John F. Kennedy’s Diary Called Hitler ‘The Stuff Of Legends,’ Headed For Auction

The only diary maintained by the late President John F. Kennedy is headed for auction and some of its contents are very interesting, if not highly controversial. In it, JFK wrote about Adolf Hitler, who had just recently killed himself as the armies of his enemies closed in. Kennedy’s words about Hitler are shocking and although he didn’t openly praise the leader of the Nazi party for his horrific reign, JFK did say that he was the “stuff of legends” in an entry from 1945.

It was the summer of 1945 when Biography reports that John F. Kennedy made the controversial entry into his diary, just months after Adolf Hitler took his own life as the Soviet Red Army arrived in Berlin. Kennedy was a journalist at the time and had been traveling Europe after the downfall of the Nazi regime and of Hitler as the leader of Germany. It turns out that Kennedy didn’t believe the story that Hitler had killed himself and was dead. Instead, he wrote that the ousted leader would rise up again.

“He had in him the stuff of which legends are made,” Kennedy wrote about Hitler in his diary.

“Within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived.”

Kennedy also said in that diary entry that Hitler “had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him.”

John F. Kennedy’s diary was later given to Deidre Henderson, a research assistant, who published the contents of JFK’s diary as a book called Prelude to Leadership in 1995. In a preface written by Henderson, she wrote, “There is a misty quality about these lines that makes them seem removed from the squalor nearby, Is Kennedy just drifting and dreaming?… Had he not heard of the death chambers yet?”

It seems plausible, just months after the death of Adolf Hitler, that John F. Kennedy may not have known all the horrors that Hitler bestowed on the world during his time in power.

“When JFK said that Hitler ‘had in him the stuff of which legends are made,’ he was speaking of the mystery surrounding him, not the evil he demonstrated to the world,” Henderson wrote in the auction notes that accompany JFK’s diary.

“Nowhere in this diary, or in any of his writings, is there any indication of sympathy for Nazi crimes or cause.”

Historians and those close to John F. Kennedy before his untimely passing have explained that the entry in JFK’s 61-page diary does not indicate a fondness for Adolf Hitler. He was not in awe or admiration of the former German dictator. Instead, it has been explained that Kenndy, who had visited the area where Hitler lived and died just months after his death, was trying to make sense of the World Wars that ravaged much of the world. He was trying to understand Hitler’s rise to power and how his legacy might continue on after his death, considering the mysterious way in which he lived as well as the shocking way that he died.

Digital Journal reports that John F. Kennedy’s fascination with Adolf Hitler may have been less idyllic than Henderson is letting on. They claim that previous JFK writings proclaimed Hitler to be the “right thing for Germany.” There are also claims that JFK may have commented on Nazi Germany, writing, “Nordic races appear to be definitely superior to their Latin counterparts.”

John F. Kennedy’s diary will head to auction at the RR Auction House on April 26. The priceless piece of American history is expected to bring in $200,000.

[Featured Image by Central Press/Getty Images]

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