Trevor-Roper, Hugh, 1914-2003.

           Hitler historian
 
 
 
 
 

Hugh Trevor-Roper, Hitler Historian, Dies
 
By AUDREY WOODS
Associated Press Writer
January 26, 2003, 11:30 AM EST

LONDON -- Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who investigated "The Last Days of Hitler" in his most famous book but sullied his own reputation by incorrectly authenticating diaries said to have been the tyrant's, died Sunday at the age of 89.

Trevor-Roper, who received the title Lord Dacre of Glanton in 1979, had been ill with cancer and died at Sobell House, a hospice in Oxford, his family announced.

He gained steadily in stature throughout his career and was Oxford University's Regius Professor of Modern History for 13 years before becoming master of the Cambridge college, Peterhouse.

"He is the most eloquent, sophisticated and assured historian of our age, and has never written an inelegant sentence or produced an incoherent argument," critic and fellow academic Noel Annan said of him.

It was his 1947 examination of Adolf Hitler's demise, commissioned by the British government, that brought him the widest renown.

During World War II he had served in British intelligence, and he was selected by the government to establish precisely what had happened to Hitler at the end of his life in an underground Berlin bunker. The book was described by The Observer newspaper as "a masterpiece of narrative and of historical detective work."

It was Trevor-Roper's stature as a Hitler expert that led to his embarrassment over the "Hitler Diaries" hoax in 1983.

On his authentication, The Sunday Times agreed to pay the German magazine Stern for serialization rights to diaries supposedly written in Hitler's own hand. The German government revealed they were forgeries before the London newspaper began publication, and its money was returned.

Trevor-Roper said Stern had assured him that all tests for authenticity, including those by three handwriting experts, were positive.

The historian made a public apology and explained that he had seen the diaries "for a few hours only" under supervision, and was impressed by the bulk of the material -- 60 volumes, in light of confirmation of the physical tests.

A Stern reporter and the confessed forger of the diaries were each sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Trevor-Roper was ridiculed in the press, perhaps more than he would have been had he not had a reputation for confrontation. He had public feuds with writer Evelyn Waugh and historian Arnold Toynbee.

Waugh, who had argued with him over religion, later wrote that Trevor-Roper's appointment to the Regius history chair "showed malice to the church."

Trevor-Roper "has never suffered fools gladly, never tempered intellectual disdain with feigned civility, never pulled his literary punches," The Observer wrote in 1982. It quoted his longtime friend, the philospher A.J. Ayer, as saying of the young Trevor-Roper, "Some might think him lacking in charity."

A.L. Rowse, the eminent historian of the Elizabethan period and himself a famously prickly academic, described Trevor-Roper "our most riveting historical essayist."

He went on in a less flattering vein: "Brightness, briskness illuminate the pages, but there are no shadows, no subtlety, not much perception of character, no pathos or insight into the soul or human suffering. Plenty of wit and cynical observations; no sense of the tragedy -- or the poetry -- of history."

Born Jan. 15, 1914 in Glanton, northern England, the son of a doctor, Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper earned a double first-class degree at Christ Church College, Oxford.

He made an impressive debut as a historian in 1940 with publication of a biography of Archbishop Laud, the powerful 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury who suppressed Calvinism and Puritanism.

After the war he returned to Oxford as a fellow of Christ Church college until 1957, and fellow of Oriel College from 1957 to 1980.

On retirement from the Regius professorship he moved to the University of Cambridge where he was master of Peterhouse until 1987. While there he made headlines with a struggle to remove a college fellow with whom he had a personal conflict.

In 1954 he married Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnstone. They had no children, but Lady Alexandra, who died in 1997, had a son and daughter from a previous marriage. Trevor-Roper is survived by his three step-children.

Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press
 
 
 

