Former PM's letter praises Hitler (UK)
Baldwin wrote in glowing terms about the German leader to a friend in 1936, talking of his "great achievements", three years before World War II.
The letter, from the MP for Bewdley, Worcestershire, will be auctioned at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire.
Baldwin was prime minister three times between 1923 and 1937. He died in 1947.
comments powered by Disqus
Alonzo Hamby - 5/17/2006
The full story, such as it is, leaves a somewhat different impression.
Baldwin was writing privately to an obvious Hitler admirer in 1936. The BBC story does not appear to quote the full letter nor does it name the recepient. The quoted text reads as follows:
"Like you, I acknowledge [Hitler's] great achievements since taking over that troubled country.
"The German people obviously love him, even if that love puts a burden on them both and is not extended to the Jews who are tormented.
"Yes, Herr Hitler is a remarkable man but I feel he must use these gifts wisely or I fear greatly for the consequence."
Sentiments of this sort were common in 1936, the year of the Berlin Olympics, and hardly indicate uncritical admiration. Most of continental Europe was run by authoritarian governments, and it was still possible to believe that the Nazis were just another dictatorial regime.
Finally, it is worth noting that in the wake of Kristallnacht, some two years later, Baldwin was one of the prominent sponsors of a Jewish refugee fund that raised the then-huge sum of half a million pounds for fleeing German Jews.
It is convenient for an auction house to hype such remarks and for a BBC writer to believe that it represents pro-Nazi sentiments widely held by the British upper-crust. But in fact Baldwin was a committed democrat whose core values were much closer to those of Roosevelt than to Hitler.
- Shipwreck Found Under World Trade Center Traced Back To Colonial Era Philadelphia
- Bob Dallek in the NYT gives a rave review of John Dean's history of Watergate cover-up
- Ex-President George W. Bush Authors Book About His Father
- Tears, and Anger, as Militants Destroy Iraq City’s Relics
- Europe notes 100th anniversary of World War I
- Why Benny Morris is both right and wrong
- Professor Ilan Pappé: Israel Has Chosen to be a 'Racist Apartheid State'
- History Professor: Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Should Be Celebrated Like Martin Luther King Jr. in Schools
- Robert Drew, Cinema Verite Documentarian, Dies at 90
- Rick Perlstein: “Ronald Reagan absolved America almost in a priestly role not to have to contend with sin. The consequences are all around us today”