(AP Photo, File)

John F. Kennedy once wrote that Adolf Hitler had "the stuff of which legends are made"

An auction of JFK's diary is drawing new attention to a controversial passage

Matthew Rozsa
March 24, 2017 12:36AM (UTC)

An old diary entry is drawing attention to a less flattering former President John F. Kennedy.

A diary entry, written by Kennedy when he visited Europe as a newspaper correspondent in the months after World War II, seemingly revealed Kennedy's views on Adolf Hitler, according to CBS News. Although the diary was first published as a book in the 1990s, the original 61-page document itself is set to be auctioned on April 26. In it, Kennedy seemed in awe of Hitler's charismatic powers, although he did not endorse any of Hitler's racist or militant views.


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," Kennedy wrote. He observed that Hitler "had in him the stuff of which legends are made" and predicted that "within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived."

While Kennedy himself was not known to be pro-Nazi, his father Joseph Kennedy became notorious during World War II as an advocate of appeasement. During his stint as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Joseph Kennedy supported appeasing Hitler, complained that President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies were a "Jewish production," advocated exporting German Jews to Africa, and was convinced that Britain would be crushed by Nazi Germany. Kennedy was accused of being a "defeatist" and fell out of favor in the British court after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was replaced by Winston Churchill. His tenure ended in 1940.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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