Hitler’s nephew earned a Purple Heart with the US Navy during WWII
Imagine, it’s 1944 and the country is smack-dab in the middle of World War II. You are serving in the U.S. Navy and come across a new guy… and his last name is Hitler.
That would be jarring, right? Well, it likely happened, since Adolf Hitler’s nephew served in the Navy from 1944 to 1947, after begging the president to let him in.
William Patrick Hitler was a sailor during the war against Nazi Germany, fighting against his own family, something he spent years trying to achieve.
William Patrick Hitler was born in England as the first son of Adolf Hitler’s brother, Alois. He lived there with his mother after his father left to travel Europe when he was 3 years old. Alois returned to Germany and remarried, and eventually sent for William after he turned 18.
During his visit to Germany in 1929, William met his Uncle Adolf at a Nazi rally his father took him to, and in 1930 received an autographed photo of him at another rally.
However, after William returned to England, he wrote a series of articles on his uncle’s rise to power that were apparently deemed “unflattering” by the future dictator. Adolf Hitler called his nephew to Berlin and demand he retract his words, threatening to kill himself if William wrote anything else about him.
Back in England, it was clear William had also made himself famous with the articles, and a very unpopular person in England. No one wanted to hire a Hitler, and it was because of the lack of work that William Patrick returned to Germany, where he hoped his name might be accepted more easily.
Unfortunately for William, he wasn’t wanted in Germany either. His uncle denied any family ties and his father sent him back to England.
With no other options, William gathered any evidence of a blood relation to his uncle—who was now Reich chancellor, the chief executive of Germany—he could find and returned to Germany, hoping to blackmail Hitler into giving him a job.
It worked. Hitler approved a work permit for William, who found a job at a Berlin bank and later an automobile factory. However, after a relatively calm first year, William was abruptly fired, then after insufficient reasoning as to why, was rehired, but felt increased scrutiny.
“I could not even go on an outing without risking a summons to Hitler,” he wrote in an article for “Look” magazine. After an intense and frightening meeting with his uncle, William knew it was time to leave the country.
Looking to serve
Back in England, William’s surname continued to haunt him, when he was denied entry in to the British armed forces due to his relation to Adolf Hitler.
Willing to share his knowledge of his uncle, William and his mother were invited on a lecture circuit in 1939 by William Randolph Hearst, a newspaperman in the United States. During their time the States, war broke out in Europe due to Hitler’s rise and reach, which prevented William and his mother from returning overseas.
Knowing his options were limited, William tried once again to join a foreign military in opposition of his uncle, and was once again denied, based on his name.
In a pleading letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, William wrote, “I am one of many, but can render service to this great cause.” After being cleared by the FBI, William Patrick Adolf was authorized to serve in the U.S. Navy, swearing in on March 6, 1944.
William served as a Pharmacist Mate during his years in the service, earning a Purple Heart, and was discharged in 1947. After the military, he changed his last name to Stuart-Houston, married Phyllis Jean-Jacques and went on to have four children before dying on July 14, 1987.
Was William simply looking for an opportunity wherever he could find it? Historians disagree on the motivations for William’s decisions, with some pointing out he was okay with his uncle’s policies if the economic climate had been to his benefit. Others point out that he could have lived and survived in the U.S. without joining the military, a decision that would suggest a clear conviction against his relative’s agenda.
William had four sons, all of whom never had children, meaning the last of Adolf Hitler’s paternal bloodline will end with them.
- Army ditches search for 7.62 battle rifle, for now
- Steeler, former Ranger stands for anthem alone
- 17 ISIS militants killed by U.S. airstrikes in Libya
- US flies mission north of DMZ, sends message to North Korea
- Kim Jong Un: 'Deranged' Trump will 'pay dearly' for threat
- US, Russian militaries hold unprecedented talks on Syria
Follow @military1 on Twitter .
This is how Hanoi reacted to the epic Ken Burns 'Vietnam War' documentary series
Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" was released to relatively little noise in Vietnam. Here's a look at what audiences there had to say.
7 epic songs that prove 'Call of Duty' knows how to lay down tracks
Video game music has improved a lot since 8-bit days. A lot.
The Army is looking for ways to keep generals from misbehaving
Struggling with behavior problems among senior officers, the Army is putting together new mental health, counseling, and career management programs.
These are the heroics that earned this EOD Petty Officer a Silver Star
Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Bill Moran, recognized EOD 1st Class Thomas for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy.
This why the national anthem is played before sporting events
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that the "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played at all military ceremonies and other various occasions.
The Navy wants this drone to extend its fighter range beyond 1k miles
The Navy is exploring how to use unmanned aircraft to extend the range of fighter jets by 1,000 miles. The concept, at this time, is called the MQ-25 Stingray.
How the Pentagon plans to spend $700M to drop drones
ISIS has been using drones to drop bombs on Iraq Security Forces, and the Department of Defense is looking for a better defense against them.
The third Invictus Games just kicked off in Toronto — and it's awesome
Competitors, celebrities, royalty, and spectators came together Sept. 23 to kick off the 2017 Invictus Games at the sold-out Air Canada Centre.
This was one of the world’s first swing-wing fighters
The Flogger was a ground-breaking plane for the Soviet Union.
THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY
We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles