Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Adolf Hitler Character Analysis

The real-life leader of the Nazi Party in Germany who becomes the Chancellor of the Reich, starts World War II, and carries out the Holocaust. In the novel, when Ursula spends time abroad in Germany, she watches Hitler’s rise to power and eventually becomes close friends with both him and his mistress, Eva Braun. In one of Ursula’s last lives in the novel, she kills Hitler (and is promptly killed herself) in order to try to prevent World War II from happening.

Adolf Hitler Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Adolf Hitler or refer to Adolf Hitler. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hachette edition of Life After Life published in 2013.
War (II), 20 Jan 1915 Quotes

Ursula had been about to plunge out of the window in Queen Solange’s wake, intent on delivering her from the no man’s land of the roof, when something made her hesitate. A little doubt, a faltering foot and the thought that the roof was very high and the night very wide.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
Like a Fox in a Hole, Sep 1923 Quotes

“There are some Buddhist philosophers (a branch referred to as Zen) who say that sometimes a bad thing happens to prevent a worse thing happening,” Dr. Kellet said. “But, of course, there are some situations where it’s impossible to imagine anything worse.”

Related Characters: Dr. Kellet (speaker), Ursula Todd, Sylvie Todd, Bridget, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), Nov 1940 Quotes

“Could you do that? Could you kill a baby? With a gun? Or what if you had no gun, how about with your bare hands? In cold blood.”

If I thought it would save Teddy, Ursula thought. Not just Teddy, of course, the rest of the world, too.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Ralph (speaker), Edward (“Teddy”) Todd, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
The Land of Begin Again, Aug 1939 Quotes

Most people muddled through events and only in retrospect realized their significance. The Führer was different, he was consciously making history for the future.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Jürgen Fuchs, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 351
Explanation and Analysis:

“Hindsight’s a wonderful thing,” Klara said. “If we all had it there would be no history to write about.”

Related Characters: Klara Brenner (speaker), Ursula Todd, Jürgen Fuchs, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 354
Explanation and Analysis:

Powerful men needed their women to be unchallenging, the home should not be an arena for intellectual debate. “My own husband told me this so it must be true!” she wrote to Pamela.

Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:

What had the Fuhrer’s apprenticeship for greatness been? Eva shrugged, she didn’t know. “He’s always been a politician. He was born a politician.” No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.

Related Characters: Eva Braun (speaker), Ursula Todd, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 360
Explanation and Analysis:
A Long Hard War, Oct 1940 (I) Quotes

“Yet we must hold fast to what is good and true. But it all seems so random. One wonders about the divine plan and so on.”

“More of a shambles than a plan,” Ursula agreed.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Miss Woolf (speaker), Adolf Hitler, Dr. Kellet
Page Number: 413
Explanation and Analysis:
A Long Hard War, May 1941 Quotes

“We only have one after all, we should try and do our best. We can never get it right, but we must try.” (The transformation was complete.)

“What if we had a chance to do it again and again,” Teddy said, “until we finally did get it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

“I think it would be exhausting.”

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Edward (“Teddy”) Todd (speaker), Jürgen Fuchs, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 446
Explanation and Analysis:
The End of the Beginning Quotes

Become such as you are, having learned what that is. She knew what that was now. She was Ursula Beresford Todd and she was a witness.

She opened her arms to the black bat and they flew to each other, embracing in the air like long-lost souls. This is love, Ursula thought. And the practice of it makes it perfect.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Adolf Hitler
Related Symbols: Darkness and the Black Bat
Page Number: 473
Explanation and Analysis:
The Broad Sunlit Uplands, May 1945 Quotes

Ursula stayed where she was, worried suddenly that if she moved it would all disappear, the whole happy scene break into pieces before her eyes. But then she thought, no, this was real, this was true, and she laughed with uncomplicated joy as Teddy let go of Nancy long enough to stand to attention and give Ursula a smart salute.

Page Number: 525
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Life After Life LitChart as a printable PDF.
Life After Life PDF

Adolf Hitler Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Adolf Hitler appears in Life After Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Be Ye Men of Valor (I), November 1930
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...the far end of the room sits a man (who is later revealed to be Hitler) surrounded by a group of henchmen with pastries on the table. He greets Ursula and... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Ursula eats a pastry as she and Hitler make minimal, polite conversation. She wipes her mouth with her handkerchief, and then bends down... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), November 1940
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...Ursula had commented aloud that if one small thing could have changed in the past—if Hitler had died at birth—things might be completely different. Ralph wonders if Ursula would have killed... (full context)
The Land of Begin Again, August 1933
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...waiting on the side of the road for hours, hoping to get a glimpse of Hitler, when suddenly series of big black cars pass by and the group of girls that... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Klara shows Ursula a school that Hitler had founded, explaining that he’s very keen on “the Party”—the only political party they’re allowed... (full context)
The Land of Begin Again, August 1939
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Six years later, Ursula is at the grand Berghof, and Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress) is playing with Ursula’s five-year-old daughter, Frieda. Frieda has blond hair, blue eyes, and... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
“The Berg”—Hitler’s mansion—is bustling with other women, many of whom are senior party officials who hate Eva... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
In private, Jürgen claims to find Hitler and his henchmen tremendously flawed, but in public he behaves like a good servant of... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
At Hitler’s birthday parade, Ursula had been amazed by the theatrics, the precision, and the weaponry. Jürgen... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
When Hitler is not at the Berg, Ursula notes that Eva doesn’t really know what to do... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Ursula asks Eva one day how Hitler became the great leader he is. Eva says that “he was born a politician,” but... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
When Ursula and Frieda had arrived at the Berghof, Hitler himself had greeted them and invited them to stay until Frieda felt better. Pamela noted... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
At the Berg, Ursula is forced to listen to concerts and watch films of Hitler’s choosing, after which he would talk for hours. Ursula wishes in these moments she could... (full context)
The Land of Begin Again, April 1945
War and Death Theme Icon
There is a rumor going around that Hitler has committed suicide. Ursula thinks about him “strutting and fretting his hour upon the stage,”... (full context)
A Long Hard War, June 1967
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...lunch with Pamela’s first-born son, Nigel, who is a history tutor. Ursula argues that if Hitler had died before he became Chancellor, the Holocaust would not have happened, and the Jews... (full context)
Be Ye Men of Valor (II), December 1930
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...of Eva’s infatuation for her “older man.” All Eva wants is to be close to Hitler, and that’s all Ursula wants too. And so, as the men get used to having... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...December of 1930. Sitting at a table at the far end of the room is Hitler, surrounded by his henchmen, with pastries on the table. He motions for her to sit... (full context)