How to Interpret a “Smoking Gun”

Default.aspx_At one point, I will get into the complexity and self-terminating nature of the phrase “conspiracy theory,” but suffice to say these are the things that both intrigue me and get under my skin. In the nature of calling something a “conspiracy theory” the natural motivation, of course, is to ignore it. The problem is that by definition there is nothing inherently crazy about the concept of a conspiracy, it just means that a group has gotten together and planned something. We, in fact, know of several conspiracies that were true and some uncomfortably so, from the Catiline in ancient Rome to the Business Plot of the 1930s. Additionally, there is something terrifying  about the notion that everyone is out to get you. I will get into conspiratorial thinking in another post, but for the time being, there I want to address a specific theory I have heard many times before and is making the rounds again; the Death of Adolf Hitler.

While most people, thankfully, believe the horrors that the Nazis committed under Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels actually happened, the nature of his end is frustrating to many. Dying by his own hand and getting no catharsis of seeing the body seems disproportionate with the crimes of the madman. This is made all the worse by the circus that the Nuremberg trials became.  Further, as Elie Wiesel searched for Nazis and found many escaped among the boys from Brazil and Argentina, questions began to arise about the true nature of Hitler’s end.

The official account about Hitler’s murder/co-suicide of his wife Eva Braun, the immolation of the bodies, the Soviet ransack and the decimation of the Furherbunker were all part of the official report and book written and painstakingly researched by Hugh Trevor-Roper in The Last Days of Hitler (1947) who was working for British Military Intelligence.  These claims were agreed to by the Soviets whose SMERSH claimed several trophies, including skull fragments.

However, panic sweeps through when documents such as the one above. If you read it at a glance, as those who maintain the anonymous blog did, you may think that this is evidence that Hitler escaped aboard a submarine and landed in Argentina, as many Hitler escaping theories contain. The document at hand seems to be one of those smoking guns.

According to the redacted copy in front of us, a man who met an FBI official in a restaurant in LA in September 1945. The man claimed to have helped six Argentine officials hide Hitler in the southern Andes mountains. To add to the mystery, the FBI asked for a followup meeting, but the man never returned and there were no police records or INS records. Spooooky. Maybe they got to them first! However, this would require both belief in this man.

There are some assumptions that I want you to drop. First, that just because this is an actual FBI document, that what it is documenting is real. This was right after the war, everything was written down and followed up on. We had been losing the war on intelligence, we didn’t want that to happen again. This does not mean the events were true. If you go to the FBI and claim you saw Elvis or that the the Bush family are Reptilians, they write it down. They may follow up, but that does not mean it is true. Most likely, the man got in too deep and backed out using a fake name. There is nothing more. Hitler died in the bunker, no matter how unsatisfying that was, but that is that.

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