WWI card shows Hitler as keen to return to the front
Adolf Hitler was keen to return to the front line after getting injured in the First World War, a recently-discovered postcard suggests.
The rare card surfaced at a family history roadshow almost a century after being sent by the future dictator to a comrade, Karl Lanzhammer.
Recovering in Munich in December 1916, after suffering a leg wound at the Somme, the then 27-year-old soldier wrote of his intention to “report voluntarily for the field immediately”.
Historians say this shows his attachment to his new network of army friends as much as his militaristic zeal.
Dr Thomas Weber, an expert on the period from the University of Aberdeen, said: “What’s clear is Hitler desperately wants to return to the front and that’s rather unusual, even for soldiers who were generally willing to fight in the war and thought Germany’s cause was a just one.
“By 1916, if they were on home leave, they tried to stay as long as they could, while Hitler wants to get back to the front.
“We know from other sources that he disliked the sentiment on the home front, where the war was being increasingly criticised, and what he wants is to return to his surrogate family on the front line.”
Less unusual is the spelling mistake he makes in the German word “sofort”, meaning “immediately”, which he spells “sofortt”. Dr Weber said: “We know from other letters he wrote that there were occasional spelling mistakes, but that was well in line with other soldiers of his background.”
Lanzhammer was a member of Hitler’s regimental HQ, supporting the idea that Hitler had cut his ties with pre-war friends.
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