Letter Of Note of the Day: In 1939, William Patrick Hitler fled Nazi Germany to join relatives in the U.S. He attempted to enlist with the U.S. Armed Forces, but was rejected because of his uncle — Adolf Hitler.
Finally, in 1942, he penned an eloquent plea to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to let him join the Allied cause. Here’s an excerpt:
I am the nephew and only descendant of the ill-famed Chancellor and Leader of Germany who today so despotically seeks to enslave the free and Christian peoples of the globe. …
I am one of many, but I can render service to this great cause and I have a life to give that it may, with the help of all, triumph in the end. …
As to my integrity, Mr. President, I can only say that it is a matter of record and it compares somewhat to the foresighted spirit with which you, by every ingenuity known to statecraft, wrested from the American Congress those weapons which are today the Nation’s great defense in this crisis. I can also reflect that in a time of great complacency and ignorance I tried to do those things which as a Christian I knew to be right. As a fugitive from the Gestapo I warned France through the press that Hitler would invade her that year. The people of England I warned by the same means that the so-called “solution” of Munich was a myth that would bring terrible consequences. On my arrival in America I at once informed the press that Hitler would loose his Frankenstein on civilization that year. Although nobody paid any attention to what I said, I continued to lecture and write in America. Now the time for writing and talking has passed and I am mindful only of the great debt my mother and I owe to the United States. More than anything else I would like to see active combat as soon as possible and thereby be accepted by my friends and comrades as one of them in this great struggle for liberty.
The rest of the letter is equally stunning.
The letter, by the way, made it to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who eventually cleared Hitler for service. He joined the Navy in 1944 and was discharged after an injury in 1947. He died in 1987.