criticized revisionist historians for concentrating on Chamberlain's motivations rather than how appeasement worked in practice – as a "usable policy" to deal with Hitler. James P. Levy argues against the outright condemnation of appeasement. "Knowing what Hitler did later," he writes, "the critics of Appeasement condemn the men who tried to keep the peace in the 1930s, men who could not know what would come later. … The political leaders responsible for Appeasement made many errors. They were not blameless. But what they attempted was logical, rational, and humane."

    "he strains that the British Empire faced in recuperating from World War I" is talking about this:

    "In Britain the Royal Navy generally favored appeasement. In the Italian Abyssinia Crisis of 1937 it was confident it could easily defeat the Italian Navy in open warfare. However, it favored appeasement because it did not want to commit a large fraction of its naval power to the Mediterranean, thereby weakening its positions against Germany and Japan.[36] In 1938, the Royal Navy approved appeasement regarding Munich because it calculated that at that moment, Britain lacked the political and military resources to intervene and still maintain an imperial defense capability.

    Public opinion in Britain throughout the 1930s was frightened by the prospect of German terror bombing of British cities, as they had started to do in the First World War. The media emphasized the dangers, and the general consensus was that defense was impossible and, as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin had said in 1932 the 'bombers will always get through'.[39] However, the Royal Air Force had two major weapons systems in the works—better interceptors (Hurricanes and Spitfires) and especially radar. These promised to counter the German bombing offensive. However they were not yet ready, so that appeasement was necessary to cause a delay. [40][41] Specifically regarding the fighters, the RAF warned the government in October 1938 that the German bombers would probably get through: 'the situation… will be definitely unsatisfactory throughout the next twelve months.'

    In France, The Air Force intelligence section closely examined the strength of the Luftwaffe. It decided the German pursuit planes and bombers were the best in the world, and that the Nazis were producing 1000 warplanes a month. They perceived decisive German air superiority, so the Air Force was pessimistic about its ability to defend Czechoslovakia in 1938. Guy La Chambre, the civilian air minister, optimistically informed the government that the air force was capable of stopping the Luftwaffe. However, General Joseph Vuillemin, air force chief of staff, warned that his arm was far inferior. He consistently opposed war with Germany."

    And the propaganda that you are spouting here has been used ever since for to drum up appeal for atrocities:
    "U.S. President Harry S. Truman thus explained his decision to enter the Korean War in 1950, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden his confrontation of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the Suez Crisis of 1956, U.S. President John F. Kennedy his "quarantine" of Cuba in 1962, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson his resistance to communism in Indochina in the 1960s, and U.S. President Ronald Reagan his air strike on Libya in 1986.[77]

    During the Cold War, the "lessons" of appeasement were cited by prominent conservative allies of Reagan, who urged Reagan to be assertive in "rolling back" Soviet-backed regimes throughout the world. The Heritage Foundation's Michael Johns, for instance, wrote in 1987 that "seven years after Ronald Reagan's arrival in Washington, the United States government and its allies are still dominated by the culture of appeasement that drove Neville Chamberlain to Munich in 1938."[78]

    British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher invoked the example of Churchill during the Falklands War of 1982: "When the American Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, urged her to reach a compromise with the Argentines she rapped sharply on the table and told him, pointedly, 'that this was the table at which Neville Chamberlain sat in 1938 and spoke of the Czechs as a faraway people about whom we know so little'."[79] The spectre of appeasement was raised in discussions of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.[80]

    U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair also cited Churchill's warnings about German rearmament to justify their action in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War.[81]

    In May 2008, President Bush cautioned against "the false comfort of appeasement" when dealing with Iran and its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[82]

    Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali demands a confrontational policy at the European level to meet the threat of radical Islam, and compares policies of non-confrontation to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler."


  • I love hay he says "despite facing two powerful enemies" referring to Britain and France. The same France that invested 10 years and 8 billion francs making the Maginot line, because they were afraid that their 42 million pop country could be attacked by the fascist 70 million pop country. And then, they made a treaty with Switzerland and banked on the fact that the swiss would not get into any war and wouldn't let any army pass through their territory because France didn't have enough money to fortify their entire western frontier. Oh yeah, and to mention England, that had only a fraction (don't remember if it was one fifth or one third) of its mainland effective military, which was composed mainly of old WWI veterans and kids that weren't old enough to enroll for the previous war and was also a 47 million pop country.

  • Thanks for sharing this. It seems about the time Gandhi wrote the letters Hitler would have been so much better off listening to him, even if partially. Germany under Hitler had already looted enough, shown that they had a strong military and occupied other lands. They could have easily lived off the interest and focused on the economy. Instead Hitler had to double down and overreach into multi front war leading to his own complete destruction. Guess there's no guarantee against greed and over reaching.

  • Did Gandhi not also sleep with his young nieces and hate black people also among a hole bunch of other crap. He gets too much love in the West for some reason.

