Hitler has always been extremely secretive in all his dealings. Hanfstangl tells us that this trait is carried to such a degree that he never tells one of his immediate associates what he has been talking about or arranged with another. His mind is full of compartments, Hanfstangl says, and his dealings with every individual are carefully pigeon-holed. What has been filed in one pigeon-hole is never permitted to mix with that in another. Everything is scrupulously kept locked up in his mind and is only opened when he needs the material.
This is also true of himself. We have already seen how he has steadfastly refused to divulge anything about his past to his associates. This, he believed, was something which did not concern them in any way and consequently he has kept the pigeonhole tightly closed. He talks almost continually about everything under the sun - except himself. What really goes on in his mind is almost as great a mystery as his past life.
Nevertheless, it would be helpful, and interesting to open this pigeon-hole and examine its contents. Fortunately, a few fragments of information concerning his past life have been unearthed in the course of time and these are extremely valuable as a background for understanding his present behavior., Then, too, we have records of attitudes and sentiments expressed in speeches and writings. Although these utterances are confined to a rather limited area, they do represent the products of some of his mental processes and consequently give us some clue to what goes on behind those much discussed eyes, of which Rauschning writes:
"Anyone who has seen this man face to face, has met his uncertain glance, without depth or warmth, from eyes that seem hard and remote, and has then seen that gaze grow rigid, will certainly have experienced the uncanny feeling: 'That man is not normal.'"
In addition, we have descriptions of his overt behavior in the face of varied circumstances. We must assume that these, too, are the products of his psychological processes and that they reflect what is going on behind the scenes. All of this, however, would be insufficient data for an adequate picture of Hitler, as he knows himself, in everyday life. Fortunately, patients with behavior patterns, tendencies and sentiments very similar to those that Hitler has expressed are not unknown in psychoanalytical practice. From our knowledge of what goes on in the minds of these patients, together with a knowledge of their past histories, it may be possible to fill in some of the gaps and make some deductions concerning his extraordinary mode of adjustment.
We have learned from the study of many cases that the present character of an individual is the product of an evolutionary process, the beginnings of which are to be found in infancy. The very earliest experiences in the lifetime of the individual form the foundation upon which the character is gradually structured as the individual passes through successive stages of development and is exposed to the demands ant influences of the world around him. If this is true, it would be well for us to review briefly Hitler's past history, as far as it is known, in the hope that it may cast some light upon his present behavior and the course he is most likely to pursue in the future. Such a review of his past is also pertinent to our study insofar as it forms the background through which Hitler sees himself. It is a part of him he must live with, whether he likes it or not.
There is a great deal of confusion in studying Hitler's family tree. Much of this is due to the fact that the name has been spelled in various ways: Hitler, Hidler, Hiedler and Huettler. It seems reasonable to suppose, however, that it is fundamentally the same name spelled in various ways by different members of what was basically an illiterate peasant family. Adolph Hitler himself signed his name Hittler on the first party membership blanks, and his sister at the present time spells her name Hiedler. Another element of confusion is introduced by the fact that Adolph's mother's mother was also named Hitler which later became the family name of his father. Some of this confusion is dissipated, however, when we realize that Adolph' s parents had a common ancestor (father's grandfather and mother's great-grandfather), an inhabitant of the culturally bakcward [sic] Waldviertel district of Austria.
Adolph's father, Alois Hitler, was the illegitimate son of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. It is generally supposed that the father of Alois Hitler was a Johann Georg Hiedler, a miller's assistant. Alois, however, was not legitimized, and bore his mother's name until he was forty years of age when he changed it to Hitler. Just why this was done is not clear, but it is generally said among the villagers that it was necessary in order to obtain a legacy. Where the legacy came from is unknown. One could suppose that Johann Georg Hiedler relented on his deathbed and left an inheritance to his illegitimate son together with his name. However, it is not clear why he did not legitimise the son when he fineally married the mother thirty-five years earlier. Why the son chose to take the name Hitler instead of Hiedler, if this is the case, is a mystery which remains unsolved. Unfortunately, the date of the death of Hiedler has not been established and consequently we are unable to relate these two events in time. A peculiar series of events prior to Hitler's birth leaves plenty of room for speculation.
There are some people who seriously doubt that Johann Georg Hiedler was the father of Alois. Thyssen and Koehler, for example, claim that Chancellor Dollfuss had ordered the Austrian police to conduct a thorough investigation into the Hitler family. As a result of this investigation a secret document was prepared which proved that Maria Anna Schicklgruber was living in Vienna at the time she conceived. At that time she was employed as a servant in the home of Baron Rothschild. As soon as the family discovered her pregnancy she was sent back to her home in Spital where Alois was born. If it is true that one of the Rothschilds is the real father of Alois Hitler, it would make Adolph a quarter Jew. According to these sources, Adolph Hitler knew of the existence of this document and the incriminating evidence it contained. In order to obtain it he precipitated events in Austria and initiated the assassination of Dollfuss. According to this story, he failed to obtain the document at that time, since Dollfuss had secreted it and, had told Schuschnigg of its whereabouts so that in the event of his death the independence of Austria would remain assured. Several stories of this general character are in circulation.
Those who lend credence to this story point out several factors which seem to favor its plausibility:
(a) That it is unlikely that the miller's assistant in a small village in this district would have very much to leave in the form of a legacy.
(b) That it is strange that Johann Hiedler should not claim the boy until thirty-five years after he had married the mother and the mother had died.
(c) That if the legacy were left by Hiedler on the condition that Alois take his name, it would not have been possible for him to change it to Hitler.
(d) That the intelligence and behavior of Alois, as well as that of his two sons, is completely out of keeping with that usually found in Austrian peasant families. They point out that their ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition is much more in harmony with the Rothschild tradition.
(e) That Alois Schicklgruber left his home village at an early age to seek his fortune in Vienna where his mother had worked
(f) That it would be peculiar for Alois Hitler, while working as a customs official in Braunau, should choose a Jew named Prinz, of Vienna, to act as Adolph's godfather unless he felt some kinship with the Jews himself.
This is certainly a very intriguing hypothesis and much of Adolph's later behavior could be explained in rather easy terms on this basis. However, it is not absolutely necessary to assume that he had Jewish blood in his veins in order to make a comprehensive picture of his character with its manifoid traits and sentiments. From a purely scientific point of view, therefore, it is sounder not to base our reconstruction on such slim evidence but to seek firmer foundations. Nevertheless, we can leave it as a possibility which requires further verification.
In any event, Maria Ann Schicklgruber died when he was five years of age. When he was thirteen he left the Waldviertel and went to Vienna where he learned to be a cobbler. The next twenty-three years of his life are largely unaccounted for. It seems probable that during this time he joined the army and had perhaps been advanced to the rank of non-commissioned officer. His service in the army may have helped him to enter the Civil Service as Zellamtsoffizial later on.
His married life was stormy. His first wife (born Glasl-Hoerer) was about thirteen years older than himself. She is alleged to have been the daughter of one of his superiors and seems to have been in poor health. In any event, the marriage turned out badly and they finally separated since, as Catholics a complete divorce was not possible. His first wife died in 1883.
In January, 1882, Franziska Matzelsberger gave birth to an illegitimate son who was named Alois. After the death of his first wife on April 6, 1883, Alois Hitler married Franziska Matzelsberger on May 22, 1888 and legitimized his son,. On July 28, 1883 his second wife bore him another child, Angela, and a year later, on August 10, 1884, she also died. During the time of his first marriage the couple had taken as a foster-daughter Klara Poelzl, Alois Hitler' s second cousin, once removed. He had reared her up to the time of the separation from his first wife when she went to Vienna as a servant. During the last months of the life of his second wife, Klara Poelzl returned to his home to look after the invalid and the two children. She remained in his home as housekeeper after the death of his second wife and on January 7, 1885 he married her.
