This adorable little fucker is Hans Joachim Marseille (1919-1942), a German Luftwaffe pilot. Though I can’t say he was something noble like a resistance fighter, he was an utter badass with that touch of brokenness and sensitivity. He was a lazy student and got kicked out of his first unit, once the war had started, because of insubordination, concretely because of lack of discipline, arrogance and a liking for liquor, girls and jazz music, even though he was repeatedly evaluated as a very gifted pilot. After a while in his new squadron in North Africa, he started intensive self-training and later developed his own tactics, leading to outstanding success and ultimately the highest decoration for bravery in Nazi Germany.
So much about his life, but the crush-worthy stuff is yet to come. Even though he was forbidden to continue to do so, he performed several ‘mercy missions’, means he drove to remote crash sites to rescue Allied pilots or, if he couldn’t, flew to their airfields to deliver letters of regret (in two cases). When he coincidentally learned of the ‘Final Solution’, he ran off to Italy and refused to keep on serving in the army, unfortunately he was tracked down by Gestapo and forced to go back. Several biographers have written about his disdain for the National Socialist movement and authority in general.
In summer 1942, he was to play the piano at a party in Berlin (because the little shit also was a really talented musician), attended by the very elite of the Third Reich, like really, there were Göring, Goebbels, Himmler, Messerschmitt (an industrial) and Hitler himself. After an hour of playing Beethoven like a good boy, he proceeded by playing American jazz like a total badass.
But actually I think his arrogance, lack of discipline and overall playboy behaviour were mostly a result of his parents having divorced when he was a young child, concluding in a difficult relationship with his natural father. Okay I know this sounds cheesy and cliche but I guess this was even harder back then, especially in a culture that glorified the traditional family abnormally. In addition, in 1941 his sister was murdered and in early September 1942 two of his closest friends died, leaving him as an emotional wreck for the last few weeks of his life.
This leads me over to his death, another nominee for the most tragic story. On September the 30th, he insisted the new airplane he was to fly for an escort mission wasn’t safe but eventually was forced to. The mission passed without combat, but on their way back the engine caught fire and the cockpit filled with smoke so as soon as they reached friendly lines, he tried to bail out. Due to the smoke and slight disorientation, he didn’t notice his plane had turned so as he jumped out, his chest hit the vertical stabilizer (the broad thingy on the back) what either killed him instantly or made him lose consciousness so he couldn’t open his parachute anymore. He had planned to take leave for Christmas to marry his fiancée, only 3 months later.
Also just look at that dorky little shit who can’t wear his stupid uniform hat properly so his stupid hair is flowing in the wind and his stupid adorable grin I mean how dare you