The Beatles and Adolf Hitler
von George Broderick und Nicole Jama

An Enquiry[*]

1. Introduction

Over the years the Beatles have earned the reputation of promoting peace, love and non-violence in their music and in their deeds, and therefore it will likely come as an unexpected surprise to many that behind all of this the phenomenon of apparent association of later Beatles personnel with Adolf Hitler has been lurking in the background, even before the Beatles as a music group came into existence. Little or no notice of it was seemingly taken at the time, probably because everyone was subsumed in the euphoria of the rise of the Beatles as perhaps the most popular British music group of all time. In such circumstances such activity was passed off as „larking around“, „a bit of a giggle“, or the like. Nevertheless, right through the period occasional references to Hitler, particularly involving John Lennon,[1] were made. In recent  times, however, more notice has been taken of this activity, either in newspapers (Barnes 2007, Keegan 2016), magazines (Crossland 2006, Davis 2015, Stormo 2018), books (Giuliano 1990, The Beatles Anthology 2000), and in various recently released YouTube black/white films showing Hitler salutes performed by various members of the band at various locations.

As noted above, the main actor in this scenario is John Lennon followed to a very much lesser extent by George Harrison.[2] Except for a series of Hitler salutes in Melbourne involving Paul McCartney[3] (1964) and a Hitler salute in the 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night by Ringo Starr[4] (§5a), the latter two in reality remain external to these proceedings. We shall now take a closer look at the sequence of events in chronological order, providing first of all a description of each event as it comes along, together with any relevant comment. In this regard, we shall begin with the main protagonist: John Lennon.

2. John Lennon (*09.10.1940 Liverpool; †08.12.1980 New York)

2.1. Liverpool College of Art, 1957-1960

The first scenario involves a series of four line drawings made by John Lennon during his three years as a student in the Liverpool College of Art which he attended from September 1957 to July 1960. The line drawings remained in the possession of Lennon’s first wife Cynthia Lennon[5] (née Powell) (*10.09.1939 Blackpool – †01.04.2015 Mallorca) when she sold them at auction in 1990. According to Roger Stormo in April 2018 (Stormo 2018: 1), one drawing was very recently („a few days ago“) sold at auction for $54,000. The line drawings relating to Hitler and the Nazis are as follows (see attachments):

2.1.1. Line drawing 1:

1. Above right a circle containing a swastika and drawn within its frame five narrow parallel lines reminiscent of staff notation. In the centre of the swastika a smaller circle contains a runic type S of the sort used by the SS, but with a bar protruding from the upper left side of the S.[6]

2. Slightly below and to the left of the swastika is a drawing of Hitler himself with the caption „All You People“ underneath him.

3. Below slightly to the left a banner of the Hitlerjugend (‚Hitler Youth‘) containing a swastika in an offset square.

4. Slightly to the right a badge of the Hitlerjugend surmounted by a Nazi eagle.

2.1.2. Line drawing 2:

1. The upper two thirds of the page contains a drawing of a teutonic eagle mounted on a plinth.

2. On the plinth within two sets of narrow parallel lines are the letters JAL mounted in a circle; the letter A is written larger than the other two. Lennon’s middle name was Winston which has been replaced by the letter A, seemingly for Adolf. If so, then Lennon would seem to see himself as Adolf Hitler.

2.1.3. Line drawing 3:

1. John Lennon is standing on a podium wearing longish hair and square-cornered glasses, His right arm is outstretched in the Hitler salute.

2. Below the podium to the right are three Heil John shouts (in imitation of Heil Hitler), below which the single word Heil, all coming from below the podium, as if from cheering crowds.

2.1.4. Line drawing 4:

1. A drawing of John Lennon’s own head with hair parted on the right and falling off to the left and short moustache, all in imitation of Hitler. Lennon is wearing his square-cornered glasses.

2. Above Lennon’s head to the left is a swastika in 3-D format.

3. Below Lennon’s head slightly to the right are two epaulette buttons both bearing a swastika. Unless this is to be seen as a pair of glasses joined by a bridge, each glass bearing a swastika.

4. Slightly below to the left and coming directly under the chin of Head 2 is a smaller version of John’s head with Hitler quiff and moustache.

2.1.5. Comment:

The paraphernalia displayed in the sketches  – swastikas, Hitler-Youth banners, Nazi eagles, etc., –  make clear that Lennon has seen them in all probability in German propaganda newsreels and films of the period. According to George Harrison (§4.3.1 below), such newsreels and films were frequently shown in the British media after the war.

2.2. Hitler salutes in Hamburg – early 1960s

From August 1960 to December 1960 the Beatles, then consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe[7] and Pete Best[8] performed in Hamburg in four locations over the period, namely Indra, Kaiserkeller, Top Ten, Star Club. The founder and manager of the latter was a certain Horst Fascher, in 1959 German featherweight boxing champion. The Beatles performed there in 1962, as did Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Ray Charles, etc. (cf. Spitz 2005: 206-223). In an interview with Der Spiegel in January 2006, Fascher reported that

John Lennon would greet the audience with a cheerful „Heil Hitler“, accompanied by a Nazi salute. He’d pull out a black comb and pretend it was a moustache. People laughed (Crossland 2006: 1).[9]

2.3. Hitler salutes in Melbourne, mid-June 1964

The year 1964 was a busy one for the Beatles, much of it taken up with various performance tours, some of it in the United Kingdom (1-10.01.64, 19.04.-31.05.64, 09.10.-31.12.64) but much of it overseas: France (15.01.-04.02.64), Winter Tour: United States (09.02.-23.02.64), Summer Tour: United States and Canada (19.08.-20.09.64), and a Spring / Summer World Tour (04.06.-16.08.64) embracing Europe, Asia, Australia, and back to Europe (List: 11-13, List World Tour: 2), This included in all a ten-day tour to Australia, performing in Adelaide (12/13.06.64), Melbourne (15-17.06.64), Sydney (18-20.06.64) and after a short interlude in New Zealand (22-27.06.64), Brisbane (29-30.06.64) (List World Tour: 2). What concerns us here is the visit to Melbourne.

During this visit and before a large crowd of cheering fans in front of and adjacent to their hotel and environs John Lennon and Paul McCartney are seen in a Beat Publications Ltd photograph giving the Hitler salute. The caption to the photograph has it:

Greeting cheering crowds in Australia. Whenever the Beatles appeared on a balcony, they couldn’t resist giving Hitler-type salutes (Beat Publications Ltd.).

In an apparent local Melbourne newspaper the same photograph appears but with a different caption (cf. Stormo 2018: 3):

Beatleboys John & Paul playfully give Nazi salutes to their thousands of screaming Beatlefans, beneath the balcony of their hotel in Melbourne, Australia. Wirephoto shows John with his left finger across his lip to give the impression of a Hitler m[o]ustache (quoted after Stormo 2018: 3).

In a recently released contemporary YouTube silent black/white filmshot of the same incident seem-ingly taken from the balcony three arms giving a Hitler salute are seen above a largish crowd of people on the same balcony. The third arm is reckoned to be that of George Harrison. Ringo Starr only arrrived on the first day of the Melbourne visit (15.06.64) following a twelve-day illness.[10] Jimmie Nicol, Ringo’s substitute during his illness, was seemingly also among the crowd on the balcony.

2.4. Hitler salute in Liverpool, 10 July 1964

About three weeks or so after the Melbourne incident the Beatles were given a formal welcome by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool on 10 July 1964 before the premiere of A Hard Day’s Night when the city put on a massive Beatles tribute in recognition of their musical achievements to the perceived glory of their home town. The Beatles acknowledge from the balcony of Liverpool Town Hall the adulation of their thousands of fans crowding into Castle Street and Dale Street. A recently released contemporary YouTube silent black/white filmshot of the occasion shows John Lennon walking behind a number of people, and just passing what seems to be the Lady Mayoress full of airs and graces John then gives the Hitler salute. Ringo, standing next to him on the balcony, can be seen clearly admonishing John to „cool it.“[11] Brian Epstein (1934-1967),[12] the Beatles‘ mananger (1961-1967) and non-practising Jew, evidently admonished Lennon for his bold behaviour (Davis 2015: 4). 

2.5a. Film: A Hard Day’s Night, premier 6 July 1964 (English version) 

The English version of the film was premiered at the Pavilion Theatre, London, on 6 July 1964. The script writer for the film was Alun Owen (1925-1994), a Welsh screen-writer and actor predominantly active in television.[13] In a film presenting a healthy opposition in the form of the four Beatles to British Establishment authority, class and privilege, other forms of opposition are also likely to appear. Film Director Richard Lester puts it thus:

The general aim of the film was to present what was apparently becoming a social phenomenon in this country [United Kingdom]. Anarchy is too strong a word, but the quality of confidence that the boys exuded! Confidence that they could dress as they liked, speak as they liked, talk to the Queen as they liked, talk to the people on the train who „fought the war for them“ as they liked […] [Everything was] still based on privilege – privilege by schooling, privilege by birth, privilege by accent, privilege by speech. The Beatles were the first people to attack this […] they said if you want something, do it. You can do it. Forget all this talk about talent or ability or money or speech. Just do it (Richard Lester 2012, cf.’s_Night_(film), note 14 (Retrieved 25.08.2018)).

In this context, we have three additional examples of defiance in the film, the first from John Lennon, the second from Ringo Starr, and the third from Paul’s grandfather, played by Irish actor Wilfrid Brambell. [14]

2.5a.1. The first takes place with John Lennon playing with his boats in a suds-filled bath. With what looks like a tugboat, but representing a warship, he sings „Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves,“[15]  then sinks the warship. He then raises his submarine (U-Boot) and in a mixture of German and English utters: Guten Morgen, mein Herr. Wollen Sie noch einen Tee? Sie filthy [dreckig / schweinisch] Engländer [‚Good morning, sir. Would you like another (cup of) tea, you filthy Englishman?‘]. His submarine then sinks the English warship, as John hums the (then) German National Anthem (Deutschland über alles).

2.5a.2. The second takes place later on in the film when Paul McCartney’s grandfather is giving Ringo Starr a hard time, saying that he should get out into the great wide world and learn about life instead of wallowing in his books. In the end Ringo finds the grandfather a bit too officious and walks out of the room, clicking his heels and giving the Hitler salute (but with his left arm) as he goes. (This sort of reaction against officiousness perpetrated by what were known as „Little Hitlers“ was common at the time.)   

2.5a.3. The third takes place shortly after the second when the grandfather finds himself in a London police station for peddling autographed pictures of the Beatles‘ members. During this scene the grandfather gives out against the police about English oppression of the Irish over many centuries, puctuating his verbal attack with outbursts of „A Nation Once Again“ an Irish patriotic song of 1840s[16] provenance popular among Irish Republican activists down to the present day.

