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Hitler 'wanted to train military with cricket'

19th March 2010

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler considered using cricket to train German troops, according to broadcaster John Simpson.

In his new book Unreliable Sources: How the 20th Century was Reported, the BBC's world affairs editor found that the Fuhrer learned the basics of the game from British prisoners of war in the First World War.

Mr Simpson based his claims on an article in the Daily Mirror written in 1930 by British right-wing MP and Nazi sympathiser Oliver Locker-Lampson, which suggested Hitler thought the sport could be useful for military recruits.

'He desired to study it as a possible medium for the training of troops off-duty and in times of peace,' the MP wrote.

However, Hitler believed that the quintessentially English game was not aggressive enough and suggested banning the use of pads as he considered them to be 'unmanly and un-German'.

Earlier this month, declassified documents released by MI5 showed that Hitler Youth groups attempted to establish links with the Boy Scouts, while the Secret Service feared German students were spying when on cycling tours of Europe.

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