Have you ever wondered what Hitler would like without his trademark mustache, or perhaps wearing thick circular spectacles?
Towards the end of World War II, U.S. intelligence officials were very curious, afraid that the genocidal dictator would flee Germany and assume a new identity.
By 1944 the world identified the man largely by his trademark toothbrush mustache and oily side-slicked hair, so they ordered New York makeup artist Eddie Senz to produce various portraits of how he would appear if he drastically altered his appearance.
Der Spiegel, a German news site, published the images in the 1990’s, but the U.S. National Archives in Washington DC have recently released the photos with much better resolution.
Here is the widely-recognized Hitler image:
But would you recognize him bald and shaven?
What if he was wearing glasses, and had a bigger mustache?
Or wide-rimmed circular glasses, and a pencil mustache?
What if he traded in the mustache altogether for a thick beard?
The photos were circulated among Allied commanders during the war, but were not seen by the public until Der Spiegel published them.
However, the effort was seemingly for naught, as within a year of the photographs being commissioned Hitler committed suicide with his new wife Eva Braun in their German bunker.
The release of the photos coincides with news that the German state of Bavaria is considering making Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” part of the educational curriculum after the legal ban on printing the book expires in 2016.
Though representatives maintain they wish to “demystify” the work, there are worries that radicals and neo-Nazis will use it to promote racial discrimination and hatred of Jews.
During WW2, Mein Kampf was a national bestseller– newly married couples were even given copies as a “wedding present” from the state.
But Bavaria’s state finance minister, who would allocate funds for the work to be distributed, maintains: “We want to make clear what nonsense is in there [to show] what a worldwide catastrophe this dangerous body of thought led to.”
Photos used with permission