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A lion in winter

“The Führer and his entourage flew from Berchtesgaden in four Focke-Wulf Condors to Metz, then drove 175 miles in armored cars to Margival. . . . This was Hitler’s first return to France since 1940, and he looked like a man who was losing a world war: eyes bloodshot and puffy from insomnia, skin sallow, the toothbrush mustache a bit bedraggled. Aides reported that even his passion for music had waned. ‘It is tragic that the Führer has so cut himself off from life and is leading an excessively unhealthy life,’ wrote his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Often he checked his own pulse, as if fingering mortality; a quack dubbed the Reich Injection Minister frequently administered sedatives or shots of a glandular concoction. He shunned bright lights and wore a cap with an enlarged visor to shield his eyes. ‘I always have the feeling of tipping to the right,’ he complained. He spoke of retirement, of a life devoted to reading, or meditating, or running a museum.” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light

Published inRick AtkinsonThe Second World War

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