2.5b. Film: A Hard Day’s Night, premier 23 July 1964 (German version)

In the German version of the film, entitled Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, first shown in Germany on 23 July 1964, references to the Third Reich come in two places towards the end of the film.    

2.5b.1. The first reference takes place when the boys come in late for their gig. They all troop in to their manager Norm (Scouser Norman Rossington) and John Lennon, being the last, says cheekily to Norm Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch treu ‚when all are disloyal, we remain true so‘.

The above text comes from the Erneuter Schwur ‚renewed oath‘ of the Freiheitslied of Max von Schenkendorf (1783-1817), 1814, based on an earlier similar text by „Novalis“, viz. Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801), a novelist of the early Romantic period and philosopher, printed 1802. 

The tune used derives from Pour aller à la chasse faut être matineux ‚whoever wishes to hunt must rise early‘, a French hunting song from 1724. known today from the student drinking song Es sassen die alten Germanen zu beiden Ufern des Rheins ‚the Early Germans once sat on (i.e. occupied) both banks of the Rhine‘. Since 1923 the song was also sung to the tune to the Dutch Geusenhymne, also known as the Het Wilhelmus ‚the Wilhelm‘,[17] the national anthem of the Netherlands, dating from between 1568 and 1572 and dedicated to William I of Orange-Nassau during the Dutch rising (1568-1648) against the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands (1556-1714).[18]

During the Third Reich Wenn alle untreu werden became the Treuelied der SS ‚loyalty song of the SS‘ sung by the SS to the above student song melody. It was also sung by the Hitlerjugend (‚Hitler Youth‘) to the above ‚Wilhelmus‘ melody.[19] They probably regarded themselves as successors to earlier freedom movements, e.g. those in struggles against Napoleon and before.  

For interest the first stanza of the Novalis, Schenkendorf, and Kommersbuch / SS texts are given below for comparison. It becomes clear that Lennon’s utterance derives from the Kommersbuch / SS version.

Novalis text (1802)

Geistliches Lied Nr. VI

Wenn alles untreu werden
so bleib ich dir doch treu
dass Dankbarkeit auf Erden
nicht ausgestorben sei.
Für mich umfing dich Leiden
Vergingst für mich in Schmerz
drum geb ich dir mit Freuden
auf ewig dieses Herz.[20]

Schenkendorf text (1814)[21]

Erneuter Schwur

Wenn alle untreu werden
so bleib‘ ich euch doch treu
dass immer noch auf Erde
für euch ein Streiter sey
Gefährten meiner Jugend Gefährten
Ihr Bilder bessrer Zeit
die mich zu Männertugend
und Liebestod geweiht.[22]

Kommersbuch (1966(1858))

SS text (1942)

Wenn alle untreu werden
so bleiben wir[23] doch treu
dass immer noch auf Erden
für euch ein Fähnlein sei.
Gefährten unsrer Jugend
ihr Bilder bessrer Zeit
die uns zu Männertugend
und Liebestod geweiht.[24]

2.5b.2. The second reference takes place shortly after the first when Paul McCartney’s grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell) finds himself in a London police station for peddling autographed pictures of the band members. During this scene the grandfather hurls a tirade of abuse against the police and refers to them as Untermenschen, a term today associated with Nazi racial policy.[25] The term seem-ingly has its modern origins in the German version: Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925) of Lothrop Stoddard’s The revolt against civilization: The menace of the Under Man (1922) (qv). See also fn. 25 below.

2.5b.2.1. However, the term has seemingly a long history, evidently dating back to Jean Paul in his novel Hesperus (1795) with reference to an Orangutan (Paul 1795: 8. Hundposttag, p. 165):

Obgleich Leute aus der großen und größten Welt, wie der Unter-Mensch, der Urangutang im 25sten Jahre ausgelebt und ausgestorben haben – vielleicht sind deswegen die Könige in manchen Ländern schon im 14ten Jahre mündig -, so hatte doch Jenner sein Leben nicht so weit zurückdatiert und war wirklich älter als mancher Jüngling (Paul 2008(1795): 165; 8. Hundposttag).

[‚although people from the great and greatest world have, like the sub-man, the orangutang, lived out and died out in their 25th year – perhaps for that reason the kings in many countries are already mature in their 14th year – so had January not antedated his life so far, and was really older than many young person‘].

2.5b.2.2. Later on, Friedrich Nietzsche used Untermensch at least once in contrast to Übermensch ’superman‘ in Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882) with reference to semi-human creatures in mythology, naming them alongside dwarfs, fairies, etc.

Die Erfindung von Göttern, Heroen und Übermenschen aller Art, sowie von Neben- und Unter-menschen, von Zwergen, Feen, Zentauren, Satyrn, Dämonen und Teufeln war die unschätbare Vorübung zur Rechtfertigung der Selbstsucht und Selbstherrlichkeit des einzelnen […] (Nietzsche 2017(1882): 151; Kapitel 143).

[the invention of gods, heroes, and supermen of all kinds, as well as near- and sub-men, of dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons and devils was the inestimable initial exercise for the justification of the egoism and sovereignty of the individual].

2.5b.2.3. A little later on Theodor Fontane made use of the term in his novel Der Stechlin (1898), but not in any ethnic or racial sense:

Jetzt hat man statt des wirklichen Menschen den sogennanten Übermenschen etabliert; eigentlich gibt es aber bloß noch Untermenschen, und mitunter sind es gerade die, die man durchaus zu einem »Über« machen will. Ein Glück, daß es, nach meiner Wahrnehmung, immer entschieden komische Figuren sind, sonst könnte man verzweifeln (Fontane 1963(1898): 293; 33. Kapitel).

[now one has established, instead of the real human, the so-called superhuman; actually there are  just subhumans left, and every once in a while they are the very ones whom one will resolutely declare as ’super‘. I have read about such people and also seen some of them. What a stroke of luck that they are always decidedly curious characters, according to my observation, otherwise one could have doubts].[26]

2.5b.3. Comment:

In the German version of the film, we seem to have two references current during the period of the Third Reich, namely Untermensch and the first two lines of the first stanza of the SS-Treuelied Wenn alle untreu werden. The latter is somewhat curious, as the English version has John Lennon asking Norm, the band’s manager, sarcastically, „What are you doing here?“, which could easily have been translated into German as, Was machst Du hier?, Was hast Du hier zu suchen? or the like. There are possibly several reasons for this decision, one being that the translators were probably mindful of the Hitler salutes rendered by three of the Beatles just a month before (mid-June) in Melbourne (cf. §4.1.1)?

On 22 September 2017 I wrote to Prof. Dr. Ludwig Eichinger, head of the Institut für Deutsche Sprache in Mannheim, asking him whether the above two lines Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch treu were generally current in Germany during the 1960s. His reply three days later suggested that it was not. As the above text was also known to Hitler Youth members (see above) as well as former SS personnel, many of whom would still have been around in 1964, the insertion of the two references with their Nazi overtones into the German version was probably intended to add some spice to the scene.

2.6. ‚Hey Jew: the Beatles meet the chosen‘

In the summer of 1964, the Daily Express correspondent Ivor Davis was perchance seconded to accompany the Beatles on their first American tour which ran from 19 August to 29 September 1964 (List: 12). Part of his job, he said (Davis 2015: 1), was to „ghost write“ a column for George Harrison. He continues:

Being embedded with the Beatles, I became a fly on the wall, witnessing the shenanigans surrounding the remarkable era in rock ’n‘ roll history. And along the way, I got an inside look at an odd juxta-position: the Jewish links surrounding the most famous group in rock ’n‘ roll history (Davis 2015: 1).

Davis then goes on to regail us with the various Jewish connections, including some of their wives, that surrounded the Beatles.[27] He then comes into contact with John Lennon’s preferences for Hitler and the Nazis: he then goes on (Davis 2015: 4):

After I had toured with the Beatles in 1964 and 1965 people asked me whether I thought Lennon was anti-Semitic. I think not, although I did see him striding around his hotel suite, his finger to his lip, mustache [sic] style, pretending he was Adolf Hitler. And from time to time Lennon would offer a Nazi salute to the crowd. He did it in front of thousands on the balcony of the Liverpool Town Hall [§2.4 above] […]. It may have been his off-kilter way of relieving the crazy pressure of the tour and poking fun at the public’s endless adoration of the Beatles.

And in 1964 as we were flying to Seattle, Miami radio reporter Larry Kane, who is Jewish, described a disturbing incident in his memoir Ticket To Ride. Sitting a couple of seats behind the Beatles on the chartered jet he said he distictly heard a voice use the term „kike“.[28] It definitely came from the Beatles seats. Upset by this, he confronted Derek Taylor [1932-1997, press officer to the Beatles and personal assistant to Brian Epstein, 1964],[29] appalled, he said, to hear a Beatle use that word. Taylor tried to pacify Kane, „Noboby’s trying to insult you.“ But Kane said Taylor pointedly refused to reveal who among the quartet had used the offensive term and in what context. Kane says he was pretty sure it was Lennon and knowing John’s shoot-from-the-hip and damn-the-consequences attitude, it most likely was.

Another time on tour, Curt Gunther, a Jewish freelance photographer from Southern California who traveled [sic] extensively with the Beatles, told us of the night Epstein rejoined the group in Cleveland after spending some time in New York. The manager was furious, and in the limo[usine] driving to the Sheraton hotel in Cleveland, he angrily turned to Derek Taylor: „I hear you have been making anti-Semitic statements and laughing with John about my homosexuality.“ Taylor, who was very close to Epstein, was aware of all Brian’s secrets and often incurred the wrath of Epstein, shot back:

„Absolue rubblish. I refuse to argue it with you. Some of my best friends are Jewlish and homosexual – and some are both. Ask the boys if you don’t believe me“ (Davis 2015: 4).

2.7. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – released 26 May 1967[30]

2.7.1. Introduction

In August 1966 the Beatles retired from touring as they had grown weary of live performance. In this regard Bob Spitz (2006: 625) notes:

[…] [T]he Beatles discussed among themselves the feasibility of not touring. Ever. „Who fucking needs this?“ was an oft-heard lament. They were tired of simply going through the motions, tired of acting like the „four waxwork dummies“ John thought the promoters could „send out […] [to] satisfy the crowds.“ George had already intimated as much to a reporter back in June. „I’ve increasingly become aware that there are other things in life than being a Beatle,“ he observed. „I prefer to be out of the public eye anyway.“ And after Shea John had never hid his contempt for stadiums filled with screaming thirteen-year-old girls. Now there was an impetus to take a harder stand. And they decided then and there […] that they weren’t going to do America the next year (Spitz 2005: 625).

