(photo credit: REUTERS)
A biography published in 1923 on Adolf Hitler listed under the author Baron Adolf Victor von Koerber may have actually been penned by Adolf Hitler himself, The New York Times reported.
Published before Hitler rose to power, "Adolf Hitler: His Life and His Speeches," credited him with being Germany's savior, comparing Hitler to Jesus.
Scholars have said that Hitler went to Von Koerber for the book hoping that as a conservative who had no Nazi Party ties the war hero would legitimize Hitler.
Though Von Koerber did originally support Hitler he soon shifted his views and was even arrested for attempting to assassinate Hitler.
Recently discovered documents from Von Koerber, which were uncovered by University of Aberdeen history and international affairs professor, Thomas Weber, revealed a statement from the publisher of the book's widow leading him to believe Hitler himself wrote the book.
"It’s 1923, and Hitler suddenly decides he needs to boost his national profile," Weber told the Times
"He brings out a book in anticipation of revolution,” Weber stated, “and we see here a political operator who understands the political process extremely well and knows how to produce a narrative for the kind of leader only he feels he can be."
“So he does not have to expressly say, ‘I want to be leader.’ He creates the expectation that others will call him to become the leader.”
Sven Felix Kellerhoff, a senior editor at Die Welt, a German newspaper and recent author of a book discussing Hitler's "Mein Kampf," also spoke with the Times
“I’m convinced from the presented sources that Hitler himself wrote this short text or gave at least the basic information to an editor,” Kellerhoff stated.
“This is important because it shows that Hitler thought about himself as the ‘German savior’ as early as 1923. So I think this is a small but important advance in researching Hitler’s biography.”
Not everyone received the research with such excitement. Harvard Professor of European and international history Charles S. Maier said that though the research was "plausible" it was not so sensational.
Mair Told the Times
that, “Koerber essentially became a type of ‘as-told-to author’ without acknowledging the sketch. But surely this sort of coaching for political biographies must be relatively common in one form or another.”
Mair stated that usually when a memoir is ghostwritten the subjects often want the credit on it, unlike in this case.
Baron Adolf Victor von Koerber died in 1969 in Johannesburg, South Africa.