On May 17, 1885 she gave birth to a son who died in infancy. It is alleged by William Patrick Hitler that an illegitimate child was born previously, but we have no other record of this. In any event, at least one child was conceived out of wedlock. Four more children were born of this union. This is certainly a tempestuous married life for a customs officer - three wives, seven or possibly eight children, one divorce, at least one birth and possibly two before marriage, two directly after the wedding, one wife thirteen years older than himself and another twenty-three years younger, one the daughter of a superior, one a waitress, and the third a servant and his foster-daughter. All of this, of course, has never been mentioned by Hitler. In MEIN KAMPF he gives a very simple picture-of conditions in his father's home.
Very little is known about Alois Hitler's character. It seems that he was very proud of his achievements in the Civil Service and yet he retired from this service at the astonishing age of fifty-six, four years after Adolph was born. In very rapid succession the family moved into several different villages and the father tried his hand at farming. It is said, however, that he always wore his customs official's uniform and insisted on being addressed as Herr Oberoffizial Hitler. According to reports, he liked to lord it over his neighbors whom he may have looked down upon as "mere" peasants. In any event, it seems quite certain that he enjoyed sitting in the tavern and relating his adventures as a customs official and also in discussing political topics.
He died on his way to the tavern in Leonding from a stroke of apoplexy in 1903.
He is generally described as a very domineering individual who was a veritable tyrant in his home. William Patrick Hitler says that he has heard from his father, Adolph's elder half-brother, that he used to best the children unmercifully. On one occasion it is alleged he beat the older son into a state of unconsciousness and on another occasion beat Adolph so severely that he left him for dead. It is also alleged that he was somewhat of a drunkard and that frequently the children would have to bring him home from the taverns. When he reached home a grand scene would take place during which he would beat wife, children and dog rather indiscriminately. This story is generally accepted and yet there is little real evidence in favor of it except what Hitler himself tells us in MEIN KAMPF.
Heidan, who interviewed a number of the villagers in places where the family lived, had nothing of this sort to report. They found the old man rather amusing and claimed that his home life was very happy and quiet except when his wife's sister came to visit with the family. Why this should be a disturbing factor is unknown. Heiden suspects that the legacy was a bone of contention.
There is some doubt about the complexion of Alois Hitler's political sentiments. Hanisch reports "Hitler heard from his father only praise of Germany and all the faults of Austria." According to Heiden, more reliable informants claim that the father, though full of complaints and criticisms of the government he served, was by no means a German nationalist. They say he favored Austria against Germany and this coincides with William Patrick Hitler's information that his grandfather was definitely anti-German just as his own father was.
Mother Klara Poelzl, as has been said, was the foster-daughter of her husband and twenty-three years his junior. She came from old peasant stock, was hard-working, energetic and conscientious. Whether it was due to her years of domestic service or to her upbringing, her home was always spotlessly clean, everything had its place and not a speck of dust was to be found on the furniture. She was very devoted to her children and, according to William Patrick Hitler, a typical step-mother to her step-children. According to Dr. Bloch who treated her, she was a very sweet and affectionate woman whose life centered around her children and particularly Adolph, who was her pet. She spoke very highly of her husband and his character and the happy life they had together. She felt it was a real deprivation for the children to have lost their father while they were still so young.
One could question her background. Her sister is married and has two sons, one of whom is a hunchback and has an impediment in his speech. When we consider that Klara Poelzl may have lost one child before her marriage to Alois Hitler, another son born in 1885 who died in 1887, another son born in 1894 who died in 1900, and a girl who was born in 1886 and died in 1888, one has grounds to question the purity of the blood. There is even cause for greater suspicion when we learn from Dr. Bloch that he is certain that there was a daughter, slightly older than Adolph, who was an imbecile. He is absolutely certain of this because he noticed at the time that the family always tried to hide the child and keep her out of the way when he came to attend the mother. It is possible that this is Ida who was born in 1886 and who is alleged to have died in 1888, except that Dr. Bloch believes that this girl's name was Klara. He may, however, be mistaken in this particularly since both names end in "a" and he never had any close contact with her. There is no other record of a Klara anywhere in the records.
The younger sister, Paula, is also said to be a little on the stupid side, perhaps a high-grade moron. This is certainly a poor record and one is justified in suspecting some constitutional weakness. A syphilitic taint is not beyond the realm of possibility. The mother died following an operation for cancer of the breast on December 21,1907. All biographers have given the date of her death as December 21, 1906 but Dr. Bloch's records show clearly that she died in 1907 and John Gunther's record of the inscription on her tombstone corroborates this. The last six months of her life were spent in extreme pain and during the last week it was necessary to give her injections of morphine daily.
It is often alleged that she was of Czech origin and spoke only a broken German and that consequently Adolph may have been ashamed of her among his playmates. This is almost certainly untrue. Dr. Bloch reports that she did not have any trace of an accent of any kind nor did she show any Czech characteristics. Alois Hitler's first wife was of Czech origin and later writers may have confused her with Adolph's mother.
Alois Hitler, Jr. was born January 13, 1882, the illegitimate son of the father's second wife born during the lifetime of the first wife. He is the father of William Patrick Hitler, one of our informants. He seems to have taken very much after his father in some respects. He left the parental home before the death of his father because, according to his son, he could tolerate it no longer. His step-mother, according to the story, made life very difficult for him and continually antagonized her husband against him. It seems that Alois, Jr. had considerable talent for mechanical pursuits and his father had planned on sending him to a technical school for training as an engineer. Until his third marriage the father was very fond of his oldest boy and all his ambitions were wrapped up in him. But the step-mother systematically undermined this relationship and finally persuaded the father that Alois, Jr. was unworthy and that he should save his money for the education of her son, Adolph. She was finally successful and Alois, Jr. was sent away from home as an apprentice waiter.
Evidently the profession of waiter did not intrigue him, for in 19OO he received a five-months' sentence for thievery and in 1902 he was sentenced to eight months in jail for the same reason. He then went to London where he obtained a position as a waiter and, in 1909, married Bridget Dowling, an Irish girl. In 1911 William Patrick Hitler was born and in 1915 his father deserted the family and returned to Germany. The family was not a happy one and broke up several times in the course of these four years. It is alleged that the father drinks quite frequently and would then come home and create tremendous scenes during which he frequently beat his wife and tried to beat the small infant. During these four years when his mother and father had separated for a time, his father did go to Vienna. This would agree with Hanfstangl's conviction that Alois, Jr. was in Vienna at the same time that Adolph was there.
In 1924 Alois, Jr. was brought before the court of Hamburg charged with bigamy. He was sentenced to six months in prison but since his first wife did not prosecute the sentence was suspended. He has an illegitimate child by the second wife who lives in Germany. During all these years he has never sent any money for the support of his first wife or child. Up until the time of the inflation it is alleged that he had a very successful business in Germany. The business failed and he has had various jobs up until 1934 when he opened a restaurant in Berlin which became a popular meeting-place for S.A. men.
