The Edmondson Blog

Hitler Has Only Got One Ball

Hitler has only got one ball,
Göring has two but very small,
Himmler is somewhat sim'lar,
But poor Goebbels has no balls at all.

It is generally agreed that this ditty was written by Toby O'Brien, in August 1939 as British propaganda. O'Brien was the publicist for the British Council, the quago which encourages cultural and educational relationships between the United Kingdom and other countries.

O'Brien never directly claimed authorship and there are no known attempts by anyone to claim or enforce a copyright on the lyrics. It was only many years later that O'Brien's son claimed authorship for his father, although a Daily Mail report from 1939 states that it was attributed to someone not unconnected with our old friend the British Council.

It is known that the original version went:

Göring has only got one ball
Hitler's are so very small
Himmler's so very sim'lar
And Goebbels has no balls at all.

Göring and Hitler's positions were reversed very early on.

The lyrics were written to be sung to the tune of The Colonel Bogey March. This music is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts, a British military bandmaster who was director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth.

Supposedly, the tune was inspired by a military man and golfer who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase (a descending minor third interval) instead of shouting Fore! It is this descending interval which begins each line of the melody. At the time, the couplet Colonel Bogey was in use as a humerous reference to the imaginary partner for golfers who were playing on their own.

British officers of his day were not encouraged to pursue interests outside the Services so, as a Lieutenant, he published works under the pseudonym of Kenneth Alford, Kenneth being the Christian name of his eldest son, and Alford being his mother's maiden name.

But back to Hitler's equipment - was he monorchic (the medical name for the suggestion)?

A Soviet autopsy released in 1970 claimed Hitler was so, but most historians dismiss this as propaganda.

More interestingly, in November 2008, an eye-witness account by a Geat War army medic, Johan Jambor, was discovered. Apparently, in the 1960s, Jambor gave his account of how he saved Hitler's life after a groin injury in 1916 to a Polish priest and amateur historian called Franciszek Pawlar. Pawlar's record of the conversation was discovered by Pawlar's relatives and published.

A surviving friend of Jambor's, Blassius Hanczuch, has confirmed the story, adding that Jambor and his co-rescuers dubbed Hitler screamer (Schreihals) because, as they were carrying him away, they came under French fire and had to temporarily abandon him, upon which he began to scream very loudly, imploring them to come back and threatening them with court martial if they were to leave him behind.

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