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JFK in 1963 / Cecil Stoughton, White House via Wikimedia Commons


When he pronounced the phrase that had become mythical “Ich bin ein Berliner” 50 years ago in West Berlin (see the video below), in the middle of the Cold War, it was not the first time that John F. Kennedy set foot on German soil. The former president had already visited several times in Germany in his youth, at the time of the Third Reich, and to believe his travel diaries and the letters sent to his relatives, he had then been fascinated by what he had seen there, explains Der Spiegel.

For the first time, these little-known writings appear translated into German, brought together in the book John F. Kennedy – Unter Deutschen. Reisetagebücher und Briefe 1937-1945 (Among the Germans. Travel diaries and letters 1937-1945) by Oliver Lubrich, professor of literature at the University of Bern. John F. Kennedy came to Germany three times during his youth.

First in the summer of 1937, in the company of one of his university friends. During their "grand tour" which sees them survey Europe for three months, the two young men of 20 years visit Nazi Germany. At the beginning of August, he wrote in his travel diary:

"Come to the conclusion that fascism is what Germany and Italy need."

On August 21, he wrote:

"The Germans are really too good - that's why we crowd against them to protect ourselves."

A day later he marvels about the German autobahns:

“These are the best roads in the world.”

Kennedy returned two years later to Germany, a few months before the start of World War II, to do research there for his university thesis, and then shortly after the surrender, in the summer of 1945, this time as a reporter for English media. But then again, he still seems fascinated by the Third Reich and Hitler. After visiting the Obersalzberg in Bavaria, the mountain on which Hitler had his "eagle's nest", he wrote on 1er August 1945:

“Anyone who has visited these two places [the Obersalzberg and the Kehlsteinhaus, editor’s note] can easily imagine how Hitler will manage to extract himself from the hatred of which he is the object today to be considered as the one of the most important personalities to have existed.

In an interview with Deutschland Radio Kultur, Oliver Lubrich, the author of the book devoted to JF Kennedy's travels in Germany, relativizes all the same the scope of these writings:

"He was not an admirer [of Hitler] but I think what Susan Sontag later described as the morbid, erotic, and also partly aesthetic fascination that fascism exerts on people who weren't them too -not even Nazis politically, fits Kennedy very well."

Der Spiegel also recalls that Kennedy is not the only American traveler to have succumbed to this strange fascination for the way in which fascism was staged, citing for example the director Julien Bryan, who documented the daily life of the leaders Nazis under the Third Reich, and Martha Dodd, the daughter of the American ambassador stationed in Berlin between 1933 and 1937, whom his father nicknamed "the young Nazi", and who recounts his admiration for the Nazis in an autobiography entitled Nice to meet you, Mr. Hitler!.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#993300″ class=”” size=””]Annabelle Georgen (338 items)

Source: When John F. Kennedy was fascinated by Nazi Germany |


  • bvtcblog
    Posted August 19 8h46 0Likes

    JFK's father was a member of the English Nazi party, ambassador in London, he opposed the entry into war against Germany by the USA. He was a vaguely crooked ultra-liberal.

  • author
    Posted August 20 13h48 0Likes

    should know the words we write.” ultra-liberalism” was the ideology to which Nazism, Communism and Fascism opposed in priority. think a little before writing bvtchblog

    • bvtcblog
      Posted August 20 17h21 0Likes

      1/ I'm only pointing out that JFK's father had strong opinions; that they are contradictory for a European today does not change anything.
      2/ Nazism, very quickly, made peace with “big capital” which largely financed it; the SA served as scabs; note that many American companies participated in the Nazi war effort and were less bombed than Renault in 44/45.
      3 / keep your derogatory remarks for you, they do not serve the debate, and turn against you.

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