According to the son, Alois, Jr. heartily disliked Adolph as a boy. He always felt that Adolph was spoiled by his mother and that he was forced to do many of the chores that Adolph should have done. Furthermore, it seems that Adolph occasionally got into mischief which his mother would blame on Alois and Alois would have to take the punishment from his father. He used to say as a boy he would have liked to have wrung Adolph's neck on more than one occasion and considering the circumstances this is probably not far from the truth. Since Hitler came to power, the two brothers have practically no contact with each other. They have come together a few times but the meeting is usually unpleasant, with Adolph taking a very high-handed attitude and laying down the law to the rest of the family. Alois, Jr. is not mentioned in MEIN KAMPF and only a few people in Germany know of his relationship to Hitler.
William Patrick Hitler
He is a young man of thirty-two, the son of Alois, Jr., who has not amounted to much. Before his uncle came to power he worked as a bookkeeper in London. When his uncle became famous he obviously expected that something would be done for his family. He gave up his job in London and went to Germany where he had some contact with Adolph Hitler. The latter, however, was chiefly interested in keeping him under cover and provided him with a minor job in the Opal Automobile Company. It is my impression that William Patrick was quite ready to blackmail both his father and his uncle but that things did not work out as planned. He returned to England and, as a British subject, came to this country where he is a professional speaker. He is also engaged in writing a book about his associations and experiences in Hitler Germany.
She is an elder half-sister of Adolph. She seems to be the most normal one in the family and from all reports is rather a decent and industrious person. During her childhood she became very fond of Adolph despite the fact that she had the feeling that his mother was spoiling him. She is the only one of the family with whom Adolph has had any contact in later years and the only living relative Hitler ever mentioned. When his mother died in 1907 there was a small inheritance which was to be divided among the children. Since the two girls had no immediate means of earning a livelihood the brothers turned over their share to help the girls along. Adolph turned his share over to Angela while Alois turned his over to a younger sister, Paula. Angela later married an official named Raubal in Linz who died not long afterwards. She then went to Vienna where, after the war, she was manager of the Mensa Academica Judaica. Some of our informants knew her during this time and report that in the student riots Angela defended the Jewish students from attack, and on several occasions beat the Aryan students off the steps of the dining hall with a club. She is a rather large, strong peasant type of person who is well able to take an active part.
After Adolph was discharged from the army at the close of the last war, it is alleged that he went to Vienna and visited Angela with whom he had had no contact for ten years. While he was confined in Landsberg she made the trip from Vienna to visit him. In 1924 she moved to Munich with her daughter, Geli, and kept house for Adolph. Later, she took over the management of Berchtesgaden. In 1936 friction developed between Adolph and Angela and she left Berchtesgaden and moved to Dresden where she married Professor Hamitsch. It is reported by William Patrick that the cause of the break was the discovery by Hitler that she was in a conspiracy with Goering to purchase the land adjoining Hitler' s house at Berchtesgaden. This enraged Hitler to the extent that he ordered her from the house and has had little contact with her since. In any case, Adolph did not attend her second wedding.
Hitler's relationship with Geli, Angela's daughter, has already been described in the previous section. She died in 1930.
It has been generally assumed that Geli was the only child of Angela. William Patrick Hitler, however, reports that there is also a son named Leo. Not much is known of him except that he refused to have anything to do with his uncle Adolph after the death of Geli. He had a job in Salzburg and frequently came to Berchtesgaden to visit his mother when Hitler was in Berlin, but would leave again just as soon as word was received that Hitler was on his way there. According to William Patrick, he openly accused Hitler of causing Geli's death and refused to speak to him again as long as he lived. Word has been received that he was killed in 1942 while in the Balkans.
Paula Hitler, or Hiedler, is Adolph's real sister and is seven years younger. What happened to her after her mother's death is a mystery until she was discovered living very poorly in an attic in Vienna where she has a position addressing envelopes for an insurance company. She now lives under the name of Frau Wolf (Hitler's nickname is Wolf) and is alleged to be very queer and to receive no one in her home. Dr. Bloch went to visit her in the hope that she might intercede with her brother and obtain permission for him to take some money out of the country when he was exiled. He rapped on her door a number of times but received no answer. Finally, the neighbor on the same landing came to the door and asked who he was and what he wanted. The neighbor explained that Frau Wolf never received anyone and intimated that she was very queer (other writers have also reported this). She promised, however, to deliver any message he might give her. Dr. Bloch explained his predicament in detail. The next day when he returned, hoping that he would have an opportunity of speaking to Paula Hitler personally, the neighbor reported that Paula was very glad to hear from him and that she would do everything she could to help him. Nothing more.
During her childhood, according to William Patrick Hitler, she and Adolph did not get on very well together. There seems to have been considerable friction and jealousy between them, particularly since Alois Jr. was always taking her side. As far as is known, Hitler had no contact with her whatever from the time his mother died until 1933 when he became Chancellor. He has never mentioned her anywhere, as far as can be determined. It is alleged that he now sends her a small allowance each month to alleviate her poverty and keep her out of the limelight. According to William Patrick Hitler, his uncle became more interested in her as the friction with Angela increased. It is said that he has had her visit him at Berchtesgaden and William Patrick met her at the Bayreuth Festival in 1939 where she went by the name of Frau Wolf, but Hitler did not mention to anyone that it was his sister. He said she is a little on the stupid side and not very interesting to talk to since she rarely opens her mouth.
This is Adolph Hitler's family, past and present. It is possible that there is another sister, Ida, an imbecile, who is still living, but if so we have no knowledge of her whereabouts. On the whole, it is nothing to be proud of and Hitler may be wise in keeping it well under cover.
If we let our imaginations carry us back into the early '90s it is not difficult to picture what life was like for Adolph in his earliest years. His father was probably not much company for his mother. Not only was he twenty-three years older but, it seems, he spent most of his spare time in the taverns or gossiping with the neighbors. Furthermore, his mother knew only too well the past history of her husband, who was also her foster-father, and one can imagine that for a twenty-five year old woman this was not what might be called a romantic marriage. Moreover, Klara Hitler had lost her first two children, and possibly a third, in the course of three or four years. Then Adolph arrived. Under these circumstances, it is almost inevitable that he became the focal point in her life and that she left no stone unturned to keep him alive. All of the affection that normally would have gone to her husband and to her other children now became lavished on this newly born son.
It is safe to assume that for five years little Adolph was the center of attraction in this home. But then a terrible event happened in Adolph' s life - another son was born. No longer was he the center of attraction, no longer was he the king of the roost. The new-comer usurped all this and little Adolph, who was on his way to growing up, was left to shift more or less for himself - at least, so it probably seemed to him. Sharing was something he had not learned up to this time, and it was probably a bitter experience for him as it is for most children who have a sibling born when they are in this age period. In fact, in view of the earlier experiences of his parents it is reasonable to suppose that it was probably more acute in his case than it is with the average boy.
For two years he had to put up with this state of affairs. Then matters went from bad to worse - a baby sister was born. More competition and still less attention for the baby sister and the ailing brother were consuming all of his mother' s time while he was being sent off to school and made to take care of himself. Four years later tragedy again visited the Hitler household. When Adolph was eleven years old (in 1900) his baby brother, Edmund, died. Again we can imagine that Adolph reaped an additional harvest of affection and again became the apple of his mother's eye.
This is certainly an extraordinary series of events which must have left their mark on Adolph' s immature personality. What probably went on in his mind during these years we shall consider later on. It is sufficient at the moment to point out the extraordinary sequence of events and the probably [sic] effects they had on the members of the family and their relations with each other.
