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Adolf Hitler was 'real author' of first biography

Professor Thomas Weber Image copyright Sarah Christie/University of Aberdeen
Image caption Professor Weber uncovered new evidence while researching for a new book in South Africa

Adolf Hitler was the real author of a biography which compared him to Jesus, a University of Aberdeen historian has claimed.

Adolf Hitler: His Life and his Speeches was published in 1923 - two years before his autobiography, Mein Kampf.

The first book was published under the name of German aristocrat Victor von Koerber and likens Hitler's political life to Jesus' resurrection.

Historian Thomas Weber believes Hitler penned it himself as a publicity stunt.

Professor Weber said he unearthed "compelling evidence" - including signed testimony - in a South African archive which proves who the real author was.

He said the original book helped propel Hitler to power and was the first sign that he planned to lead a German revolution.

Image copyright University of Aberdeen
Image caption The first book was published two years before Mein Kampf

Professor Weber made the discovery while carrying out research for his latest book about how Hitler became a Nazi.

He said: "I stumbled across a reference to von Koerber's private papers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

"Once I had flown to South Africa, it quickly became apparent that surprisingly they had not previously been investigated in this context.

"Going through his papers, I soon realized that von Koerber, who later broke with the Nazis, had merely been a front for the profile and not its real author."

'New bible'

He added: "The book makes some outlandish claims, arguing that it should become 'the new bible of today' and uses terms such as 'holy' and 'deliverance'.

"To find it was actually written by Hitler himself demonstrates that he was a conniving political operator with a masterful understanding of political processes and narratives long before he drafted what is regarded as his first autobiography, Mein Kampf.

"It also challenges the accepted view that at this stage in his life he did not see himself as the man to lead the German revolution."

"Taken together, the pieces of evidence now available to us build a compelling picture that this was indeed an autobiography written to boost Hitler's profile as the 'German saviour' and that even at this early stage of his career he was an astute and manipulative political operator."

Prof Weber's as yet untitled book will be published in the UK next year.