In the aftermath of World War II, a young John F. Kennedy toured Hitler's mountaintop retreat and recorded his thoughts about the German dictator. "Within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived," the 28-year-old Kennedy wrote in a diary in 1945, per Time. Hitler, he added, "had in him the stuff of which legends are made." The words should not be viewed as praise, say those who are auctioning the diary next month. "There’s no glorification," says Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of Boston's RR Auction. Kennedy was a historian, he says, and his assessment is in the context of Hitler's place in history. He kept the diary after his military service ended, as he was touring Europe as a journalist, notes the BBC. It's believed to be the only diary he ever kept.
Kennedy eventually gave the 61-page diary, about 12 pages of which are handwritten, to its current owner, Deirdre Henderson, a onetime research assistant for Kennedy. As CBS News notes, she previously published it in book form. While the information isn't new, the original document is expected to fetch $200,000 when it goes up for sale on April 26. Other highlights, per the AP:
- Hitler's death: "There is no complete evidence, however, that the body that was found was Hitler's body," he wrote. "The Russians doubt that he is dead."
- The UN: "In practice, I doubt that it will prove effective in the sense of its elaborate mechanics being frequently employed or vitally decisive in deterring war or peace."
- USSR: "Yet, if we pull out (of Germany), we may leave a political vacuum that the Russians will be only too glad to fill."