When Adolph was six years old he was sent off to school. The first school was a very small Volkschule where three grades met in the same room and were taught by the same teacher. In spite of the fact that he had to change schools several times in the course of the next few years, due to the fact that his father kept buying and selling his.property and moving from one place to another, he seems to have done quite well in his studies. When he was eight years old he attended a Benedict Monastery in Lamback. He was very much intrigued with all this - it gave him his first powerful impression of human achievement. At that time his ambition was to become an abbot. But things did not work out very well. He was dismissed from the monastery because he was caught smoking in the gardens. His last year in Volkschule was in Leonding where he received high marks in all his subjects with the occasional exception of singing, drawing and physical exercises.
In 1900, the year his brother Edmund died, he entered the Realschule in Linz. To the utter amazement of all who knew him his school work was so poor that he failed and had to repeat the class another time. Then there was a gradual improvement in his work, particularly in history, free-hand drawing and gymnastics. In these subjects he was marked "excellent" several times. Mathematics, French, German, etc., remained mediocre, sometimes satisfactory, sometimes unsatisfactory. On "Effort" he was frequently marked "irregular". When he was fourteen years of age his father died suddenly. The following year he left the Realschule in Linz and attended the one in Steyr. We do not know why this change was made. Dr. Bloch is under the impression that he was doing badly toward the end of the year in the Linz school and was sent to Steyr because it had the reputation of being easier. But his performance there was very mediocre. The only two subjects in which he excelled were in free-hand drawing, in which he was marked "praise-worthy" and gymnastics, in which he received the mark of "excellent". In the first semester "German Language" was "unsatisfactory" and in "History" it was "adequate".
All this is beautifully glossed over in Hitler's description of these years. According to his story he was at odds with his father concerning his future career as artist and in order to have his own way he sabotaged his studies - at least those he felt would not contribute to an artist's career, and History - which he says always fascinated him. In these studies, according to his own story he was always outstanding. An examination of his report cards reveals no such thing. History, even in his last year in Realschule is adequate or barely passing, and other subjects which might be useful to an artist are in the same category. A better diagnosis would be that he was outstanding in those subjects which did not require any preparation or thought while in those that required application he was sadIy lacking. We frequently find report cards of this type among our patients who are very intelligent but refuse to work. They are bright enough to catch on to a few of the fundamental principles without exerting themselves and clever enough to amplify these sufficiently to obtain a passing-grade without ever doing any studying. They give the impression of knowing something about the subject but their knowledge is very superficial and is glossed over with glib words and terminology.
This evaluation of Hitler's school career fits in with the testimony of former fellow students and teachers. According to their testimony he never applied himself and was bored with what was going on. While the teacher was explaining new material, he read the books of Karl May (Indian and Wild West stories) which he kept concealed under his desk. He would come to school with bowie knives, hatchets, etc., and was always trying to initiate Indian games in which he was to be the leader. The other boys, however, were not greatly impressed by him and his big talk or his attempts to play the leader. On the whole, they preferred to follow the leadership of boys who were more socially-minded, more realistic in their attitudes - and held greater promise of future achievements than Hitler who gave every indication of being lazy, uncooperative, lived in a world of fantasy, talked big but did nothing of merit.
He probably did not improve his standing with the other boys when, in his twelfth year, he was found guilty of a "Sittlichkeitsvergehen" in the school. Just what the sexual indiscretion consisted of we do not know but Dr. Bloch, who remembers that one of the teachers in the school told him about it, feels certain that he had done something with a little girl. He was severely censured for this and barely missed being expelled from school. It is possible that he was ostracized by his fellow students and that this is the reason he changed schools the following year.
In September, 1905, he stopped going to school altogether and returned to Leonding where he lived with his mother and sister. According to his biographers, he was suffering from lung trouble during this period and had to remain in bed the greater part of the time. Dr. Bloch, who was the family doctor at this time is at a loss to understand how this story ever got started because there was no sign of lung trouble of any sort. Adolph came to his office now and then with a slight cold or a sore throat but there was nothing else wrong with him. According to Dr. Bloch, he was very quiet boy at this time, rather slight in build but fairly wiry. He was always very courteous and patiently waited for his turn. He made no fuss when the doctor looked into his throat or when he swabbed it with an antiseptic. He was very shy and had little to say except when spoken to. But there was no sign of lung trouble.
During this time, however, he frequently went with his mother to visit his aunt in Spital, Lower Austria where he also spent vacations. The doctor who treated him there is alleged to have said to the aunt: "From this illness Adolph will not recover." It is assumed that he referred to a lung condition but it seems that it must have been very slight because it was not reported to Dr. Bloch when he returned to Leonding a few months later and his records show no entry which would even suggest such an ailment.
Although the mother's income was extremely modest, he made no attempt to find work. There is some evidence that he went to a Munich art school for a short time during this period. Most of his time was evidently spent in loafing around and daubing paints and water colors. He took long walks into the hills, supposedly to paint, but it is reported that he was seen there delivering speeches to the rocks of the country in a most energetic tone of voice.
In October, 1807, he went to Vienna to prepare himself for the State examinations for admission as student to the Academy of Art. He qualified for admission to the examination but failed to be accepted as a student. On the first day of the examination the assignment was: "The Expulsion from Paradise" and on the second day: "An Episode of the Great Flood". The comment of the examiners was "Too few heads".
He returned home to Linz but there is no indication that he communicated to anybody the results of the examination. It was undoubtedly a severe blow to him for he tells us himself that he couldn't understand it, "he was so sure he would succeed." At this time his mother had already undergone an operation for cancer of the breast. She was failing rather rapidly and little hope was held for her recovery. She died on December 21, 1907 and was buried on Christmas Eve. To preserve a last impression,.he sketched her on her deathbed. Adolph, according to Dr. Bloch, was completely broken: "In all my career I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolph Hitler." Although his sisters came to Dr. Bloch a few days after the funeral, and expressed themselves fully, Adolph remained silent. As the little group left, he said: "I shall be grateful to you forever." (29) After the funeral he stood at her grave for a long time after the sisters had left. The bottom had obviously fallen out of his world. Tears came into Dr. Bloch's eyes as he described the tragic scene. "His mother would turn over in her grave if she knew what he turned out to be." (21) This was the end of Adolph Hitler's family life.
Shortly after his mother's death the family broke up and Adolph went to Vienna to make his way in the world as his father had done before him. This was early in 1908. How much money, he took with him, if any, is not know [sic]. The records here are very vague particularly since all biographers have gone on the supposition that his mother died a year later than she actually did. This leaves an entire year unaccounted for since the next thing we hear of Adolph, he has again applied for admission to the examination for the Academy of Art. One of the conditions for re-examination was that he submit to the Board some of the paintings he had done previously. This he did but the Board was not impressed with them and refused to allow him to enter the examination. This, it seems, was even a greater shock than his failure to pass the examinations a year earlier.
After he had received notification to the effect that his work was of such a nature that it hid not warrant his admission to the second examination, he interviewed the Director. He claims that the Director, told him that his drawings showed clearly that his talents lay in the direction of architecture rather than pure art and advised him to seek admission to the Architectural School.
This he applied for but was not admitted. According to his story because he had not satisfactorily finished his course in the RealSchule. To be sure, this was one of the general requirements but exceptions could be made in the case of boys who showed unusual taIent. Hitler's rejection, therefore, was on the grounds of insufficient talent rather than for failure to complete his school course.
He was not without hope. All his dreams of being a great artist seemed to be nipped in the bud. He was without money and without friends. He was forced to go to work and found employment as a helper on construction jobs. This, however, did not suit him.
