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Old 05-12-2012, 02:52 PM
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How many top Nazis spoke English?


I know that Albert Speer spoke almost flawless English as did Adolf Galland, and I read that Goering also spoke excellent English, but did, say, Hitler speak or understand any English? I know that he had several relatives who were to become citizens of English-speaking counties and that Hitler himself was an Anglophile, but could he, or Goebbels or (god forbid) Himmler speak any English?

I know Hitler loved Hollywood movies; were they overdubbed or subtitled?

Sorry, I guess that isn't just one question.
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:20 PM
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Hess could speak English to a reasonable level, but to be honest I only know that because a relative looked after him many years after WWII
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:56 PM
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Hitler himself definitely did not speak any foreign language (maybe some French).

Albert Speer gave numerous interviews in English (and French) in the 60s and 70s, but I always wondered how much of that he picked up during the time he spent in Spandau prison after the war.

Joachim von Ribbentrop was fluent in English and French. Reinhard Heydrich and Karl Dönitz were trained as naval officers who were also supposed to speak English. Baldur von Schirach's (German youth leader) mother was an American, so he probably spoke English fluently.

I would guess that many high-ranking German officers knew English to some extent, but where not fluent in at all.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:08 PM
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Heydrich spoke, in addition to German, English, French and Russian. Goering spoke English also, as did Goebbels and I believe Himmler knew a little, but wasn't fluent.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:53 PM
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Nitpick:


Karl Donitz was not a Nazi. He never joined the party, and it is believed he was fairly disgusted by them.
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:04 PM
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Very few of them, if any... most just spoke German.

Hitler most certainly did not speak English or any other language than German.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:03 PM
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Well, there is a story that Hitler spent several months living in Liverpool as a young man. If that is true, surely he would have learned at lest a smattering of English.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
Karl Donitz was not a Nazi. He never joined the party, and it is believed he was fairly disgusted by them.
He certainly said he was after the war, at least, even if during the war, he had a strange way of showing it, calling Hitler the only man who could defend the world from the poison of international Jewry and whatnot.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:38 PM
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He certainly said he was after the war, at least, even if during the war, he had a strange way of showing it, calling Hitler the only man who could defend the world from the poison of international Jewry and whatnot.
There is documentary footage of his reaction to having been named Hitler's successor.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:49 AM
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After seeing many WWII movies I can say that all of then knew English. With an upper class British accent.
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:18 AM
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After seeing many WWII movies I can say that all of then knew English. With an upper class British accent.
Mein Gott! That thought never occurred to me! No WONDER all the Generals in "Night of the Generals" spoke fluent English -- and to each other, when there were no non-Germans in the room! The car drivers spoke English too, except when they answered people -- strange, they'd say "Yes, Herr Lieutenant" instead of "Yes, Lieutenant!" (I guess they just got confused.) Or, the generals would speak English to each other, but German to the lower ranks!

And it seems to me that all the German army people spoke fluent English to each other until around 1970. I guess they all started going to German school after that.

But that brings up another question: all the Redskins in all those westerns spoke English to each other, too! Except not fluently -- they'd say strange stuff like "Chief him speak big Wampum" or "Kiothawa not smoke pipe of peace with White Invader!" But then in around 1980 or so they started liking white people like Kevin Costner and marrying them.

Lord, how puzzled I am. Ich habe nur eine halbe jahre Deutsch gelernt am schule!! Ich verstehe NICHT! MACH SCHNELL, ACHTUNG BLITZKRIEG! WO IST DER JUDENFRAGE? RAUS!

See? I learned some German from those post-70s movies! Thank YOU, Bruno Ganz!
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:27 PM
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Ernest "Putzi" Hanfstaengel, Harvard class of 1909.

One can quibble whether Hanfstaengel was a top Nazi but as an aristocrat and a man of great charm (but shallow intellect) he played a role in making Hitler more appealing to the German elites.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Hanfstaengl
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:35 PM
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"Here's General Eisenhower's telephone number, here's the English for 'we give up', and here's an analysis of our military situation summarized to one rude word."

... I love that skit.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Blakeyrat View Post
"Here's General Eisenhower's telephone number, here's the English for 'we give up', and here's an analysis of our military situation summarized to one rude word."

... I love that skit.
I like when he mentions a "growing housing shortage".
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