Skip to comments.An Early Wartime Profile Depicts a Tormented Hitler
Posted on 03/30/2005 7:12:00 PM PST by neverdem
He was a feminine boy, averse to manual work, who was "annoyingly subservient" to superior officers as a young soldier and had nightmares that were "very suggestive of homosexual panic." The mass killings that he later perpetrated stemmed in part from a desperate loathing of his own submissive weakness, and the humiliations of being beaten by a sadistic father.
What is believed to be the first psychological profile of Hitler commissioned by the Office of Strategic Services, a predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency, was posted this month by Cornell University Law Library on its Web site (www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/donovan/hitler/). Although declassified some years ago, the report, written in 1943, has not been widely cited or available to the public, historians and librarians at Cornell say.
The library published the analysis after receiving permission from a relative of its author, the late Dr. Henry A. Murray, a prominent personality expert at Harvard in the middle of the last century. The document's release was reported on Tuesday on the Fox News program "The Big Story With John Gibson."
"For a long time, people thought there was only one psychological profile of Hitler commissioned by the O.S.S.," said Dr. Jerrold M. Post, a professor of psychiatry at George Washington University and the founder of the C.I.A.'s psychological branch, referring to a wartime report by Dr. Walter C. Langer that formed the basis of his 1972 book, "The Mind of Adolf Hitler."
Dr. Langer, a noted psychoanalyst, died in 1981. Dr. Murray was among several psychoanalysts who had worked with him in profiling Hitler for the O.S.S., and the Murray profile was apparently incorporated into the later, more definitive Langer account.
It is clear that this earlier profile added to the definitive profile of Hitler, Dr. Post said, "and very few people have known that it even exists."
Dr. Post said he came upon a draft of the Murray profile in 2000 while researching a book of his own, "The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders."
Some experts, including Dr. Post himself, are not convinced that the report is without significant shortcomings.
The posted document is a condensed version of Dr. Murray's evaluation, a mixture of psychoanalytic theorizing, speculation and lurid detail about Hitler's life that could have come from a crime novel. In an authoritative voice, Dr. Murray diagnoses in Hitler neurosis, hysteria, paranoia, Oedipal tendencies, schizophrenia, "infinite self-abasement" and "syphilophobia," which he describes as a fear of contamination of the blood through contact with a woman. But the document refers only vaguely to its sources, and presents no scientific evidence for its findings.
"There's a whole lot of what we would now think of as psychobabble in Murray's article," Dr. Michael Stone, a psychiatrist at Columbia University School of Medicine, said after reviewing the profile. One example, Dr. Stone said, is "the suggestion that as a child Hitler witnessed his mother and father having sex, which in those days was given great weight as a source of psychological turmoil." Such an effect has since been discredited.
Dr. Murray did not have the benefit of genetic studies, or of more carefully distinguished categories of mental illness established later.
"Almost anyone who appeared crazy was called schizophrenic back then," Dr. Stone said, "and people didn't make distinctions between schizophrenia, for example, and manic depression."
In a more recent psychological profile, the neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Fritz Redlich argued in his 1998 book, "Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet," that while troubled and with paranoid tendencies, Hitler had probably not been mentally ill. Even during the war, many historians were very skeptical of efforts to explain, with what they described as armchair psychoanalysis, acts of transcendent cruelty.
Dr. Murray himself was a controversial figure. Having returned to Harvard after the war, he was involved in psychological experiments in 1959-62 in which a stress test similar to one the O.S.S. had used to assess recruits was administered to student volunteers. Among them was the young Theodore J. Kaczynski, a precocious student at Harvard who later became known as the Unabomber. Lawyers for Mr. Kaczynski, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to letter bomb attacks that killed 3 people and wounded 28 others, traced some of his emotional instability and fear of mind control to those tests.
Still, historians say, the spirit of Hitler is alive, and infused with morbid detail, in Dr. Murray's pages. The growing boy, a frustrated romantic who loved painting castles and temples, and who was enthralled with architecture, also developed "a profound admiration, envy and emulation of his father's masculine power and a contempt for his mother's feminine submissiveness and weakness," Dr. Murray wrote.
"Thus," the profile says, "both parents were ambivalent to him: his father was hated and respected; his mother was loved and depreciated. Hitler's conspicuous actions have all been in imitation of his father, not his mother."
