The picture shows a gathering in Munich, the crowd in a happy disposition. This is a very familiar photo showing how the people gathered in Munich’s Odeonsplatz cheered when Germany declared it was officially at war against Russia in August 2. 1914.
What’s very noticeable about the photo is that it features a seeming face of a young Adolf Hitler among the sea of faces. This same image had been used by the Nazis to mark the dictator’s life-long allegiance to Germany.
But, is this photo really authentic? Dr. Sean Lang, a History Senior Lecturer in Anglia Ruskin University poses a series of serious questions regarding its genuineness.
For one, Hitler’s photographs during the war showed him as having a large mustache, the sort of which was fashionable at that time. The practice of having “toothbrush”-shaped mustache – as seen in this photo – appeared to become known during the war as it allowed men to don on their gas masks more comfortably; this said fashion was relatively unknown, then, before 1914.
If the photograph is really accurate, Hitler, who was almost alone in Europe, then wore a toothbrush-shaped mustache in 1914, grew it into a large mustache during the war then again went back to having his toothbrush beard after the war — a trail of events that are not seemingly likely.
True, he was in Munich in 1914. His presence in this crowd would really cement his character as a German loyalist. There is a possibility young Adolf Hitler was just infused into this image by Nazi advocates but the most likely reason behind this is that the said picture was touched up to make Hitler more recognizable among the throng to Germans in the 1930s.
This said photograph only exists through its reproduced form – this reproduction always had Hitler encircled – and is present a number of museum exhibits including one in the Imperial War Museum. The original copy’s location is quite difficult to seek out.
For that reason, it must, in Dr. Lang’s belief, be best regarded as an alleged, rather than as a definite, evidence of Hitler being in the crowd.