A Bardophile Fuhrer

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The Independent Online
The Nazis loved Shakespeare and tried to claim him as one of their own despite some of his plays defying their ideological requirements, according to a new historical study.

Gerwin Stroble, a lecturer in International History at the London School of Economics, said Hitler intervened to lift Goebbels' ban on Shakespeare at the outbreak of the Second World War.

In next month's History Today magazine he reveals that the Nazi leader had been in power for just a few months when his party issued a pamphlet entitled Shakespeare - A Germanic Writer.

Macbeth, Hamlet and Richard III were all approved as "Nordic" and were regularly performed. As Stroble points out, Shakespeare "seemed a safer choice" than native dramatists Goethe and Schiller, with the former's "maudlin humanism" and the latter's pleas for "freedom of thought."