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Arnold Schwarzenegger's Nazi Inspiration

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May 23, 2005 | 7:40am EDT

Arnold Schwarzenegger chose an unorthodox mentor for his rise to power as California's governor--Nazi despot Adolf Hitler.

Schwarzenegger, who was born in Hitler's native Austria, has used the dead dictator's charisma and rise to power as inspiration for his early career as bodybuilder and eventual Mr. Universe--before applying it to his own political aspirations.

Schwarzenegger told author George Butler, who wrote Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Portrait, "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education up to power.

"And I admire him for being such a good public speaker and his way of getting to the people and so on. "But I didn't admire him for what he did with it."

Butler also remembers being startled by the star's fascination with the Nazi regime. He claims Schwarzenegger played "Nazi marching songs from long-playing records in his collection at home" and even "frequently clicked his heels and pretended to be an SS officer".

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