(April 20, 1889 - April 30, 1945) Austria
Adolf Hitler was born the fourth child of Alois Schickelgruber and Klara Hitler in the Austrian town of Braunau. Adolf Hitler dropped out of high school, and after his mother's death in 1907 moved to Vienna. He twice failed the admission examination for the academy of arts. His vicious anti-Semitism (perhaps influenced by that of Karl Lueger) and political harangues drove many acquaintances away.
In 1913 he settled in Munich, and on the outbreak of World War I he joined the Bavarian army. During the war he was gassed and wounded; a corporal, he received the Iron Cross for bravery. The war hardened his extreme nationalism, and he blamed the German defeat on betrayal by Jews and Marxists. Upon his return to Munich he joined a handful of other nationalistic veterans in the German Workers' party.
The rest is history.
The great difficulty is that this form of identification early in life carries the individual in the direction of passive homosexuality. Hitler has for years been suspected of being a homosexual, although there is no reliable evidence that he has actually engaged in a relationship of this kind. Rauschning reports that he has met two boys who claimed that they were Hitler's homosexual partners, but their testimony can scarcely be taken at its face value.
More condemning would be the remarks dropped by Foerster, the Danzig Gauleiter, in conversations with Rauschning. Even here, however, the remarks deal only with Hitler's impotence as far as heterosexual relations go without actually implying that he indulges in homosexuality. It is probably true that Hitler calls Foerster "Bubi", which is a common nickname employed by homosexuals in addressing their partners. This alone, however, is not adequate proof that he has actually indulged in homosexual practices with Foerster, who is known to be a homosexual.
But now, German historian Lothar Machtan, a history teacher at Bremen University, in his two controversial books, Hitler's Secret: The Double Life of a Dictator and The Hidden Hitler, argues that Hitler had several homosexual encounters as a young man.
He names Ernst Schmidt, a fellow soldier, as a lover. He said one document mentions squad members who talked of Hitler and his "male whore Schmidt". He refers to scores of historical documents to support his thesis. In 1915, the young Hitler was a dispatch rider at the front in France. Years later, yet before Hitler became infamous, one of his fellow soldiers, Hans Mend, in charge of munitions for his regiment, wrote in his memoirs:
In 1915 we were billeted in the Le Fèbre brewery at Fournes. We slept in the hay. Hitler was bedded down at night with "Schmidl", his male whore. We heard a rustling in the hay. Then someone switched on his electric flashlight and growled, "Take a look a those two nancy boys". I myself took no further interest in the matter.
Hitler's service notes read that as a result of the love affair there was reluctance among senior officers to promote him. According to Erich Ebermeier, a lawyer and writer who viewed Hitler's military files years later: "Despite his bravery towards the enemy, because of his homosexual activity he lost out on a promotion to non-commissioned officer."
Police reports from Munich after the First World War also suggest that Hitler was pursued by police because of his sexual orientation. "As a brown [fascist] activist, Hitler managed to lure many young men to his side, but not only for political reasons," says Machtan.
According to a Munich police protocol from the early part of the 20th century, a 22-year-old man called Joseph told the police: "I spent the whole night with him". Another, Michael, who was 18, told them: "I had been unemployed for months, and my mother and my brother were always hungry, so, at his request, I accompanied the man [Hitler] to his home". Another, a boy called Franz, said: "He asked me if I'd like to stay with him and he told me his name was Adolf Hitler".
The police reports were collected by Otto von Lossow, a German army general who took part in suppressing the Hitler putsch in 1923. He kept the Munich police file for years, as, he described it, 'a form of personal life insurance'. If Hitler had attempted to push him aside, he would have blackmailed him with the information, he said. The police documents were published some years ago in Rome by Eugen Dollmann, a close friend of Heinrich Himmler's and also Hitler's interpreter. But because his book never appeared in German, the startling information remained largely overlooked by historians.
Dr Machtan believes Hitler was probably active sexually with Rudolf Hess, his deputy, with whom he was imprisoned in Landsberg jail for the attempted Bavarian coup in the early 1920s, and probably also with Röhm. Rudolf Hess was known in party circles as "black Emma".
Lothar Machtan even claims in his books that Hitler ordered the deaths of several high-ranking Nazis to prevent the secret of his homosexuality from surfacing.
Ernst Röhm, the leader of Hitler's Sturm Abteilung or Storm Troopers, tried to blackmail Hitler by threatening to reveal his sexuality. Röhm, who was also gay, was murdered as a result, according to Machtan. Röhm died during the infamous "night of the long knives" in 1934. He was a predator on young men and was found in bed with a boy when Hitler's SS came to arrest him. Dr Machtan believes he might have been murdered to ensure he did not reveal the secrets of their relationship.
Why, then, did the Nazis persecute homosexuals, sending hundreds of thousands of them to their deaths in labour camps and the gas chambers? Hitler' loathing of the world was the result of his self-hatred because he was gay, Dr. Lothar Machtan writes.
Whether you're slightly convinced or not, of course, the question remains: If Hitler had homosexual experiences, what difference does it make?