Paul McCartney adds his forthright comment on the matter:

Oh, well, I really fucking agree with you. I’ve fucking had it up to here too (Miles 1997: 295).

During a return flight from Nairobi to London on 19 November 1966 Paul McCartney had an idea for a new Beatles album, not so much about music but more about the musicians themselves and their appearance:

[I]f he could disguise himself on vacation [as a „lonely little poet“] and travel about unnoticed, then why not all the Beatles? They hated being the Fab Four, a nickname that had become synonymous with the trappings of Beatlemania. „I thought, ‚Let’s not be ourselves. Let’s develop alter egos so we’re not having to project an image which we know.'“ They could „put some distance between the Beatles and the public,“ take on the personae of another, fictional band (Spitz 2005: 643).

In February 1967 McCartney suggested that the Beatles should record an entire album that would represent a performance by the fictional band. The idea was that this „alter ego“ would give them the freedom to experiment musically. George Martin (1926-2016),[31] producer with the Beatles, notes:

„Sergeant Pepper“ itself didn’t appear until halfway through making the album. It was Paul’s song, just an ordinary rock number […] but when we had finished it, Paul said, „Why don’t we make the album as though the Pepper band really existed, as though Sergeant Pepper was making the record? We’ll dub in effects and things.“ I loved the idea, and from that moment on it was as though Pepper had a life of his own, developing of its own accord rather than through a conscious effort by the Beatles or myself to integrate it and make it a ‚concept‘ album (Martin 1979: 202).

2.7.2. Work on the sleeve

As the recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper had progressed, so had work on the sleeve. This was designed by pop artists Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth from an ink drawing by Paul McCartney. It was art-directed by Robert Fraser and photographed by Michael Cooper (Inglis 2008: 92-95). The front of the LP was to include a colourful collage of the Beatles in costume as the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, standing with a group of life-sized cardboard cut-outs of a number of celebrities (Gould 2007: 391-395). According to Barry Miles (1997: 333):

First came Paul’s initial concept of the Beatles standing before a wall of framed photographs of their heroes. One of his pen-and-ink drawings shows the four Beatles, all sporting moustaches, wearing long military-band jackets complete with epaulettes, holding brass-band instruments […] (Miles 1997: 333).

The centre of the sleeve has the Beatles standing behind a bass drum on which the words of the album’s title are painted. In front of the drum is an arrangement of flowers spelling out „Beatles“. The group was dressed in satin day-glo-coloured military style uniforms, right next to which are wax sculptures of the band members in their suits and „moptop“ haircuts from the Beatlemania era borrowed from Madame Tussaud’s waxworks (Inglis 2008: 95).

Bob Spitz (2006: 676) supplies further detail:

The Beatles laid out their ideas for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. John Lennon described the band’s identity as „part German marching band, part military band,“ and the idea was that they had done a concert. „Perhaps we could do something in a park,“ he suggested. In [Peter] Blake’s recollection, the crowd concept was his, but most likely he had been told about Paul’s sketches, and incorporated them in his design. […]. [H]e [Blake] proposed framing the design around a bandstand. A collage seemed like the most expedient way to construct it (Spitz 2005: 676).

With regard to the collage, fifty seven photographs along with nine waxworks depicting a diversity of celebrities (actors, sportsmen, scientists) were chosen (Inglis 2008: 93). According to Spitz (2006: 676-677): 

Blake instructed each of the Beatles, as well as Robert Fraser, to make a list of the people they’d like to include in the crowd. „It was just a broad spectrum of people,“ George remembered. But his list of those finally submitted, proved the narrowest: eight Indian holy men, including [Mahavatar] Babaji, Paramahansa, Yogananda, and the Maharrishi Mahesh Yogi.[32] Paul went mostly for artsy choices: William Burroughs, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Jarry, Fred Astaire, Aleister Crowley, Groucho Marx, Magritte, and Karl-Dean, among others. John had little interest in impressing anyone; he wanted to goose[33] them, to stir up the ooze. If he felt at all chastened by irate Christians over his now-infamous comments,[34] then starting with Jesus seemed like a „naughty“ little choice. Then he requested Hitler – which managed to piss off Paul, who wanted him to take the cover more seriously – Gandhi, Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells, and, of course, that rascal of rascals, the Marquis de Sade. John threw in his own obscure Liverpool footballer, Albert Stubbins, despite only the vaguest interest in sports. Later, for good measure, he added Edgar Allan Poe and Lewis Carroll.

When Blake collected the names, only Ringo hesitated. „Whatever the others have is fine by me,“ Ringo replied. „I won’t put anyone in“ […]. At the last minute, John, to his credit, insisted they include Stuart Sutcliffe[35] (Spitz: 2005: 767-677).

2.7.3. The cut-outs

The enormous task of finding the material began. Local libraries were contacted for photographs of the celebrities. Blake and his wife Jann made the final selections, blew them up to life-size, and retouched the images before mounting them on hardboard cut-outs. The high costs of the cover production (over £2.800,00, c.£50.000,00 in today’s terms) as well as some of the celebrities to be included were objected to by EMI chairman Sir Joseph Lockwood who wanted the cover-idea scrapped and certain celebrities, including Gandhi and Hitler, to be withdrawn forthwith. His main concern was possible libel action from some of the celebrities who for whatever reason did not wish to be on the cover. Paul steadfastly refused to have the cover-idea scrapped and so a détente was reached when Lockwood grudgingly approved the original cover, minus Gandhi[36] and Hitler, provided that NEMS[37] sought sanction to publish from each of the celebrities, while Paul, without any authority whatsoever, agreed to indemnify EMI against any lawsuits arising from the design (Spitz 2005: 677-679).

2.7.4. Hitler

Nevertheless, of the main three celebrities chosen by John Lennon for the cover, viz. Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler, only Hitler was apparently finally chosen. In an interview with Anthony Barnes, Arts and Media Correspondent for the Independent on Sunday for 4 February 2007 Sir Peter Blake (as he had by then become) said, „Yes, he is on there – you just can’t see him.“ Barnes writes:

For generations it has been accepted that John Lennon’s wish to place Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi on the cover was ruled out because of the upset their inclusion would cause. But now the artist who created it, Sir Peter Blake, has revealed for the first time that Hitler did make the final line-up for the sleeve, but was simply obscured by the Fab Four (Barnes, Independent on Sunday 04.02.2007).

Barnes (ibid.) continues:

The record, bought by around 32 million people since it was released in „the summer of love“ [1967], features a crowd of some of the most famous faces of the previous century, including Stan Laurel, Bob Dylan and Marlon Brando.

Each of the band members chose their favourites, with George Harrison opting for a number of Indian gurus to reflect his spiritual leanings, and Ringo Starr happy to go along with the others‘ choices.

Lennon’s list, thought to be half-joking, included Jesus, Hitler and Gandhi. However, following his infamous comment the previous year, 1966, that the band was „bigger than Jesus“, it was thought best not to even commission a cardboard cut-out of Christ for the collage. Gandhi was included but edited from the final image, and Hitler has long been though to have been pushed to the edge of the studio on the grounds of taste.

But Sir Peter said, „Hitler and Jesus were the controversial ones, and after what John said about Jesus we decided not ot go ahead with him – but we did make up the image of Hitler. If you look at photographs of the out-takes, you can see the Hitler image in the studio. With the crowd behind there was an element of chance about who you can see and cannot see, and we weren’t quite sure who would be covered in the final shot. Hitler was in fact covered up behind the band (Barnes, Independent on Sunday, 04.02.2007).[38]

The cut-out of Hitler can be seen in the accompanying booklet to the LP / CD of Sgt. Pepper set to one side in the studio photograph of the Beatles and the attendant collage.

2.7.5. Comment:

John Lennon’s choice of Adolf Hitler here, though perhaps not unexpected given his track record, is somewhat curious, as one perhaps would have expected from him a personality such as Dr. Martin Luther King to complement the other two (Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi). The fact that Hitler was chosen may suggest something more than merely „far out“, as Paul McCartney would have it (§4.4.1).

2.8. „Imagine“ – John Lennon’s last concert – 30 August 1972

2.8.1. Details of the concert

Details of this last concert, also with his second wife Yoko Ono,[39] can be found in Arte Magazin (11.08.2017) and in The Beatles Bible. The following is taken from Arte Magazin.[40]

Dem längst legendären Konzert John Lennons im New Yorker Madison Square Garden im August 1972 geht eine Geschichte voraus. Sie reflektiert die Stimmung in den USA zu Beginn der 1970er Jahre, die gesellschaftliche Umbruchsituation, in der sich das Land befand. Und sie ist ein Zeugnis des politischen Engagements Lennons und seiner Frau Yoko Ono, das maßgeblich ihr musikalisches Schaffen zu der Zeit beeinflusste.

[John Lennon’s long-time legendary concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden in August 1972 has gone down in history. It mirrors the atmosphere in the USA at the start of the 1970s, the social unrest in which the country found itself. And it is witness to the political activities of Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, which considerably influenced their musical composition at that time].

1971 zogen John Lennon und Yoko Ono ins New Yorker Greenwich Village. Damals war das Viertel ein Schmelztiegel für Künstler und Studenten, schnell knüpften Ono und Lennon Kontakte und wurden Teil der künstlerischen und politischen Szene. Gemeinsam mit Freunden protestieren sie öffentlich gegen den Vietnamkrieg. Das FBI fürchtete, durch die Berühmtheit Lennons könnte der Protest immer größere Wellen schlagen und an der Macht des Präsidenten Richard Nixon rütteln. Ono und Lennon wurden fortan auf Schritt und Tritt verfolgt und beobachtet. Fieberhaft suchte das FBI nach einem Grund, den Briten Lennon des Landes verweisen zu können.

[In 1971 John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into New York’s Greenwich Village. At that time that quarte was a melting pot for artists and students, and Ono and Lennon quickly made contacts there and became part of the artistic and political scene. Togther with friends they protested openly against the Vietnam war. The FBI feared that because Lennon was well-known the protest could create ever greater waves and thereby render a severe jolt to President Richard Nixon’s power base. Ono and Lennon were from then on pursued and put under observation. The FBI feverishly sought a pretext to expel the Briton John Lennon from the country].[41]

Unter diesen schwierigen, politisch aufgeladenen Umständen entstand das gemeinsame Album von John Lennon und Yoko Ono, „Some Time in New York“. Ono und Lennon verarbeiten darin die Erfahrungen, vom Staat ungerecht zu werden. Die Songs darauf gehören zu den politischsten, die Lennon jemals produzierte.