Friction developed between himself and his fellow workmen. It seems logical to suppose that he was working beneath his class and refused to mingle with them for he tells us that he sat apart from the others and ate his lunch. Further difficulties developed inasmuch as the workmen tried to convert him to a Marxian point of view. Their attitudes and arguments jarred him since they were far from the ideal Germany that had been portrayed by his favorite Linz teacher, Ludwig Poetsch, an ardent German nationalist. But Hitler found himself unable to answer their arguments. He made the unpleasant discovery that the workmen knew more than he did. He was fundamentaily against everything they said but he was unable to justify his point of view on an intellectual level - he was at a terrible disadvantage. In order to remedy the situation he began reading all kinds of political pamphlets and attending political meetings but not with the idea of understanding the problem as a whole, which might have enabled him to form an intelligent opinion, but to find arguments which would support his earlier conviction.
This is a trait that runs throughout his life. He never studies to learn but only to justify what he feels. In other words, his judgments are based wholly on emotionel factors and are then clothed with an intellectual argument. Soon, he tells us, he knew more than they did about their own political ideology and was able to tell them things about it which they did not know themselves.
It was this, according to Hitler, which antagonized the workmen against him. In one case, he was run off the job with the threat that if he appeared again they would push him off the scaffold. This must have been during the first half of 1909 when he was twenty years old. Without a job, he sunk lower and lower in the social scale and at times must have been on the verge of starvation. At times he found an odd job such as carrying luggage, shoveling snow or running errands but a large part of his time was spent in breadlines or begging on the streets.
In November, 1909, he was ousted from his room because he did not pay his rent and was forced to seek refuge in a flophouse. Here he met Reinhold Hanisch who was in much the same predicament. Years later, Hanisch wrote a long book about his associations with Hitler during this period. It is a gruesome story of unbelievable poverty. Hltler must have been a sorry sight during these days with a full black beard, badly clothed and a haggard look. Hanisch writes:
"It was a miserable life and I once asked him what he was really waiting for. The answer: 'I don't know myself'. I have never seen such hopeless letting down in distress."
Hanisch took him in hand end encouraged him to do some painting. The difficulty was that neither one had the money with which to buy materials. When Hanisch discovered that Hitler had signed over his inheritance to his sister, he persuaded Hitler to write her and obtain a small loan. This was presumably his half-sister, Angela. When the money was received Hitler's first thought was to take week's vacation in order to recuperate. At this time he moved into the Maennerheim Brigittenau which was slightly better than the flophouses in which he had been staying.
He and Hanisch went into business together. It was Hitler's job to paint post cards, posters and water-colors which Hanisch then took around Vienna and peddled to art dealers, furniture stores, etc. In this he was quite successful but his difficultes were not at an end. The moment Hitler got a little money, he refused to work. Hanisch describes this beautifully:
"But unfortunately Hitler was never an ardent worker. I often was driven to despair by bringing in orders that he simply wouldn't carry out. At Easter, 1910, we earned forty kronen on a big order and we divided it equally. The next morning, when I came downstairs and asked for Hitler, I was told he had already left with Neumann, a Jew.... After that I couldn't find him for a week. He was sightseeing Vienna with Neumann and spent much of the time in the museum. When I asked him what the matter was and whether we were going to keep on working, he answered that he must recuperate now, that he must have some leisure, that he was not a coolie. When the week was over, he had no longer any money."
At this time, Hitler was not a Jew-hater. There were a number of Jews living in the Mne's Home with whom he was on excellent terms. Most of his paintingss were sold to Jewish dealers who paid just as much for them as the Aryans, He also admired Rothschild for sticking to his religion even if it prevented him from entering court. During this time he also sent two postcards to Dr. Bloch, in Linz, who was s Jew. One of these was just a picture postcard of Vienna; the other, a copy which he had painted. On both of them he wrote of his deep gratitude to the doctor. This is mentioned because it is one of the very few cases of which we have any record in which Hitler showed any lasting gratitude. During this time Hitler himself looked very Jewish. Hanisch writes:
"Hitler at that time looked very Jewish, so that I often joked with him that he must be of Jewish blobd, since such a large beard rarely grows on a Christian's chin. Also he had big feet, as a desert wanderer must have."
In spite of his close association with Hanisch the relationship ended in a quarrel. Hitler accused Hanisch of withholding some of the money he had received for a picture. He had Hanisch arrested and appeared as a witness against him. We have little knowledge of what happened to Hitler after this time. According to Hanfstaengl the home in which Hitler lived has a reputation of being a place where homosexual men frequently went to find companions. Jahm said that he had information from a Viennese official that on the police record Hitler was listed as a sexual pervert but it gave no details of offenses. It is possible that the entry may have been made solely on suspicion.
Simone (467) claims that the Viennese police file in 1912 recorded a charge of theft against Hitler and that he moved from Vienna to Munich in order to avoid arrest. This would fit in with Hanfstaengl's suspicion that Hitler's elder half-brother (who was twice convicted for theft) was in Vienna at that time and that they may have become involved in some minor crime. This would not be impossible for Hanisch tells us that Hitler frequently spent his time figuring out shady ways of making money. One example may be of interest:
"He proposed to fill old tin-cans with paste and sell them to shopkeepers, the paste to be smeared on windowpanes to keep them from freezing in winter.' It should be sold.... in the summer, when it couldn't be tried out. I told him it wouldn't work because the merchants would just say, come back in the winter.... Hitler answered that one must possess a talent for oratory."
Since Hitler could only be brought to work when he was actually hungry he spent a good deal of time reading political pamphlets, sitting in care houses, reading newspapers and delivering speeches to the other inmates of the home. He became a great admirer of Georg von Schoenerer and the Viennese mayor, Karl Lueger. It was presumably from them that he learned his anti-Semitism and many of the tricks of a successful politician. According to Hanisch his companions were greatly amused by him and often ridiculed him and his opinions. In any event it seems that he got a good deal of practice in speech making during these years which stood him in good stead later on. Even in these days, he talked about starting a new party.
It is not clear why he remained in Vienna and lived in such poverty for five years, when he had such a deep love for Germany and could have gone there with relatively little difficulty. It is also not clear why he went when he did unless there is some truth in the supposition that he fled Vienna to avoid arrest. His own explanation is that he could not tolerate the mixture of people, particularly the Jews and always more Jews, and says that for him Vienna is the symbol of incest.
But as far as Hitler is concerned this time was not lost. As he looks back over that period he can say:
"So in a few years I built a foundation of knowledge from which I still draw nourishment today." (MK 29)
"At that time I formed an image of the world and a view of life which became the granite foundation for my actions."
In Munich before the war, things were no better for him. As far as poverty is concerned he might as well have stayed in Vienna. He earned a little money painting postcards and posters and at times painting houses. Early in 1913 he went to Salzburg to report for duty in the army but was rejected on the gr.unds of poor physical conition. He returned to Munich and continued to work at odd jobs and sit in cafe houses where he spent his time reading newspapers. Nothing of which we have any knowledge happened during this time which is particularly pertinent to our present study. The prospects of ever making anything out of himself in the future must have been very black at that time.
Then came the World War. He writes of this occasion:
"The struggle of the year 1914 was forsooth, not forced on the masses, but desired by the whole people."
"To myself those hours came like a redemption from the vexatious experiences of my youth. Even,to this day I am not ashamed to say that, in a transport of enthusiasm, I sank down on my knees and thanked Heaven from an overflowing heart...."
