When I first proposed this idea to the Maestro of the Unofficial Home of the New Jedi Order, some doubts existed as to how I could compare these two radically different individuals. But from looking at each in a new light and how Thrawn would have continued had he survived to the New Jedi Order, I feel there is a strong basis of similarity on these two leaders, not only in them personally but also in the way they structured their support, their rise to power and those they commanded.

I am going to skip the early of history and dive into them as powerful figures right away. Hitler was not a born leader, but rather grew into that position as he progressed through the Nazi party. Similarly, thought Thrawn was one of the greatest leaders to ever wear a uniform, he was a soldier under orders from his superiors for the beginning of his life, taking and not distributing orders. But then they each rose up, quicker than any sun, to the heights of power.

Hitler had a love for art. He craved to be an artist when he was a youth and even into his early adulthood, but he never would succeed as an artist. There existed an emotional detachment from his work that limited the feeling the paintings displayed. As we all know, Thrawn took art more seriously than most things. Through the study and appreciation of art, he was able to read into different cultures, finding weakness and exploiting this in combat. So both had art as a major focus in their lives. Does that mean they are they are the same? No, but it is one of their similarities.

Both had intelligence and captivated their subordinates. Albert Speer wrote, “I was not choosing the NSDAP, but becoming a follower of Hitler, whose magnetic force had reached out to me the first time I saw him and had not, thereafter, released me.” Then Captain Pellaeon once thought to himself, after Thrawn had promoted a junior officer for showing initiative, the crew of the Chimaera would follow him and serve him with unwavering respect and awe. A charisma radiated from both of them where power was concerned. To say that either was a good man is far from the truth, however. Not only were their men in awe of them, but also they feared for their lives. Hitler was a vindictive man, with many perceived enemies, and no matter whom they were, he would silence them. But his treatment of the SA will be discussed later on. Thrawn, comparatively, was vicious in response to others’ stupidity and personal ideologies; i.e. New Republic leaders, Jedi, the Noghri and etc. All could have made for strong allies in the long run had he been more open-minded to their views.

Ultimately, their plans for power and success were grand and far-reaching. Hitler saw a Teutonic Empire stretching across Europe with “Living Space” in the would-be colonies of the Soviet Union. Thrawn saw a return to power of the waning Empire, a return that would herald a galactic unity to face the “hundred threats” of the Unknown Regions. But these ideas of there are so grand, so impossibly difficult to execute, neither would see their dreams lived out. Let us thank God Hitler’s dream didn’t pan out. Thrawn had some altruism to his plan, but the involvement of forced subjugation played heavily into what he would have to do.

Let us now take a look at the military and the personnel that they gathered around them. In the beginning of his meteoric rise, Hitler used the SA, precursors to the SS, to dominate the streets and show what a Nazi fighting force could be and how control was an outcome from their deployment. Thrawn never had an on-page version of this while he lived but we can be lead to believe that the Chiss and Imperials in the Unknown Regions that operated the Hand of Thrawn, as well as his other bases, were his SA, his first line and model for future armies. They, like the SA, had the power of their convictions behind them as well as the strength of a might leader. But what we will never know is how they would have evolved into the Thrawn-SS. The Nazi SS came from military and civil units and became elite troopers, running front line offensives with deadly precision as well as brutality unmatched since the days of the Crusades.

The Thrawn-SS, we might be able to extrapolate, would be the clone troopers he had scattered around the galaxy. This elite core of fighters would be the new first line of offense, the new shock-troopers. Would Thrawn then have had his “SA” liquidated in the same manner as Hitler “disbanded” the real SA? Well, if they Thrawn-SA were truly the idealists of his movement, the revolutionaries who would fight for the pure ideal no matter who got in the way, then Thrawn may have had to silence some of them once, say, the Jedi were brought into the movement (This assumes he survived to the New Jedi Order, that he saw his dream more fulfilled than before). The real SA did not appreciate Hitler’s “stop” of the revolution once he was in power and threatened to revolt. But the Crystal Night saw that they would no longer be concerned with affairs of the living. The clones would come in as a replacement to the SS and dominate the battles, bringing expertise and determination to their fighting.

The main argument against this is Thrawn saying he would never kill his own people and his refusal to waste the lives of his soldiers. But even he would place the completion of his goals and the overall preparation of the galaxy above one group of people. Hitler regretted having to dispatch the SA, as Thrawn would at having to liquidate his original fighters, but sacrifices are made.

Many saw Hitler as the ultimate hatemonger that only would let “pure” Germans into his empire and any non-Aryans would be killed or subjugated. That was not the case. He did want Aryans to be the rulers, but he did accept that employing other peoples to fight for him was a smart idea. French, Dutch, Scandinavian, Greek and even the British all were represented in his military, some as spies, some as SS commanders. Thrawn can be said to do the same thing. He recognized the usefulness of the Noghri and exploited it, as well as the Imperials. Remember, before anything, he was a Chiss, loyal to the Chiss Protectorate and not the Galactic Empire. He would never turn his back on his own people. We even found out later that Mara Jade, a then-Jedi and ex-patriot of the Empire, was approached to be a part of Thrawn’s Empire. One can assume he would have extended this offer to any person or people that exhibited the qualities he looked for in potential members of his movement.

And then there is the racist attitude of Hitler. How does that fit in with Thrawn? Hitler saw whole races, the majority of the world, as inferior, to be subjugated and put to work for the ruling Teutonic-Roman-Greco class. Thrawn would be no different. He would view the Yuuzhan Vong as insects to be exterminated; we know he views many races in the Unknown Regions as not only threats, but also populations that must be decimated for civilization to continue as he sees fit. Each has their own specific view of what the world or galaxy must be, and opponents be damned, but they will have their way. The idea of one culture ruling over a group of cultures drives them, no matter how you can view Thrawn. He is not a good guy, or even an anti-hero; Thrawn is a megalomaniac in the making. As one of my favorite fictional characters, this drive and ambition is what sets him apart from other characters and brings him to reality.

Thrawn may not be Hitler with blue skin, but most definitely do they share similar views and ideas on situations. The manner in which they each would handle situations is strikingly similar or can be assumed to be from past examples. Would Thrawn terminate a whole race because he views them as evil? Yes, and he wishes to do so in the Unknown Regions. He learned military as “Expansionary Defense,” meaning that one race/culture pushes its sphere of influence farther and farther out, and if another group conflicts with this, they are dead or assimilated. No compromise can be reached. In the New Jedi Order, Thrawn would have turned out to be a Hitlerian leader, with an ideology of conquest and forced peace.