Sticky Reputations: Adolf Hitler and the Stigma of Memory Work

Gary Alan Fine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Adolf Hitler is always with us: our dark Elvis in what has been cynically labeled “Shoah Business” and the “Holocaust Industry” (Finkelstein 2000). Hitler matters. He is oft en described with grandiose phrases, such as the “most evil man in all of history” (Hart 1992: 208). The discursive power of the image of Führer is recognized in “Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies, " a humorous claim that suggests that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one” (Godwin 1993). If you object to someone, he is a Hitler. By propounding this maxim, Mike Godwin hoped to dissuade netizens from using Hitler’s name promiscuously to denigrate opponents. British courts have limited the practice of using “Nazi” as an insult (McFarlane 2010).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSticky Reputations
Subtitle of host publicationThe Politics of Collective Memory in Midcentury America
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781136485657
ISBN (Print)9780415894982
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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