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Brian O Connor

Hitlers psychological make up

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The following excerpt is taken from Prof. Rainer F. Schmidt`s book on the Hess flight (Botengang einen Toren), and describes a scene between Hess and Hitler during their time in Landsberg prison. Hitler and Hess were working on his book Mein Kampf.

The passage is taken from a letter written by Rudolf Hess to Ilsa; the woman he later married, and may help in understanding the development of Hitlers character and state of mind, the trauma he suffered during the Great War and its contributory influence on his later actions.

I would be interested to hear member’s views on it.

When I brought him his tea at lunchtime, he signalled that I should stay; I should listen to a corrected passage: Political observations on the beginning of the Great War, the convulsion of and darkening clouds on the horizon, until the lightening burst of the catastrophe strikes ground, and the clash of thunder mixes with the howl of the artillery salvos.

He tells of his joining up with the Bavarian army, of marching out of barracks, the journey along the Rhein, the train with the young recruits passing the Niederwald monument gleaming in the sun through a thin mist of fog, then, the marching song “Wacht am Rhein” breaking forth from the lads mouths- and shortly thereafter in Flanders, the first whistling greetings of war, singing back to them in reply.

Suddenly, from the far right, a ringing, at first only a murmur, but growing louder and closer “Deutschland Deutschland uber Alles”, again and again, new mouths taking up the anthem, passing it on, until the whole front is one voice, in a storm of song.

But, between the columns of singers the whipping of the sheaves, flattening Germanys young blooms. The tribune had now begun to read more slowly, stuttering, with blank expression on his face, it appeared to me as if he were searching for, had become lost in his thoughts, he made longer and longer pauses, then letting the page drop, he fell silently weeping, his head in his hands.

- At this moment my own composure was also at an end, but do I need to tell you that!

Then he spoke a few words of the incomparable heroism of our boys, of his own battles and suffering, and then of the treachery at home, “ Oh! when the day finally arrives, when I have the chance, what a terrible and merciless retribution will I take !”

“I will take revenge in the name of the dead, who I see then, standing before me!”

At the end of his account, nothing more was spoken between us; but as I was leaving we offered and silently clasped hands with one another.

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Its tone is laudatory, providing a lead in the whole Hess saga, but it seems to pick up after monologues in chapter two where he really reveals the very new united german kingdoms and prussias and bavarias role and between the lines I think one can see a very early formulation of an anti bolchevic stance which quite frankly many western leaders and industrialists were quite happy with.

edit:typo

Edited by John Dolva

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It has been said that Hitler was born, not at Brunau, but at Versailles.

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Thanks Paul and thanks Pamela,

I was struck by the quote about Hitler’s promised retribution and wondered how he could see himself somehow appointed to exact revenge.

The “stab in the back” syndrome seems to be common to the virulence which affected all Nazis. But, reading the revenge quote, I am wondering if some other cataclysmic event during the war or the attrition of war itself had been responsible for Hitler’s state of mind in particular.

Somehow, the quote about merciless vengeance and the presence of his dead comrades at his day of reckoning leaves me thinking, that he saw himself as a latter-day Goel (or maybe not) taking blood retribution on their behalf, and that the monster might have been born out of personal loss he had suffered in the trenches. (It’s odd; when one considers that excepting his mother, possibly his niece Geli Raubal or maybe Eva Braun he doesn’t seem to have been close to anyone during his life). And, I don’t know that there is any indication that he had any close friends or human relationships during the war, and whose loss might somehow have led to him assuming their cause, or invested him in his crusade of revenge?

Throughout his career Hitler constantly refers to the divine providence which has led him to his mission, but did he have an epiphany or was he simply born evil?

p.s John, I see that you have read the book. What did you think of the Stalin preparations to attack Germany ? I have not seen this discussed elsewhere ?

Edited by Brian O Connor

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Paul? ...