 Obituary: Hugh Trevor-Roper, British historian, dies

   Paul Lewis The New York Times  Monday, January 27, 2003

Hugh Trevor-Roper, 89, a British historian who reveled in controversy, wrote a best-selling account of Hitler's final days in the Berlin bunker but then damaged his reputation by authenticating his forged diaries some 35 years later, died Sunday in Oxford.
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"The Last Days of Hitler," published in 1947, was based on the official investigation Trevor-Roper carried out into Hitler's fate in September and October 1945, as an officer in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.
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Relying mainly on interviews with captured Nazi leaders and others close to Hitler, Trevor-Roper established that Hitler shot himself after poisoning his new wife, Eva Braun, at about 3:30 p.m. on May 1, 1945, as Russian forces advanced on the Reich Chancellery's bunker, and that their bodies were subsequently burned in the yard.
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The book also painted an extraordinary picture of a deluded, isolated Nazi leadership holed-up in the bunker and believing right up to the end that somehow it would turn defeat into victory.
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The investigation sought to establish once and for all that Hitler was dead since his remains had not been found.
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The Soviet Union had captured the bunker and denied finding any trace of the bodies. Stalin told Truman at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945 that he thought Hitler was alive and living in Spain or Argentina.
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Although Trevor-Roper was certain that both had committed suicide, he thought the amount of gasoline reportedly used to burn their bodies was insufficient to destroy the bones but concluded these were unlikely to be found.
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"Like Alaric, buried secretly under the river bed of Busento, the modern destroyer of mankind is now immune from discovery," he wrote.
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Trevor-Roper's scholarly reputation suffered a shattering reverse in April 1983, when he held the Regius Chair of Modern History at Oxford and had been created Lord Dacre of Glanton. He authenticated about 60 volumes said to be Hitler's diaries.
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The diaries were then sold by the German magazine Stern to The Times newspaper group in London. Only a few days later, however, he reversed himself, saying he had "misunderstood the nature of their procurement" and now doubted their authenticity.
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A month later, the German government said chemical testing proved they were fakes. In 1985, Konrad Kujau, a Stuttgart dealer in Nazi memorabilia from whom Stern obtained the documents, was convicted of fraud in the case.
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Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper was born Jan. 15, 1914, at Glanton, Northumberland.
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After wartime service in the secret service, he taught at Christ Church, Oxford, and quickly established a reputation as a controversialist with right-of-center views who had little sympathy for leftist scholars who took a more determinist view of history.
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Trevor-Roper's other works include "The Rise of Christian Europe" (1965), "The European Witch Craze of the 16th and 17th centuries" (1970) and "From Counter Reformation to Glorious Revolution" (1992).
 
 
 

OBITUARIES:
Hugh Trevor-Roper, 89, famed historian once fooled by hoax
Associated Press
Monday, January 27, 2003

Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who wrote a classic book about Adolf Hitler but later hurt his own reputation by incorrectly authenticating diaries said to have been those of the Nazi tyrant, died Sunday at age 89.

Mr. Trevor-Roper, who received the title Lord Dacre of Glanton in 1979, had been ill with cancer and died at Sobell House, a hospice in Oxford, his family said.

During World War II, he served in British intelligence, and after the war was picked by Britain to establish what had happened to Hitler at the end of his life in a Berlin bunker. The result, the 1947 book "The Last Days of Hitler," made Mr. Trevor-Roper renowned. He spent 13 years as Oxford University's Regius Professor of Modern History.

Mr. Trevor-Roper's stature as a Hitler expert led to embarrassment during the ''Hitler Diaries'' hoax in 1983.

On his authentication, the Sunday Times agreed to pay the German magazine Stern for serialization rights to diaries supposedly written in Hitler's own hand.

The diaries were revealed as forgeries, and a Stern reporter and the forger later went to prison. Mr. Trevor-Roper apologized but said Stern had misled him
 
 
 

Hugh Trevor-Roper, 89, Dies; Historian Wrote About Hitler

By Richard Pearson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 27, 2003; Page B04

Hugh Trevor-Roper, 89, a noted British historian of the old school who had served as a regius professor at Oxford University while writing or editing acclaimed works of history and biography, died of cancer Jan. 26 at a hospice in Oxford, England.

In 1979, he was created a life peer, taking the title Baron Dacre of Glanton in the County of Northumberland. Lord Dacre, who was regius professor of modern history at Oxford from 1957 to 1980, sat as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords.

In 1947, he wrote "The Last Days of Hitler," a classic of its kind which became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. The book has gone through at least four editions.

His Hitler book, which started as a project from his World War II days in British intelligence, eventually led to his low point as a historian.

In 1983, he was asked to authenticate 60 volumes that became known as "the Hitler Diaries" for the London Sunday Times. The Sunday Times was serializing the diaries, which had been "discovered" in Germany.

Lord Dacre, after examining the material for what he later said was "a few hours only," announced that the books had been written by Hitler and were genuine.

Unfortunately for Lord Dacre's reputation, the volumes were forgeries. Both the forger and a reporter for Germany's Stern magazine, who was in on the hoax, went to prison for the forgeries. Lord Dacre, who came under a hail of professional and press ridicule, issued a public apology for his mistake.

Adding fuel to the flame was the fact that the historian had always been as cantankerous and confrontational as he was gifted. Over the years, he had crossed intellectual swords with a series of noted politicians, historians and journalists.

In 1982, Britain's Observer newspaper wrote that Lord Dacre "has never suffered fools gladly, never tempered intellectual disdain with feigned civility, never pulled his literary punches."

Perhaps an indication of how Lord Dacre viewed himself and his role as a historian can be gleaned from his observation that "the function of genius is not to give new answers, but to pose new questions which time and mediocrity can resolve."