On August 3, 1914, Hitler joined a Bavarian regiment as a volunteer. During the first days of the war his regiment suffered very heavy losses and was not particularly popular among the Bavarian people. Hitler became an orderly in Regimental Headquarters as well as a runner. The one thing that all his comrades commented on was his subservience to superior officers. It seems that he went out of his way to court their good graces, offering to do their washing and other menial tasks much to the disgust of his comrades. He was not popular with the other men and always remained aloof from them. When he did join them he usually harangued about political matters.
During the four years of war he received no packages or mail from anyone. In this he was unique. At Christmastime when everyone else was receiving gifts and messages he withdrew from the group and sulked moodily by himself. When his comrades encouraged him to join the group and share their packages he refused. On October 7, 1916, he was wounded by a piece of shrapnel and sent to a hospital. It was a light wound and he was soon discharged and sent to Munich as a replacement. After two days there he wrote his commanding officer, Captain Wiedemann, asking that he be reinstated in his regiment because he could not tolerate Munich when he knew his comrades were at the Front. Wiedemann had him returned to the regiment where he remained until October 14th when he was exposed to mustard gas and sent to a hospital in Pasewalk. He was blind and, according to Friedelinde Wagner, lost his voice.
It seems that mystery always follows Hitler. His career in the army is no exception. There are several things that have never been satisfactorily explained. The first is that he spent four years in the same regiment but was never advanced beyond the rank of First Class Private or Lance Corporal. The second is the Iron Cross First Class which he constantly wears. This has been the topic of much discussion but the mystery has never been solved. There is no mention of the award in the history of his regiment. This is rather amazing inasmuch as other awards of this kind are listed. Hitler is mentioned, in a number of other connections but not in this one, although it is alleged that it was awarded to him for capturing twelve Frenchmen, including an officer, singlehanded. This is certainly no ordinary feat in any regiment and one would expect that it would at least merit some mention, particularly in view of the fact that Hitler had considerable fame as a politician when the book went to press.
The Nazi propaganda agencies have not helped to clarify the situation. Not only have a number of different versions of the story appeared in the press, but each gives a different number of Frenchmen he is alleged to have captured. They have also published alleged facsimiles of his war record which do not agree. The Berlin Illustrierte Zeitung of August 10, 1939 printed a facsimile in which the date of award for this decoration was clearly August 4, 1918. Yet the Voelkische Beobachter of August 14, 1934 had published a facsimile in which the date of award was October 4, 1918. Although these alleged facsimiles mentioned other citations they did not include the date of award of the Iron Cross Second Class. From all that can be learned the First Class Cross was never awarded unless the recipient had already been awarded the Second Class decoration.
Just what the facts are it is impossible to determine. It is alleged that his war record has been badly tampered with and that von Schleicher was eliminated during the Blood Purge because he knew the true facts. Strasser who served in the same division has probably as good an explanation as any. He says that during the last months of the war there were so many First Class Crosses being given out that General Headquarters was no longer able to pass on the merits of each individual case. To facilitate matters a number of these decorations were allotted to each regiment every month to be issued by the Commanding Officers. They,in turn, notified the High Command of the award and the deed which merited it. According to Strasser, when the army began to collapse, the Regimental Headquarters had in their possession a number of decorations which had not been awarded.
Since few members of the Headquarters Staff ever received an award of this type they took advantage of the general melee and gave them to each other and forged the signatures of the commanding officer in sending it to the High Command. The thing that speaks in favor of this explanation is the curious bond which exists between Hitler and his regimental sergeant-major, Max Areann who was later to become the head of the Nazi Eher Verlag. This is one of the most lucrative positions in the entire Nazi hierarchy and Amann was called to the position by Hitler.
The only explanation for the lack of promotion that has been published is the comment of one of his officers to the effect that he would never make a non-commissioned officer "out of that neurotic fellow, Hitler". Rauschning (947) gives a different explanation. He claims that a high Nazi had once confided in him that he had seen Hitler's military record and that it contained an item of a court martial which found him guilty of pederastic practices with an officer, and that it was for this reason that he was never promoted. Rauschning also claims that in Munich Hitler was found guilty of a violation of paragraph 175 which deals with pederasty. No other evidence of either of these two charges has been found.
The mystery becomes even deeper when we learn from a great many informants that Hitler was quite courageous and never tried to evade dangerous assignments, It is said that he was unusually adept at running and then falling or seeking shelter when the fire became intense. It also seems that he was always ready to volunteer for special assignments and was considered exceedingly reliable in the performance of all his duties by his own officers.
It may be well to mention at this point that when Hitler entered the army he again became a member of a recognized and respected social institution. No longer did he have to stand in breadlines or seek shelter in flophouses, For the first time since his mother died did he really belong to a group of people. Not only did this provide him with a sense of pride and security but at last he had achieved his great ambition, namely, to be united with the German nation. It is also interesting to note a considerable change in his appearance. From the dirty, greasy, cast-off clothes of Jews and other charitable people he was now privileged to wear a uniform. Mend (209), one of his comrades, tells us that when Hitler came out of the trenches or back from an assignment he spent hours cleaning his uniform and boots until he became the joke of the regiment. Quite a remarkable change for one who for almost seven years refused to exert himself just a little in order to pull himself out of the pitiful conditions in which he lived among the dregs of Society.
Then came the armistice and all this was over. Adolph Hitler from a psychological point of view, was in exactly the same position as the one in which he found himself eleven years before when his mother died. He faced the future alone. The army, his home for four years, was breaking up. Again he stood alone before a dismal future - a world in which he could not find a niche, a world which did not care for him, a world of aimless existence fraught with hardships. It was more than he could face.
Where to go and what to do. Having no home or family to greet him he returned to Munich not because it had been kind to him in the past but because he had no other place to go. He could take up his life again where he had left off four years earlier. He wandered around Munich for a short time "a stray dog looking for a master". Then it is reported that he went to Vienna to visit his halfsister, Angela, with whom he had had contact for many years. If he actually. made this trip he did not stay long for soon we find him in the reserve army, stationed in Traunstein. He is in a deep depression. He wears the uniform and eats the food of the army. It is his only recourse and he stays on there in this capacity until April, l92O, when the camp is broken up. He then returned to Munich still attached to the army and living in the barracks. During this time he seems to have continued his political discussions with his comrades siding with the Social Democrats against the Communists. According to the Muenchener Post he actually affiliated himself with the Social Democratic Party (483). After the counter-revolution every tenth man in the barracks was shot but Hitler was singled out beforehand and asked to stand one side. At the inquiry he appeared before the board with "charge-lists" against some of his comrades which can only signify denunciations for Communistic activities. He had been spying on his comrades and now assigned them to the executiener. In MEIN KAMPF he refers to this occupation as his "first more or less political activity".
The Army now undertook to educate its soldiers in the proper political philosophy and Hitler was assigned to such a course. He spoke so ably in this group that his talent for speaking impressed an officer who was presents and Hitler was appointed "education officer". His hour had struck - he was discovered and appreciated, singled out for his talent. He threw himself into this work with great enthusiasm always speaking to larger groups. His confidence grew with his success in swaying people. He was on his way to become a politician. From here on his career is a matter of history and need not be reviewed here.
This is the foundation of Hitler's character. Whatever he tried to be afterwards is only super-structure and the super-structure can be no firmer than the foundations on which it rests. The higher it goes the more unstable it becomes - the more it needs to be propped up and patched up in order to make it hold together. This is not an easy job. It requires constant vigilance, strong defenses and heavy losses in time and energy.
