The Truth About Hitler in The Strand Magazine, November 1935
The Truth About Hitler in The Strand Magazine, November 1935
The Truth About Hitler in The Strand Magazine, November 1935

The Truth About Hitler in The Strand Magazine, November 1935

London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1935. First edition. Periodical. This is the original and unexpurgated appearance of Churchill’s famous article about Hitler, titled here “The Truth About Hitler”. Published in the November 1935 issue of The Strand Magazine, Vol. XC, No. 539, this was the headline, featured article, prominently advertised in a red banner at the top of the front cover, spanning pages 10-21 within, and including 24 photograph illustrations. This original periodical publication is not only quite scarce, but substantively and bibliographically significant, since the version published in Great Contemporaries two years after the original magazine publication was quite significantly altered and re-titled “Hitler and His Choice”. The opening paragraphs of this fuller, 1935 version contain an entire paragraph about the question whether “history will pronounce Hitler either a monster or a hero” concluding “because the story is unfinished… we must… hope for the bright alternative.” This paragraph is excised from the 1937 version. Other small details are altered or excised, but by far the primary difference is the removal of the final six paragraphs. Churchill spends four of these six paragraphs describing and excoriating the horror of Hitler's bloody "Night of the Long Knives" purge (30 June 1934). Churchill’s closing paragraphs about Hitler clearly echo the defiant, combative, and implacable Nazi foe Churchill would become as wartime Prime Minister less than five years after this article was published. But in 1935, Churchill was still a political outcast, out of power and out of favor. So it is all the more remarkable, then, that The Strand would not only print, but overtly solicit this piece from Churchill. On 15 May 1935 The Strand editor Reeves Shaw wrote to Churchill asking specifically for “an article entitled ‘The Truth About Hitler’” and specifically requested “…be as outspoken as you possibly can in your appraisement of Hitler’s personality and ambitions, and absolutely frank in your judgment of his methods.” (Gilbert, Vol. V, C.V. 2, p.1175) Equally surprising is Churchill’s harsh criticism of the German people for their complicity in Hitler’s reign. Throughout the Second World War, Churchill’s speeches are noteworthy for distinguishing the inherent virtues of peoples from the deficiencies and vulgarities of their leaders. Here, in the final two paragraphs, Churchill extends his indictment of Hitler to the German people themselves: "But the astounding thing is that the great German People, educated, scientific, philosophical, romantic... have not only not resented this horrible blood-bath, but have endorsed it and acclaimed its author with the honours not only of a sovereign but almost of a God." Churchill's final paragraph asks: "Can we really believe that a hierarchy and society built upon such deeds can be entrusted with the possession of the most prodigious military machinery yet planned among men?" The comparatively tamed and truncated version published in Great Contemporaries in 1937 is a marked contrast. Ironically, Churchill’s 1937 version can be seen as a more conciliatory and restrained appraisal of Hitler, perhaps reflecting Churchill’s earnest desire to avoid the war that he would fight with such ferocious resolve only a few years later. We grade this copy as approaching good plus, complete, though showing some age and wear. The covers remain complete, attached, and notably clean and bright despite some creasing to the lower front corner. The spine retains bright red color and is free of the horizontal splits common on magazine publications of this age, however, there is one inch of loss to the lower spine and some wear on the upper spine. The contents are clean, complete, and bright. Bibliographic reference: Cohen C481, Woods C282. Item #005044

Price: $375.00