Hugh Trevor-Roper

While serving as a British army intelligence officer during the Second World War, Hugh-Trevor Roper earned a reputation as a leading expert on the German military intelligence service. At the end of the war, he was called upon to investigate the many stories then circulating about Hitler’s fate. The results of his inquiry, which he made public in late 1945, immediately brought an end to fantastic tales that Hitler had survived the war. Trevor-Roper’s investigation became the basis for a book, The Last Days of Hitler, which was first published in 1947. By 1983, almost half a million copies of this widely acclaimed work had been sold worldwide. In 1957, Trevor-Roper’s friendship with Harold Macmillan, then Prime Minister, helped secure for him the prestigious post of Regius Professor of History at Oxford University, which he held for many years. His criticisms of The Origins of the Second World War, a revisionist work by fellow British historian A.J.P. Taylor, have been widely quoted. Prime Minister Thatcher granted Trevor-Roper a peerage in 1979, and a year later he took the title Lord Dacre of Glanton. Perhaps the most embarrassing moment in his career came in 1983, when he inspected the spurious “Hitler diaries” and, after only a cursory examination, pronounced them to be authentic.