That's where propaganda came in. A lot of people forget that the reason so many people followed Hitler is because much of the German media portrayed him as a saviour and a hero.
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Most Helpful Guy
Generally yes, but your example of Hitler is a very badly chosen one. Hitler was a dictator (a democratically elected one that is!), not a terrorist in the modern sense. Also, it is completely wrong to say that the German media portrayed him as a hero. First of all, "media" wasn't the same in the 1920 and early 1930s (before the "Machtergreifung in 1933) as it is today. People mostly read newspapers. The secondary media was radio. Only very few people owned a TV. Mostly, people went to watch the news (Wochenschau) in the cinema. If you look at German newspapers and radio stations before 1933, you will see that many of them tried everything they could to show the dark sides of Hitler and the NSDAP. Journalists were regularly beaten up and newspaper headquarters were attacked by SS-thugs. Even after the Machtergreifung in 1933, some journalists continued working against the regime under great dangers. Saying that the media wholeheartedly supported Hitler is not just historically wrong, it is also unfair towards all these people who tried to stop him.
It is also not true - as many laymen believe - that all the German people loved Hitler and the NSDAP. In fact, many hated him and even more people were against him but feared speaking openly up against him. The NSDAP never actually had an absolute majority. The highest support they ever achieved by democratic means (before left parties such as the KPD and the USPD/SPD were prohibited) was 37% in July 1932. Four months later, in November 1932, they were already losing again and went back down to 33%. While this was enough for Hitler to install a dictatorship (to a large degree due to the political, economic and social instability and the fact that Reichspräsident Hindenburg was already very old), we should not forget that even in his best times, Hitler still had more than a solid 60% of the people against him. Many of the conservative christians and both churches (Catholic and Protestant) only supported him because he promised them that they will enjoy a special VIP protection under NS-law.2
Most Helpful Girl
Yes and no. It's true that the definition of terrorist is very vague. But essentially, it is someone who uses terror to get what they want. This usually involves attacking non-military targets that are more difficult to defend and considered more sacred.
Freedom-fighter can also be hard to define. If we are talking about the Muj, for example, they may be fighting for their freedom, but also the right to oppress women. So are they freedom fighters?
Here's the issue to me: you make it sound like the two are mutually exclusive. Basically, you've accepted the propagandist connotations of the words! I don't see why someone cannot be both. For example, let's say there was a slave rebellion where the slaves killed family members of their masters until a law was passed that abolished slavery. They would be both terrorists and freedom fighters.1