[Under these immense politically loaded circumstances there came into being John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s record album „Some Time in New York“. Ono and Lennon worked into it their experiences of the inustices of the state. The songs in the album belong to the most political that Lennon ever produced].

Kurz nachdem das Album im Frühjahr 1972 erschienen war, sah Lennon im Fernsehen eine Reportage über den sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern und die elenden Zustände an der Willbrook State School. Er nahm Kontakt zu dem Autor der Reportage, Geraldo Rivera, auf. Gemeinsam überlegten Rivera und Lennon, ein Benefizkonzert für die Kinder der Schule zu veranstalten. Die Idee zum Live-Auftritt im Madison Square Garden war geboren, der dann kurzfristig organisiert wurde.

[Shortly after the album came out early in 1972, Lennon saw a television report about sexual mishandling of children and the miserable circumstances to be found in the Willbrook State School. He contacted the report’s author, Geraldo Rivera, snd together Rivera and Lennon thought about organising a benefit concert for the children at the school. The idea of a live concert in Madison Square Garden was born and organised within a short period of time].

Für den guten Zweck / For a good cause

Was viele nicht wissen: Lennons Konzert war Teil des „One to One“-Festivals, bei dem auch Roberta Flack, Sha Na Na und Stevie Wonder auftraten, um den guten Zweck zu unterstützen. Die Tickets für das Event kosteten zwischen fünf unf zehn Dollar. Lennon selbst kaufte in Vorfeld 60.000 Karten und gab sie umsonst an Menschen, die sich in Hilfsorganisationen und sozialen Einrichtungen engagierten.

[What many do not know: Lennon’s concert formed part of the „One to One“ festival in which Roverta Flack, Sha Na Na and Stevie Wonder appeared in order to support a good cause. The tickets for the event cost between five and ten dollars. Lennon hiumself bought 60,000 entry-tickets beforehand and gave them free to people involved in help organisations and social institutions].

Wegen der großen Nachfrage spielte John Lennon am 30. August zwei Konzerte, eins am Nachmittag und eins am Abend. Das Abendkonzert wurde im Fernsehen übertragen, während die Aufnahmen des Nachmittagskonzerts später für das Live-Album benutzt wurden, das 1986 erschien. Die Auftritte gingen in die Geschichte ein: Sie waren Lennons einzige eigene Konzerte seit der letzten Beatles-Tour im Jahr 1966 und vor seinem tragischen Tod in Jahr 1980 – und das letzte Mal, dass er gemeinsam mit seiner Frau auf der Bühne stand.

[As a result of the great demand John Lennon played at two concerts on 30 August, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The evening concert was broadcast on television, while the recordings of the afternoon concert were used later for the live album which appeared in 1986. His appearances entered the history books. They were Lennon’s sole concerts since the last Beatles tour (of the USA) in 1966 and before his tragic death in 1980 – and the last time he and his wife appeared together on stage].

2.8.2. Yoko Ono and the „Hitler speech“ of 1932

Just prior to the end of the evening concert, between the penultimate and last song Hound Dog and Give Peace a Chance, John Lennon says to the audience: „This is what we call an encore. We have done enough. You’ve got to be the encore, too.“

Then he turns to Yoko Ono and says: „OK then, read it.“ Yoko Ono then steps forward with what looks like a page of A4 paper in her hand and, to a calypso-style drum accompaniment, reads the following to the audience from the paper:

I want ot read you a statement by a well-known politician that you know of:

The streets of our country are in turmoil, the universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threatening us with her might, and the Republic is in danger, yes in danger, from within and without. We need law and order! Without law and order our nation will not survive. The streets of our country are in turmoil, the universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting.

This is by Adolf Hitler 1932 (Yoko Ono, 30.08.1972, Madison Square Garden, New York).

The camera then catches a quite bewildered expression on the face of a teenage girl wondering what all that was about. John Lennon then moves the crowd into singing Give Peace a Chance.

2.8.3. „Hitler-speech“: Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München

I was a bit puzzled about the quote and looked through my copy of Domarus Vol. 1 but could not find any of Hitler’s speeches of 1932 that would fit the above text. Then on 28 August 2018 I wrote to the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich which specialises inter alia in the period of the Third Reich. On 21 September 2018 I received the following reply:

über Frau Wöhrmann erhielten wir Ihre Anfrage zu »Beatles und Hitler« mit der Bitte um Informationen zu einem Zitat, das Hitler zugeschrieben wurde. Wir sind dem intensiv nachgegangen, konnten die genannte Wortwahl aber nicht identifizieren. Weder in „Hitler. Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen“, die die Jahre bis 1933 recht systematisch abdecken, noch in den Reichstagsprotokollen ist es zu finden. Bei den Recherchen kam zudem die Frage auf, ob der Passus „the Republic is in danger, yes in danger, from within and without“ überhaupt eine Hitlersche Perspektive wäre und nicht vielmehr die eines Republikverteidigers. Für Hitler als Urheber konnten wir jedensfalls keinen Beleg finden. Wir hoffen, dass Ihnen diese Informationen klärend weiterhelfen (Magnus Brechtken, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München, Email: 21.09.2018).

[We received your enquiry via Frau Wöhrmann regarding »Beatles und Hitler« with the request for information regarding a quote attributed to Hitler. We looked into the matter intensively but could not identify the choice of words, neither in „Hitler. Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen“ which systematically cover the years to 1933 nor in the protocolls of the Reichstag are they to be found. In our researches the question arose whether the passage „the Republic is in danger, yes in danger, from within and without“ would be what Hitler would say at all but much more likely a defender of the Republic. At any rate we could not find any evidence of Hitler as author. We hope that this information will be of further help to you].

2.8.4. „Hitler-speech“: Library of Congress, Washington

Further research revealed that the above and similar quotes, seemingly spuriously attributed to Hitler, were collected and published by the Library of Congress, Washington, in its Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations, 1989.[42] The foregoing quote appears under the topic „Campus violence“ No. 155 as follows:

The streets of our country are in turmoil. The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threating us with her might and the Republic is in danger. Yes, danger from within and from without. We need law and order. Yes, without law and order our nation cannot survive. Elect us and we shall restore law and order (Dictionary of Quotes, 1989, No. 155 Campus Violence).

The Dictionary (ibid.) adds:

Attributed to Adolf Hitler, Spurious.

This remark was widely used during the early 1970s. Two refutations have appeared in the Congressional Record: Lou Hiner, Jr. „Hitler’s Phony Quotation on Law and Order“, May 21, 1970, vol. 116, pp. 1676-77, reprinted from the Indianapolis News; and M. Stanton Evans, „The Hitler Quote“, August 11, 1970, vol. 116, p. 28349, reprinted from the National Review Bulletin, August 1970 (Dictionary of Quotes, 1989, No. 155 Campus Violence) (ibid.).

2.8.5. Comment:

Such quotes would almost certainly have been known to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Given that John Lennon was under surveillance from the FBI, very likely on Nixon’s orders, for the reasons given above, the foregoing quote made by Yoko Ono was probably chosen to seek to discredit President Nixon in his re-election campaign for the Presidential Election to be held in November of that year (1972). Again, an action against Establishment authority.

2.9. The Rutles – spoof film All You Need is Cash 1978

2.9.1. The „mockumentary“

The next known instance of John Lennon associated with the Third Reich is the Rutles „mocku-mentary“ spoof film about the Beatles in 1978.

The Rutles [r?t?lz], from Rutland in England, are a rock band known for their visual and aural pastisches and parodies of the Beatles. This originally fictional band was created by Eric Idle and Neill Innes for 1970s television programming. It later became an actual group (but still parodying the Beatles), which toured and recorded, releasing many songs and albums on the way. The Rutles were active during the years 1975-1978, 1996-1997, 2002-present.

Created as a short sketch in Idle’s UK television comedy series Rutland Weekend Television, the Rutles gained renown as a result of their high profile in the 1978 „mockumentary“ television film All You Need is Cash (also known as The Rutles). Former Beatle George Harrison appeared in the film and assisted in its creation. Encouraged by the positive public reaction to the sketch, featuring Beatles‘ music pastisches by Neill Innes, the film was written by Eric Idle, who co-directed it with Gary Weis.[43] 

The film documents the rise and fall of the Rutles, paralleling much of the history of the Beatles. It comprises a series of skits and gags that illustrate the Rutles story, following the chronology of the Beatles. Innes wrote, composed and produced the music, based as it was on Beatles music. During the various performances Neill Innes took lead on the sounds that resembled Lennon’s songs, Ollie Halsall sang on most of McCartney-esque tunes, Ricky Fataar sang the Harrison songs, and John Halsey sang a Ringo Starr-type song. Additional actors parodied ancillary Beatles personnel.

However, the sketch that is pertinent to our study here involves John Lennon (Innes) sitting in a bath under a shower along with his wife Yoko Ono (played by an unnamed actress) dressed in an SS uniform. John is addressing a press-conference while Yoko Ono sits in dumb silence; it is this dumb silence that emphasises the poignancy of the SS uniform. This scene also finds association with Neill Innes’s song „Goosestep Mama“ in the film.

2.9.2. Beatles reaction to the film

The Beatles reaction to the film was mixed.

1. John Lennon loved the film[44] and apparently refused to return the videotape and soundtrack he was given for approval. He told Neill Innes, however, that „Get Up and Go“ was too close to the Beatles „Get Back“ and to be careful not to be sued by ATV Music, owners of the Beatles cata-logues’s copyright at the time.

2. Paul McCartney, who had just released an album of his own, London Town, always answered „No comment.“ According to Neill Innes, „He had a dinner at some awards thing at the same table as Eric [Idle] one night and Eric said it was a little frosty.“ Idle claimed McCartney changed his mind because his wife Linda thought it was funny.

3. George Harrison made no comment as he was party to the making of the film.

4. Ringo Starr liked the happier scenes in the film, but felt the scenes that mimicked sadder times hit too close.[45]

2.9.3. Comment:

It seems clear that the inclusion of the SS uniform scene in the film results from John Lennon’s reputation for his „Hitler“ associations. Paul McCartney, probably because of the bath sketch inter alia, was clearly not impressed.

2.10. Nobody Told Me – 6 January 1984

2.10.1. The song

The last reference to the Nazis before John Lennon’s death in New York (08.12.1908) appears in the song „Nobody Told me“ which he composed with Yoko Ono shortly before his death. The refer-ence „There’s Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs“ appears in the first stanza. The text of the song runs as follows:

Everybody’s talking and no one says a word.
Everybody’s making love and no one really cares.
There’s Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs.
Always something happening and nothing going on.
There’s always something cooking and nothing in the pot.
They’re starving back in China so finish what you got.

