A young John F Kennedy believed Adolf Hitler might still be alive after the end of the Second World War, a diary entry has revealed.
JFK’s diary, which he kept while touring Europe as a war correspondent for Hearst magazines, demonstrates his fascination with the Nazi leader, who he wrote “had in him the stuff of which legends are made”.
The President later gave the diary to one of his research assistants, who is auctioning it on the 100th anniversary of his birth. It is believed to be the only one he ever kept.
As a young reporter, JFK travelled to Hitler’s bunkers in Berlin, and his ‘Eagle’s Nest’ mountaintop retreat, in summer 1945.
“[Hitler] had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him,” the future President wrote.
After his visit to the Berlin bunker where Hitler committed suicide as Russian troops closed in on the city, JFK wondered whether the Nazi leader might still be alive.
“The room where Hitler is supposed to have met his death showed scorched walls and traces of fire,” he wrote.
“There is no complete evidence, however, that the body that was found was Hitler’s body.”
A spokesperson for the auction house which is selling the book has strongly denied JFK had any admiration for Hitler, or the Nazi Party.
“There’s no glorification, and I wouldn’t take this out of context,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction.
“I think Kennedy was a historian, and he’s writing his understanding of Hitler’s place in history.”
The diary also records JFK’s trip to England to cover the 1945 General election. He correctly predicted that Winston Churchill’s Conservative Party would be defeated.
After studying the state of British politics, the reporter wrote: “Capitalism is on the way out – although many Englishmen feel this is not applicable to England.”
“Socialism is inefficient; I will never believe differently, but you can feed people in a socialistic state, and that may be what will insure its eventual success.”
The diary will be auctioned in Boston next month, and is expected to fetch around $200,000 (£160,000).
John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the establishment of the Peace Corps, developments in the Space Race, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Trade Expansion Act to lower tariffs, and the Civil Rights Movement all took place during his presidency.
Kennedy was a member of the Democratic Party, and his New Frontier domestic program was largely enacted as a memorial to him after his death. Kennedy also established the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.
Kennedy’s time in office was marked by high tensions with Communist states.
He increased the number of American military advisers in South Vietnam by a factor of 18 over President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In Cuba, a failed attempt was made at the Bay of Pigs to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro in April 1961.
He subsequently rejected plans by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to orchestrate false-flag attacks on American soil in order to gain public approval for a war against Cuba.
In October 1962, it was discovered Soviet ballistic missiles had been deployed in Cuba; the resulting period of unease, termed the Cuban Missile Crisis, is seen by many historians as the closest the human race has ever come to nuclear war between nuclear armed belligerents.
(Niamh McIntyre Independent contributed to this report “There is no evidence that the body that was found was Hitler’s, John F Kennedy wrote on his diary”, edited to fit te page including additional material and illustrations by Alad Von Dari via VOP)