JFK diary calls Hitler 'stuff of legends'

Kennedy (far right) toured Europe after his military service Image copyright Getty Images

A diary kept by President John F Kennedy as a young man travelling in Europe, revealing his fascination with Adolf Hitler, is up for auction.

Kennedy, then 28, predicted “Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived”.

“He had in him the stuff of which legends are made,” he continued.

Kennedy wrote the entry on Hitler after touring the German dictator’s Eagle’s Nest mountain retreat in his Bavaria.

It is thought by historians to be the only diary every kept by the 35th US president.

Image copyright RR Auction

The original copy will be auctioned for the first time on 26 April in Boston by longtime owner Deirdre Henderson, who worked as a research assistant to Kennedy while he was a US senator with White House ambitions.

He wrote that Hitler “had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him”.

The 61-page diary was kept by Kennedy during the summer of 1945, around four months after Hitler committed suicide.

At the time, he was touring Europe as a newspaper reporter after finishing his military service aboard a ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Image copyright Getty Images

Some two decades later Kennedy would address crowds in West Berlin as US president.

He gave Ms Henderson the diary in order to inform her of his views on foreign policy and national security, she said.

In a description of the auction, she wrote: “When JFK said that Hitler ‘had in him the stuff of which legends are made,’ he was speaking to the mystery surrounding him, not the evil he demonstrated to the world.”

“Nowhere in this diary, or in any of his writings, is there any indication of sympathy for Nazi crimes or cause,” she continued.

The diary also contains his thoughts about the British election and Winston Churchill, who Mrs Henderson called his “idol”.

The winning bid is expected to be around $200,000 (£160,000).

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