An early book praising Adolf Hitler said to have been written by Victor von Koerber was actually written by Hitler himself, a new finding shows.
Adolf Hitler: His Life And Speeches was long thought to be written by von Koerber – the German aristocrat and war hero – in 1923, but an academic at the University of Aberdeen has found evidence to the contrary.
Thomas Weber, a native of Germany, was researching a book on Hitler due to be published in English next year when he made the find. While researching it, he travelled to an archive in Johannesburg where von Koerber's papers are stored.
There, Weber found a note from von Koerber stating, "I was asked to give my name to the book".
Another document found in the papers states the book was written with "the active participation" of Hitler.
Academics believe the book has a striking resemblance to Mein Kampf and, as such, strengthens the belief this was Hitler's own work.
"Taken together, the pieces of evidence build a compelling picture that this was indeed an autobiography," Weber told The Times.
Weber believes Hitler penned his own work in order to raise his profile to rise to the top of the Nazi party.
In an interview with the New York Times, he said: "It's 1923, and Hitler suddenly decides he needs to boost his national profile.
"He brings out a book in anticipation of revolution and we see here a political operator who understands the political process extremely well and knows how to produce a narrative for the kind of leader only he feels he can be.
"So he does not have to expressly say, 'I want to be leader.' He creates the expectation that others will call him to become the leader."
Sven Felix Kellerhoff, author of a recent book on Mein Kampf, told the publication it was a significant finding.
He said: "This is important because it shows that Hitler thought about himself as the 'German saviour' as early as 1923. So I think this is a small but important advance in researching Hitler's biography."