Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Nazi Silly Season

It seems a sort of Hitler-silly-season has descended upon us in recent weeks.

Last week, we had the rather frivolous story of Hitler’s bedsheets coming up for auction.
All well and good, you might say, – and after all the bedlinen was duly monogrammed and festooned with swastikas, so is still of (at least passing) historical interest – but did the story really warrant the coverage that it received? I think not.

Then, last weekend, I was dismayed to read another nonsense story about Hitler in the newspapers, this time attempting to breathe life into the hoary old tale of his having visited the UK in the years before the First World War. We have long had the myth of his having visited Liverpool – which was put out after the war by his half-brother and sister-in-law (who did live in Liverpool), in a cynical attempt to flog an otherwise uninteresting memoir. But now, http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3961409/Hitlers-visit-to-London.html the story has sadly been resurrected, apparently on the back of a BBC TV documentary, and further gloss is being added to the mythology. It is claimed that the future Führer visited London, went to see Tower Bridge and even “enjoyed a pint” down the local pub.

Now, as far as I know, there never was any proof that Hitler ever visited Liverpool (beyond the cynical, desperate reminiscences of his estranged former half-sister-in-law), yet now it seems he not only visited Liverpool, but also London, and he even went about to see the sights. Perhaps he even did some watercolours? I’d love to see the proof of all these fevered imaginings, but I would bet my next royalty cheque that there isn’t any.

All this Hitler-themed poppycock comes hard on the heels of another attempted resurrection, this time of perhaps the greatest myth of all in the Hitler canon – the suggestion that he escaped Berlin and lived out his days in Argentina. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050137/Did-Hitler-Eva-Braun-flee-Berlin-die-old-age-Argentina.html (believe it or not, the Daily Mail is actually the most respectable ‘source’ for this report – apart from that it is wackos all the way down)
The reason that this crazy story resurfaced is that it has recently appeared in a book, which astonishingly manages to incorporate almost every Third Reich mystery and conspiracy theory into one bizarre and none-too-believable tale.

Of course, this sort of codswallop is all over the internet. But then, the “World Weird Web” is chock-full of Holocaust deniers, Flat-Earthers and those that refuse to believe that Osama Bin Laden was behind 9-11. Just because they all subscribe to a nonsense theory – doesn’t make it true. And, as before, there is not a shred of credible proof to back up such fanciful imaginings. Trust me, I have had the misfortune to read it…

So, all you hacks, part-time hobby historians and conspiracy theorists, let’s give Hitler a rest for a while, shall we? Serious study of the Third Reich and its Führer is all well and good – but crud such as this is in danger not only of giving us all a bad name, but also of leading an already credulous public even further up the garden path.