By Mark Weber

In late July and early August 1945, just weeks after the end of the war in Europe, the 28-year-old John F. Kennedy visited war-devastated Germany. Accompanying him on this tour was US Navy Secretary James Forrestal (whom President Truman later appointed as the first Secretary of Defense).

Kennedy recorded his experiences and observations in a diary that was not made public until 1995. (It was published under the title Prelude to Leadership: The European Diary of John F. Kennedy, Summer 1945.)

These diary entries show the youthful Kennedy’s wide-ranging curiosity and eye for telling detail — attributes that were also manifest in his two best-selling books, While England Slept (1940) and Profiles in Courage. Earlier in 1945, he had attended the opening session of the United Nations organization in San Francisco, and had visited Britain to view the parliamentary election campaign, covering both events as a journalist for the Hearst newspaper chain.

In Berlin, Kennedy noted upon his arrival there on July 28, “The devastation is complete. Unter den Linden [boulevard] and the streets are relatively clear, but there is not a single building which is not gutted. On some of the streets the stench — sweet and sickish from dead bodies — is overwhelming.” For the Berlin population, he reported, “The basic ration is 1 1/2 pounds a day — approximately 1,200 calories (2,000 considered by the health authorities for normal diet — the ration is only 900 calories in Vienna).”

Kennedy made several diary references to the ferocity of the Soviet Russian occupation of Germany. “The Russians moved in with such violence at the beginning — stripping factories and raping women — that they alienated the German members of the Communistic Party, which had some strength in the factories.” “Raping and looting” by Soviet troops “was general,” Kennedy also reported. “What they didn’t take, they destroyed.” Elsewhere he wrote: “The Russians have pretty well plundered the country, have been living off it … The Russians have been taking all the able-bodied men and women and shipping them away.”

He also took note of the impact of the devastating British-American air attacks: “According to our naval experts, the bombing of Germany was not effective in stopping their production, and production increased three-fold during 1942-1944.” Right until the end, Kennedy also reported, an adequate food distribution was maintained in the German capital: “The feeding in Berlin was extremely well organized, even in the most severe blitz.” Ordinary Germans, he reported at another point, “did not realize what was going on in the concentration camps.”

Kennedy and Forrestal also visited Bremen, an important north German industrial and commercial center, and a major port city. As Kennedy reported, the Russians were not the only occupation forces to carry out wide-scale looting in Germany: “The British had gone into Bremen ahead of us — and everyone was unanimous in their description of British looting and destruction, which had been very heavy. They had taken everything which at all related to the sea — ships, small boats, lubricants, machinery, etc.”

He also noted misdeeds of US troops. “Americans looted town [Bremen] heavily on arrival,” he wrote. “People do not seem to realize,” he added, “how fortunate they have been in escaping the Russians. As far as looting the homes and the towns, however, the British and Americans have been very guilty.” In Bremen, Kennedy wrote, the Germans’ diet “is about 1,200 calories — ours being 4,000.” In spite of everything, “none of the [American] officers and men here seem to have any particular hate for the Germans.”

Kennedy met and spoke with US Navy officials in Bremen. Because he had been commander of an American torpedo boat in the Pacific — the famous PT-109 — he had a special interest in the German counterpart — the Schnellboot or “E boat.” After looking into the matter in some detail, Kennedy concluded that the German version was “far superior to our PT boat.”

Hitler’s Place in History

After Bremen and Bremerhaven, Kennedy and Forrestal flew to Bavaria, where they visited the town of Berchtesgaden and then drove up to Hitler’s mountain retreat, which was “completely gutted, the result of an air attack from 12,000 pound bombs by the R.A.F. [British air force] in an attempt on Hitler’s life.” They then ascended to Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest” lair high in the mountains.

Just after this visit, Kennedy wrote a remarkable commentary in his diary, dated August 1, 1945, about Hitler and his place in history:

“After visiting these 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 that 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.”

