Nazis told porkies about 'pig' Hitler's war
Published 18/08/2010 | 05:00
NEW research has undermined the idea that Hitler was a World War One hero whose wartime experiences propelled him to power.
A new book challenges the commonly held notion that he was considered a brave member of his close-knit regiment, and that his experience during the Great War radicalised him and formed his world view.
Dr Thomas Weber's book, 'Hitler's First War', argues that this story was a fabrication created by propagandists to broaden Hitler's appeal to German society.
Newly discovered letters and papers suggest Hitler was referred to as a "rear area pig" (etappenschwein) by comrades, as rather than carrying messages between trenches on the front line, he was a dispatch runner up to 5km back.
The book suggests the Nazi Party suppressed and discredited accounts of World War One that showed him as anything other than heroic. Dr Weber said: "The myth of Hitler as a brave soldier was used by the Nazi party in order to extend its appeal beyond the far right.
"They went to great lengths to protect this idea, and through my research I discovered that a memoir written by one of his comrades was significantly altered between its publication in 1933 and the outbreak of World War Two."
He suggested that the fact Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross had more to do with being known by the officers who could make recommendations, than his heroics in battle.
'Hitler's First War' will be available in bookshops from September 16.