Brian, I have not read Mein Kampf. I am aware of it. I've read sections and accounts of it. I can readily access a copy and in time refer to it. (the first and last time I tried to read it was in my youth. I found it to be repetitive propagandish nationalistic supremacist emotive drivel of the foulest kind and have no interest in it except as a historical artifact.)

At the same time I'm a pacifist and anti capital punishment for ANY reason. I'm also realist enough to recognise that as an ideal of a flawed human.

_______

At the moment, without referring to Mein Kampf on my part, I wonder whether you factor in the relatively recent formation of Germany as a united Nation as opposed to a coalition of Kingdoms of which Bavaria, Prussia, and others contributed particular qualities.

The death for the fatherland syndrome, in a form, was deeply instilled in the minds of many.

The revolution Hitler refers to is the Russian Revolution of 1917 that lead to cessation of fire. (WWI).

The years that followed were years of turmoil (look at Rosa Luxembourg and co (even the Wobblies in the US).

Germany signed the Versaille documents.

I think he held a number (incl Hess) to be friends and acted accordingly. Hess could perhaps seen to be a person who saw a personal advantage in cultivating this. Possibly this could feed a god complex.

I don't believe people are born with a destiny of evil.

Stalin:

(Again, not referring to MK). With the absence of Trotsky as the head of the Red Army, duties fell to other brilliant military strategists. The Soviets had basically already perfected the Blitzkrieg in defeating the Go Northists of Japan in the far east and its armaments were spread across the giant Soviet landmass as OP Barbarossa drew closer.

The intial tactic was to form self strenthening buffers that synchronously grew stronger as one withdrew into the next (combined witha scorched earth policy) and so on, while Hitlers rapid advance stetched the supply lines.

In the end Leningrad became the testing ground and it's here where German Generals conspired to permit a Finnish conspiracy to keep the Soviet supply lines open.

Basically the end of that conflict was the end of the war.

A few weeks later, the allies bagan the race for Berlin, from Normandy, where (Berlin) they sat back for three days while the Red Army took the city with 300 000 casualties, (half of all US pacific and european war total),

well by then Hitler was dead and the rest is another story.

I don't know whether Stalin was an impediment to this incredibly sacrficing conflict (USSR total war casualties variously numbered at around 35 million.) I know the eastern front was not exactly a theatre of choice for combatants.

edit:typos

edit add: In the ''Wild Bill'' Donovan's online archive is an interesting psychological analysis of Hitler compiled relatively early in the war (WWII).

Edited by John Dolva

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Paul? ...

Brian, I have not read Mein Kampf. I am aware of it. I've read sections and accounts of it. I can readily access a copy and in time refer to it. (the first and last time I tried to read it was in my youth. I found it to be repetitive propagandish nationalistic supremacist emotive drivel of the foulest kind and have no interest in it except as a historical artifact.)

At the same time I'm a pacifist and anti capital punishment for ANY reason. I'm also realist enough to recognise that as an ideal of a flawed human.

_______

At the moment, without referring to Mein Kampf on my part, I wonder whether you factor in the relatively recent formation of Germany as a united Nation as opposed to a coalition of Kingdoms of which Bavaria, Prussia, and others contributed particular qualities.

The death for the fatherland syndrome, in a form, was deeply instilled in the minds of many.

The revolution Hitler refers to is the Russian Revolution of 1917 that lead to cessation of fire. (WWI).

The years that followed were years of turmoil (look at Rosa Luxembourg and co (even the Wobblies in the US).

Germany signed the Versaille documents.

I think he held a number (incl Hess) to be friends and acted accordingly. Hess could perhaps seen to be a person who saw a personal advantage in cultivating this. Possibly this could feed a god complex.

I don't believe people are born with a destiny of evil.

Stalin:

(Again, not referring to MK). With the absence of Trotsky as the head of the Red Army, duties fell to other brilliant military strategists. The Soviets had basically already perfected the Blitzkrieg in defeating the Go Northists of Japan in the far east and its armaments were spread across the giant Soviet landmass as OP Barbarossa drew closer.

