JFK’s diary reveals a fascination with Hitler, in comparison to “legend”

FILE: John F. Kennedy at a press conference in Omaha, Neb. in the year 1959.

(The Associated Press)

A young John F. Kennedy, filled dozens of pages in what historians believe that his only diary. In one of the most interesting entries in Kennedy, Adolf Hitler, compares to a “legend”.

After the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, JFK visited Hitler bombed the Bavarian Berghof residence and the Eagle’s Nest mountain retreat.


After the visit, that was part of his tour in Germany as a Hearst newspaper, a war correspondent, a 28-year-old Kennedy wrote about his fascination with the dictator who has just committed suicide, four months prior to JFK’s visit.

“He had boundless ambitions for his country that made him a threat 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,” he wrote. “He had in him the stuff of which legends are made.”


Kennedy predicted in his diary that Hitler would be “from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.”

The diary will be auctioned on April 26, RR Auction in Boston by Deirdre Henderson, who was JFK’s research assistant when he was a Massachusetts senator.

Kennedy Henderson was the diary, so that you would be informed about his views in issues of foreign policy and national security. It is his thoughts on Hitler, in the description of the auction.

“As JFK said, that Hitler had in him the stuff of which legends are made,’ he said to the mystery around him, not the evil, he showed the world,” she says. “Nowhere in this diary or in any of his writings, there are some signs of sympathy for the Nazi crimes or the cause.”

Henderson told the people that Kennedy’s interest in Hitler’s legacy could be credited to his education and his life-long interest in history. She says he was doing his historical research, even at the age of 12, when he read Churchill’s memoirs of the second world war.

“It is the mystery of Hitler why he did what he did? I don’t think anyone will ever know,” she said. “But JFK was to investigate, and say that Hitler was a legend – and Hitler is a legend. But he is not a good legend. You may not translate, it means he had admiration for him.”

It intends to auction the original manuscript in honour of what would have been Kennedy’s 100th birthday on may 29.

“It is part of his legacy.”

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