Sonntag, 25. März 2012

“The Hidden Hitler” by Lothar Machtan

Critics have been far too quick to dismiss this controversial new book alleging that Hitler was gay.

"The Hidden Hitler" by Lothar Machtan

German historian Lothar Machtan has been taking some lumps for his controversial book “The Hidden Hitler,” and a great many of them are well deserved. Machtan sets himself up early in opposition to such writers on Hitler as Ian Kershaw (whose conclusion was “Take away what is political about him, and there’s little or nothing left”) and promises to show us “the whole man,” not just the dictator.

Machtan doesn’t succeed at this — it would probably be more correct to say that he never really attempts it. If Machtan had simply called the book “The Homosexual Hitler” and stuck to that theme he would have had a better book and one less deserving of many of the brickbats being thrown at it.

Of course, that would have made it no less controversial, and the unfair knocks being directed at Machtan outnumber the legitimate ones. For instance, in the Oct. 25 Washington Post Book World Geoffrey Giles reprimands Machtan for coming “perilously close to blaming the entire Holocaust on Hitler’s alleged sexuality.” If this accusation were true, Machtan would be deserving of the same kind of mockery that has always greeted historians who have tried to explain authoritarian personalities in terms of their sexuality (Jonathan Swift satirized the lot of them when he suggested that Alexander the Great tried to conquer the world because all his unused semen had gone to his head).