UNHEARD WITNESS by Ernst Hanfstaengl

UNHEARD WITNESS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The reminiscences of Hitler's so-called court jester provide another Hitler portrait. The substance is divisible into three types of dithyramb: the self justifying, the darkly revealing, the coldly analytical. According to his first role, the self justifying, ""Putzi"" Hanfstaengl never supported any Nazi policy, either openly or inwardly! He was a strong conservative, an ardent patriot, heart and soul devoted to the reconstruction of Germany. Perceiving Hitler's oratorical powers, his political instinct, Hanfstaengl sought to aid him with funds, advice, information about the surrounding world, an effort to instil a deeper cultural sense, to introduce him to superior and influential people. He now claims that he soon discovered Hitler's true nature and ambitions, but remained at his side, actually assuming the post of foreign press chief, all with the goal of moderating the despot and working for Germany's good. Apparently he did not feel that he denied this role when he insisted to Winston Churchill that anti-Semitism was socially necessary; or when he took the position that prejudice against Catholics was politically unwise (no mention of moral grounds), or when he forged the bonds of friendship between Hitler and Mussolini. Hanfstaengl in the ""dark revealing"" role uses gossip, snatches of conversation, ""meaningful"" gestures and the like to proclaim Hitler as sexually impotent, a latent homosexual, whose total achievement was merely a compensatory measure for his agonizing inferiority feelings. Part three consists of Hanfstaengl's statements about the Nazi hierarchy, Germany's inner crisis before Hitler, the Party's struggle toward supremacy, etc. While the text is reconstituted from, tape recordings, it seems remarkably consecutive and readable, and is certainly indispensable for any future study of Hitler. In summation Hanfstangel describes his own flight and defection- but one wonders where self preservation entered the picture and how much validity and judgment went into it. The Schellenberg market is your key to sales.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1957
Publisher: Lippincott