Monday, February 10, 2014

Knut Hamsun's Obituary for Adolf Hitler

Knut Hamsun (1859 - 1952) was a Norwegian Nobel laureate. He long sympathized with German fascism and admired Hitler. In 1940 he wrote: "the Germans are fighting for us." On Hitler's death on 30 April, 1945, he wrote a moving obituary of the German leader, remarkable in political context and content. He was tried for treason but due to age and health, he was confined to a hospital in Grimstad, where he died in 1952.

Click here to see some materials on Hamsun.

Knut Hamsun in 1945, the year that he wrote 
his obituary for Adolf Hitler.

The following was published in the Alftenposten:
Adolf Hitler 
I'm not worthy to speak up for Adolf Hitler, and to any sentimental rousing his life and deeds do not invite. 
Hitler was a warrior, a warrior for humankind and a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations. He was a reforming character of the highest order, and his historical fate was that he functioned in a time of exampleless brutality, which in the end felled him. 
Thus may the ordinary Western European look at Adolf Hitler. And we, his close followers, bow our heads at his death. 
Knut Hamsun

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gandhi's July 1939 Letter to Adolf Hitler

On 23 July 1939, the Indian nationalist wrote the following remarkable letter to Hitler. In it, he tells Hitler that friends have urged on him to write Hitler, and impresses on Hitler the hope that Europe's current crisis and its descent into war could be halted.

The time is relevant to the context. From late 1938 through the summer of 1939, Germany was trying to convince Poland to return Danzig. A British war guarantee to Poland on 31 March 1939 convinced the Polish government that it did not have to negotiate with Berlin. Now, Britain was pledged to fight a war to prevent Poland from returning a German city to Germany. The war guarantee was, of course, hollow, as Britain lacked the capacity to come to Poland's aid. From 31 March, when the war guarantee was given, through August 1939, Britain and Germany were on a collision course toward a second World War.

Gandhi's letter was sent to Hitler less than two months before the British declaration of war. It was intercepted and prevented from reaching him by British agents.