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Return to Carthage, or Hitler’s Aeneas/Dido Fragment

Return to Carthage, or Hitler’s Aeneas/Dido Fragment

(p.389) Twenty-Three Return to Carthage, or Hitler’s Aeneas/Dido Fragment
The Conquest of Ruins
Julia Hell
University of Chicago Press

This chapter deals with a particular episode in the Nazi empire’s collapse, Hitler’s last neo-Roman performance, taking place on the eve of his suicide. Writing his Political Testament, which the author calls his Aeneas/Dido Fragment, Hitler reached for Roman and Carthaginian death masks, returning to the ancient city of Dido and Hannibal. The political testament demonstrates the breakdown of the neo-Roman imaginary. The author connects this analysis to the Reich Chancellery’s seventeenth-century Carthaginian tapestries and a series of recent German essays about the Second Punic war that were published in the wake of the Nazis’ defeat at Stalingrad and in Northern Africa. The author ends the chapter with an episode from the Battle of Tunis in 1943.

Keywords:   Hitler’s Political Testament, Aeneas and Dido Fragment, Rudolf Rahn, Battle of Tunis, Walter Frank, Helmut Berve, Hugo Landgraf, Jewish enemy, Joseph Goebbels, Roman-Carthaginian matrix

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