The Führer’s First XI sounds like a Spike Milligan joke, but this small nugget of history is true. In all the millions of words written about Hitler, his telling brush with cricket seems to have escaped the attention of historians.
The incident is referred to in John Simpson’s new book about 20th- century reporting, citing a piece in the Daily Mirror in 1930. I have the article in front of me. Sandwiched between advice on preventing mildew in chrysanthemums and an advert for Barkers’ evening cloaks, it is quite extraordinary, and extraordinarily revealing: about Hitler, the nature of cricket, and why the world’s worst tyrant and the world’s greatest game were never going to get on. More...
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