His moustache is the most instantly recognisable – and sinister – in history.
Yet, according to new research into Adolf Hitler’s early life, the distinctive, toothbrush shape that adorned his scowling face was not his first preference.
A previously unpublished essay by a writer who served alongside Hitler in the First World War trenches reveals that the future FÃ¼hrer was only obeying orders when he shaped his moustache into its tightly-clipped style. He was instructed to do so in order that it would fit under the respirator masks, introduced in response to British mustard gas attacks.
Had that order never been issued, the tyrant who brought most of Europe to its knees would be remembered as a man with a large Prussian moustache.