As He Knows Himself
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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 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
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."
"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."
Table of Contents Page