A Brief History
On February 25, 1932, Adolf Hitler applied for German citizenship. Why? Because he was not German! And that is just the first of today’s fascinating facts about Adolf Hitler. To see our full list of the “Top Ten Bizarre Adolf Hitler Facts,” please click here. For more on this particular entry, please read on below…
Digging deeper, we find Hitler born in Austria, and thus had to apply for naturalization as a German citizen in order to hold political office.
So how many other famous people were not of the nationality or ethnicity you thought they were? A lot!
Canada, our neighbor to the north and a great place to visit, has produced about a bajillion famous “Americans.” They include: singer Shania Twain; game show host Alex Trebek; newscaster Peter Jennings; actor William Shatner; singer Justin Bieber; comedian John Candy; comedian Jim Carrey; model Pamela Anderson; actor Michael J. Fox; singer-songwriter Paul Anka; comedian Dan Aykroyd; the rock band The Guess Who; actor Rick Moranis; actor Eugene Levy; Mike Myers (the actor-comedian, not the mass murderer from Halloween!); country music artist Hank Snow; the rock band Barenaked Ladies; legendary basketball coach James Naismith; comedian Phil Hartman; actor Martin Short; comic book artist Joe Shuster (of Superman fame); singer Alanis Morisette; and Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins who won 20 games 6 years in a row! In fact, there are so many Canadian-Americans that we can not list them all here.
Some other people who seem “All American” include: Charlize Theron (South Africa); golfing great Gary Player (South Africa); Bob Hope (England); Donald and Kieffer Sutherland (England). Even the principal actors on the HBO vampire show True Blood are not American, with Sookie and Bill both being born in England, Jason Stackhouse being born in Australia and Eric Northman being born in Sweden.
Some Americans were born outside of the country, casting their true nationality a little bit in doubt. Senator John McCain was born in Panama to American parents. Mitt Romney’s father George was born in Mexico. Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss was born in Israel, and Elvis Presley’s manager “Col.” Tom Parker was born in the Netherlands, which he tried to hide.
The so-called British royal family is actually German, and had changed their name from Saxe-Coburg Gotha to the more familiar House of Windsor in 1917 due to awkward appearances during World War I! If that seems cracked, be rest assured that European monarchs have frequently been from places other than the one they reigned over. It was quite common actually.
On the other hand, there are some people whose names make it seem that they do/did not come from where they were born. Examples include Alberto Fujimori, the ex-president of Peru and of Japanese descent, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the ex-president of France and of Hungarian descent.
Cracked fact: Both of them were once prosecuted as criminals!
The moral of the story is never make any assumptions about where somebody was born. To finish on a cracked note, St. Patrick was born in England, not Ireland, and Madame Curie (Marie Sklodowska) was Polish and born in Warsaw. “Australian” Mel Gibson (a.k.a. Mad Max) was actually born in New York!
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you think we slighted someone by omission from this article? Please add them to it by including them in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information on Hitler, please see first his writings…
Hitler, Adolf and Ralph Manheim. Mein Kampf. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.
And second, the historical interpretation of them…
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler: A Biography. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.