The intial tactic was to form self strenthening buffers that synchronously grew stronger as one withdrew into the next (combined witha scorched earth policy) and so on, while Hitlers rapid advance stetched the supply lines.

In the end Leningrad became the testing ground and it's here where German Generals conspired to permit a Finnish conspiracy to keep the Soviet supply lines open.

Basically the end of that conflict was the end of the war.

A few weeks later, the allies bagan the race for Berlin, from Normandy, where (Berlin) they sat back for three days while the Red Army took the city with 300 000 casualties, (half of all US pacific and european war total),

well by then Hitler was dead and the rest is another story.

I don't know whether Stalin was an impediment to this incredibly sacrficing conflict (USSR total war casualties variously numbered at around 35 million.) I know the eastern front was not exactly a theatre of choice for combatants.

edit:typos

edit add: In the ''Wild Bill'' Donovan's online archive is an interesting psychological analysis of Hitler compiled relatively early in the war (WWII).

Apologies John, don't know how that happened, but got your name right in the postscript at least B) . However, I was not referring to MK , which is as you say, a total waste of loo paper.

The book I was referring to is by Prof Schmidt and his investigation of the Hess Flight "Botengang einen Toren" which might be translated as "A fools errand". It has not been published in English.

Mentioned there is the letter written by Hess and describing the scene in Landsberg prison and it finishes with the quote " I adore him" supporting your proposition that Hess fed Hitlers God complex.

Reading the book, I was left with the opinion that Hess was more the lapdog than the friend in their relationship. And apart from Hitlers mother, Geli Raubal, and Eva Braun, I don't know that Hitler ever had a serious human relationship that caused him any grief at its loss. Hence, the question as to how Hitler could appoint himself an avenger of dead comrades with whom it appears he had no human bond.

I agree that the surrender and Versailles settlement were at the root of the em bitterness which eventually led to the 2nd WW. But in Hitlers case it seems to me that the fanaticism for revenge was something more. I am certainly not trying to find an excuse for him, it just seems to me that his megalomaniac illness was worse than that of his co conspirators, and I wonder were it stemmed from.

Prof Schmidts book continues with an investigation of the political and psychological impact the Hess flight had on Stalin. The Russians had refused all requests from Britain to join in alliance against Hitler, but it appears from the evidence he lays out based on the memoirs of many Soviet and German military leaders, that Stalin was not quite so naive and was preparing to make a pre-emptive strike on Germany.

So, if Prof Schmidt is correct the idea that Stalins plan was to retreat, leaving a wilderness to the advancing Wehrmacht, was not the case, but in fact quite the opposite.

Stalins delay in carrying out the attack was based on his belief that Hitler wouldn't make the same mistake as in WW1 and fight on two fronts, and that he therefore could choose his time.

The Wehrmacht had identified the configuration of Soviet troops and warned Hitler that these could be changed from a defensive to an offensive position at any time.

The logistics of this still required some weeks, but Stalin was convinced that these were available, and continued the cat and mouse game supplying Germany with raw materials, but biding his time.

Sorry, for the misunderstanding it seems that we we were talking about two different things; a book and a bog roll.

Afraid I cant go with you on the capital punishment thing; at least not in the case of genocide.

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Ok, Brian, all's good.

Interesting impression from the book. (I'm not good at German so that'll be a long term issue.). I'd like to read the whole letter and its background for context. I can only hypothesisie uninformed otherwise.

