Düsseldorf historian Gerd Krumeich has studied the picture and its history and concluded that Hitler was superimposed to lend credibility to the image of the Nazi leader as a patriot and a man of the people, daily Die Welt reported Thursday.
The photo was taken by Munich photographer Heinrich Hoffmann at a rally in support of war against the allies in Munich’s Odeonplatz on August 2, 1914.
But it was not until March 12, 1932 that it was published in the Nazi party newspaper the Illustrierte Beobachter, or “Illustrated Observer,” the day before the presidential election, after Hitler’s opponents had attacked Hitler over his flight from military service in Austria-Hungary and questioned his patriotism.
The caption on the picture read: “Adolf Hitler, the German patriot … in the middle of the crowd stands with blazing eyes – Adolf Hitler.”
The photo went on to become a favourite Nazi propaganda picture, appearing with captions such as “Adolf Hitler: a man of the people.”