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Tuesday, January 28, 2003
The latter days of Hugh Trevor Roper (Lord Dacre)

The obituaries have been unanimous in pointing out (a) that H T-R wrote The Last Days of Hitler and (b) that he was duped by some fake Hitler diaries. In the latter case, the perpetrator was jailed - more, I suspect for the embarrassment he caused rather than for the fraud he perpetrated. I have to admit that Josh was tickled by the whole affair at the time, not for a moment believing that the matter was anything but a jape.

I have yet to read The Last Days of Hitler but I have today briefly consulted H T-R's very readable book. I also looked at the rival German tome, subtitled 'Legend, Evidence and Truth', of the same name by Anton Joachimsthaler. In neither case was there information about that most interesting of post-war mysteries: whether or not Shicklegruber was monorchic. [I had intended to leave that term unexplained, with an invitation to look it up. However, it isn't in my dictionary, so keep reading.]

My recollection is that the Russians confirmed that he was, having found his charred corpse. I also remember that British Intelligence somehow got hold of (or faked) Hitler's WW I army dossier.

It would be a pity to have to rely on an old army song as 'evidence': I'm sure you remember Colonel Bogie, the theme music to The Bridge on the River Kwai. Although whistled in the version 'composed' by Malcolm Arnold, the words to the original start: 'Hitler, he only had one ball...'

Perhaps historians should devote more time to confirming (or denying) the accuracy of such popular mythology. Himmler probably didn't have something 'simmler' and poor old Goebbels certainly didn't have 'no balls at all...' His umpteen children attest to that.

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