Hitler’s heroic exploits in World War I ‘were a Nazi propaganda myth’

March 14th, 2011 - 3:00 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 14 (ANI): Adolf Hitler’s claims to have been a First World War hero who ‘looked death in the eye’ have been debunked in a new book.

‘Hitler’s First War’ by German historian Thomas Weber has revealed that the Nazi leader’s alleged heroic exploits were an invention of the Nazi propaganda machine, reports the Daily Mail.

Hitler served as a messenger on the western front during the war and was awarded the Iron Cross for carrying messages.

He had claimed in his autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’ that he risked death ‘probably every day’ while he served as a messenger on the western front.

However, Weber has found evidence that Private Hitler was often stationed outside of the most dangerous areas and was rarely in the ‘midst of the bombardment’, as he claimed.

He also showed that the National Socialists deliberately fabricated accounts of Hitler’s bravery from 1925 onwards as the party built a cult of personality around their leader.

Weber drew his conclusions after he examined military documents and letters detailing the history of the 16th List Bavarian reserve infantry, Hitler’s unit during the 1914-1918 war.

Nazi propaganda described the regiment as manned by eager student and graduate volunteers who would later form the nucleus of the Nazi party, but Weber’s research revealed that a large number of recruits were actually Jewish.

The documents confirmed that the regiment first saw action in October 1914 in the village of Gheluvelt, Belgium.

Hitler claimed to have been the only survivor of the engagement, but regimental accounts showed that only 13 men in his company were killed in the battle.

Hitler’s exploits in the war were further exaggerated by former comrades-in-arms who published accounts of his alleged valour in popular books, where he was described as ‘always one of the bravest soldiers in every battle’. (ANI)

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