AMERICAN film director Oliver Stone has sparked outrage after branding Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler a “scapegoat” and praising Joseph Stalin.

“I’ve been able to walk in Stalin’s shoes and Hitler’s shoes, to understand their point of view.”

Mainstream media began picking up on his controversial comments about the bloodthirsty dictators a day after Stone spoke out at a California screening to promote his new TV series on 20th Century America.

The ten-hour Showtime series, entitled Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America, is an attempt to redress what he believed was a biased version of history taught in US schools.

One episode focuses entirely on a more positive side of Hitler – whose Nazi regime was responsible for the extermination of six million Jews.

British newspapers including The Daily Mail, the Guardian and The Independent today jumped on his comments, made during a screening at the Television Critics Association’s biannual press tour in Pasadena, after blog sites such as HotAir.com began to post reports.