There was unanimous agreement among the four psychoanalysts who have studied the material that Hitler is an hysteric bordering on schizophrenia and not a paranoiac as is so frequently supposed. This means that he is not insane in the commonly accepted sense of the term, but neurotic. He has not lost complete contact with the world about him and is still striving to make some kind of psychological adjustment which will give him a feeling of security in his social group. It also means that there is a definite moral component in his character no matter how deeply it may be buried or how seriously it has been distorted.
With this diagnosis established, we are in a position to make a number of surmises concerning the conscious mental processes which ordinarily take place in Hitler's mind. These form the nucleus of the "Hitler"; he consciously knows and must live with. It is in all probability not a happy "Hitler" but one harrassed by fears, anxieties, doubts, misgivings, uncertainties, condemnations, feelings of loneliness and of guilt. From our experience with other hysterics we are probably on firm ground when we suppose that Hitler's mind is like a "battle-royal" most of the time with many conflicting and contradictory forces and impulses pulling him this way and that.
Such a state of confusion is not easy to bear. His energies are absorbed in wrestling with himself instead of striving for gratifications in the external world which he wants and needs. He sees the possibilities all around him but he can rarely muster enough energy to make the effort to go after them. Fears, doubts and implications obstruct his thinking and acting and he becomes indecisive and winds up doing nothing but wishing. Vicarious gratifications through fantasies become substitutes for the satisfaction obtained from real achievements. We must suppose that this is the state that Hitler was in during the seven years that elapsed between the death of his mother and the outbreak of the war when he was wasting his time lying around in flophouses and sitting in cafes in Vienna. Only when his hunger became acute could he muster the energy necessary to apply himself to a few hours of work. As soon as this hunger was appeased he lapsed back into his former state of procrastination and indecision.
We must assume that that the periods of procrastination at the present time have a similar origin. He. withdraws from society, is depressed and dawdles away his time until "the situation becomes dangerous" then he forces himself to action. He works for a time and as soon as the job is underway "he loses interest in it" and slips back into his leisurely life in which he does nothing except what he is forced to do or likes to do. Now, of course, it is no longer hunger that drives him to work but another motive, even more powerful, of which he is not fully conscious. The nature of this motive will be discussed in the next section.
As one surveys Hitler's behavior patterns, as his close associates observe them, one gets the distinct impression that this is not one person but two which inhabit the same body and alternate back and forth. The one is a very soft, sentimental and indecisive individual who has little drive and wants nothing quite so much as to be amused, liked and looked after. The other is just the opposite - hard, cruel and decisive with an abundant reservoir of energy at his command - who knows what he wants and is ready to go after it and get it regardless of costs. It is the first Hitler who weeps profusely at the death of his canary, and the second Hitler who cries in open court: "Heads will roll". It is the first Hitler who cannot bring himself to discharge an assistant and it is the second Hitler who can order the murder of hundreds including his best friends and can say with great conviction: "There will be no peace in the land until a body hangs from every lamp-post". It is the first Hitler who spends his evenings watching movies or going cabarets and it is the second Hitler who works for days on end with little or no sleep, making plans which will affect the destiny of nations.
Until we understand the magnitude and implications of this duality in his nature we can never understand his actions. It is a kind of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" personality structure in which two wholly different, radical oscillations take place and make the person almost unrecognizable. This characteristic, too, is common to many hysterics. Under these circumstances it is extremely difficult to predict from moment to moment what his reactions to a given situation are going to be. An illustration may be helpful. According to Russell (746) extravagant preparations were made for the commemorative services for the Germans who died when the battleship Deutschland was bombed. Hitler spoke long and passionately to those attending, as well as over the radio. It was then arranged that he should walk down the line of survivors and review the infantry and naval units drawn up at attention. Newsreel cameramen were stationed at all crucial points:
"The first widow to whom Hitler spoke a few words cried violently. Her child, who was 10 years old and who stood next to his bereaved mother, began to cry heartrendingly. Hitler patted him on the head and turned uncertainly to the next in line. Before he could speak a word, he was suddenly overcome. He spun completely around, left the carefully prepared program flat. Followed by his utterly surprised companions he walked as fast as he could to his car and had himself driven away from the parade grounds."
This sudden alternation from one to the other is not uncommon. Close asociates have commented on it time and time again. Ludecke (166) writes:
"There were times when he gave an impression of unhappiness, of loneliness, of inward searching .... But in a moment, he would turn again to whatever frenzied task with the swift command of a man born for action."
"Almost anything might suddenly inflame his wrath and hatred .... But equally, the transition from anger to sentimentality or enthusiasm might be quite sudden."
Huddleston (759) writes:
"His eyes, soft and dreamy as he spoke to me, suddenly flashed and hardened..."
Voight (591) says:
"Close collaborators for many years said that Hitler was always like this - the slightest difficulty or obstacle could make him scream with rage or burst into tears."
Heiden has commented upon the duality of Hitler's character and has suggested that the procrastinating side is "Hitler" while the fiery personality which erupts from time to time is the Fuehrer. Although this may not be strictly true from a psychological point of view, it may be helpful to think of them in these terms.
There is not, however, a complete dissociation of the personality. In such a case we would expect to find the personalities alternating with each other quite beyond the voluntary control of the individual. This is clearly not the case with Hitler who can adopt either role more or less at will. At least, he is able, on occasion, to induce the Fuehrer personality to come into existence when the occasion demands. This is what he does at almost every speech. At the beginning as we have mentioned he is nervous and insecure on the platform. At times he has considerable difficulty in finding anything to say. This is "Hitler". But under these circumstances the "Hitler" personality does not usually predominate for any length of time. As soon as he gets the feel of the audience the tempo of the speech increases and the "Fuehrer" personality begins to assert itself. Heiden says: "The stream of speech stiffens him like a stream of water stiffens a hose." As he speaks he seduces himself into believing that he is actually and fundamentally the "Fuehrer", or as Rausching (268) says: "He doses himself with the morphine of his own verbiage." It is this transformation, of the little Hitler into the great Fuehrer, which takes place under the eyes of his audience which probably fascinates them. By complicated psychological processes they are able to identify themselves with him and as the speech progresses, they themselves are temporarily transformed and inspired.
He must also undergo a transformation of this kind when he is expected to make a decision or take definite action. As we have seen, Hitler procrastinates until the situation becomes dangerous and intolerable. When he can procrastinate no longer, he is able to induce the Fuehrer personality to assert itself. Rauschning has put this well:
"He is languid and apathetic by nature and needs the stimulus of nervous excitement to rouse him out of chronic lethargy to a spasmodic activity." (269)
"Before Hitler can act he must lash himself out of lethargy and doubts into a frenzy." (262)
Having lashed himself into this state of mind he can play the "Fuehrer" to perfection. When the transformation takes place in his personality all his views, sentiments and values are also transformed. The result is that as "Fuehrer" he can make statements with great conviction which flatly contradict what "Hitler" said a few minutes earlier. He can grapple with the most important problems and in a few minutes reduce them to extremely simple terms, he can map out campaigns, be the supreme judge, deal with diplomats, ignore all ethical and moral principles, order executions, or the destruction of cities without the slightest hesitation. And he can be in the best of humor while he is doing it. All of this would have been completely impossible for "Hitler".