Less than a year after this European tour, Kennedy was elected to Congress in Massachusetts, beginning a political career that took him to the White House, and which ended suddenly with his assasination on November 22, 1963.

https://larryhannigan.com/forgotten-history/60-j-f-kennedys-1945-vi...

Views: 42

Comment

You need to be a member of 12160 Social Network to add comments!

Join 12160 Social Network

Comment by MAC on December 5, 2019 at 11:30pm

Thanks for sharing this.

Comment by Gralton on December 5, 2019 at 8:25pm

i guess Foresstal kept him away from the starving Germans in IKes camps.

"Destroying the New World Order"

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE SITE!

mobile page

12160.info/m

12160 Administrators

 

TOP CONTENT THIS WEEK

Latest Activity

Burbia commented on James Roberts's photo
Thumbnail

First Proposed US Flag

"Give it time for the unicorn, it looks like it was introduced in 2018."
7 minutes ago
Burbia favorited James Roberts's photo
10 minutes ago
Burbia commented on cheeki kea's photo
Thumbnail

racist

"This is a good meme to point out the self deprecating (((fellow white people))) phenomenon that…"
12 minutes ago
James Roberts commented on James Roberts's photo
Thumbnail

First Proposed US Flag

"Seven stars, nine rays, green clovers, blue diamonds! Who knows what they represent? I'm…"
14 minutes ago
Doc Vega and stormtruther are now friends
38 minutes ago
James Roberts commented on James Roberts's photo
Thumbnail

First Proposed US Flag

"Doc - Definitely not pagan or anything, cough cough hack hack."
46 minutes ago
Doc Vega commented on James Roberts's photo
Thumbnail

First Proposed US Flag

"Now that would have been a colonial acid trip!"
48 minutes ago
Doc Vega commented on Doc Vega's blog post Arsonists Arrested in Australia!
"cheeki kea thanks for your reply!"
49 minutes ago
Doc Vega posted blog posts
55 minutes ago
James T. Kirk posted videos
2 hours ago
James Roberts posted photos
2 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters commented on Chris of the family Masters's blog post Why there are so many fires along the eastern seaboard of Australia cleaning out all the forests
"Conspiracy Theorists ( term coined by CIA to discredit critical thinkers ) were right, as usual."
3 hours ago
Burbia commented on Chris of the family Masters's blog post Why there are so many fires along the eastern seaboard of Australia cleaning out all the forests
"Urban dwelling is being shaped by the burning of rural areas while simultaneously blaming Climate…"
3 hours ago
Burbia commented on James Roberts's photo
Thumbnail

Not Allowed

"Definition of Shabbas goy Shabbas goy  noun : a non-Jew employed by Orthodox Jews…"
4 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters posted a blog post

Why there are so many fires along the eastern seaboard of Australia cleaning out all the forests

Labor to spend $1b on bullet train route from Melbourne to Brisbane via SydneyMr Albanese said it…See More
5 hours ago
Old Denmark posted a video

Macron exfiltré et caillassé par les manifestants qui le traque !!

Après avoir découvert que Macron été dans un théâtre des centaines de manifestants se sont réunis et ont envahi les lieux le président a dû être évacué
7 hours ago
cheeki kea commented on Mr. Sizzle's photo
Thumbnail

Virginia’s Governor

"Good news Mr Siz. It's clear They wanted "visual" trouble, but never got it ha,…"
11 hours ago
cheeki kea posted a photo

racist

This fast tracts the culture wars
11 hours ago
cheeki kea commented on Doc Vega's blog post Arsonists Arrested in Australia!
"Good post Doc.V, we are indeed under attack, there are so many fractions, so many agendas, so many…"
11 hours ago
cheeki kea commented on stormtruther's photo
Thumbnail

lightening, it s all lightening ignore the arson news

"I have an awful feeling your right."
12 hours ago

© 2020   Created by truth.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

content and site copyright 12160.info 2007-2019 - all rights reserved. unless otherwise noted