Do you think the Soviet actions had much to do with readiness as far as armaments spread along the siberian express route, after defeating the Japanese, could be a cog in plans? I'm not saying that a preemptive strike was not in motion. Overall the strategy should be aim for the best and prepare for the worst. The tactic I'm alluding to went much fiurther than circumstances decided and allowed for the fall of Moscow. But there again, that which made Leningrad so important ': 'from street to street, from building to building, never stop.''. Only resources could determine avents and the rapid move and upgrade of arms manufacturing plus the overwhelming personnell at disposal likely gave the Soviets good grounds for optimism. Hitlers intransigence while more and more the end was recognised could be seen to serve a purpose, perhaps percieved in Op Valkyrie 1 and 2 and OP Clauswitz, ie the Germans had also factored in defeat.

edit:typos

edit add: further thoughts. I don't think the two are incompatible ''So, if Prof Schmidt is correct the...''

When you look at it from the outside Hess is kept fed, protected and lives to the end of his natural life. What did he do to justify this enormous expense? What could he have done if free?

I think also Speer needs to be considered, where he appears to me to be what Hitler wanted to be and gave Speer great latitude as he was also given after the war. I see him as an overt stay behind, and in the same light wonder if Hess could be a wedge or go ahead that was then kept.

Edited by John Dolva

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Hi John, the letter can be found in "Hess: Schicksal in Briefen" page 18/19

Hess, Rudolf - Hess, Ilse:

ENGLAND NÜRNBERG SPANDAU. Ein Schicksal in Briefen.

Leoni, Druffel.Verlag 1967.

Otherwise, to be seen in "Botengang Eines Toren" Rainer F Schmidt page 53/54

The Soviet attack plans are discussed in "Botengang Eines Toren" (A fools errand)

Chapter 8 Zwischen Abwarten und Angriff- Stalins Antwort auf den Hess-Flug.

(Caught between waiting and attack- Stalins answer to the Hess flight)

Page 262 discusses the troop movements on the Soviet side:

The situation in the west had radically changed by may 1941 with the reckless withdrawal of troops and divisions from the Asia and the Caucuses.

Keitel noted that the number of Rifle divisions in the west had risen from 77 to 143 between Autumn 1939 and 01 May 1941.

From these, 119 divisions were to be found in the German Russian border area.

But, more pronounced was the increase in Tank brigades and tank divisions with nearly all known motorised and tank divisions, a further 20 cavalry divisions and many parachute battalions having advanced into White Russia.

This remained the situation until the Hess flight, but by the 20th of May the "Fremde Heer Ost" were able to confirm that the mass of Soviet units of around 130 Rifle divisions, as well as 21 cavalry, 5 tank and 36 motorised tank divisions had moved into the Odessa Murmansk western border area.

I will read the chapter again and try a synopsis soon.

On Hess and Speer; well both deserved the noose as far as I am concerned.

Speer managed to convince the judges that he was a "good" Nazi, who somehow overlooked his demands on Fritz Sauckel, hanging Sauckel instead of, rather than together with him.

Hess too, got better than he deserved, and remained the convinced Nazi and Hitler devotee till the end.

His responsibility for Nazi crimes before the war and up to his departure for Scotland would be sufficient for a death sentence, in my opinion.

I have never seriously considered the stay behind scenario. No doubt, there many who, like Himmler, were deluded enough to think, that there would be a regime change with the old order remaining.

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OK, I see my initial mistake. I've got the context, but not the letter properly translated into english. Sorry about drifting off track. I think this is also a period when one could consider the economy in Germany at the time. Fascism in its propaganda seeks to appeal to both the masters of industry and authority and to the wage slaves, (Hence National Socialist), which was a relatively latter grouping in Germany because of its belated union of feudal kingdoms.. I think the answer lies in who sponsored Hitler as well as in what the end of the war meant to Hitler, like: what did he feel he lost as a consequence?. Perhaps he saw it as a thwarted opportunity to become a warrior king that he imagined resided in himself (napoleonic complex) plus the reason so many attempts have been made to take control over the enormous resources that the USSR posessed?

