The Hitler Myths: Exposing the Truth behind the Stories about the Fuehrer, by Sjoerd J. De Boer

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A Review by @Kandahar80, who kindly took two books from outside his normal comfort zone and reviewed them for us.

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The Hitler Myths: Exposing the Truth behind the Stories about the Fuehrer. Pen & Sword Books


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Another book on Hitler! Does this evil man merit so much attention by historians, and is he worse than other twentieth century mass murderers, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot? This book does not examine the second question, but looks closely at the nature of his evil. Sjoerd J. De Boer is a Dutch historian who has written on different aspects of Hitler and the Second World War. Readers may wish to look at his website www.hitlerpages.com which gives information about ‘historical Hitler sites’. This book’s bibliography shows impressive research, although many of the volumes are German translated into Dutch, probably not known to English readers except specialists, but the big guns like Kershaw, Bullock, Fest, Shirer and Trevor Roper as well as more recent work are included. One older volume that might have been read with profit is the late William Carr’s Hitler: a Study in Personality and Politics. The illustrations are interesting and pertinent to the themes. The index only includes people.

Some of these myths as De Boer calls them have been comprehensively debunked. They are the work of Nazi propaganda glorifying the Fuehrer, or of those who want to diminish him. There are nineteen chapters each dealing with a different question – was Hitler an artistic genius (obviously not although reasonably competent), was he a WWI hero (quite brave but not of the stature propaganda later gave him), did Hitler really commit suicide (hardly worth asking although Stalin obscured the truth by hiding evidence). There is some repetition as in chapters on the existence of an illegitimate son and on possible sexual disorders. Chapter 17, ‘What happened to Hitler’s Remains?’, confirms that Trevor Roper got it mainly right many years ago in The Last Days of Hitler.

Although the book is broad in its scope, soldiers might have liked a chapter on ‘Hitler: a military genius?’ The author omits to mention that Cardinal-Archbishop Galen of Muenster spoke out against ‘Aktion T4’, the campaign to murder 200,000 psychiatric patients. Popular interest in Hitler’s sex life, fuelled by the suicide attempts by his women, is probably of marginal importance. The Fuehrer was attractive to women, but the attraction could be fatal. Geli Raubal, whose relationship with Hitler was intense, killed herself. Eva Braun whom the author succinctly characterises as ‘joyful carelessness and naivety’ attempted to do so. ‘The strange love life of the Fuehrer’ is an appropriate subtitle to that chapter. His relations with his parents, an overprotective mother and an insensitive, domineering father, explain much of Hitler’s failure to forge normal human relationships.

De Boers’ analysis shows how the weird stories have thrived. One of the best chapters, thirteen, ‘Did Hitler Always get his Way?’ illustrates the incoherent nature of Nazi rule, in which a hint or chance remark could constitute a Fuehrerbefehl. It includes a very apposite quote, close to the chief theme of this book: ‘Stories about the Jew who exterminated Jews, the homosexual who killed Ernst Roehm, the psychopath who murdered the mentally ill and the Catholic who committed the most serious sins imaginable, are apparently much more interesting than a sober analysis of the facts.’



Four stars.

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Is Himmler or his evil twin going to do a review?
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

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Does it answer the most important question - did he have one testicle or two?
 

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What about alternative history, if Hitler had been commercially successful as a Painter would WWII have never happened?
 
Hitler - there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two Coats ...
 

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