JFK claims Hitler 'stuff of legends' in 1945 diary that just sold
The only known diary written by John F Kennedy has sold for $898,438 (including fees) at auction – trebling its $200,000 estimate.
Kennedy kept the 61-page diary while briefly working as a journalist in Europe in the summer of 1945 – at the end of the second world war.
Kennedy's role – secured by his father, US ambassador to Britain Joseph Kennedy – saw the future president gain access to Adolf Hitler's bunker in Berlin, as well as the Nazi leader's mountaintop retreat, the Eagles Nest.
The former GI's diary entries regarding the Fuhrer make for shocking reading.
"After visiting these two places, you can easily understand how 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.
"He 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. He had in him the stuff of which legends are made.”
A research assistant for Kennedy during his presidential campaign consigned the diary to auction. The new owner is a US-based Kennedy collector.
"This exceptional diary sheds light on a side of John F. Kennedy seldom explored and confirms America’s enduring sense that he was one of the most qualified, intelligent, and insightful commanders-in-chief in American history,” explains Bobby Livingston of RR Auction, the company behind yesterday's sale.
The astonishing contents and the public's enduring fascinating with Kennedy ensured the diary became the second most valuable piece of Kennedy memorabilia ever sold.
It's surpassed only by the desk on which he signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963. That sold for $1.4 million in 1996.
The handwritten and typed pages conclude with notes Kennedy made following his return to the US in August 1945 as he decided to embark on a political career.
“The best politician is the man who does not think too much of the political consequences of his every act,” Kennedy writes as he begins his successful run for Congress in 1946.
Fourteen years later, he would be elected president.
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