Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Irish Soldier: 'I Saved Hitler's Life In 1919'

There is an abbreviated version of this story in The Daily Mail. Note that it is not implausible for a Irishman to join the German army in WWI. Relations between Ireland and Britain were at that time -- shall we say: "strained".

The principal interest for me in the story is that Keogh found Hitler "likeable" when he met him during WWI. That is the exact opposite of the received story about Hitler at that time. I have always had severe doubts about the received story. How Hitler could morph from a loner to a charismatic leader of his nation was a great mystery and the loner story seemed to me to be most probably just disinformation dating from Hitler's rise to prominence. Hitler had plenty of enemies in the Germany of the '20s and 30s who would be motivated to discredit him -- and Soviet disinformation at some stage cannot be ruled out either, in my view. Soviet disinformers never had much trouble fooling historians

By Terrence Aym

In one of those odd quirks of history, World War II and the 70 million lives lost could have been averted if, on a fateful day during 1919, a young Irishman had let Adolf Hitler die … Instead he unwittingly saved the life of Germany's future F├╝hrer.
This amazing revelation came to light only recently—it lay buried for decades in the obscure memoirs of a remarkable, but little known, Irishman named Michael Keogh.

When the family took possession of Keogh's memoirs—authenticated by historians—they decided to release the important details to the world.

Michael Keogh was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life filled with odd twists and turns. Perhaps strangest of all: despite his impact on the modern world he's barely a footnote in history.

It's all the more astounding when considering that in the space of a few brief minutes Keogh forever changed the destiny of millions and the face of the future.

All the stunning events were meticulously written down in his diary—memoirs that are so astounding they read more like fiction than fact. Yet experts confirm every word is true.

Decades followed before a family member was approached by archivists that had retained it. After reading some of the entries, they realized the importance the memoirs would have to the world at large: for Keogh not only met Hitler once, but twice, and the second time saved the future dictator from certain death.

Media knew nothing of Michael Keogh. Born into modest circumstances in Tolow County Carlow, Ireland, Keogh lived an unremarkable life until his 22nd year. It was then, during 1913, that young Keogh joined up with the British army's Royal Irish Regiment.

Records show he was later brought up on charges for sedition. Although branded as a troublemaker by some of his superior officers, Keogh was nevertheless shipped off to France to fight the Germans in Europe's Great War.

When he arrived he was assigned to a regiment near the front and before the end of August 1914—barely a month after arriving there—he was captured by the German army and held as a prisoner of war. The turn of events that followed is what eventually set him on the path towards shaping the destiny of the entire human race.

Restless and unhappy at being held in a prison camp, Keogh talked the German commandant into allowing him to join the German army.

By 1916 they agreed and Keogh was given a uniform, an assignment and orders to join the Sixteenth Bavarian Infantry Regiment. Things went well for Keogh. His German comrades liked and respected him, and he received praise for valor shown on the battlefield.

Time passed and the war dragged on until September 1918 when he found himself posted on the front and had a chance meeting in Ligny, France with a young Lance-Corporal named Adolf Hitler. Later, Keogh recalled the young Hitler as being intense and serious, but likeable.

Nothing important happened during that meeting except Keogh knew Hitler existed, who he was, and what he looked like. But their second meeting in 1919—and the circumstances under which it took place—were to change the future face of Europe for generations.

After the war, Germany was torn by political upheavals. The Bolshevik-inspired Marxist revolution took root in Germany and sought to undermine its democratic Weimar Republic.

Keogh, fiercely anti-communist and keenly aware of the subversive threat to the weakened Germany, volunteered for, and was accepted into, the politically active "Freikorps" (Free Corps) as an officer. The para-military organization set as its sworn duty the goal to crush the Marxist movement and drive them out of the Fatherland.

Fate's huge hand moved inexorably and Keogh and Hitler met again under the most dire of circumstances.

"I had fought my way into Munich as a captain in the Freikorps Epp," Keogh recalls in his diary. "A few weeks later, I was the officer of the day in the Turken Strasse barracks when I got an urgent call at about eight in the evening." That call to action set events into motion that literally changed the entire course of history.

"A riot had broken out over two political agents in the gymnasium," his memoir continues. "These 'political officers' were allowed to approach the men for votes and support.

"I ordered out a sergeant and six men and, with fixed bayonets, led them off. There were about 200 men in the gymnasium, among them some tough Tyrolean troops."

As he explains, two politicians that were giving speeches were roughly grabbed and thrown to the floor. A crowd surrounded the two viciously beating them.

And then, several furious Tyrolean troopers politically opposed to the politicians, moved in to finish the helpless men off. Bloodlust swirled in the air and the angry mob sought to kill both men. Keogh decided to act as "Bayonets were beginning to flash."

The two politicians—one clean-shaven, the other with a small moustache—were overcome and being stomped and beaten to death. The mob's bayonets were closing in and the men wielding them had every intention of gutting the two helpless politicians.

"I ordered the guard to fire one round over the heads of the rioters. It stopped the commotion," recalled Keogh.

His soldiers carried out the two badly beaten and bloody politicians. According to Keogh, both needed immediate medical attention. That their deaths were imminent was obvious.

It was only the intercession of Michael Keogh and the quick orders he gave his men that stopped the killing of the politicians. He wrote: "The crowd around muttered and growled, boiling for blood."

But Hitler had been saved. Of course, Keogh had instantly recognized the man with the moustache—former Lance-Corporal Adolf Hitler whom he'd met a year earlier in Ligny, France.

On the way towards medical treatment, Hitler chatted with his savior. The young, up-and-coming politician thanked Keogh for saving his life, and then he shared some of the details of his new party with the Irishman—the Party would become the salvation of the Fatherland, Hitler said—the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NAZI).