  • What's so great about Ghandi? Everyone talks about how "great" Ghandi was. Ghandi wasn't so great.
    He never got his picture on a bubble gum card. Have you ever seen his picture on a bubble gum card? Hmmm? How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on a bubble gum card?

  • Just as I was reaching for the stop button, ever so tired of hearing about wars, I heard Ghandi's name again. Thank you for sharing this detail that I hadn't found before.

  • Gandhi's code of non-violence only worked because the majority of English didn't want a massacre. If we had been like the Nazi's no amount of non-violent protest would've made the slightest difference. Gandhi should've recognized why his methods worked against the British but not against the Nazis. We were Imperialists but we weren't all without heart.

  • In one point Ghandi was wrong. Many people are proud to carry Hitler's legacy into the 21st century. (I state this simple fact; nothing more and nothing less)

  • So Gandhi was friends with everyone except the fact that he was a racist and didn't care about muslims or black people at all?

  • Negotiation with a ruthless Dictator who displays no respect for human rights by shamelessly praising him? Sounds like the Donald Trump school of diplomacy re. North Korea. I never thought I’d ever see a similarity between Gandhi and Trump.

  • Gandhi’s for get to tell him lots of horrible things he did, just wondering ? Actually Gandhi’s was full of shit and fake .

  • I thought Simon would have mentioned Bose. Bose wanted to personally meet Hitler and invite him formally to invade India. Bose believed the Aryan theory of Hitler's would be better match for India. Hitler was preoccupied with having Russia as a colony (as Britain had India).

    The eventual downfall of Britain was ego and arrogance. If Britain used the Chinese philosophy of a ruler is more successful if they are out of public glare, Britain would be in power till today. But the Britishers were arrogant and tried to impact religion and culture of the mass. That was the Indian straw that broke the British camel's back. The stories of the 1857 mutiny had circulated throughout India and the stop watch was set for Britain's weak hold of India to end. The British were forced to leave on ship just as they came.

  • Gandhi-
    The Rascist Perverted Purity
    A man who's legacy was so inflated toward good rather then the more deserving gray area for him.
    He was really racist toward black people he liked sleeping with naked women to test himself but he also advocated non violent methods of protest so his place in history should be a moral gray area he was not a great nor evil man but when his deeds and beliefs are added up it results in a middle ground a cross between good and evil

  • Bonus fact: Like today's SJWs, he was a hypocrite. People who want me to use one sheet of toilet paper, to save the environment, will fly across the nation to appear in front of a mic…spewing carbon over all 50 states. Or, will tweet how they use organic kelp in their salads, while never thinking that their Apple iPhone got its electric charge from a carbon-emitting power plant.

  • The fact that Gandhi wrote to Hitler was an excuse for Bollywood to make their own Downfall Hitler movie. It's called Dear Friend Hitler.

  • Yeah…I'm pretty sure Gandhi's whole Passive Resistance thing worked because the British had a culture that was willing to cave to such humility after time. Had it been Germany that colonized India, and not Britain, I doubt such tactics would have worked.

  • They were both vegetarians, of course. But did you know that Himmler's favorite book was the Hindu religious scripture, The Bhagavad Gita (The Song of God) in which the incarnation of God as Krishna tells his devotee, Arjuna, that life on earth is merely the play of God or an illusion and that he shouldn't baulk at going into war and killing many of his former friends. Because life is just illusory. Himmler carried a copy of the Gita around with him and found great comfort in it when he was planning the Holocaust. Strange, horrifying, but true.

  • I think countries like Finland and others in northern as well as eastern Europe would be a bit surprised by the characterization that the USSR was "out of the war until 1941."

  • Simon, what are "Nazi forces"? Do you name all national forces by the dominant political party of the time? Were the British forces "Tory forces" in WW 2? Are present day French soldiers "En Marche" soldiers? Italian soldiers "Coalition of Lega and Cinque Stelle" soldiers?

  • Gandhi was pedophile who used to sleep with young girls . He also hated untouchables . He also supported casteism . He was casteist and racist motherfucker . untouchable from India tried to abolish caste system but this man tried his best to stop untouchables getting any freedom from discrimination m

  • Non-violence esp when you are the (overwheeeeeeelming) majority is a useless tactic… The British were less than a piece of a piece of a piece of 1% of Paki/India population. India would have been better served fighting Britain every step of the way…

  • Simon looks like he is having a minor seizure from 6:16 on…WTF is going on there? Does he suddenly have an itch up his ass he is trying to scratch with the chair he is sitting on? What the holy hell is going on there? Parkinson’s disease? A Stroke? Lol WTF?!? He is a WEIRD FUCKER!!!

  • can't smash buttons for a channel that has no shame in its own classic blitzkrieg of advertisements. At what point do you stop trying to use this place as a replacement for your day job? can't you see it's the abuse of monitization thats ruining youtube?

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