A.L. Rowse, the late Oxford historian of Elizabethan England who was perhaps more prickly than Lord Dacre, once called his colleague "our most riveting historical essayist."

But Rowse, in constructing what can only be called a mixed review, added: "Brightness and briskness illuminate the pages, but there are no shadows, no subtlety, not much perception of character, no pathos or insight into the soul or human suffering. Plenty of wit and cynical observations; no sense of the tragedy -- or the poetry -- of history."

Most reviews of Lord Dacre and his work were more admiring. Critic Noel Annan once said, "He is the most eloquent, sophisticated and assured historian of our age, and has never written an inelegant sentence or produced an incoherent argument."

In addition to his Hitler book, which became the basis for films and TV productions, Lord Dacre wrote biographies, histories and essay collections that were highly admired by historians and general readers and that examined Britain and the world from the Roman Empire to the Cold War. He wrote of art, religion, politics, economics and a cast of colorful characters.

His first book, "Archbishop Laud, 1573-1645," was published in 1940. Later works included "The Gentry, 1540-1640," published in 1953; "The Rise of Christian Europe," in 1965; "Queen Elizabeth's First Historian: William Camden and the Beginnings of English 'Civil History,' " in 1971; "Princes and Artists: Patronage and Ideology at Four Habsburg Courts, 1517-1633," in 1976; and "From Counter-Reformation to Glorious Revolution," in 1992.

Other of his books were written for a more general audience, including "The Philby Affair: Espionage, Treason, and Secret Services," published in 1968, and the eccentric biography of the famously eccentric "Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse," in 1977.

In addition to this, he edited works by Edward Gibbon, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Winston Churchill and Joseph Goebbels. He was a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines in this country and Britain. In this country, the publications included the National Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal and the New York Review of Books.

Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper was born in Glanton, Northumberland. He graduated from Oxford's Christ Church College with a "double first" in 1936 and received a master's degree in 1939.

After his World War II service, he returned to Oxford as a fellow of Christ Church and then Oriel colleges until 1980. He then served as master of Cambridge University's Peterhouse College until retiring in 1987.

In 1954, he married Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnstone, a daughter of British Field Marshal Earl Haig. She died in 1997.

Survivors include three stepchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company
 
 
 

Hugh Trevor-Roper
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Lord Dacre of Glanton (January 15, 1914 - January 26, 2003), born as Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper, became one of the most controversial British historians of modern times after authenticating The Hitler Diaries, which were later proved to be a hoax.

He was born in Glanton, Northumberland, and educated at Charterhouse and at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1957 he was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford, a post he held until 1980; subsequently he became Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge. Having achieved his first major success with The Last Days of Hitler (1947), he consolidated his reputation as an authority on the Third Reich with books such as Hitler's Table Talk (1953) and The Goebbels Diaries (1978). He also wrote on a wide range of other historical topics.

On October 4, 1954, he married Lady Alexandra Henrietta Louisa Howard-Johnston (March 9, 1907 - August 15, 1997), eldest daughter of Field Marshal the 1st Earl Haig by his wife, the former Hon. Dorothy Maud Vivian. Lady Alexandra was a goddaughter of Queen Alexandra, and had previously been married to Rear-Admiral Clarence Dinsmore Howard-Johnston, by whom she had had three children.

He was awarded a life peerage in 1979, and chose the title "Baron Dacre of Glanton".

The nadir of his career came in 1983, when, along with others, he authenticated the so-called Hitler Diaries, which later forensic examination proved to be a fake. This raised questions in the public mind not only about his perspicacity as a historian but also about his personal integrity, because The Sunday Times, a newspaper to which he regularly contributed book reviews and in whose parent company he held a financial interest, had already shelled-out a considerable sum for the right to serialise the diaries. He denied any dishonest motivation, insisting that he, like others, had made a genuine mistake. Despite the shadow that this incident cast over his later career, he continued writing (producing Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans in 1987, for example), and his work continued to be well received.

He died of cancer in a hospice in Oxford, aged 89.
 

External links

Obituary from BBC News website
Obituary from GuardianUnlimited (there are several discrepancies between these sources)
Obituary posted on newsgroups by Michael Rhodes (probably more trustworthy than the pages above, actually)
 
 
 

from BBC News

Historian Lord Dacre dies

Historian Lord Dacre, formerly Hugh Trevor-Roper, has died at the age of 89, his family have announced.

After nearly 40 years as an expert on the Nazi era, the academic was ridiculed after wrongly authenticating the infamous Hitler diaries.

Lord Dacre is understood to have died on Sunday morning at Sobell House, a hospice in Oxford.
 
He had been suffering from cancer and is survived by three step-children.

Along with AJP Taylor, Lord Dacre was one of the most-respected historians of the modern era.

