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From: hengist
The corrosion of Western character is defined by its unwillingness
to honour its fallen foe.  Its vicious talent for the falsification of
its enemy's honour best sees its descent into moral decay.  This
manifests itself numerous times in regard to Adolf Hitler, but there
are few so abhorrent as the libel denying his personal courage.

Not for the first time I have a newspaper in front of me that describes
the twenty-something Adolf Hitler as a 'scruffy draft-dodging coward
fleeing from conscription, yet whose character is such that he flings
the world into a war which costs millions of lives'.

Such is the monstrous libel dished out as factual to a nation of people
whose personal integrity on a day-to-day basis gives them the right
to expect better from its opinion formers.

For the record here is an accurate account of the German leader's
personal integrity and courage, especially relating to his military
service during the First World War.  It is my wish and hope that
wherever this libel is repeated readers will draw on this piece to
put the record straight.  


When the 1914-1918 war broke out, a war described by Field-Marshall
Lord Allenby as 'a lengthy period of general insanity', Hitler, believing
the war would set everything to right expressed himself thus:  "For me
it was a deliverance.  I am not ashamed to say it today:  I fell on my
knees and thanked God.'

Ordinarily, Hitler need not have been destined for the armed forces as
for many years he had been afflicted with tuberculosis.  However on
the 5th February 1914, months before war broke out and there being
any necessity for him to take up arms in defence of his country the
twenty-five year old Adolf Hitler applied for military service and was
turned away as 'Unfit for the army or auxiliary corps.  Too weak.

Passionate as always about the unification of German blood spanning
the artificial state of Austria, the landlord of his Munich lodgings, Herr
Popp, recalled the small plaque posted over his young lodger's bed.
It read 'Freely, with open heart, we are waiting for you/Full of hope
and ready for action/We are expecting you with joy/Great German
Fatherland, we salute you'.


Here he lived in perfect obscurity, happy to spend his non-labouring
hours absorbed in studying, reading, composing poetry, and of course
sketching, drawing and painting.  The address was 34 Schliessheimer-
strasse, and one of the interesting quirks of history is that at number
106 lived the equally unknown (and unknown to each other) Ilyitch
Ulyanov (Lenin).

Doing everything in his power to overturn this rejection, on the 3rd
August 1914 Adolf Hitler sent a personal letter to the King of Bavaria
begging him to be allowed to enlist as a volunteer.  His plea was
accepted and he joined the 6th battalion of the 2nd Bavarian Infantry

On 20th October 1914, during the German advance on France and
confrontation with the equally belligerent 2,000,000-strong British army
of the Empire, Hitler in a letter to Frau Popp his landlady confessed:
"I find it hard to contain my enthusiasm.  How many times have I wished
to test my strength and prove my national faith!"


For four long years Hitler fought along the frontline trenches of the
Western Front's most furiously contested battlefronts.  These apocalyptic
conflicts included the names of places still renowned for their valour and
sheer scale of lives lost.  All grace the colours of many a regiment.  Yser,
Ypres, Flanders, Neuve Chapelle, La Bassee, Arras, Artois, Somme,
Fromelles, Alsace-Lorraine, Aillette, Montdidier, Soissons, Rheims, Oise,
Marne, Champagne, Vosle, Monchy, Bapaume.

During those terrible years the future leader of the German people
displayed exemplary courage in a conflict that involved more than forty
battles.  He was wounded on 5th October 1916 and hospitalised for two
months.  Then he was back at the front until 15th October 1918, when
he was hospitalised again, this time for gas poisoning.

Throughout the course of the war he was cited for valour and
distinguished conduct in the field.  He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd
class on 2nd December 1914.  He was also awarded the Bavarian Military
Medal 3rd class with bar, and later the Iron Cross 1st class.  He received,
as did all wounded soldiers, the Cross of Military Merit,


Lieutenant Colonel Godin, in his official request that Hitler be awarded the
Iron Cross 1st Class, stated:  "He was a model of coolness and courage
in both trench warfare and assault combat.  He was always ready to
volunteer for carrying messages in the most difficult and dangerous

On awarding this recognition Colonel Anton Tubeuf further stated:
"He was always ready to help out in any situation, always volunteered
for the most difficult and most arduous, and the most dangerous missions,
and to risk his life and well-being for the Fatherland.  On a human level,
I felt closer to him than to any of the other men."

