Hitler: Munich to Arras

From a Munich hospital in December 1916 future dictator Adolf Hitler sent a postcard to his comrade Karl Lanzhammer, expressing his desire to go back to the front line. Nursing a leg wound from the Battle of the Somme he was keen to voluntarily return to his regiment, the Königlich Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 16. The postcard reads:

“Dear Lanzhammer, I am now in Munich at the Ersatz Btl (battalion). Currently I am under dental treatment. By the way I will report voluntarily for the field immediately. Kind regards A. Hitler.”

Postcard send by Adolf Hitler, December 1916. Available under CC-BY via Europeana.

His zeal to return to War and his communications with his fellow regiment members show his attachment to the army, a stark comparison to the non-communication he had with his family and pre-war acquaintances. Returning to France in March 1917, he rejoined his regiment who fought in the Battle of Arras. This map shows the movements of Hitler and his regiment during that time.

Hitler’s role was a “runner” – a person taking messages – and it seems uncertain as to whether this is in the trenches, or in the headquarters (located at La Bassee – a long way from the front).

Download the KML Layer and play it in Google Earth.

See the map in Google Maps.

You can access the data via our Github account as well.

Cite : Hitler: Munich to Arras (http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/?p=760) by Pat Lockley (http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/author/patrick-lockley/) licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/)

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About Pat Lockley

I helped to develop this site's structure and elements of the theme. I worked to develop a series of visualisations and open data resources for this site and to help approach World War One from new perspectives More examples of my work exist on my website www.pgogy.com
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One Response to Hitler: Munich to Arras

  1. Jack V Sturiano says:

    Dear Mr Lockley,

    It is quite common almost uncommon to find any soldier not in a hurry to get back to his unit from hospital . I don’t see Hitlers keeness or zeal as out of place. There is a long psychological explanation about this somewhere. Maybe Robert J Liftons ‘Home from the War”. The modern day treatment of ‘Shell Shock” is based now on well know experience that once after the patient has been given a shower and slept long periods and had some good meals and some brief talks with doctors they are ready, anxious to return to their homes: Your unit is your home your family, will always be. I felt the same myself when I was in Vietnam at NSA Danang (Nov 68) after being hit in the arm from our own exploding ammunition. I was a corpsman with the Marines. No body wants a sick or wounded “Doc” least of all the sick or wounded “Doc” as the Marines would call us. I was anxious to get back as well because I had a good position with some Marines on a hill with 106 recoilless rifles and didn’t want to lose it for perhaps a more dangerous role. Hitler know’s he’s got a good job as a runner so this probably is his motivation beyond that very intense need to get back with your unit.
    Yours Cordially
    Jack V Sturiano

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