The assessment also includes advice for how the Allies should handle Hitler if he was captured (secretly film him, replete with sound track, in his cell so that the world would witness his rantings) and what name to give him when talking to his defeated countrymen (False Prophet or False Messiah at first; Corporal Satan or World Criminal No. 1 later). As for how Hitler's life would play out in the absence of capture, Dr. Murray predicted suicide.
"There is a powerful compulsion in him to sacrifice himself and all of Germany to the revengeful annihilation of Western culture, to die, dragging all of Europe with him into the abyss," Dr. Murray wrote.
Barring a deadly coup or insanity, Dr. Murray speculated, Hitler would arrange to have himself killed by a German or a Jew, to complete the myth of the hero betrayed. Or he would retreat to his bunker and, in dramatic fashion, shoot himself.
In the spring of 1945, as far as historians can determine, that is exactly what he did.
Hitler never drew people. He's draw streets and scenes but no people.
And he may have been 12.5 % Jewish.
and he was a homo.
Bump for later. Thanks for your post, neverdem.
As for how Hitler's life would play out in the absence of capture, Dr. Murray predicted suicide. Good call.
"How fortunate for govenments that people do not think". Adolph Hitler
(Quoted in an article by Richard Grenier, "The Gandhi Nobody Knows," Commentary, March 1983 [online at http://eserver.org/history/ghandi-nobody-knows.txt ])
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
He was a genius.
<< and he was a homo. >>
In the end, that's all he was: The ultimate manifestation of evil - the definitive bitchy queer.
[All of history's most evil tyrants were/are, demonstrably, sexual deviants]
I periodically remind my teenage vegetarian niece that Hitler, too, was a vegetarian. This does not amuse her mother (my liberal sister-in-law).
Actually, he did draw people. He just wasn't any good at it.
"and he was a homo."
Please. The man had enough problems. THAT was NOT one of them. Some evidence for your perusal:
1. He justified the murders of Roehm and his homosexual S.A. leadership by telling the Reichstag: "For their perversity alone they should have been shot!"
2. He was so distressed when his half-niece, Geli Raubal killed herself (he was in love with her) that he was put on a 'suicide watch' by fellow NAZIs who refused to leave him alone for a couple of days afterwards (circa 1930).
3. Eva Braun's letters survive and put the lie to the above statement - she describes their love making in at least one of them - he kept his socks on, if you care to know.
4. Finally (the clincher): he fathered a son (whom he never saw) with a French woman during WW I. When he conquered France, he had her immediately locked up in a mental asylum.
Her son found out his father's identity on his mother's death bed, and, needless to say, it ruined his life. He did have children however, so Hitler actually left descendants, who are French, and probably do not volunteer this family information very readily (to say the least).
However, he WAS a psychopath;
He was a Methamphetamine addict since about 1935, courtesy the quack Dr. Morrell, who was retained by Hitler as his doctor because Morrell was a Syphillis specialist;
He probably had Syphillis since some time in his youth, and his later conduct is consistent with the later stages of the disease, as well as Methamphetamine mania.
Any OTHER history lessons you want me to present to you?
There's no point in trying to slander a monster. His crimes speak for themselves and are infinitely worse than any of the character flaws he is often accused of.
Third, some understanding of Hitler had to include his love of Wagner, Hegel and other aspects of Germanic culture. While Hitler was not a truly speaking a German, he was Germanic enough to crave an identity as such including Wagner's antisemitism and so forth. As I understand it, Wagner was a cross dresser and Hitler's sexual predilections suggested dysfunction but his biographers have all been unclear to what extant.
There is such a thing as evil. Hitler surely was one of the great communicators of the 30s who understood the fears, wishes and needs of the Germans. He was clever to the extreme and must have been a great retail as well as a wholesale politician. He took all his abilities, all of his intelligence and directed it towards evil; hence, he was an evil man.
Finally, I wish people who write of Hitler's psychology would review Elias Canett's Crowds and Power. This book has a lengthy review of wanting to be a survivor and enjoying being a survivor of the dead as a prime motive factor in many mass murderers of history--that is Genghis Khan, Saddam, Caesar and so forth. This is why these people were dangerous and why now (with the A bomb) we dare not permit another to rise. A good reason for disposing of Saddam.
I didn't read the link in comment# 1, yet. Did you already?
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