In the Second World War, British soldiers used to sing a saucy song suggesting that Hitler only had one testicle. I always assumed this single ball slander had no basis in fact.
Interestingly, medical reports on Hitler when he was imprisoned in the 1920s suggest that far from being an invention of British propaganda, the Fuhrer may indeed have only possessed one properly descended ball.
The lyrics to the song sung by soldiers varies. As a child growing up in London in the 1970s, this ditty was still being belted out by kids. We all knew the words!
Hitler has only got one ballBritish Army song – possible author: Toby O’Brien in 1939
Göring has two but very small
Himmler is rather sim’lar
But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all
Another version says that Hitler’s missing ball is in the Albert Hall – rhymes you see!
It’s been asserted that an even earlier version of the song had Göring, a leader of the Nazi high command, with the testicular deficit. He was said to have lost half his manhood during a Nazi failed coup d’etat in 1923 in Munich known as the Beer Hall Putsch.
It was after that 1923 attempt at a Nazi revolt that Hitler was put in prison. While under lock and key, he was examined by Dr Josef Brinsteiner. His report, alluding to the missing ball, was discovered in an archive by a professor at the University of Erlangen and published a few years ago in the German mass circulation tabloid Bild.
Here I am discussing this on Private Lives – the history documentary series presented by Tracy Borman and broadcast on UKTV and Yesterday.