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — strange days indeed.
Everybody’s runnin‘ and no one makes a move.
Everyone’s a winner and nothing left to lose.
There’s a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu.
Everybody’s flying and no one leaves the ground.
Everybody’s crying and no one makes a sound.
There’s a place for us in the movies you just gotta lay around.
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama.
Everybody’s smoking and no one’s getting high.
Everybody’s flying and never touch the sky.
There’s a UFO over New York and I ain’t too surprised.
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama.

2.10.2. Comment:

The reference to Nazis here may be no more than a reference to a fear of Fifth Columnists of whatever hue prevalent in Britain and elsewhere during the Second World War. Unless we wish to see it as a continuation of Lennon’s Hitler track record?

3. George Harrison (*25 February 1943 Liverpool; †29 November 2001 Los Angeles)

3.1. Geoffrey Giuliano

George Harrison’s association with Hitler involves him in one incident only. It concerns comments made by American author Geoffrey Giuliano[47] in his biography of George Harrison, Dark Horse. The Private Life of George Harrison (New York: Dutton, 1990) in which Giuliano discusses Harrison’s alleged interest in Adolf Hitler, his sporting of photographs of Hitler around the house and possessing swastika flags. On pages 181-182 of his Harrison biography Giuliano has this to say:

Perhaps one of the most bizarre aspects of George’s personality is the fascination he shares with friends Derek Taylor and „Legs“[48] Larry Smith regarding Adolf Hitler. Harrison and his pals are not Nazi sympathizers, but they still find something undeniably fascinating about the Führer. „It’s just that they appreciate the unparalleled degree of his absolute madness,“ says a friend.

Old Adolf was so incredibly off his rocker that he he eventually convinced himself that only his version of reality was the right one. What’s even more surreal was his ability to convince so many others, as well. While there have certainly been a lot of loony leaders throughout history, none so far as George and his mates are concerned possessed the same magical ability to drag so many other so-called sane people into his desperate psychosis along with him.

They only dig [understand] him in a silly Monty Pythonesque way, like a crazy character from some mad movie. As far as the horrible things he actually did, they, of course, are certainly just as appalled as anyone else.

Such tidy rationalizations fall short of explaining why Harrison keeps so many photos of Hitler around his house [Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire].[49] Allegedly, he even displays a huge German swastika [flag] at times. Although Hitler borrowed the symbol of eternal life from Harrison’s beloved Hindus, it is still difficult to imagine just how the normally peace-loving ex-Beatle justifies his attractions to such evil.

It may be that [Larry] Smith[50] and [Derek] Taylor[51] are the real instigators of this rather sick fantasy. Larry has been working for years now on a zany musical based on the life of the silver-tongued Austrian, entitled Call Me Adolf. With such song titles as „I’ve Got a Braun New Girl“ and „The Führer Burger“, it is doubtful that any legitimate producer would consider bringing it to the stage, no matter how clever or catchy the ex-Bonzo Dog man’s calypso-inspired rhythms. When I was living in Henley, I answered a telephone call one evening from Derek Taylor. For fifteen minutes the semiretired publicist talked about which photographer had taken the most charismatic shots of the Führer. Strange indeed (Giuliano 1990: 181-182).

Giuliano finishes up by printing a photograph opposite page 170 in Dark Horse of a group of four persons sitting down with a photograph of Hitler pinned to the wall behind them. From left to right they are: Mary Tambini (London gallery owner), George Harrison, his wife Olivia, and „Legs“ Larry Smith (see attachments).

3.2. George Harrison

However, the revelations made on pages 181-182 (above) evidently reached The Globe newspaper in Los Angeles in which in 1991 it published an article entitled „Beatle George is a Big Nazi Fan“. The article apparently misinterpreted Giuliano’s revelations in Dark Horse. In an interview with reporters in Los Angeles on 14 December 1992 The Globe agreed to pay Harrison a settlement for libel. Giuliano testified on Harrison’s behalf during the trial. After the case was adjudicated The Globe sued Giuliano for $400,000 and won. But the whole matter called into question the actual relationship between Giuliano and Harrison. Asked by reporters had he an opportunity to read Dark Horse, Harrison replied somewhat non-committedly:

Yeah, I did see it once. I opened it randomly and read about two or three paragraphs and that was it. I put it away. I don’t recall where I saw it. It might have been in my office, I think (Interview 14.12. 1992).

Asked if he had ever met Giuliano, he replied, again somewhat non-committedly:

Yeah, I met him briefly. I have no way of recalling what year it was, but I met him at the home of Legs Larry Smith for possibly thirty minutes. I visited Mr. Smith and he was in his flat (Interview 14.12. 1992).

3.3. Olivia Harrison

On 8 October 1992, Olivia Harrison wrote a letter to The Guardian on the matter of Giuliano, commenting on his competence as a biographer. She wrote:

The sight of Geoffrey Giuliano’s face is enough to make anyone a recluse. My husband once made the remark: „That guy knows more about my life than I do.“ Mr. Giuliano missed the joke and used it to endorse his book. To rate himself as the world’s greatest rock’n‘ roll biographer (a laughable title in the first place) is nothing but delusion. He has only ever been in the vicinity of my husband for about ten minutes and considers himself an expert. He parades as a spiritual person while condemning the famous, yet without them his achievements in this life wouldn’t rate one line in any newspaper. To judge Paul McCartney as „vacuous and shallow“ after all Paul has written and offered to the world is surely the judgement of an arrogant mind, especially as Giuliano’s own recognition is not because he is creative, but because like a starving dog, he scavenges from his heroes, picking up bits of gristle and sinew along the way, repackaging them for consumption by a gullible public. His life is a „curse“ to himself, and perhaps his admitted 300 acid trips by the age of 19 have something to do with it. I’m sick of this guy (Letter Olivia Harrison to The Guardian 08.10.1992).

3.4. Comment:

As we can see, the letter is somewhat emotionally laden, as if Giuliano had touched a raw nerve? On the other hand, the interview with the reporters, as does Olivia’s letter, suggests that Giuliano was writing books about the Beatles from information he was gathering from others, and not so much interviewing his subject(s) face to face.

In reading Dark Horse Giuliano’s writing style seems to me more opinion-orientated rather than fact-based, and restricting the issue down to the Hitler photographs and swastika flags we do not really know what he actually saw at Friar Park. Did he see many Hitler photographs scattered around the house or just the one in the photograph facing p. 170? What about the swastika flags? Did he see any of those? His statement above suggests not. In this regard, I wrote to Mr. Giuliano last July [2018] and asked him precisely that. What did he actually see in the way of Hitler photographs and swastika flags at Friar Park? I am still awaiting a reply. All we can say at the moment is that he saw one Hitler photograph, i.e. that pinned to the wall behind the four persons seated in the photograph, and no swastika flags.

This, of course, begs the question as to what the Hitler photograph was doing there in the first place? As a gag, or for what purpose? Perhaps we ought to ask those present at the time who are still living what it was in fact doing there?

4. Comments on Adolf Hitler, etc., by Beatles members and others [52]

The Beatles Anthology (2000), eds. David Sherff & Editorial Team). San Fransisco: Chronicle Books.

Davis, Ivor (2015): ‚Hey Jew: The Beatles meet the chosen‘. Tablet Magazine (18 September 2015).

Prefatory note:

Except for §4.2.2. below, all other quotes are taken from The Beatles Anthology 2000. The Anthology’s Editorial Note sets out the format as follows:

The text[s] ha[ve] been arranged to follow the book’s chronological structure and to maintain the pace of the narrative. To allow the reader to place […] quotes in their correct historical prespective, each quotation is suffixed by the date it was spoken, written or first published. The year of the quotation is represented by the last two digits only, such that, for example, 1970 is represented by [a superior] ??. The date generally applies to all text[s] preceding it until another date is reached. In a very small number of cases it has not been possible to date a quotation accurately […]; in this event, the words, but no date, are included (Anthology 2000: 5, Editorial Note).

In supplying the year against a given quote I have sought to follow the guidelines outlined above. However, given the possibility of some uncertainty in date precision it may be that on occasion I have supplied an inaccurate date. In such circumstances, if the reader is able to offer any correction to the date attributed, this would be very much appreciated – GB.

4.1. Anthology, p. 144: Beatles reception at the Liverpool Town Hall, 10 July 1964.

4.1.1. GEORGE HARRISON, 1964:

It was funny because the roads I’d driven down all my life were lined with people waving. We stood on the balcony of the Town Hall for the civic reception and John did the [Hitler] salute [see bottom photo Anthology p. 144].

4.1.2. NEIL ASPINALL (Beatles‘ driver and road manager. 1962-1970), 1964:

John got away with his Hitler bit on the balcony. Nobody seemed to pick up on it. John was always like that, a bit irreverent. Anybody in nerve-racking situations tends to do things to relieve the tension.

4.2. Anthology p. 153: Tour of the USA and Canada, 19 August – 20 September 1964.

4.2.1. GEORGE HARRISON, 1964:

The promoters [Jacksonville, Florida, 11 September 1964] were getting stroppy with us, instead of kicking the camera people out. In the end Derek Taylor went on stage and was like Adolf Hitler up there, shouting to the crowd: „These camera people are not wanted, they must be removed.“ He was yelling, 

– „Do you want the Beatles on the stage?“ – „Yeah!“ 

– „Well, then do you want to get rid of the cameras?“ – „Yeah!“[53]

It was like a big Nuremberg rally, and I suppose the police and promoters thought that we were causing the trouble, but, even in those days, we knew there were somethings you couldn’t control […].

4.2.2. Hey Jew IVOR DAVIS 2015. Reflecting on 1964-65.

After I had toured with the Beatles in 1964 and 1965 people asked me whether I thought Lennon was anti-Semitic. I think not, although I did see him striding around his hotel suite, his finger to his lip, mustache style, pretending he was Adolf Hitler. And from time to time Lennon would offer a Nazi salute to the crowd. He did it in front of thousands on the balcony of the Liverpool Town Hall before the premiere of A Hard Day’s Night, when the city put on a massive Beatles tribute [see §2.4 above]. It may have been his off-kilter way of relieving the crazy pressure of the tour and poking fun at the public’s endless adoration of the Beatles (Davis 2015: 4).

The atrocities of the Holocaust[54] were still not commonly discussed.[55] Young Jews in Britain felt that if they wore „Jew“ on their sleeve in Britain it would be more of a handicap. If you were Jewish you kept it to yourself. As in other parts of the world, „Don’t let him Jew you down,“ was a phrase in common usage in Britain.[56] There was an attitude in Britain at the time, as Paul McCartney recalled, „Everyone knew Jewish people were good with money,“ And that, admitted McCartney, was one main reason why the Beatles chose Epstein as their manager[57] (Davis 2015: 3).