Hitler likes to believe that this is his true self and he has made every effort to convince the German people that it is his only self. But it is an artiface. The whole "Fuehrer" personality is a grossly exaggerated and distorted conception of masculinity as Hitler conceives it. Undoubtedly he would like to be such a person in reality and believes that he actually is that person - but he deceives himself. This personality shows all the ear-marks of a reaction formation which has been created unconsciously as a compensation and cover-up for deeplying [sic] tendencies which he despises. This mechanism is very frequently found in hysterics and always serves the purpose of denying the true self by creating an image which is diametrically opposite and then identifying with the image. The great difference between Hitler and thousands of other hysterics is that he managed to convince millions of other people that the image is really himself. The more he was able to convince them, the more he became convinced of it himself on the theory that eighty million Germans can't be wrong.
And so he has fallen in love with the image he, himself, created and does his utmost to forget that behind it there is quite another Hitler who is a very despicable fellow.
He is hardly more successful in this, manouvre than any other hysteric. Secret fears and anxieties that belie the reality of the image keep cropping up to shake his confidence and security. He may rationalize these fears or displace them but they continue to haunt him. Underneath, Hitler is a bundle of fears. Some are at least partially justified, others seem to be groundless. For example, he has had a fear of cancer for many years. Ordinarily he fears that he has a cancer in his stomach since he is always bothered with indigestion. The assurances of his doctors are all to no avail. A few years ago a simple polyp grew on his larynx. Immediately his fear shifted to the throat and he was sure that he had developed a throat cancer. When Dr. von Eicken diagnosed it as a simple polyp, Hitler at first refused to believe him.
Then he has fears of being poisoned, fears of being assassinated, fears of losing his health, fears of gaining weight, fears of treason, fears of losing his mystical guidance, fears of anesthetics, fears of premature death, fears that his mission will not be fulfilled, etc. Every conceivable precaution must be taken to reduce these dangers, real and imagined, to a minimnm. In later years, the fear of betrayal and possible assassination by one of his associates seems to have grown considerably. Thyssen (308) claims that it has reached the point where he no longer trusts the Gestapo. Frank (652) reports that even the generals must surrender their swords before they are admitted into conferences with him.
Sleep is no longer a refuge from his fears. He wakes up in the night shaking and screaming. Rauschning claims that one of Hitler's close associates told him that:
"Hitler wakes at night with convulsive shrieks; shouts for help. He sits on the edge of his bed, as if unable to stir. He shakes with fear, making the whole bed vibrate. He shouts confused, unintelligible phrases. He gasps, as if imagining himself to be suffocating. On one occasion Hitler, stood swaying in his room, looking wildly about him. 'He! He! He's been here!' he gasped. His lips were blue. Sweat streamed down his face. Suddenly he began to reel off figures, and odd words and broken phrases, entirely devoid of sense. It sounded horrible. He used strangely composed and entirely un-German word-formations. Then he stood still, only his lips moving... Then he suddenly broke out 'There, there!' In the corner! Who's that?' He stamped and shrieked in the familiar way."
Zeissler (923), also reports such incidents. It would seem that Hitler's late hours are very likely due to the fact that he is afraid to go to sleep.
The result of these fears, as it is with almost every hysteric, is a narrowing of the world in which he lives. Haunted by these fears, he distrusts everyone, even those closest to him. He cannot establish any close friendships for fear of being betrayed or being discovered as he really is. As his world becomes more and more circumscribed he becomes lonelier and lonelier. He feels himself to be a captive and often compares his life with that of the Pope (Hanfstaengl, 912). Fry (577) says, "spiritual loneliness must be Hitler's secret regret", and von Wiegand (491) writes:
"Perhaps the snow-crowned peaks of the Alps glistening in the moonlight remind Adolph Hitler of the glittering but cold, lonely heights of fame and achievement to which he has climbed. 'I am the loneliest man on earth' he said to an employee of his household. '"
Hysterics, however, are not discouraged by all this. On the contrary, they interpret their fears as proof of their own importance rather than as signs of their fundamental weakness. As Hitler's personal world becomes smaller he must extend the boundaries of his physical domains. Meanwhile, his image of himself must become evermore inflated in order to compensate for his deprivations and the maintenance of his repressions. He must build bigger and better buildings, bridges, stadia and what not, as tangible symbols of his power and greatness and then use these as evidence that he really is what he wants to believe he is.
There is, however, little gratification in all this. No matter what he achieves or what he does it is never sufficient to convince him that things are what they seem to be. He is always insecure and must bolster up his super-structure by new acquisitions and more defenses. But the more he gets and the higher he builds, the more he has to worry about and defend. He is caught in a vicious circle, like so many other hysterics, which grows bigger and bigger as time goes on but never brings them the sense of security they crave above everything else.
The reason for this is that they are barking up the wrong tree. The security they seek is not to be found in the outside world but in themselves. Had they conquered their own unsocial impulses, their real enemy, when they were young, they would not need to struggle with such subterfuges when they are mature. The dangers they fear in the world around them are only the shadows of the dangers they fear will creep up on them from within if they do not maintain a strict vigilance over their actions. Denying does not annihilate them. Like termites, they gnaw away at the foundation of the personality and the higher the super-structure is built, the shakier it becomes.
In most hysterics, these unsocisl impulses, which they regard as dangers, have been fairly successfully repressed. The individual feels himself to be despicable without being conscious of the whys and wherefores of this feeling. The origins of the feeling remain almost wholly unconscious or are camouflaged in such a way that they are not obvious to the individual himself. In Hitler's case, this is not so - at least not entirely. He has good cause for feeling despicable and he knows why. The repression in his case was not completely successful and some of the unsocial tendencies do from time to time assert themselves and demand satisfaction.
Hitler's sexual life has always been the topic of much speculation. As pointed out in the previous section, ZZZ of his closest associates are absolutely ignorant on this subject. This has led to conjectures of all sorts. Some believe that he is entirely immune from such impulses. Some believe that he is a chronic masturbator. Some believe that he derives his sexual pleasure through voyeurism. Many believe that he is completely impotent. Others, and these are perhaps in the majority, that he is homosexual. It is probably true that he is impotent but he is certainiy not homosexual in the ordinary sense of the term. His perversion has quite a different nature which few have guessed. He is an extreme masochist who derives sexual pleasure from having a woman squat over him while she uriniates or defecates on his face. (Strasser, 919; see also 931, 932)*
Although this perversion is not a common one, it is not unknown in clinical work, particularly in its incipient stages. The four collaborators on this study, in addition to Dr. De Saussure who learned of the perversion from other sources, have all had experience with cases of this type. All five agree that their information as given is probably true in view of their clinical experience and their knowledge of Hitler's character. In the following section further evidence of its validition will be cited. At the present moment it is sufficient to recognize the influence that this perversion must have on the conscious mental life of Hitler.
Unquestionably Hitler has suffered severe guilt reactions
*Note: There may be some people who would question the reliability of any information given by Otto Strasser because of his reputation. It is perhaps because of his reputation that he came by this information which had been so carefully guarded. He also supplied the interviewer with a great deal of other information concerning Hitler which checked very closely with that of other informants. As far as this study is concerned we have no reason to question his sincerity.
from his perverse tendencies. We can easily imagine interminable struggles with his conscience which incapacitated him to a considerable extent. Surely Hitler has externalized his own problem and its supposed solution when he writes:
"Only when the time comes when the race is no longer overshadowed by the consciousness of its own guilt, then it will find internal peace and external energy to cut down regardlessly and brutally the wild shoots, and to pull up the weeds."
The Nizkor Project
"We must be ruthless....We must regain our clear conscience as to ruthlessness.... Only thus shall we purge our people of their softness and sentimental Philistinism, and their degenerate delight in beer swilling."