But his reputation was seriously undermined when he backed the Hitler Diaries in April 1983.

Both the German magazine Stern and Britain's Sunday Times were humiliated when it became apparent that they had paid millions for a hoax.

The 60 volumes, supposedly the personal thoughts of the dead dictator, were in fact the work of a German fraudster.

There had been a great deal of initial scepticism, with many won over by Lord Dacre's backing.

In reality, the diaries were made of paper, ink and glue of post-war origin.

Personal touch

The text was also peppered with historical inaccuracies and anachronisms.

Forger Konrad Kujau was jailed in Germany for four-and-a-half-years for the scam.

Kujau had based his work on a book called Hitler's Speeches and Proclamations compiled by a Nazi federal archivist.

He had added banal comments such as "Must get tickets for the Olympic Games for Eva" to give the work a personal touch.

Lord Dacre was also a director of Times Newspapers from 1974-1988.

Commercial acclaim

His first venture into writing about the Third Reich came after he was asked to go to Germany and investigate the end of Hitler's life.

His findings were published as The Last Days of Hitler to critical and commercial acclaim in 1947.

He also wrote Hitler's Table Talk (1953) and edited the books, Hitler's War Directives, 1939-45 (1964) and The Goebbels Diaries (1978).

His work had a popular touch and he paved the way for the modern television historian, appearing on programmes regularly and also working as a journalist.

In what is now a familiar tack, his academic critics complained he did not devote enough time to actually writing history.

Glittering academic career

Born Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper, on 15 January 1914, he was educated at Charterhouse, then Christ Church, Oxford, becoming a research fellow of Merton College between 1937-39.

He was Regius Professor of Modern History and a fellow of Oriel College between 1957-80 when he was made an Honorary Fellow.

He became a Conservative Life Peer in 1979, taking the title of Baron Glanton in the County of Northumberland - near the family's home.

In 1957 he married Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston, the daughter of the late Field-Marshal Earl Haig.

He became the step-father of her three children, and is survived by James Howard-Johnston, a lecturer in Byzantine history at Oxford University, Zenia Dennen and Peter Howard-Johnston. His wife died in 1997.
 
 
 

from Newsgroups

posted on newsgroups by Michael Rhodes (probably more trustworthy than the pages above, actually


Lord Dacre of Glanton, historian, author, discredited for wrongly
identifying the supposed diaries of Adolf Hitler, has died. He was 89.

Lord Dacre, better known as Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper, was Master of
Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1980-87 [Hon Fellow 1987].

Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper was born 15 January, 1914, the son of Dr
Bertie William Trevor-Roper, MB, MRCS, [1885-1978], of Alnwick,
Northumberland, scion of the Lords Teynham, by his wife Kathleen
Elizabeth Davison.

He was educated at Charterhouse and at Christ Church, Oxford.

Career: Research Fellow, Merton College, 1937-39, [Hon Fellow 1980];
Student of Modern History and Fellow, Oriel College, Oxford Universty,
1957-80 [Hon Fellow 1980]; Director of The Times Newspapers Ltd,
1974-88; Chevalier, Legion of Honour, 1975, &c.

His publications include: *Archbishop Laud* 1940; *The Last Days of
Hitler* 1947; *The Gentry, 1540-1640* 1953; [edited] *Hitler's Table
Talk* 1953; [edited with J.A.W. Bennett] *The Poems of Richard
Corbett* 1955; *Historical Essays* 1957; [edited] *Hitler's War
Directives, 1939-45* 1964; [edited] *Essays in British History
Presented to Sir Keith Feilding* 1964; *The Rise of Christian Europe*
1965; *Religion, The Reformation, and Social Change* 1967; [edited]
*The Age of Expansion* 1968; *The Philby Affair* 1968; *The European
Witch-Craze of the 16th and 17th Centuries* 1970; *The Plunder of the
Arts in the Seventeenth Century* 1970; *Princes and Artists* 1976; *A
Hidden Life* 1976; *The Goebbels Diaries* 1978; *Renaissance Essays*
1985; * Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans* 1987; *From
Counter-Reformation to Glorious Revolution* 1992, &c.

Trevor-Roper was created a life peer, in 1979, taking the title Baron
Dacre of Glanton, of Glanton in the County of Northumberland.

He married in 1954, the Lady Alexandra Henrietta Louisa, [b. 9 March,
1907], a goddaughter of Queen Alexandra, former wife of Rear-Admiral
Clarence Dinsmore Howard-Johnston, CB, DSO, DSC, & the eldest daughter
of Field Marshal the 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE, by his
wife, the former Hon Dorothy Maud Vivian.

Lady Dacre of Glanton died in 1997. The peer dsp, but leaves
step-children.
 

Michael Rhodes.