Secret documents describing Adolf Hitler's beginnings in the Nazi Party were discovered in the French National Archives after being secreted away for decades in an iron safe, Le Monde reported on Friday.
The documents, a result of meticulous monitoring of German political parties by French intelligence in the wake of World War I, identified Hitler mainly as a journalist in Nazi newspaper VÃ¶lkischer Beobachter, although he headed the National Socialist party at the time.
The documents depicted Hitler's political agenda, describing him as a "German Mussolini â€¦ a very skillful demagogue" and alluding to the "failed" Munich Beer Hall Putsch he led in 1923. "He is not an idiot," stressed one of the reports, while another outlined an attempt by France to gain information about the Nazis via infiltration.
Other Nazi Party members who were to become senior officials in the Third Reich were also mentioned in the text. Hermann GÃ¶ring, future commander of the Luftwaffe, was referred to as "wanted by authorities for complicity in treason," while future propaganda minister Josef Goebbels was described as "an influential member of the Nazi party." Future SS chief Heinrich Himmler was characterized simply as "a racist."
The files erroneously named Hitler "Adolf Jacob," also misrepresenting his date and place of birth.
The iron safe in which they were found was said to generally be used to house France's most important historical documents, such as Napoleon's will.