4.3. Anthology p. 201: Reflecting on earlier days, 1966.


The sixties was a good period, and in Europe at least it had a lot to do with the fact that we were the generation that hadn’t been in the war. We’d been born during the Second World War, and as we grew up we became sick of hearing about it. To this day the newspapers and television love the war and wars in general – they can’t get enough of them. They keep putting programmes on about them […].[58]

We were the generation who didn’t suffer from the war and we didn’t want to have to keep being told about Hitler. We were more bright-eyed and hopeful for the future, breaking out of the left-over Victorian mould of attitudes and poverty and hardship. We were the first generation to experience that, so in that respect it was good […].

4.4. Anthology p. [252]: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967. Looking back, 1975.

PAUL McCARTNEY (1975, concerning the choice of cut-out presonalities for the collage. John Lennon’s choice included Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, and Adolf Hitler).

At that time EMI was very much a colonial record company. It still is – they sell records in India and China – so they are very aware of Indian sensibilities. I remember Sir Joe [Sir Joseph Loch wood, Chairman of EMI] (a good old mate, actually) coming round to my house in St. John’s Wood and saying, „I say, Paul, we really can’t do it, old chap. You can’t have Gandhi.“ I said, „Why not? We’re revering him.“ – „Oh, no, no. It might be taken the wrong way. He’s rather sacred in India, you know.“ So Gandhi had to go.

John wanted a couple of far-out ones like Hitler and Jesus, which was John just wanting to be bold and brassy. He was into risk-taking, and I knew what he was doing. I didn’t agree with it, but he was just trying to be far out, really.

4.5. Anthology p. 356: Looking back to 1969-70


I do these songs still: „Let It Be“ and the like. And to actually see young kids crying over the spirit in the song. I’m very proud of that. It couldn’t have gone another way. I say to people, „Hey, if The Beatles were really bad, we could have played Hitler’s game. We could have got kids to do any-thing, such was our power.

4.6. Anthology p. 357: Looking back to 1966


I’ve grown up. I don’t believe in father figures any more. Like God, Kennedy or Hitler. I’m no longer searching for a guru. I’m no longer searching for anything. There is no search. There’s no way to go. There’s nothing. This is it. We’ll probably carry on writing music for ever.

5. The Irish dimension

As we have seen, the main protagonist from the Beatles in the use of Hitler salutes and associated gestures is John Lennon. It may be that much of this has to do with bravado or bold behaviour against targeted victims designed to make them feel uncomfortable or downright offended in their arrogance. Or perhaps there is more to it than that? In order to clarify matters in this regard we turn now to an unrelated matter which may enlighten us further. That issue involves songs composed by John Lennon (with Yoko Ono) and Paul McCartney (with his wife Linda), seemingly prompted by the „Troubles“ that broke out in Northern Ireland in 1969. The full texts of the relevant three songs are given here as being pertinent to the argument.


John Lennon with Yoko Ono, November 1971

This song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono in November 1971 and sung live at several protest rallies and television appearances in America before being released on the couple’s 1972 album Some Time in New York City. The song deliberately uses a folk melody designed to encourage audience participation in their protests. John Lennon’s prestige in England sank as a result of the song’s accusations of genocide.

Text (indented stanzas used as refrains)

If you had the luck of the Irish
you’d be sorry and wish you were dead
You should have the luck of the Irish
and you’d wish you were English instead
A thousand years of torture and hunger
drove the people away from their land
A land full of beauty and wonder
was raped by the British brigands!
Goddamn! Goddamn!

If you could keep voices like flowers
there’d be shamrock all over the world
If you could drink dreams like Irish streams
then the world would be high as the
Mountain of Mourne

In the ‚Pool [i.e. Liverpool] they told us the story
how the English divided the land
of the pain, the death and the glory
and the poets of auld Eireland
If we could make chains with the morning dew
the world would be like Galway Bay
Let’s walk over rainbows like leprechauns
The world would be one big Blarney stone
Why the hell are the English there anyway?
As they kill with God on their side
Blame it all on the kids and the IRA
as the bastards commit genocide!
Aye! Aye! Genocide!

If you had the luck of the Irish
you’d be sorry and wish you was dead
You should have the luck of the Irish
and you’d wish you was English instead!
Yes you’d wish you was English instead!


Paul McCartney with Linda McCartney, February 1972.

Written by Paul McCartney along with his wife Linda in response to the events of Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972), when members of the 1st Parachute Regiment of British troops in Northern Ireland shot dead thirteen civil rights protesters. The song was performed by McCartney’s British-American rock-band Wings. In the context of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and Bloody Sunday in particular, McCartney later (2002) said:

From our point of view, it was the first time people questioned what we were doing in Ireland. It was so shocking, I wrote „Give Ireland Back to the Irish“, we recorded it and I was promptly ‚phoned by the Chairman of EMI, Sir Joseph Lockwood, explaining that they would’t release it. He thought it was too inflamatory. I told him that I felt strongly about it and they had to release it. He said, „Well it’s banned“, and of course it was. I knew „Give Ireland Back to the Irish“ wasn’t an easy route, but it just seemed to me to be the time [to say something] (Mark Lewisohn 2002).

Text (refrain indented)

Give Ireland back to the Irish
Don’t make them have to take it away
Give Ireland back to the Irish
Make Ireland Irish today
Great Britain you are tremendous
and nobody knows like me
But really what are you doin‘
in the land across the sea?
Tell me how you would like it
if on your way to work
you were stopped by Irish soldiers
Would you lie down do nothing
Would you give in, or go berserk?
Give Ireland back to the Irish
Don’t make them have to take it away
Give Ireland back to the Irish
Make Ireland Irish today
Great Britain and all the people
say that all people must be free
Meanwhile back in Ireland
there’s a man who looks like me
And he dreams of god and country
and he’s feeling really bad
and he’s sitting in a prison
Should he lie down do nothing?
Should give in or go mad?
Give Ireland back to the Irish
Don’t make them have to take it away
Give Ireland back to the Irish
Make Ireland Irish today.


John Lennon with Yoko Ono, February 1972

This song was written by John Lennon as a direct result of the events in Derry on Sunday, 30 January 1972. The killings were quickly dubbed „Bloody Sunday“. The lyrics, as will be seen, express Lennon’s anger. In his explanation of the lyrical polemics to New Musical Express journalist Roy Carr Lennon admitted:

Here I am in New York and I hear about the 13 people shot dead in Ireland and I react immediately. And being what I am I react in four-to-the-bar with a guitar break in the middle. I don’t say „My God, what’s happening? We should do something.“ I go „It’s Sunday Bloody Sunday and they shot the people down.“ It’s all over now. It’s gone. My songs are not there to be digested and pulled apart like the Mona Lisa. If people on the street think about it, that’s all there is to it (Du Noyer 1999, Blaney 2007, Rogan 2010, after Sunday Bloody Sundy – Wikipedia) (Retrieved 19.09.2018).

Lennon evidently donated the royalties from „Sunday Bloody Sunday“ to the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland (ibid. fn. 60).


Well, it was Sunday Bloody Sunday
Oh, when they shot the people there
The cries of thirteen martyrs
filled the Free Derry air

Is there any one amongst you
dare to blame it on the kids?

Not a soldier boy was bleeding
when they nailed the coffin lids

Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday is the day
When you claim to be majority
well, you know that it’s a lie
You’re really a minority
on this sweet emerald isle

When Stormont bans our marches
they’ve got a lot to learn

Internment is no answer
it’s those mothers turn to burn

Oh, you Anglo pigs and Scotties
sent to colonize the North
You wave your bloody Union Jack
and you know what it’s worth

How dare you hold to ransom
a people proud and free

Keep Ireland for the Irish
Put the English back to sea
Well, it’s always Bloody Sunday
in the concentration camps [i.e. Long Kesh]

Keep Falls Road free for ever
from the bloody English hands

Repatriate to Britain
all of you who call it home

Leave Ireland to the Irish
not for London or for Rome.

5.4. Comment:

As can be seen from the tone of the above Lennon songs, there is a strong strain of anti-English and pro-Irish sentiment to be seen in them. Lennon is clearly distancing himself from the English and the Scots and their deeds in Ireland. The lyrics in Paul McCartney’s song „Give Ireland Back to the Irish“ (written in Scotland) are in comparison relatively moderate in tone, but nevertheless did not stop the song from being banned in Britain, much to McCartney’s apparent disgust.[62] As can be seen in their Irish songs both Lennon and McCartney, but especially Lennon, demonstrate decisive opposition to British Establishment authority. Also, both were not in favour of a prolonged British presence in Ireland. In addition, the following would be relevant:

5.4.1. The Beatles were invested with the MBE by Buckingham Palace on 12 June 1965[63] for their services to British music. So far as is known, John Lennon is the only Beatle who returned his MBE, on 25 November 1969.[64] In doing so he distances himself from the British Establishment.

5.4.2. The reference to Liverpool in John Lennon’s song „The Luck of the Irish“ is intended to make clear the Irish character of that city. In this regard, it is important to recognise that Liverpool, though situated in England, is in reality a „Celtic“ enclave embracing mainly large and long-established[65] Irish and Welsh, as well as smaller Manx and Hebridean, communities. There are English people there too, as well as a small West African community. The ‚Celtic‘ presence was sufficient to cause a dialect change from a south-western Lancashire dialect to the establishment of ‚Scouse‘,[66] comprising sub-dialects predominantly of Irish and Welsh provenace, in Liverpool around 1880, the only dialects of English evidently to be imported into England.[67] Today, Liverpool serves as the market town primarily for the Isle of Man and North Wales. Though many Scousers may regard themselves as ‚British‘, or even ‚English‘ (in the broad sense of that term),[68] nonetheless, „if push comes to shove“ their origins can quickly come to the fore, as in the cases of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in their Irish songs.[69]

6. Conclusion

What are we to make of all this? As we are all aware, the Beatles over the years had earned the reputation of supporting peace, love and non-violence. As Ringo Starr put it, as he looked back in 1980 to earlier years:

[…]. We were honest with each other and we were honest about music. The music was positive. It was positive in love. They did write – we all wrote – about other things, but the basic Beatles message was Love (Ringo Starr, Anthology, 356).

6.1. The Hitler-Motif and John Lennon

So how does Hitler fit into all this? As we have seen, the Hitler phenomenon was already in being  as early as c.1957 (§2.1) before the Beatles came into existence. In all of this the main protagonist in the use of Hitler salutes and gestures, etc., which can be seen in the ten instances discussed above (§2), is John Lennon. If we tabulate his track record in this regard we find the following:

1.  c.1957 Four sketches showing Lennon in the persona of Adolf Hitler. Choice of A[dolf] as his middle name rather than W[inston].