Of him World War One veteran Colonel Spatny, then in command of the
16th Regiment, was equally affirmative:  "Hitler inspired all his comrades.
His fearless courage and devotion to duty, particularly in combat
impressed them.  His qualifications, modesty, and his admirable sobriety
earned him the greatest respect of his comrades and superiors alike.

Werner Maser, former head of the Institute of Contemporary History
at the University of Munich, has written a large neutral biography
Hitler, Legend, Myth and Reality
(Harper and Row, 1971).  The objective
record is clear: "Hitler's wartime record­­campaigns, decorations, wounds,
periods in hospital and on leave­­is fully documented.  In addition there is
evidence to show that he was comradely, level-headed and an unusually
brave soldier, and that a number of his commanding officers singled him
out for special mention.

And in 1922, at a time when Hitler was still unknown, General Friedrich
Petz summarised the High Command's appreciation of the gallant and
self-effacing corporal as follows:  Hitler was quick in mind and body and
had great powers of endurance.  His most remarkable qualities were his
personal courage and daring which enabled him to face any combat or
perilous situation whatsoever."

Even those historians least favourably disposed towards Adolf Hitler,
such as Joachim Fest, conceded that 'Hitler was a courageous and
efficient soldier and was always a good comrade."  The same historian
noted:  "The courage and the composure with which he faced the most
deadly fire made him seem invulnerable to his comrades.  'As long as
Hitler is near us, nothing will happen to us,' they kept repeating.
It appears that made a deep impression on Hitler and reinforced his
belief that he had been charged with a special mission."

John Toland, another respected but hardly revisionist historian wrote:
"In the course of the preceding months he had escaped death on
innumerable occasions.  It was as though he had been wearing a good
luck charm."


The noted French historian, Raymond Cartier, ruefully mused that
"Corporal Hitler was in all probability one of the German soldiers who
got closest to Paris in 1918."  In another of history's ironies Adolf Hitler
was one of a patrol that nearly captured the French Premier Clemenceau,
but that is another story.

The times that Hitler cheated death became a legend that has baffled
historians ever since.  Typically in one corner of conflict the troops of List
Regiment were held down in shell craters­­the trenches having already
been destroyed­­among the ruins of a village called Le Barque.  Of the
nine regimental couriers, seven had just been killed.  In the command
post, such as it was, there were ten officers and two couriers. Suddenly
a British bomb exploded at the entrance to the refuge.  There was just
one survivor, Adolf Hitler.

During his years at the front, as many pictures testify, Adolf Hitler far
from being a loner was very comradely.  Ever his own man, his daily
routines were characterised by civility.  He never was known for
embracing trench crudities or brothel humour, and was generous to
a fault.  Yet despite having a personality that usually draws disdain,
the soldier Adolf Hitler was highly respected by his comrades.


Even Sebastian Haffner, a Jewish writer and fanatical Hitler hater,
was forced to admit "Hitler had a fierce courage unmatched by anyone
at the time or since."

Another Jew by the name of Karl Hanisch, who lived at the same lodging
house as Hitler, recalled him as 'a pleasant and likeable man who took
an interest in the welfare of all his companions.'

He late recalled that his fellow lodger "was neither proud nor arrogant,
and he was always available and willing to help.  If someone needed
fifty hellers to pay for another night's lodging, Hitler would always give
whatever he had in his pocket without another thought.  On several
occasions I personally saw him take the initiative and pass the hat for
such a collection."

Hitler's war heroism is a matter of record, and it was only when he
entered politics­­in a bid to stem his rising popularity­­that it was ever
questioned.  Typically however detractors were forced to recant and
pay damages.  Historians have noted that Adolf Hitler was born poor
and died poor.  In fact he was the only statesman who never had a
bank account.

A Dot.Com
UK News Feature


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