Posted by ESC on March 07, 2005
In Reply to: Make Hitler's Ghost Walk posted by Patrick Kelly on March 06, 2005
: I listen to Brando Old-Time radio and there is an ad that is played that originally aired during WWII. It's about conserving coal and toward the end the announcer says, "This will make Hitler's ghost walk." I don't know if this is simply a way of saying Hitler will be dead or if it's a saying from older times.
This is a guess. Maybe it has to do with the expression, "If grandmother knew you what you were doing, she'd turn over in her grave." Or "spin in her grave." Meaning your actions are so upsetting that they would provoke a reaction from the dead. In this case, Hitler would not only turn over in his grave, he would walk.
I tried to find "Hitler's ghost" or "Hitler's ghost walks" in my references, including a political dictionary. No luck. Apparently it has taken on meanings different from the phrase in the previous example. My googling turned up these meanings for "Hitler's ghost":
1. Hitler's continuing influence from beyond the grave.
2. A smear tactic that links a political opponent to Hitler.
3. A "monster-in-the-closet" device. "But the key element in mobilizing Americans was the invoking of Hitler's ghost, and the idea of the Butcher of Baghdad on the march terrorizing his neighbors." Ten Years After: Who Won the Gulf War? by Tony Karon, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2001. Time magazine online. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,95352,00.html