2.  1960-62 Hamburg: Hitler salutes and use of black comb for Hitler moustache.

3   1964 Hitler salutes in Melbourne.

4   1964 Hitler salutes in Liverpool.

5   1964 A Hard Day’s Night – perceived pro-German comments in the bath-tub.

6   1964 Hitler salutes in American hotel room; alleged anti-semitic comments.

7.  1967 Sgt. Pepper. Hitler placed on the same level with Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi.

8.  1972 „Hitler speech“ by Yoko Ono in New York – aimed at discrediting President Nixon.

9.  1978 Rutles film: actors‘ spoof of Lennon and Yoko Ono, with the latter in SS uniform. Lennon’s Hitler track-record known.

10.1980 „Nazis in the bathroom“ (in song Nobody Told Me, 1980).

Irrespective of the intended use of the Hitler salutes and gestures, whether as instances of bravado or bold behavior,[70] or whatever, the Hitler-Motif forms a constant theme throughout Lennon’s career (from 1957 through to his death in 1980), sketched out in the ten instances above. 

6.2. Explaining the Hitler-Motif

Various explanations for this phenomenon have already been proffered: 

1. Neil Aspinall re 1964 (§4.1.2): „Anybody in nerve-racking situations tends to do things to relieve the tension.“ 

2. Ivor Davis re 1964-65 (§4.2.2): „It may have been his off-kilter way of relieving the crazy pressure of the tour and poking fun at the public’s endless adoration of the Beatles.“ 

3. Paul McCartney re 1967 (§4.4.1): „He [John] was into risk-taking, and I knew what he was doing, I didn’t agree with it, but he was just trying to be far out, really.“

6.3. Possible interpretations of the Hitler-Motif

However, three important instances here seem to me to be telling:

1: Lennon reveals himself in his sketches in the persona of Adolf Hitler (c.1957).[71]

6: Lennon was seen „striding around his hotel suite, his finger to his lip, m[o]ustache style, pretending he was Adolf Hitler“, i.e. in private, not in public (1964). 

7: Lennon sets Hitler on the same level as Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi (1967).

All in all perhaps the foregoing could be interpreted in the following scenarios: 

6.3.1. Hitler as some sort of „soul-mate“ or „guru“?

The foregoing three instances, particularly the first two, are suggestive of private devotion to some sort of „guru“. The third places the „guru“ on the same level as two others who could also be viewed as worthy of devotion: Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi. In this regard, in all three instances Lennon could perhaps be seen to view Hitler on a special plane as some sort of „soul-mate“ or even „guru“ with Lennon as his devotee? That is to say, that Lennon feels that there is a bond of some sort between them in the mind which transcends everything else, but which perhaps finds expression in the various salutes and gestures Lennon indulges in? This notion may sound fantastic – and it probably is – but nevertheless it cannot be ruled out as a possibility. 

6.3.2. Impressed / captivated by National Socialist theatricals?

On the other hand, when one looks at the sketches, we see drawings of Nazi flags and eagles, of John Lennon on a podium receiving the adulation of the cheering crowds. All this suggests that Lennon is impressed, if not captivated, by the theatricals of the National Socialist movement, with its mass rallies, precision geometrical marching and march-pasts, fanfares and mesmerising speeches, etc., that is to say, with the apparatus of propaganda. With regard to the substitution of A for W (i.e. Adolf for Winston) in Lennon’s middle name, Lennon seems to regard the name Winston (almost certainly bestowed upon him after Winston Churchill, cf. §2.1) with some disdain as not part of his being, but contrarywise he feels that Adolf is in fact part of his being and he embraces it?

6.3.3. Hitler as a „weapon“ or „stick“ against authority?

When we look at the other instances (2-5, 8, possibly 10), they could represent the use of Hitler in the last analysis as a „weapon“ of opposition against authority, whether it be the British or American Establishment, or whatever. Support for Hitler was fairly widespread in Ireland, and to an extent in the Isle of Man, Wales and Scotland, during the 1930s/40s, where it served as an expression of distance from English sway.[72]  In talking to people in the Isle of Man, for instance, during the 1980s regarding apparent support for Hitler at the time, some told me that they saw Hitler as restoring to the German people their self-respect and dignity seen as having been taken away from them by the Treaty of Versailles (1919), and they looked to someone like that for their own country to do the same vis-à-vis England. But many were impressed by how Hitler restablished Germany as a modern state. 

During my time in Ireland (1980-84) support for Hitler even then was, for various reasons, quite prevalent among the older people and they made no bones about it. One such reason was that Hitler had given the English a damn good thrashing, they said, something they themselves wanted to do in order to compensate for English oppression in Ireland over the centuries.[73] 

Lennon’s support for Hitler here may be in the same tradition, i.e using him as a „stick“ to beat the British Establishment with. This „stick“ can clearly be seen in his Irish songs, and it may well lie behind his entire Hitler track-record? In addition, the photograph of Adolf Hitler pinned to the wall in George Harrison’s home (Friar Park) may also be part of the same tradition?

However one judges the matter of „The Beatles and Adolf Hitler“, it seems it has become a hitherto unknown facet of the Beatles phenomen.



[*] This article is the result of a visit to a Szenische Lesung: »Im Bett mit John Lennon« (’scenic readings „In Bed with John Lennon“‚) held in the Gemäldegalerie des Kurpfälsischen Museums, Heidelberg, on 17 May 2017 in which the name Adolf Hitler arose in association with John Lennon. We sought to find out more about it.

[1] For details compact of the life and times of John Lennon see (Retrieved 19.08.2017).

[2] For details compact of the life and times of George Harrison see (Retrieved 20.08. 2017).

[3] For details compact of the life and times of Paul McCartney see (Retrieved 20.08. 2017).

[4] For details compact of the life and times of Ringo Starr see (Retrieved 20.08.2017).

[5] For details compact of the life and times of Cynthia Lennon see (Retrieved 19.08. 2017)

[6] During the 19th century the runes came to be regarded as containing magical properties as exemplified in the rise of völkisch romanticism, mystic racism, etc., promoted in the works of Austrian occultist Guido von List (1848-1919) which exerted some influence among some leading Nazis, notably Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS (cf. Findell 2014: 93-97). The SS Sig-Run (looking like a lightning bolt), derives from the so-called Armanen runes of List (1908) which are closely based on the historical Younger Futhark runes (7th cent.) (cf. Findell 2014: 36). A table of insignia at the end (p. 90) includes also various permutations of the swastika as well as of the triskele.

[7] For details compact of the life and times of Stuart Sutcliffe see (Retrieved 20.08. 2017).

[8] For details compact of the life and times of Pete Best see (Retrieved 20.08.2017).

[9] [Link erloschen] (Retrieved 18.08.2017).

[10] In June [1964], the Beatles were scheduled to tour Denmark, the Netherlands, Asia, Australia and New Zeland, but Starr became ill the day before the start of the tour [i.e. 03.06.64]. Stricken with a high-grade fever, pharyngitis and tonsillitis, he was admitted to a local hospital where he briefly stayd followed by several days of recuperation at home [Liverpool]. During this time, Starr was temporarily replaced for five concert dates by 24-year-old session drummer Jimmie Nicol. Starr was discharged from the hospital, and rejoined the band in Melbourne on 15 June“ (Ringo Starr – Wikipedia 2017: 4; Retrieved 20.08.2017).

[11]There is no evidence to date that Ringo voluntarily indulged in any activity associated with Hitler (salutes, etc.) during his time with the Beatles.

[12] For details of the life and times of Brian Epstein see (Retrieved 01.09. 2018).

[13] For details compact of the life and times of Alun Owen see (Retrieved 14.10.2018).

[14] For details compact of the life and times of Wilfrid Brambell see https://en.wikipedia/wiki/Wilfrid_Brambell [Link mittlerweile erloschen] (Retrieved 19.09. 2018).

[15] Composed in 1740, text by David Mallet and Scotsman James Thomson, tune by Englishman Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778), and originally functioned as the final song to the drama Alfred, a mask from 1740 (cf.,_Britannia!) (Retrieved 31.08.2018). It later became an English patriotic song.

[16] Written during the early 1840s by Thomas Osborne Davis (1814-1845), a founder of Young Ireland, an Irish movement set up to achieve the independence of Ireland, and first published in The Nation on 13 July 1844 as a rallying call to the growing Irish nationalist movement at the time ( (Retrieved 19.09.2018). The refrain runs: A Nation once again / A Nation once again / And Ireland, long a province, be / A Nation once again (cf. (Retrieved 19.09.2018).

[17] According to von Beckerath n.d. [1932]: [21], Die Übertragung der Schenkendorf’schen Worte auf die Wilhelmus-Weise stammt von Walt[h]er Hensel (‚the transfer of the Schenkendorf text to the Wilhelmus melody derives from Walther Hensel‘). For details compact of the life and times of music tutor and German Volkslied specialist Walther Hensel (1887-1956), see (Retrieved 26.10.2018).

[18] (Retrieved 27.01.2017).

[19] Bajer (1939: 591), Eberhardt Krause, former soldier with the SS-Panzer-Division Totenkopf (1940-45), Mannheim, c.1988.

[20] The development from Novalis’s spiritualist songs embracing love, suffering and pain, longing and loyalty, death and deliverance developed during the Napoleonic Wars into nationalist-orientated freedom songs which were gradually taken over by youth movements. The notions of ‚Christ‘ became the notions of ‚Kaiser‘ and ‚Reich‘ (cf. Roth 1993: 88).

[21] During the course of the 19th century the conversion from the singular to the plural Gruppenlied ‚group-song‘ is to be found in the Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch of student drinking songs (1858 onwards). The SS text derives from this development.

[22] cf. Novalis (1995(1802): 187-188) 4 stanzas.

[23] cf. von Schenkendorf (n.d. [c.1925(1814)]: 103-104) 4 stanzas.

[24] cf. Haas (1966: 36) 4 stanzas, SS-Liederbuch (1942: 13) 3 stanzas, Cerff (1976: 10) 3 stanzas (the last two works omitting the third Schenkendorf stanza).

