Was the young JFK an admirer of Hitler?

A new book issued in Germany claims the former US president was "very taken" with the Nazi leader during trips in 1930s and 40s.

May 26, 2013 16:23
1 minute read.
Golda Meir and John F Kennedy meeting in the US, December 1962.

Gold Meir JFK 370. (photo credit: Courtesy, The National Archives)

A new book released in Germany claims that former US President John F. Kennedy was an admirer of Adolf Hitler, and believed the Nazi leader would become "one of the most important personalities that ever lived."

The book - "John F. Kennedy Among the Germans" - contains excerpts from the late American leader's diaries and letters from 1937 to 1945, a period in which he visited Germany three times. 

The 20-year-old Kennedy, traveling with two fellow Harvard undergrads, was "very taken" with the Nazis, according to Der Spiegel. Meanwhile, one of the young Kennedy's letters stated that fascism was "the right thing for Germany." He also apparently wrote in 1937 that, "Nordic races appear to be definitely superior..." 

The revelations come a week before the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, and just a month ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama.

But this apparent fondness for the Nazi leader did not last, and Kennedy also became a firm supporter of Israel. Speaking in August 1960, Kennedy told an audience at the Zionists of America Convention in New York that, "Israel was not created in order to disappear - Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom."

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