ANOTHER MYTH CRUMBLES, and well crumbled it is:
In Nazi propaganda, he was a gallant First World War corporal who frequently risked his life.
Now the myth of Adolf Hitler's heroism in the trenches has been debunked by research revealing he was little more than a 'teaboy' messenger dubbed a 'rear-area pig' by frontline soldiers.
No individual has been more scrutinized than Hitler, but detective work by Dr Thomas Weber, lecturer in modern history at Aberdeen University, unearthed new evidence.
Previously unpublished letters from veterans of Hitler's regiment have challenged the Nazi portrayal which suggested his virulent nationalism was prompted by his experience on the Western Front.
They overturn his image of his unit, the List Regiment, as a band of brothers, intolerant and anti-Jewish with Hitler 'a hero at its heart'.
They confront long-held views on Hitler’s brave war record, revealing that front soldiers shunned him as a “rear area pig” several kilometres from danger.
The letters and a diary also disclose that List men regarded him as an impractical object of ridicule, joking about his starving in a canned food factory, unable to open a can with a bayonet.
He was viewed by his comrades in regimental HQ as a loner. He was neither popular nor unpopular.
They referred to him as the 'painter' or the 'artist' and noticed that he did not indulge in their favourite pastimes – letter-writing or drinking – but was often seen with a political book in his hand or painting. He was also particularly submissive to his superiors.