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A previously neglected side of Hitler finally receives attention
on 24 September 2011
It will be years before we know the final secrets behind Hitler and what drove his intense political ambition and anti-semitism, but this book makes a valuable contribution that, due to the modesty and lack of knowledge amongst historians of homosexuality, has been lacking from any other intelligent analysis of Hitler. Extremely unpopular amongst some as it seems to shift blame from Hitler himself onto the homosexual community, or at least makes us see Hitler as more of a person one could almost sympathize with ('poor Hitler - he was forced to spend his life in the sexual closet, and could not help the way this repressed energy expressed itself.'). However, I think that is silly reasoning. It doesn't relieve Hitler of any guilt if we investigate his person and look at his biological drives, but provides us an interesting insight into the development of an anti-semitic dictator.
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.