Name Adolf Hitler the first
climate criminal and the
climate debate is different.

Dr. Arnd Bernaerts
8 min readApr 19, 2021


A number of heinous crimes that can be attributed to the person Adolf Hitler are known. This includes his war crimes for WWII, and as a mass murderer for the Holocaust. Does it still matter to call him the first climate criminal? Very much, and the further behind Hitler’s crimes, the more so! If one knew today why Hitler had to be named the first climate criminal, the climate debate would not proceed as it has been for decades.

From an abstract point of view, Hitler started the biggest climate experiment with World War II and he was very successful with it. The overall result of WWII was a global cooling since the winter of 1939/40, which lasted over three decades, which can be determined from countless weather deviations and trend changes over six years of the war. The physical force behind it was naval warfare in European waters, in the North Atlantic and Pacific. (A brief overview: MEDIUM, March 31, 2021)

But the sciences in the disciplines of meteorology and climatology know nothing about it and are not interested in it. In addition to the evil actions of Hitler, we have been dealing with an incompetent science for many decades, unable to recognize and evaluate the greatest historical climate experiment. The climate discussion would not take place as it has been taking place for a long time. It is a drama of unknown proportions.

One has to go back a long way about Hitler’s great climate experiment, because that is not possible with just a few sentences. From many essays and books, the following is an overview of an incomplete selection.

Autumn Weather 1939 in Europe

The war began on September 1st, 1939. In the following three months of weather, dozens of weather deviations from normal occurred, which results in much evidence of man-made weather. The deviations were the result of war activities, alone or in combination, on land, in the air or at sea. From the countless freak weather up to December 1939, only a few can be briefly mentioned here.

On September 1st, 1939, the German Wehrmacht attacked Poland with more than two million soldiers and many thousands of tanks (5000+), airplanes (3500+) and guns(5000+). The Polish Army, less than half as strong as the German, had to surrender after a few weeks. One reason was that Poland waited desperately for rain, to stop the German advances in muddy roads and water soaked ground. In vain, they got only a drizzle, reported the NYT (Sept. 17, 1939).

Instead the rain fell abundantly, up to 300% above the usual mean, from London to Basel until the end of November. The military deployment on the French and German armies along the Rhine was well in several millions. Surveillance, transport, training, but also combat missions determined the days. This also applies to all European coastal seas, especially the North and Baltic Seas, where more than 1000 warships operated from September 1, onwards.

A large number of unusual weather shifts could be observed. Except the very pronounced change in rain pattern, other changes require quite some space to explain. Here is another example: the change of wind-direction in Northern Europe,, as shown in the attached image for the city of Hamburg..

Ice-Age winter 1939/40

The winter started in early December 1939 and quickly proved being as cold as the last Little Ice Age (LIA) winters before 1850. From Amsterdam to Moscow many al-time minus records happened, for entire Poland with minus 41°C on January 11, 1940, (Medium, January 1940). The New York Times provided excellent information reporting on a speech by Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Field Marshal Herman Göring, addressing the LIA condition (NYT, Feb.16)::
· “Nature is still more powerful than man. I can fight man but I cannot fight nature when I lack the means to carry out such a battle. We did not ask for ice, snow and cold — a higher power sent it to us” and “These troubles, naturally, take precedence over yours. They are not a German patent — look at the nations around that have the same difficulties.”

Herman Göring was wrong. The war mongers in Germany were to blame. Particularly the naval war had brought this winter about. Göring was as much a climate-criminal as Hitler. Although this would be not so difficult to establish, the world of science is silent. A detailed assessment — HERE.

Extreme winter 1940/41

One of the most remarkable aspects of the winter 1940/41, is that this winter ranks only in third place of the three war winters in question, except in the Skagerrak region where it climbed to the 2nd rank. The high ranking can be linked to naval operation by the German Navy to conquer Norway since April 1940. Norwegians defended their country with shore batteries, sea mines, and surface vessels. Britain and other nations contributed to their defence. During the remaining months until the record cold January 1941, German and Allied naval forces met in numerous encounters along the entire Norwegian coast up to the Barents Sea.

The slightly lower severity of the winter 1940/41 is a logical consequence of the fact, that the Baltic was not used as a battle ground as during winter 1939/40, but was left ‘undisturbed’ by major military operation since the armistice between Finland and Russia in March 1940. The difference between little naval activities and a lot was obvious during the next winter.

The impossible — winter 1941/42

Meteorology considered as impossible that after two of the extremes winters observed a third could follow. The chief adviser to Hitler, Franz Baur (1887–1977) did exactly this with the words: “Since in the history of the weather there have never been more than two severe winters in succession, the coming winter season of 1941/42 will be normal or mild”. The exact opposite happened. Winter was the beginning of the end of the German army in ice and snow deep in Russia. In late summer she had invaded Russia. The Baltic Sea had been made into a battle-filed for the two navies, which contributed significantly to the extreme weather conditions. To cut a long story short, here is what the NYT reported already in early December 1941: “Nazis give up idea of Moscow in 1941. Winter forces abandoning big drives in the north until spring, Berlin says” (NYT, Dec. 09, 1941). Temperature and snow conditions became worse than the wildest imagination, lasting until spring.

What is not known is that Hitler could only blame himself and his advisors for this enormous miscalculation. They had expected a mild winter. They had not learned anything from the previous two cold winters, and the role that naval war had played. Now the adverse had happened. The ‘great commander’, according to his own assessment, had shot himself in the foot. Thank heavens. The abandonment of the big drive in early December 1941 already marked the beginning of the end of the Third Reich, which unfortunately lasted until 1945.

Neither Franz Bauer ever asked himself, why his prediction went so desperately wrong. This fault discredit him as a serious scientists, but his colleagues as well, because the winter was man made and the general public has a right to know.

The three extreme winters man-made

It is not difficult to prove Adolf Hitler’s guilt for the occurrence of extreme winters. What seems more difficult today is the inability of science to recognize and name this. Their colleague (A.J. Drummond) has outlined the connection between war and weather as early as 1943 stating:

· “The present century has been marked by such a widespread tendency towards mild winters that the ‘old-fashioned winters’, of which one had heard so much, seemed to have gone forever”.

· “Never since the winters of 1878/79, 1879/80 and 1880/81 have there been in succession three so severe winters as those of 1939/40, 1940/41 and 1941/42.”

· “Since comparable records began in 1871, the only other three successive winters as snowy as the recent ones (1939/40, 1940/41 1941/42) were those during the last war, namely 1915/16, 1916/17 and 1917/18…”.

What more does climatology needs to start investigating whether Hitler is the first climate criminal?

For more see:

Conclusion: Hitler and the climate-debate

Of course, the question is justified whether it still makes sense today to declare Hitler an idiot (see: Jayden Yugie, MEDIUM, Dec.19/2020) or a diverse criminal. When it comes to the climate issue, one should by no means do without it. The more clearly this would be recognized and expressed, the more the climate debate would shift. The currently big topic about the greenhouse effect would be different. As long as this is not definitely clarified, one must accuse climate research of massive failure. Naval war as a serious climate change factor cannot remain an unanswered question.

Interested in more: Book 2004 Book 2012