I have been watching a TV show on the American Heroes channel. The first episode was called “Hitler, the opportunist”.
At first, I thought that this show must be a re-run from years ago. I recognized all the footage. But when I looked more closely, I recognized the name Thomas Weber. He was making the ridiculous claim that he has “discovered” that Hitler was actually promoted to the rank of Private First Class. Weber seems to be making a career of trashing Hitler’s service record in World War One.
There was no rank with the name Private First Class in the German Imperial Army during World War One.
Many sources maintain that Hitler was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. There was no rank of Lance Corporal in the German Imperial Army either.
The truth is that the one promotion that Hitler received during the war was to the rank of Gefreiter.
The website, cited above, has an image of a Bavarian Gefreiter rank insignia near the bottom of the page, which I have copied. Letter B in the photo is the correct Bavarian badge of rank insignia that Hitler would have worn.
On the same page, the rank of Gefreiter can be seen in the NCO table, which translates the rank into English as Lance corporal. This is a rank in the British Army which roughly corresponds to Gefrieter in the German Imperial Army.
Note that a Lance Corporal in the British Army was, and still is, an NCO. A Gefrieter in the German Imperial army was the lowest rank of NCO. The American Army currently has no rank of Lance Corporal; however, the American Marine Corp does have this rank.
A Lance Corporal in the American Marine Corp is NOT an NCO. In the modern Bundeswehr there are many classes of Gefrieter. The lowest class is closer to a buck private, and also not an NCO.
Weber may have been confused because German ranks in World War One did not correspond with ranks in today’s German Army.
The following quote is from the Wikipedia page in the above link:
“Throughout the periods of the Royal Prussian Army, Imperial Army of the German Empire, Reichswehr and the German Wehrmacht, the rank of Gefreiter was considered in English the equivalent to a British Army Lance Corporal rank.
In order to “discover” this, Weber would have had to scroll down a bit on the page. I think he must have been reading about the rank of Gefreiter in the modern Bundeswehr.