Adolf Hitler survived his injuries. And the two men never directly crossed paths again.

Keogh wrote he next saw Hitler during 1930. The up-and-coming political figure gave a rousing speech to a huge, enthusiastic crowd at an outdoor theater in Nuremberg.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

British mustard gas attack didn't blind Hitler: It was an episode of hysterical illness

The statements below may well all be true but one must allow for the urge to denigrate Hitler on the part of his enemies. That he could rapidly morph from being a derided outsider to a charismatic leader of his nation is implausible on the face of it and most probably is just a remnant of wartime propaganda

That he suffered an episode of hysterical blindness on the frontlines of WWI is however plausible. Psychiatric episodes under the fiendish conditions there were common on both sides and were usually covered up as "shellshock" or the like. To be one of those who cracked may have been embarrassing to Hitler himself but he would not normally be condemned for it these days. Allied troops coming home from Afghanistan to this day often have psychiatric disturbances but it is not regarded as being to their discredit or very limiting to their lives after discharge

Note also that the psychiatric diagnosis relied on below comes to us as hearsay and would not as such be credited in judicial proceedings

My remarks above are not intended as any defence of Hitler. They are merely the proper skepticism essential to a search for truth

He claimed to have been blinded by a British mustard gas attack as a heroic First World War soldier. Now research has exposed Hitler’s account of his own gallantry as a sham and revealed that his temporary loss of sight was actually caused by a mental disorder known as ‘hysterical blindness’.

Hitler described in Mein Kampf how the British had attacked in October 1918 south of Ypres using a ‘yellow gas…unknown to us’. By morning, his eyes ‘were like glowing coals, and all was darkness around me,’ he wrote.

But historian Dr Thomas Weber, of the University of Aberdeen, has uncovered a series of unpublished letters between two American neurologists from 1943, which debunk Hitler’s claim.

The correspondence showed that Otfried Foerster, a renowned German neurosurgeon, had inspected Hitler’s medical file. He found that Hitler had been treated for hysterical amblyopia, a psychiatric disorder that can make sufferers lose their sight.

Dr Weber said: ‘There were rumours suggesting that his war blindness may have been psychosomatic, but this is the first time we have had any firm evidence.’ He said discovering the letters was ‘crucial’ because Hitler’s medical file, at the Pasewalk military hospital in Germany, was destroyed.

‘Hitler went to extreme lengths to cover up his First World War medical history,’ Dr Weber said. ‘The two people who had access to his medical files were liquidated as soon as he took power and the other people who knew of it committed suicide in strange circumstances.’

The letters could help to explain Hitler’s radical personality change after the war, Dr Weber said. He added: ‘Hitler left the First World War an awkward loner who had never commanded a single other soldier, but very quickly became a charismatic leader who took over his country.

‘His mental state could explain this dramatic change and his obsessive and extreme behaviour.’ [How?]

He said the evidence also gave a crucial insight into Hitler’s mental state during his leadership. ‘The fact that he would not have been able to deal with the stress and strain of war is significant,’ Dr Weber said.

Details of Hitler’s blindness appear in a new edition of the historian’s book Hitler’s First War.

The study also shows how Hitler’s claims to have been a gallant First World War corporal who frequently risked his life were mostly lies.

Far from being a fearless frontline fighter, he spent so much time in regimental headquarters miles behind the lines that fellow soldiers in the trenches branded him a ‘rear area pig’. In reality he was little more than a ‘teaboy’ who worked as a messenger running errands, the study revealed.

Hitler, who served in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment, was twice awarded the Iron Cross, but Dr Weber said this was largely due to the fact he knew officers who made recommendations.

He attended only one meeting of veterans from his regiment, in 1922, when he was ‘cold shouldered’, the historian said.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Know anyone who talks about food and money too much? They could be a psychopath

If someone you know uses the past tense and likes to talk about what he eats, then beware - he or she could be a psychopath.

Researchers have identified the speech patterns which are the tell-tale signs somebody could be the next Hannibal Lecter.

Those who use verbal stumbles like ‘um’ and ‘ah’ should be treated with caution whilst anybody showing a lack of emotion could be trouble too.

Other tics which should be of concern are focusing attention on basic needs like food and money or speaking about crimes in the past tense.

The researchers found that psychopaths use twice as many words for basic needs such as eating and drinking - a reflection of the psychopathic world view that everything is 'theirs' to take.

The researchers claim that whilst we are able to choose which words we use in day-to-day speech, we unconsciously choose functional words like ‘the’ or the tense of the verbs or the vocabulary sets we use.

With careful analysis these cues can show us who is a psychopath and who isn’t.

The study involved interviews with 52 convicted murderers, of whom 14 were classified as psychopaths.

Their responses were analysed in detail by a computer programme which looked for patterns in what they said.

Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University in New York, said that overuse of the past tense demonstrated psychological detachment.

The research found that psychopaths tended to dwell on subjects such as food and money in conversation. Overall, psychopaths tend to use twice as many words relating to such basic needs as food and money

The use of dysfluencies like ‘uh’ and um’ was also a way of ‘putting the mask of sanity on’.

He added: ‘Psychopaths talked a lot about what they ate that day (of the murder). They talked about money more often.’

Overall psychopaths use twice as many words relating to basic needs like eating and drinking as ordinary people.

This fitted in with their world view that everything around them was theirs to take, the authors said in their report.

Psychopaths also used more subordinating conjunctions like ‘because’ which is explained by their interest in cause and effect.

The report says: ‘This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that 'had' to be done to achieve a goal)’.

Just one per cent of the population are to some extent a psychopath but that has not stopped Hollywood from making them into villains hundreds of times.

Arguably the most famous was Hannibal Lecter who famously talked about how he liked to eat his victims’ brains in ‘Silence of the Lambs’.