edit:typo

Edited by John Dolva

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OK, I see my initial mistake. I've got the context, but not the letter properly translated into english. Sorry about drifting off track. I think this is also a period when one could consider the economy in Germany at the time. Fascism in its propaganda seeks to appeal to both the masters of industry and authority and to the wage slaves, (Hence National Socialist), which was a relatively latter grouping in Germany because of its belated union of feudal kingdoms.. I think the answer lies in who sponsored Hitler as well as in what the end of the war meant to Hitler, like: what did he feel he lost as a consequence?. Perhaps he saw it as a thwarted opportunity to become a warrior king that he imagined resided in himself (napoleonic complex) plus the reason so many attempts have been made to take control over the enormous resources that the USSR posessed?

edit:typo

Hi John, came accross two specific events which seem to have helped convincing Hitler that he was on the path of destiny .

http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/aslowfuse.htm

"Hitler, given his personality, became obsessed (obsessed even in the eyes of fellow veterans!) with an idea that he was being preserved by a divine force. Later, as Fuhrer, he would emphasise a number of examples that backed his beliefs. In the first case, Hitler recalled how a mysterious voice had told him to leave a crowded dugout during a minor barrage. Within minutes of walking out into the trenches an incoming shell flattened the bunker killing all of its occupants.

The second and even stranger event occurred either at the beginning or the end of the war (records are confused). Private Henry Tandey, a highly decorated British soldier, was presented with a clear shot of Hitler trying to get back to his lines.

Instead of pulling the trigger, the Englishman let him go - a moment of compassion that perversely sentenced the world to further suffering. Hitler, having seen Tandey lower his rifle, felt that the gods of war had intervened on his behalf and, strange as it may seem, had a picture of his 'saviour' hung on a wall at Berchtesgaden."

Will get around to the chapter on Stalins plan to attack Germany soon ( sorry, I am a bit stuck for time at the moment)

See you

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Just some immediate thoughts. Rule in the age of Gods: an ancient chinese tradition was that anyone considered for furthering or establishing a new dynasty must have a divine prophesy. If there isn't one readily at hand, make one.

''Hitler, given his personality'' I think is key here.

Many soldiers had seemingly divinely inteventions in their lives, surviving in many incredible ways but didn''t seek to usurp that God.. Hitlers stories are relatively lame, but not for him.

Many in the trenches neither really wanted to kill, or die. Hitler makes a big thing of human compassion as if it is personal.

I have wondered in the past if Hitler didn't frag the bunker, I don't know, either way it might indicate some schizophrenia : hearing voices.

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Just some immediate thoughts. Rule in the age of Gods: an ancient chinese tradition was that anyone considered for furthering or establishing a new dynasty must have a divine prophesy. If there isn't one readily at hand, make one.

''Hitler, given his personality'' I think is key here.

Many soldiers had seemingly divinely inteventions in their lives, surviving in many incredible ways but didn''t seek to usurp that God.. Hitlers stories are relatively lame, but not for him.

Many in the trenches neither really wanted to kill, or die. Hitler makes a big thing of human compassion as if it is personal.

I have wondered in the past if Hitler didn't frag the bunker, I don't know, either way it might indicate some schizophrenia : hearing voices.

Hi again John, came accross this on the great Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_of_t...f_Adolph_Hitler

Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Analysis of the Personality of Adolph [sic] Hitler: With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing with Him Now and After Germany's Surrender was a report was prepared by Henry A. Murray for the United States Office of Strategic Services during World War II.

see

http://library.lawschool.cornell.edu/WhatW...er-Section1.pdf

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Hi Brian. yes that study (I came across it in Wild Bill Donovans archive) is quite remarkable in many ways given it dates from earlier in the war. It actually predicts correctly what his end could be.

But we're really focusing at the pre WWI Hitler in the final analysis (at this point)?

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Hi Brian. yes that study (I came across it in Wild Bill Donovans archive) is quite remarkable in many ways given it dates from earlier in the war. It actually predicts correctly what his end could be.

