Since the turn of the millennium, major political figures around the world have been routinely compared to Adolf Hitler. These comparisons have increasingly been investigated by scholars, who have sought to explain their origins and assess their legitimacy. This article sheds light on this ongoing debate by examining an earlier, but strikingly similar, discussion that transpired during the Nazi era itself. Whereas commentators today argue about whether Hitler should be used as a historical analogy, observers in the 1930s and 1940s debated which historical analogies should be used to explain Hitler. During this period, Anglophone and German writers identified a diverse group of historical villains who, they believed, explained the Nazi threat. The figures spanned a wide range of tyrants, revolutionaries, and conquerors. But, by the end of World War II, the revelation of the Nazis' unprecedented crimes exposed these analogies as insufficient and led many commentators to flee from secular history to religious mythology. In the process, they identified Hitler as Western civilization's new archetype of evil and turned him into a hegemonic analogy for the postwar period. By explaining how earlier analogies struggled to make sense of Hitler, we can better understand whether Hitler analogies today are helping or hindering our effort to understand contemporary political challenges.