Image for The Man Who Crossed HitlerNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Remarkable factual drama based on a true story, starring Ian Hart, Ed Stoppard and Bill Paterson.

In the summer of 1931, with Germany on the brink of economic collapse, and the city of Berlin turning into a paramilitary war-zone, audacious young prosecutor Hans Litten (Stoppard) chose to summon a star witness to a trial of Nazi thugs. In spite of the risk to his own safety and against the advice of those who love him, Litten forced rising political star Adolf Hitler (Hart) to make a sensational appearance in the witness stand of Berlin's central criminal court.

Litten aimed to expose the true character of Hitler and his politics to the German public, to reveal his hypocrisy and his violent ambitions, and in doing so, halt the electoral success of the Nazi Party.
In a humiliating and hostile cross-examination, Hitler was forced to account for his political beliefs, his contempt for the law and his desire to destroy German democracy. For a brief moment, Hitler's political future was genuinely in the balance.

Hitler survived the ordeal, but it was a close encounter which he never forgave and for which Litten paid a heavy price.

Last on

Sat 27 Aug 2011 22:40 BBC HD

  • Photo: Hans Frank and Adolf Hitler

    Photo: Hans Frank and Adolf Hitler

    Nazi lawyer Hans Frank (Will Keen) watches his client Adolf Hitler (Ian Hart) give evidence.

  • Hans Litten vs Adolf Hitler: To Stop a Tyrant

    Hans Litten vs Adolf Hitler: To Stop a Tyrant

    Documentary revealing the story of German lawyer Hans Litten's public attempt to challenge Adolf Hitler. It examines why he took such an extraordinary risk with his own safety, and his fate after the courtroom confrontation with Hitler

    Find out more about Hans Litten vs Adolf Hitler: To Stop a Tyrant
  • Researching Hans Litten

    Researching Hans Litten

    Writer and producer Mark Hayhurst on discovering the extraordinary story of the young German lawyer: "We traced surviving members of Litten's family to find out about his personality and his background. I read his letters and the memoirs of people who'd once loved him."

    Read and comment on Mark's post on the BBC TV blog


Hans Litten
Ed Stoppard
Adolf Hitler
Ian Hart
Margot Furst
Sarah Smart
Rudolf Olden
Anton Lesser
Walther Stennes
Ronan Vibert
Susan Horth


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