Yet the psychiatrist does not limit himself to a discussion of Hitler's physical self. In the last section of the book, he goes beyond that, delving into the Nazi leader's psyche and constructing what amounts to a psychiatric profile.
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Psychoanalyzing Hitler has been a popular endeavor ever since the United States Government's Office of Strategic Services commissioned a psychological profile of Hitler in hope of finding novel ways to defeat him. After Hitler's death, efforts to explain his behavior in psychological terms proliferated.
Indeed, Dr. William McKinley Runyan, a professor in the school of social welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, said Nazi Germany became, in a sense, ''a test case'' for the budding genre of psycho-history. Runyan said. For his part, Dr.
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Redlich does as much to temper what he considers exaggerated interpretations by previous biographers as he does to add his own psychiatric insights. Though his own training is psychoanalytic, Dr. Redlich says he is dubious about how much psychoanalysis can contribute to an understanding of Hitler: there are simply not enough available data. Yet unlike some historians, who distrust any application of psychological theory to historical figures, Dr.
Redlich believes one cannot adequately assess Hitler's actions without taking into account not only the historical facts, but the Nazi leader's ''psychological reality. These beliefs, the author argues, may have affected the Nazi leader's behavior, whether or not they were true. There is no clear evidence, Dr. Redlich writes, to support either claim. Redlich theorizes that Hitler may have thought his physical abnormalities -- his hypospadia and spina bifida occulta -- were signs that he had inherited syphilis from his father.
And his rage at this may have fueled his anti-Semitism, and his obsession with syphilis as a ''Jewish disease,'' a theme he dwelled upon for 10 pages in ''Mein Kampf. One of the most puzzling aspects of Hitler's childhood is that investigators have been able to find little there to foreshadow the adult he would become.
He did not torture animals though there is a single, often repeated, story about a billy goat , and from the little that is known, he seemed a fairly normal child, though sexually shy in adolescence. Redlich writes. Indicators of Hitler's peculiarities in later adulthood, of course, are abundant, from his sexual inhibition he may never have had sexual intercourse with Eva Braun, Dr.
Redlich writes to his phobias of disease, his explosive rages, his delusions and his conviction that he would die at an early age he died at In his book, Dr. Redlich runs through a list of psychiatric symptoms -- paranoia, narcissism, anxiety, depression, hypochondria, to name a few -- and finds some evidence for every one.
Hitler's speechwriting process
Proof that Hitler was overtly self-destructive or sexually perverse is sparser and less compelling, the author says. Yet Dr. Redlich concludes that attaching a formal psychiatric diagnosis to the Nazi leader is not very useful. Hitler took advantage of the brewing discontent and found himself at the forefront of an opportunistic political ideology, the National Socialist German Workers' party. Eight years later, the Nazis were the largest party in the Reichstag. By , Hitler and his frightening political agenda were leading the German government. In short, as historian Robert Waite writes : "Hitler was Nazidom.
Seldom in the history of western civilization has so much depended on one man's personality.
A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler's Behavior and Actions | Kibin
He created his own political theory and a government that could not exist without him. Bundesarchiv Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, wrote in his diary that Hitler was known to write his own speeches and edit them up to five times. He would "work deep into the night, several evenings running, occupying three secretaries taking dictation straight into the typewriters before carefully correcting the drafts," according to British historian Ian Kershaw.
Merkl, The Making of a Stormtrooper , Neil J. For background on this research, see Elliot Aronson, Timothy D. Wilson, and Robin M.
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For applications to the understanding of mass hatred, see Staub, The Roots of Evil. Daryl J. Bern developed self-perception theory, drawing on Skinnerian principles.
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Cognitive dissonance theory was originally developed by Leon Festin-ger in and has been one of the most heavily researched topics in contemporary social psychology. CrossRef Google Scholar.
Staub, Dicks, Dicks builds his analysis on the work of W. Browning, The Path to Genocide , See also Christopher R. From this point forward, very few left the SS except for reason of ill-health; there were also some suicides. Gerald L. Borofsky and Don J. This chapter summarizes and interprets other studies on the Nuremberg Rorschachs.
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The IQ scores appear in Mosley, Ronald Jay Cohen, Mark E. Swerdlik, and Douglas K. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, , — Borofsky and Brand, The three studies were: F. Miale and M. Miale and Selzer claim to have detected some evidence of psychopathology, but Borofsky and Brand convincingly demonstrate the severe flaws in their methodology. Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness , Viktor E. See Browning, Ordinary Men. Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents , trans.
James Strachey New York: Norton, John M. Dimsdale New York: Hemisphere, , Steiner, New York: Penguin Books, , Arendt, Kren and Rappoport, Several theories of Nazi murderousness have appeal, in part, because they serve a psychological function for the people who believe them. To view Nazis as severely disturbed madmen preserves the image of a benevolent humanity in which most people, even most Germans, lack the potential for genocidal activity; this notion, born partly of astonishment at the heinousness of Nazi crimes, can be comforting and restores some order to the world.
To see Nazi killers as evil-to-the-core, sadistic, and incapable of warmth in any aspect of their lives serves similar functions. People who see the Nazi killers as petrified slaves ignore the historical record in order to express their overly strong need to empathize; they also simplify the world and reduce their conflict in dealing with Germans and Germany after Hitler. The most troubling explanations of Nazi murderousness focus on careerism and duty, because these goals feel familiar to most people in the West.
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