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The Hidden Hitler Hardcover – 10 Oct 2001
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About the Author
Lothar Machtan is a professor of modern history at the University of Bremen. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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What he does have is plausible as support for another hypothesis: that Hitler's sexual activity was fairly limited - he wasn't a normal person - and as an arch-exploiter, he was willing to flirt with homosexuals if he thought they could be of use to him. In his early days in politics, that seems to have been the case but once he started to become famous, even before the seizure of power, he dropped them. That makes sense on several levels: they were no more use to him, and the idea that he had contact with them would undermine his image as a man dedicated to Germany, a country where homosexuality was illegal.
One is left wondering why Machtan is so dedicated to his cause. He explains that post-war Germany's shame would have been greater had it fallen under the spell of a murderous homosexual dictator than a heterosexual or asexual one, which may well be true. But why does that matter so much to him now?
Sublimated prejudice, or a personal obsession, it doesn't really matter. This book just isn't significant. It's simply another case of projection of modern-day issues into the past.
Personally, I think many complaints about this book come from people who think that Lothar Machtans has exaggerated Hitler's homosexuality. This complaint is partly justified, I think, and I doubt he had all of the gay relationships insinuated in this book. But Machtan's book is valuable as it forces us to admit that Hitler, although maybe not simply homosexual, had some serious psychosexual neuroses that played a large role in his political career. He presented an asexual image, as if Germany was his virgin bride, and Eva Braun was just a stage prop to give the effeminate dictator some much-needed masculinity. Saying Hitler was not sexually normal does not relieve him of any responsibilty, but brings us far closer to the truth than those that merely relate Hitler's life without looking into his sexual psychology.
To understand this book's unpopularity in Germany and elsewhere, one must remember that it is equally unpopular with people on the political left as on the political right. As mentioned above, for many on the left this book tries to lessen Hitler's crimes and make him seem more human, while those on the right wing see this book as an attack on the masculinity of their hero. It will be years before books on this theme can be objectively handled in Germany, and until then it will remain unappreciated. However, it is definitely recommended reading for anyone interested in 20th century history who does not suffer from such distortions in their judgement.
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