hitler particles meme

@Karmir_Kovkas/X durantelallera/ShutterStock

What’s up with ‘Hitler particles?’

The origins of the phrase may not be what you would expect.


Rachel Kiley


Posted on May 10, 2024   Updated on May 14, 2024, 9:07 am CDT

Hitler Particles, like its namesake, is a phrase that immediately imparts a negative connotation—but what exactly is this ever-growing meme, and where did it come from?

What is the Hitler Particles meme?

The meme is actually pretty simple: somebody says or does something that comes across as bigoted, and they may get called out by someone on the internet suggesting they’re giving off Hitler particles.

In addition to being directed at a specific person for a specific action, the term can also be applied to something more broad. For example, r/Nms123 noted people were citing Hitler particles when criticizing crackdowns in Los Angeles that targeted the homeless population back in 2022.

byu/TheIenzo from discussion

Hitler Particles Origin

hitler particles meme

The phrase “Hitler particles” is generally attributed to a quote from early 20th century communist theorist and revolutionary, Leon Trotsky. In his 1933 essay, “What Is National Socialism?,” he wrote the following:

“The controversy over Hitler’s personality becomes sharper the more the secret of his success is sought in himself. In the meantime, another political figure would be difficult to find that is in the same measure the focus of anonymous historic forces. Not every exasperated petty bourgeois could have become Hitler, but a particle of Hitler is lodged in every exasperated petty bourgeois.”

The quote gained traction among social media users after it was posted to @DailyTrotsky, a Twitter account dedicated to Trotsky quotes, on July 31, 2022.

Leon Trotsky Hitler particles quote

Despite the widely held belief that this quote is where the popular usage of the term stems from, the quote itself generally isn’t used as part of the meme.

How is the Hitler Particles meme used?

To get a better idea of how the meme is being used out in the wild, let’s take a look across social media.

hitler particles
hitler particles

Hitler Particles and Leftism

Referencing Hitler particles isn’t necessarily limited to one political persuasion or another. That said, the phrase is particularly popular among leftists, sometimes to the point that it’s called into question whether the phrase is being used correctly, or if it’s overused to the point of losing meaning.

This has drawn derision over time—almost creating a secondary meme, in a way.

hitler particles
'(online leftist reading Mein Kampf) uhh guys I’m getting serious Hitler particles here.'
Hitler Particles' is one of the few leftist memes that I find funny, though the humor that our sphere would find in it is certainly contrary to the original intent. It's a bad insult that unintentionally canonizes Hitler as a fundamental building block of the universe.
Can twitter leftists or anybody stop using the word 'Hitler particles' it's really corny just say Nazi ideology or something that a grown up would say
I wish Trotsky was alive today to learn that his most fundamental and revolutionary contribution to the world at large has been to give twitter leftists the greatest meme of all time: Hitler particles.

Hitler Particles Detector meme

One way in which the meme has evolved includes the establishing of a “Hitler Particles detector” image. 

Although the most common usage is to simply reference the phrase when disparaging someone’s comments or actions as bigoted, some have taken to posting an image of a detection device that reads “Hitler Particle Emissions CRITICAL!” instead.

Hitler particles detector

Similarity to the ‘Adolf Hitlers we agree’ meme

The Particles meme sometimes draws comparisons to another meme similarly used to suggest someone is saying things that sound overtly prejudiced. This one features a gaggle of Hitler images declaring in unison, “We agree!” In other words, if you’re saying something Hitler would theoretically agree with, most people would consider it time to reexamine those thoughts.

Adolph Hitlers we agree

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.

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*First Published: May 10, 2024, 12:07 pm CDT