In the 1920s and 1930s Americans thought of Hitler as a joke. His shrill voice and jerky hand movements made it difficult to take him seriously. But some of the first people to meet him didn’t feel the same way.
Junior military attaché Truman Smith said, “This is a marvelous demagogue who can really inspire loyalty.” Karl von Wiegand was the first American journalist to interview Hitler in 1922. He felt the same way as Smith. They were both struck by Hitler’s oratorical skills and his ability to drive people into a frenzy.