[25] Untermensch: ‚underman, sub-man, subhuman‘, pl. Untermenschen – a term that became infamous when the Nazis used it to describe non-Aryan ‚inferior peoples‘ often referred to as ‚the masses from the East‘, that is Jews, Roma and Slavs – mainly ethnic Poles, Serbs, and later also Russians. The term was also applied to most Blacks and persons of colour, with some particular exceptions, such as the Japanese (cf. SS-Hauptamt-Schulungsamt (1942): Der Untermensch. Berlin). However, contrary to assert-ions that the term Untermensch was invented by Hitler, its concept was seemingly first used by Winston Churchill in 1919 in its modern sense (‚Doctrine of the Untermensch‘), describing Bolshevism as an ‚illness‘ and an ‚epidemic‘. The London Daily Herald for 25 July 1919 prints a speech by Churchill in which he details Bolshevist speeches as most cruel and despicable in form ever presented among human kind and actions that would disgrace even Stone Age man as well as the Hottentots of Central Africa (cf. Meiser 2010: 164). See also Lothrop Stoddard above.

[26] An apparent comment on Nietzsche’s concept of Übermensch in Nietzsche (1882: 151; Kapitel 143). For details of this concept seeÜbermensch (Retrieved 25.10.2018).

[27] For deatils see Davis (2015: 2-4).

[28] According to the SOED (1993 I: 1486/3), „slang, derog[atory] and usually considered racially offensive, of unknown origin, a Jew.“

[29] For details of Taylor’s life and career see (Retrieved 01.09.2018).

[30] For an overview of developments here see’s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band [Link mittlerweile erloschen] (Retrieved 01.09.2018).. For full details see Spitz (2005: 643-44, 654-55, 658-63, 668-71, 673-76, 683, 685, 688-91, 696-98, 700, 703, 766, 770, 844), Miles (1997: 303-04,306-48, 372), Coleman (1995: 368, 404, 407, 434, 446, 448, 475, 497, 556-59, 561, 563, 627).

[31] For details compact of the life and times of George Martin see https://en.wikipedia/wiki/George_Martin [Link mittlerweile erloschen] (Retrieved 20.09.2018).

[32] The others George Harrison wanted were Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswar (Tillery 2011: 81).

[33] Liverpool slang for ‚render kaputt; fuck‘ – GB‘.

[34] i.e. that the Beatles were „more popular than Jesus“ (GB: 04.03.1966 London Evening Standard; USA: 29.07.1966 Datebook magazine) (Coleman 1995: 723).

[35] A founder member of the Beatles who left the group in July 1961 to pursue inter alia an academic carrier, but died prematurely in April 1962 (Spitz 2005: 304-305).

[36] Lockwood feared that the inclusion of Gandhi on the cover would cause a backlash from the overseas market. He said, „If we show Gandhi standing around with Sonny Liston and Diana Dors, they’ll never forgive us in India“ (Spitz 2005: 679).

[37] North End Music Store, Brian Epstein’s record business in Liverpool with one outlet in Great Charlotte Street and later another in Whitechapel (Spitz 2005: 263-264).

[38] For a different view cf. Stormo (2018: 5).

[39] One version has it that John Lennon first met Yoko Ono at an art exhibition by her in the Indica Gallery, Londo, on 9 November 1966 (Harry 2001: 682). A second version, told by Paul McCartney, has it that „[w]hen Yoko Ono first arrived in Britain [1965], before she met John, she turned up at Paul’s house asking for manuscripts to give to musician John Cage for his fiftieth birthday. Cage collected musical scores. Paul told her that he always kept his original manuscripts, but not long afterwards she asked John to give her one and he chose the multicoloured fair copy of ‚The Word‘ [a Lennon-McCartney composition, 1965] as a birthday gift. It is reproduced in John Cage’s Notations, a selection of the scores he had been collecting for the Foundation of Contem-porary Performance Arts to show the diversity of notation in modern music“ (Miles 1998: 272). For details compact of the life and times of Yoko Ono see (Retrieved 19.08.2017).

[40] cf. [Link erloschen] (Retrieved 26.08.2018).

[41] The FBI-file on Yoko Ono and John Lennon can be found under the following link:

[42] See (Retrieved 26.09.2018).

[43] cf. (Revised 06.08.2016) (Retrieved 26.08.2018).

[44] This reaction would no doubt include the bath sketch!?

[45] cf. (Revised 06.08.2016) (Retrieved 26.08.2018).

[46] See (Retrieved 24.08.2018), nobody-told-me [Website erloschen] (Retrieved 24.08.2018).

[47] Geoffrey Giuliano (1953- ), American author, radio personality, film actor. Best known for his biographies of Beatles members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. For details compact of the life and times of Geoffrey Giuliano see (Retrieved 05.10.2018).

[48] This epithet derives seemingly from a song by Harrison about Smith called „His Name Is Legs (Ladies and Gentlemen)“, released on his album Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975). See (Retrieved 05.10. 2018).

[49] According to Will Woodhead in an interview with Olivia Harrison published in The Guardian of 31.12.1999 George bought the Friar Park estate in March 1970 for £139,000 (a bargain even then), worth several million pounds today. Olivia, a former secretary in George’s Dark Horse record company, married George in 1978 after the break-up of his first marriage to Patti Boyd a couple of years before.

[50] „Legs“ Larry Smith (1944- ), former drummer with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band which appeared in the 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour made by the Beatles. A close friend of George Harrison. In March 2009 Smug Records released „Legs“ Larry Smith’s song Call Me, Adolf!, a five-track digital EP produced by Gus Gudgeon. If so, this would seem to confirm Giuliano’s assertion against Larry Smith in his last paragraph (§3.1 above). For further details of „Legs“ Larry Smith see (Retrieved 05.10.2018).

[51] Derek Taylor (1932-1997), of Liverpool, publicist with the Beatles (1964, 1968-1970) was a close friend of George Harrison. For details compact of the life and times of Derek Taylor see (Retrieved 01.09.2018).

[52] Except for §4.2.2. all other quotes are taken from The Beatles Anthology, 2000. The various quotes attributed to Beatles members and ancillaries are found on the pages given and attributed to the year quoted.

[53] The questioning here echoes Dr. Joseph Goebbels in his ‚Total War‘ speech of 18 February 1943 in the Sportpalast, Berlin: „Wollt Ihr den totalen Krieg?“ (‚Do you want total war?‘) (cf. „Wollt Ihr den total Krieg?“ Sportpalast 18.2.1943. Documentary Series Est., FL-9494 Schaan (F. Liechtenstein) Postbox 121. 2 LP records). This, if correct, would seem to confirm Giuliano’s assertion made against Derek Taylor in his last paragraph (cf. §3.1. above).

[54] This was known in my time as the ‚Final Solution‘ (< Ger. Endlösung). The term ‚Holocaust‘ derives from a 10-hour American soap-film of that name of 1978 vintage.

[55] I can confirm that also in my time they were hardly discussed.

[56] I personally have never heard that phrase. What was current in my time were phrases such as ‚don’t be Jewish‘ (when handing out sweets) = ‚don’t be stingy‘ (Jews were felt to be tight with money).

[57] The first business contact with Brian Epstein and the Beatles group with a view to entering into contract took place at NEMS on 3 December 1961 at which Epstein proposed the idea of managing the group (Miles 1997: 85). Further meetings took place on 6 and 10 December 1961 (Miles 1998: 41). As Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best were under 21, they needed the consent of their parents in order to enter into a contract. Best and his mother were impressed with Epstein’s professional image, as were the other Beatles, because he was a businessman. McCartney’s father was apparently sceptical about a Jewish manager and warned Paul to be careful about finances (Anthology, 65). Lennon’s aunt and guardian Mimi Smith was against the idea, but as Lennon had just turned 21 he ignored Mimi’s advice (Spitz 2005: 274). The Beatles signed a five-year contract with Epstein on 24 January 1962 (Miles 1997: 88). Other contracts followed (cf. Blaney 2008: 36).

[58] It is probably this that „immuned“ the British public from Nazi excesses and enabled them to be captivated by the theatricals of National Socialism (just as a great proportion of the German people earlier had been in their enthusiastic support for Hitler) and engendered a passive acceptance of the Hitler antics (salutes and other gestures) indugled in by John Lennon and other Beatles members (see §2 above).

[59] For full details and text see (Retrieved 20.09.2018).

[60] For full details and text see Irish (Retrieved 20.09.2018).

[61] For full details and text see 19.09.2018).

[62] cf. YouTube of TnG4 programme Guth ‚Lennon & McCartney and the Irish Connection‘. Posted 04.04.2017 (

[63] Coleman (1995: 722).

[64] According to Coleman (1995: 524), in justification of his handing back his MBE John Lennon wrote in a short letter to the Queen, „Your Majesty, I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against ‚Cold Turkey‘ slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon of Bag.“ Given Lennon’s reluctance to accept the award in the first place (cf. Coleman 1995: 418-419), his return of the MBE was perhaps to be expected. The reference to ‚Cold Turkey‘, his latest record, „was ‚humour to stop it from sounding like it was another stupid letter to the Queen from some boring colonel‘.“ (Coleman 1995: 524).

[65] Some from the eighteenth, but mainly from the nineteenth century.

[66] From lobscouse, a substantial meat and vegetable stew for seamen, cf. SOED s.v. Scouse.

[67] Personal communication from Michael V. Barry, SED, The Queen’s University of Belfast, 1977.
[68] Except that the English (in the narrow sense of that term), e.g. those living to the east of Liverpool in south-west Lancashire; in my time regarded the Scousers as Irish both from their behaviour and from the way they spoke English. This viewpoint can also be found in other parts of England – GB.

[69] cf. YouTube of TnG4 programme Guth ‚Lennon & McCartney and the Irish Connection‘. Posted 04.04.2017 (

[70] This latter was indulged in primarily agaimst arrogant persons who had experienced the war, as it could elicit an extreme emotional response. Hitler could be used as a „weapon“ in this way until well into the 1990s – GB.

[71] Lennon drew these sketches during his three years in the Liverpool College of Art, in which his rebellious nature and scant regard for authority came to the fore (Coleman 1995: 83). It may be that he made the sketches in order to provoke the teaching staff at the college?

[72] For an example of this in the Isle of Man see Broderick (2015). This feeling was also prevalent in Brittany among Breton nationalists who sought to detached Brittany from France with German assistance during the years 1940-44 (cf. Broderick 2010).

[73] When I asked about the Holocaust, an abiding issue in Germany still, I was told that, even though they abhor what happened, it was regarded solely a German matter which had nothing to do with them, and for that reason was hardly ever discussed (see also §4.2.2. above). It was felt that there was more to Hitler than just the Holocaust, and that they felt at ease in discussing such topics without reference to the Holocaust. It was, in reality, a non-issue, and still is – GB.



Anthology – The Beatles Anthology (The Beatles 2000).

Ger. – German.

List – List of the Beatles‘ live performances, 2017.

SED – Survey of English Dialects (1950-1961).

SOED – Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1993 ed.).

TnG – Teilifís na Gaeilge (Irish (Gaelic) Television).



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