Hitler joins the U.S. Navy, World War II week by week

Posted by David Middlecamp on February 19, 2014 

This photo of William Hitler ran in the Telegram-Tribune Feb. 26, 1944.

TELEGRAM-TRIBUNE

Hitler joined the U.S. Navy 70 years ago.

That is, William Patrick Hitler, 32, nephew of Adolf.

According to an article by Corey Kilgannon in The New York Times the Führer called Willy “my loathsome nephew.”

Alois Hitler Jr. was a half-brother of Adolf; they shared the same father.

Alois had taken a job in a Dublin hotel when he caught the eye of Bridget Dowling, 17.

Within a year they had eloped to England and on March 12, 1911, Willy was born in Liverpool.

Alois did not live up to the promise of wealth he projected. By 1914, bankrupt, he returned to Germany to sell razors, leaving behind a wife and 2-year-old son.

Mother and son remained in England until the boy turned 18. He then traveled to Germany to visit his father.

As the Nazi party gathered strength, William sensed opportunity, but his attempts to ride on the coattails of his uncle Adolf met with failure.

An account in the Mail Online says the nephew tried to gain a position by threatening to go public with the background of Adolf’s Jewish merchant grandfather.

This would embarrass the Nazi party leader who built power by demonizing Jews.

The Führer responded by telling his nephew he must renounce his British citizenship before a position could be considered.

As war clouds gathered William returned to England, where his surname became unpopular.

By 1939 mother and son left for the United States.

William volunteered for service in the U.S. Army in 1942, but the local draft board rejected his application.

The document listed living relatives who had served in other armed forces: “Thomas J. Dowling, uncle, 1923-1926, Royal Air Force. “Adolph Hitler, uncle, Germany, 1914-1918, corporal.”

Though he was turned down, he persisted, and a letter to Franklin Roosevelt persuaded the president to have the F.B.I. investigate.

On Feb. 10, 1944, William Patrick Hitler, 32, was inducted into the U.S. Navy, where he served for the remainder of the war.

After the war he would change his name to William Stuart-Houston. The new name was borrowed from English anti-Semitic author Houston Stewart-Chamberlain.

William Hitler died in 1987 at the age of 76 after marrying and raising four sons.

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