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posted Friday, June 10, 2005

Letters to David Irving on this Website


Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives, and invite open debate.

Gary Goodenow has further sources on whether Hitler really blamed the German people for the defeat of his Reich.


What did Hitler really say? (2)

Manfred Schön asks if Hitler cursed the German people

BESIDES Speer, there are other reported sources for the claim that in the last week of April 1945, Hitler blamed the German people for his circumstances.

They all center on the Berlin Bunker situation conference when Hitler was told that General Steiner's attack had failed.

1. The earliest English version I could find is the first edition in 1947 of The Last Days of Hitler by Hugh Trevor-Roper.

He cites as sources: a) Field Marrshal Wilhelm Keitel and Generaloberst Alfred Jodl (via Karl Koller), b) Eckerd Christian of the Luftwaffe (married to Gerda Daranowski, one of Hitler's secretaries), c) Baron Freytag von Loringhoven, an officer on Hans Krebs' staff, d) Heinz Lorenz, press agency stenographer, e) Colonel Nicolaus von Below, whom you knew well, and f) Fräulein Ilse Kruger, secretary to Martin Bormann.

From these sources, T-R reported that Hitler "shrieked" the Third Reich was a failure and "he spoke of universal treason".

2. The Nuremberg trial judge Michael A. Musmano, later a Pennsylvania Supreme Court judge, wrote in his 1950 Ten Days To Die that following the news about Steiner, Hitler stated that the German people were ingrates who never appreciated his greatness, his sacrifices and the glory he achieved.

Unfortunately, while Judge Musmano's book features photos of his interviewees, he does not state his sources for the content of each page in the back of his book, as is your practice.

3. As an aside, several books report that Wilfried von Oven's diary quoted Joseph Goebbels on April 21, 1945 as stating: "What can you do with a people whose men don't even fight when their women are being raped?" Further, "National Socialism [was] to noble for such a people...They deserve the fate that will now descend upon them".

I've never read the Oven diary, so I cannot assert these statements are there. Perhaps you interviewed Oven. Trevor-Roper and Musmano all were printed in the first edition at a time when Speer was in jail.

For me, there are several considerations: 1) what did Speer report in the original version of his memoirs, which you encouraged him for years to release, 2) what do Judge Musmano's papers at Duquesne University show as the source of his report on what Hitler said when Steiner's attack never got underway, and 3) is it possible that following his release from Spandau, Speer built on these kernels the same way he evidently created the confrontation with Hitler over the scorched earth policy?

Recall that T-R and Musmano interviewed the entire group of Bunker alumni not in Russian hands in the late 1940s.

My hope is that this will help Herr Schön in his studies. Regards,

Gary Goodenow



Manfred Schön asks if Hitler cursed the German people

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David Irving Mr Irving replied:

JUDGE Musmanno is a good source, though I am told his book is rather mawkish. As a judge in the subsequent US proceedings at Nuremberg he got to know many of the top Nazis, and had a captive gallery of them to interview. Trevor-Roper was a fine historian, and used original sources, but the opinions he quotes do not exactly match Hitler cursing the German people for his downfall, which is the Speer-memoirs version.

With Wilfried von Oven's diaries, published in Buenos Aires in two volumes as Mit Goebbels bis zum Ende, in the 1950s, caution is called for: I showed in my Goebbels biography that his diary is a post-war concoction, not written contemporaneously, though based on original notes (dates and train times are correct etc).


© Focal Point 2004 David Irving