COLUMN: The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

• There are many things the Grumpster is passionate about: family; friends; Church; curries and of course, my long-suffering Doris. You can add history to that list. So today, by way of a change, I have penned a piece, comparing Hitler to Henry Tudor. While not wishing for a second to diminish the heinous crimes of the Beast of Branau, there are intriguing similarities and with 20th century technology and weaponry, late 15th century England would have been a terrifying place. I have identified eight similarities:

• (1) lowly birth - Hitler was the son of a brutal, insignificant civil servant. Tudor’s paternal grandfather was a Welsh peasant who got lucky with Henry V’s widow and fathered 2 children (including Tudor’s father).

• (2) Mothers – Hitler was a mummy’s boy milksop who never got over his mother’s death when he was just 16. Tudor barely knew his mother until he became king after Bosworth.

• (3) Character – both men were gloomy, paranoid, ruthless, friendless, inscrutable, ambitious and murderous.

• (4) Exile and imprisonment. The young Hitler was a drifter in Vienna and imprisoned in Lansdsberg after his coup attempt in 1924. Tudor spent much of his youth in France, hiding from Yorkist kings.

• (5) Achieved power against the odds – Hitler’s rise to power was astonishing. He overcame innumerable obstacles before the stupidity of the then Chancellor, von Papen and President Hindenburg handed him power on a plate. Tudor didn’t have a drop of royal blood in his veins and seized power through force of arms and a lack of alternatives to Richard III (most of the Yorkist and Lancastrian nobility had been killed in battle or executed).

• (6) Use of force to seize/maintain power – Hitler used low born thugs such as Goebbels, Rohm and Himmler to secure and hold onto power. Tudor had his equivalents in Poynings and Dudley.

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• (7) Murder of rivals – Hitler introduced Europe to state-sanctioned murder when he authorised the night of the long knives in July 1934. Tudor, when king, executed his last Yorkist rival, Edward Duke of Warwick and very possibly had the princes in the tower murdered.

• And finally, (8) Legacy. Hitler laid waste to Europe. Tudor’s son, Henry VIII, broke with Rome and kicked off 600 years of sectarian violence. Hitler is rightly a reviled character. At last, historians like Philippa Gregory are shining a light on the misdeeds of Tudor and his appalling family. Long may it continue.