Puma is selling a style of women’s shoes that have gone viral due to the fact that they slightly resemble Adolf Hitler.
The toe and tongue of the Puma Storm Adrenaline shoe look similar to the hairstyle and mustache of the infamous Nazi leader. The shoe retails for $44.99 in the US.
One person took to social media to rate the shoes “8 out of 10 on the Hitler scale.”
Others noted that the name of the shoe invoked the Sturmabteilung, the Nazi paramilitary wing whose name translates to “Storm Detachment.”
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The resemblance was first noticed in Russia but has spread around the world. A customer in Brazil demanded that the company issue a statement about the similarity, noting that the image was not a good look for Puma.
Another person hinted that the resemblance may have been created on purpose as a publicity stunt.
Not everyone was quick to jump on the bandwagon, though. One called the resemblance “far-fetched” though they were still glad they owned Adidas shoes and not Pumas.
Others felt the shoes more closely resembled American author Edgar Allen Poe or Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol.
There is a history on the Internet of finding things that resemble Hitler. A search can find everything from tea kettles to kittens that look like the former Nazi leader.
The connection between Puma and Hitler isn’t as fanciful as you might think. In the early 1900s, Rudolf Dassler, the founder of Puma, and his brother Adolf were supporters and eventual members of the Nazi party.
The brothers’ relationship with the Nazis was economically beneficial for them. The brothers owned a shoe company together (creatively named Dassler Brothers). Since the Nazi Party spent a lot of money on athletics, the Dassler family became one of the richest families in their town.
Things fell apart for Dassler Brothers (both the company and the actual brothers) when Rudolf was forced to serve in the army in Poland.
He was convinced his brother was involved in getting him sent there. So, when the war was over, Rudolf told the Allies that Adi had assisted the Nazis in the war effort. The relationship between the brothers never recovered.
Rudolf left Dassler Brothers and started Puma while Adi renamed Dassler Brothers to Adidas. The two companies started the modern practice of sponsoring athletes at the Olympic games in order to build brand recognition and drive sales.
Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, Austria. His early ambition was to be an artist but after failing to get entry in the Academy of Fine Arts he wandered around, making a living painting postcards and advertisements.
He served in the infantry for the Bavarian army in World War I where he received the Iron Cross, Second Class, for his bravery on the front lines. He was injured in on the front lines and then gassed two years later.
Germany’s defeat in WWI led to a period of upheaval in the country.
During this time, Hitler joined the German Workers Party which would later be renamed the National-sozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (known as the Nazi party).
Hitler rose to power in the Nazi party. His ability to raise money and publicity made him indispensable to the party and he was willing to use every advantage to accumulate power and influence in the organization. Moreover, many people joined the party out of an attraction to Hitler’s charisma and leadership.
Eventually, the Nazi party was powerful enough to have Hitler named the chancellor of Germany. He then set about solidifying power for himself and the Nazi party, eventually naming himself both chancellor and Fuhrer of Germany.
Believing that the German people had been unfairly split apart when various wars had divided lands previously owned by Germany, he set about reuniting all German peoples by invading other countries to take back the land his country had previously lost. These attacks on other countries are the beginning of World War II.
Throughout his time in power, he blamed the problems of Germany on Jews and other minority group. This led to the formation of the “Final Solution” which was the slaughter of millions of Jews and minorities in the Holocaust.