Hitler's Mannerheim Conversation: Secret recording from 1942 of the first 11 minutes of Adolf Hitler having a private conversation with Finland's General Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.
During the visit, an engineer of the Finnish broadcasting company YLE, Thor Damen, succeeded in recording the first 11 minutes of Hitler's and Mannerheim's private conversation. This had to be done secretly, as Hitler never allowed others to record him off-guard. Damen was given the assignment to record the official birthday speeches and Mannerheim's responses and following those orders added microphones to certain railway cars.
Unfortunately, Mannerheim and his guests chose to go to a car that didn't have a microphone in it. Damen acted quickly, pushing a microphone through one of the car windows to a netshelf just above where Hitler and Mannerheim were sitting. After 11 minutes of Hitler's and Mannerheim's private conversation, Hitler's SS bodyguards spotted the cords coming out of the window and realized that the Finnish engineer was recording the conversation. They gestured to him to stop recording immediately, and he complied. The SS bodyguards demanded that the tape be immediately destroyed, but YLE was allowed to keep the reel, after promising to keep it in a sealed container. It was given to the head of the state censors' office Kustaa Vilkuna and in 1957 returned to YLE. It was made available to the public a few years later. It is the only known recording of Hitler speaking in an unofficial tone.
There is an unsubstantiated story that during his meeting with Hitler, Mannerheim lit a cigar. Mannerheim supposed that Hitler would ask Finland for help against the Soviet Union, which Mannerheim was unwilling to give. When Mannerheim lit up, all in attendance gasped, for Hitler's aversion to smoking was well known. Yet Hitler continued the conversation calmly, with no comment. In this way, Mannerheim could judge if Hitler was speaking from a position of strength or weakness. He was able to refuse Hitler, knowing that Hitler was in a weak position, and could not dictate to him.