Perhaps the family name “Hitler” became the most well-known, deeply-hated last name during World War II, so imagine if you’re the guy living in the United States when he starts a world war and you have the same last name. Then imagine that you are also Adolf Hiter’s nephew.

Who Was This Hitler

We’re talking about William Patrick Hitler, born on 12 March 1911 in Toxteth in Liverpool.

And how was he connected to his Uncle Adolf?

William was the son of Adolf’s half-brother named Alois Hitler Jr., who met his Irish wife named Bridget Dowling in Dublin. When he was 3, Alois went back to Germany and left William under his mother’s care. By the time William was 18, his father had requested that he be sent to Germany, to which his mother agreed. He found out that his father had another son named Heinz, who would later join their uncle’s party and become a full-fledged Nazi.

“There was dandruff on his coat.”

William did not plan to live in the United States of America, nor initially thought of joining the US Navy. What he originally wanted was to benefit from his Uncle Adolf’s growing power as a chancellor when he was in Germany. He kept asking him to get him a job better than the one given to him in Reichskreditbank in Berlin. To get what he wanted, he threatened Adolf that he would sell their embarrassing family stories to the press. In 1938, uncle Adolf was done being bothered and blackmailed by his nephew. He told William that he had to forego his British citizenship if he wanted a better job. William felt that it was a trap, enjoying some diplomatic protection from arrest by the Gestapo so he fled for London instead, leaving one last threat for uncle Hitler; That he would tell people that Adolf’s paternal grandfather was actually Jewish.

As an act of retaliation, he wrote an article for Look Magazine titled “Why I Hate My Uncle.” Here’s one of the reasons he’d given:

Being very close to my father at the time, he (Adolf Hitler) autographed this picture for me. We had cakes and whipped cream, Hitler’s favorite dessert. I was struck by his intensity, his feminine gestures. There was dandruff on his coat.

Reasonable enough, if you ask me.

"Why I Hate My Uncle" by William Hitler
“Why I Hate My Uncle” by William Hitler, 1939. (Look magazine, 1939/Boingboing.net)

Pleading His Way Into The Navy

In January 1939, American newspaper publisher William Random Hearst brought William and his mom to the US for a lecture tour to share his knowledge of his uncle as propaganda in the run-up to U.S. entry into WWII. At the time, there was considerable isolationist sentiment in the country that did not want the U.S. involved in yet another war in Europe. When WWII broke out, there really wasn’t much need for lectures anymore about how bad Hitler was and Hearst News dropped him.. William tried to join the military, but he was not accepted because of his last name. Which is actually surprising from a propaganda standpoint, having members of Hitler’s family fighting for the Allies would a coup.

William Hitler
William Hitler. (U.S. Naval Institute (@NavalInstitute)/Twitter)

William did not give up and pleaded to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his letter, he wrote:

“Everybody in the world today must answer to himself which cause they will serve. To free people of deep religious feeling, there can be but one answer and one choice that will sustain them always and to the bitter end.

I am one of many, but I can render service to this great cause, and I have a life to give that it may, with the help of all, triumph in the end.

All my relatives and friends soon will be marching for freedom and decency under the Stars and Stripes. For this reason, Mr. President, I am respectfully submitting this petition to you to enquire as to whether I may be allowed to join them in their struggle against tyranny and oppression?”

In 1944, the President approved his request and Bill Hilter was drafted into the US Navy, where he served as a Pharmacist Mate. He also earned a Purple Heart and was discharged in 1947. Our country is somewhat fortunate that Hitler didn’t win a Medal of Honor during his service since the Navy names frigates after Medal of Honor winners. Imagine the frigate USS Hitler making a port call in Haifa Israel?

Later on, William changed his last name to Stuart-Houston as a civilian, which was an understandable decision. He married and had four sons. Stuart-Houston died on 14 July 1987.  

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