Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Osama bin Hitler Bonaparte Boothe


James Marlow, "Hitler Myth Likely Unless Body Found," Sunday Oregonian, June 10, 1945, sec. 1, p. 1.

At the end of World War II in Europe, without a bloody corpse to hang from the public square, people wondered if Adolf Hitler had really died or had escaped. As James Marlow wrote in his Associated Press article pictured above, if the Allies didn't find Hitler's body, he worried that "we'll probably have to put up with a Hitler myth for years to come." Just as after the American Civil War there were "probably a hundred myths about John Wilkes Booth, who shot Lincoln," and myths in early nineteenth century France that Napoleon -- "in spite of all the evidence that he died in exile on St. Helena" -- would return "any minute now to raise a new army."

CBS News' Brian Montopoll reported on May 2, 2011, that "Skeptics wonder: Where's proof bin Laden's dead?" Similar to what Marlow speculated in June 1945 about Hitler, Montopoll had found that just a few days after the report of Bin Laden's death, conspiracy theories already abounded.

Robert Burns and Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press also reported on May 2, 2011, that "Not everyone believes bin Laden really is dead":
    In the absence of photos and with his body given up to the sea, many people don't want to believe that bin Laden — the Great Emir to some, the fabled escape artist of the Tora Bora mountains to foe and friend alike — is really dead.
It seems like even the pieces of a body that many thought was Hitler's may not be, in fact, Hitler's: "Fresh doubts over Hitler's death after tests on bullet hole skull reveal it belonged to a woman" (Daily Mail UK, Sep. 28, 2009). There are a number of conspiracy theories about Hitler's supposed escape from Berlin -- see, for example, Tom Chivers, "Adolf Hitler alive: weird conspiracy theories" (The Telegraph UK, Sep. 29, 2009).

Maybe, like Hitler, bin Laden is still alive. Or, as Fox News reported in December 2001, he was already dead before President Obama claimed that we had killed him (again).

I guess we'll never know . . . unless we already do know!


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