British historian takes on five wildest conspiracies on Hitler’s ‘disappearance’

A leading historian has detailed the wildest conspiracy theories around Adolf Hitler 's "disappearance" during World War Two.

Modern Germany expert Sir Richard Evans has probed growing claims the Nazi leader didn't kill himself in 1945.

The 73-year-old has now written up his verdicts on the five biggest legends about the Fuhrer and explains why they are dead wrong.

Sir Richard goes through each of the legends and debunks them with hard facts in his latest book, The Hitler Conspiracies.

In it, he writes: "Despite all the evidence to the contrary, more book-length arguments for the survival of Hitler in Argentina have appeared in the 21st century than in the whole of the 55 previous years."

Sir Richard has written extensively about Germany including the definitive three-volume The Third Reich Trilogy.

And the academic is fed-up that myths that Hitler didn't shoot himself in Berlin in 1945 but instead made his way to South America have been around for more than 70 years.

His book blasts the likes of the History Channel for airing a TV series, Hunting Hitler, based on speculation about the dictator's survival.

An average of 3 million people tuned in to watch each episode of the three-part series from 2015 to 2018 series.

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But Sir Richard slams it for being “innuendo, suggestion and invention” and not mentioning the painstaking efforts investigators made to compile hard evidence of Hitler's death in 1945.

The academic also points to how the wealth of information is available to historians and was even expanded on by a West German court in the 1950s.

The conspiracy theories he demolishes in The Hitler Conspiracies include the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – a hoax Jewish text revealing plans for global domination first published in Russia in 1903.

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Sir Richard says The Protocols played only a small part in Nazi anti-Semitism and that the forgery was “rambling, chaotic and unstructured”.

He also takes on the “stab in the back” legend, which blames Germany’s defeat in the first world war on domestic traitors.

The historian says it was largely an obsession of fringe rightwing nationalists during the 1919-1933 Weimar Republic but managed to link Germany's new, fragile democracy with national humiliation.

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A third he takes on is the myth that the Nazis caused the 1933 Reichstag fire. Sir Richard points to evidence that it took Hitler and his inner circle by surprise.

Fourth is Hitler's deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess’s supposed flight to Scotland in 1941, which the academic says was falsely depicted as a genuine Nazi peace bid or was just made up by British intelligence. He shows that many theories about Hess are "all based on totally unreliable testimony and unsubstantiated guesswork".

And finally, he attempts to lay to rest Hitler’s supposed postwar life in South America.

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