But we're really focusing at the pre WWI Hitler in the final analysis (at this point)?

Hi John, you`re right and I haven't been able to find the WW1 catastrophic battle event which might have triggered or caused Hitlers lust for revenge.

I have now returned to thinking that the period around the time of his birth and up to the war is just as important in understanding the development of his character and state of mind. The period was marked by an upsurge in and continued anti-Semitism throughout Austria and Europe. The world Zionist conferences began and the development of socialist Zionism continued to grow during the 1880`s and afterwards (an amazingly utopian idea and the model for the rebirth of Israel). I suppose that Hitlers need to blame others for his own shortcomings will have found an easy scapegoat in the Jews and the Jewish socialist politics which he hated. (There is also the theory that his mother was in the care of a Jewish doctor at the time of her death and that this contributed to his hatred).

But, I have to agree that the conclusion is, that the root cause of his hatred lay in the perceived treachery of the surrender and the oppressive nature of the Versailles settlement, with all of his other pent up angers and humiliations finally finding vent in his need to revenge these events.

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''Hi Brian. yes that study (I came across it in Wild Bill Donovans archive) is quite remarkable in many ways given it dates from earlier in the war. It actually predicts correctly what his end could be.

But we're really focusing at the pre WWI Hitler in the final analysis (at this point)?''

''Hi John, you`re right and I haven't been able to find the WW1 catastrophic battle event which might have triggered or caused Hitlers lust for revenge.

I have now returned to thinking that the period around the time of his birth and up to the war is just as important in understanding the development of his character and state of mind. The period was marked by an upsurge in and continued anti-Semitism throughout Austria and Europe. The world Zionist conferences began and the development of socialist Zionism continued to grow during the 1880`s and afterwards (an amazingly utopian idea and the model for the rebirth of Israel). I suppose that Hitlers need to blame others for his own shortcomings* will have found an easy scapegoat in the Jews and the Jewish socialist politics which he hated. (There is also the theory that his mother was in the care of a Jewish doctor at the time of her death and that this contributed to his hatred).

But, I have to agree that the conclusion is, that the root cause of his hatred lay in the perceived treachery of the surrender and the oppressive nature of the Versailles settlement, with all of his other pent up angers and humiliations finally finding vent in his need to revenge these events.''

*I think this is a key. IMO most people do this, many have various pre judices, but Adolf Shickelgrubers (16 part Jew) was extreme, indicating an abnormal psychology.

I see his art as similar to that of an idiot savant, which is not to say he was an Idiot in the true sense of the word, but his focus for it to have any impact necessitates support and financial support is ultimately a very important one. For example his backers I don't regard as anything more than Capitalists doing what they do and it was likely in their interest to promote him to not only the public but also to him himself. IOW his yearning to be an equal to such as Speer plus his god complex made him malleable to others less abnormal.

Where this abnormality came from I don't think has to do with the wider situation he found himself in in his youth but had a root cause before this, (and one could argue if not him, it would have been someone else). Millions of children had lost a father figure and the economic situation was extreme hyper inflation. Hitler solved it by disposessing a huge number of people who fit a common grouping but one mustn't forget that FIRST he had to eradicate his main opposition, the Communists who were for a time the main opposition grouping in German politics. (edit add: and in Mein Kamph writes that ultimately it is the Bolcheviks, ie the USSR, that must be dealt with, which was prob music to the ears of western industrialists, who'd lost the post revolution (which brought an end to WWI) Red-White War.)

I guess what I'm trying to bring into this is a pre existing abnormality AND economics.

I'm aware of the Zionist manifesto, but I've never regarded it as a socialist document.

What do you mean by this? ''socialist Zionism''

_________________

edit add: Brian, have you ever come across a hypothesis that he may have been a highly functioning autist? The autistic spectrum is very wide associated also with other challenges for the autistic person and the common (mis)conception is often a stereotype.

Edited by John Dolva

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