The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The picture the Nazi propaganda machine has painted of Hitler 
certainty seems like an extravagant one. Even if we ignore the 
deifying elements it seems like the fantasy of a superman - the 
paramount of all virtues. Extraordinary as it may seem, however, 
there are times at which he approximates such a personality and 
wins the respect and admiration of all his associates.

At such times he is a veritable demon for for work and often works 
for several days on end with little or no sleep. His powers of 
concentration are extraordinary and he is able to penetrate complex 
problems and reduce them to a few simple, fundamental factors. He 
prides himself on this talent and has said to various people:

"I have the gift of reducing all problems to their simplest 
foundations ...A gift for tracing back all theories to their roots 
in reality."

And he really has it. Unencumbored with abstract theories or 
traditional points of view and prejudices he is able to look at complex 
problems in a rather naive way and pick out the most salient and 
significant elements and apply them to the present situation in a 
fairly simple and workable manner. To be sure, he never solves the 
entire problem in this way but only the human elements involved. Since 
this is the part which interests him most and produces immediate 
results, it has been rated very highly and has won the admiration of 
his close associates from the earliest days of his political career.

Dnring these periods of activity  Hitler is wholly consumed by the 
task confronting him. He has an amazing power of con [00010049.GIF Page 43]
concentration. His judgements are quick and decisive. He is impatient 
to get things done and expects everyone to apply himself with an ardor 
equal to his own. He, therefore, demands great sacrifices from his 

At such times, however, he is also very human. He shows an unusual degree 
of considerateness towards them and a certain tolerance of their 
weaknesses. When he calls a halt for meals he will not eat until his 
entire staff has been served. When an overzealous servant insists on 
serving him before others he will often get up and take the plate over to 
one of his lowly assistants. During all of this he is in the best of 
spirit and jokes with everyone around him.

He has an extraordinary memory and continuously recalls amusing 
incidents from the past lives of those around him. These he tells to his 
staff at large. He is an excellent mimic and often plays out the roles of 
the individual involved to the great amusement of the staff while the 
individual must sit by and witness the performance much to his own 
embarassment. Nevertheless he is thoroughly flattered that the Fuehrer 
should single him out and remember in such detail. During these periods 
Hitler is also the soul of kindliness and generosity. He acts more like 
a big brother to his staff than as a Fuehrer and manages to endear 
himself to each and every one of them.

But, underneath, he is every inch the Fuehrer. He displays extraordinary 
courage and determination. He shows a great deal of initiative and is 
willing to assume full responsibility for the wis-[00010050.txt Page 44]
dom of the course he has mapped out. He is very persuasive and is able to 
muster and organize his people into an efficient smooth-running unit. 
Personal frictions disappear, for the time being, and everybody has a 
single thought in mind: To do what the Fuehrer wishes.

He works with great certainly and security and appears to have the 
situation entirely in hand. All kinds of facts and figures relevant to 
the problem flow from him without the slightest hesitation or effort, 
much to the amazement of those about him. He can cite the tonnages of 
ships in various navies:

"He knows exactly what kind of armament, the kind of armor plates. the 
weight, the speed, and the number of the crew in every ship in the British 
navy. He knows the number of rotations of airplane motors in every model 
and type existant. he knows the number of shots a machine gun fires in a 
minute, whether it is a light, medium, or heavy one, whether it was made 
in the United States, Czecho-Slovakia or France." (Russell, 747)

Then, too, his staff has learned from past experience, that when Hitler 
is in one of these moods he approximates infallibility particularly when 
the support of the people is needed to carry through the project on which 
he is engaged. This may seem like an unwarranted statement but, if our 
study is to be complete, we must appraise his strengths as well as his 
weaknesses. It can scarcely be denied that he has some extraordinary 
abilities where the psychology of the average man is concerned. He has 
been able, in some manner or other, to unearth and apply successfully 
many factors pertaining to group psychology, the importance of which 
has not been generally recognized and some of which we might adopt
[00010051.GIF Page 45] to good advantage. These might be briefly 
summarized as follows:
(1) Full appreciation of the importance of the masses in the success 
of any movement. Hitler has phrased this rather well in MEIN KAMPF:

"The lack of knowledge of the [unreadable] driving forces of 
[unreadable] led us to an insufficient evaluation of the 
importance of the great masses of the people; from this 
resulted the scant interest in the social position, the deficient 
courting [unreadable] soul of the nation's lower classes...." (p. 138)

(2) Recognition of the inestimable value of winning the support of 
youth; realization of the immense momentum given a social movement 
by the wild fervor and enthusiasm of young people as well as the 
importance of early training and indoctrination.

(3) Recognition of the role of women in advancing a new movement 
and of the fact that the reactions of the masses as a whole have 
many feminine characteristics. As early as 1923, he said to 
Hanfstaengl (902):

"Do you know the audience at a circus is just like a woman (Die 
Masse, das Volk is wei ein Weib). Someone who does not understand 
the intrinsicly feminine character of the masses will never be an 
effective speaker. Ask yourself: 'What does a woman expect from a 
man?' Clearness, decision, power and action. What we want is to get 
the masses to act. Like a woman, the masses fluctuate between extremes 
.... The crowd is not only like a woman, but women constitute the 
most important element in an audience. The women usualy lead, then 
follow the children and at last, when I have already won over the 
whole family - follow the fathers."
And in MEIN KAMPF, he writes:
"The people, in an overwhelming majority, are so feminine in their 
nature and attitude that their activities and thoughts are motivated
[0010052.GIF Page 46] less by sober consideration than by feeling 
and sentiment." (p.237)

(4)  The ability to feel, identify with and express in passionate 
language the deepest needs and sentiments of the average German and 
present opportunities or possibilities for their gratification.
(5) Capacity to appeal to the most primitive, as well as the most 
ideal inclinations in man, to arouse the basest instincts and yet 
cloak them with nobility, justifying all actions as means to the 
attainment of an ideal goal. Hitler realized that men will not 
combine and dedicate the,selves to a common purpose unless this 
purpose be an ideal one capable of survival beyond their generation. 
He has also perceived that although men will die only for an ideal 
their continued zest and enterprise can be maintained only by a 
succession of more immediate and earthly satisfactions.

(6) Appreciation of the fact that the masses are as hungry for a 
sustaining ideology in political action as they are for daily bread. 
Any movement which does not satisfy this spiritual hunger in the 
masses will not mobilize their whole-hearted support and is 
destined to fail.
"All force which does not spring from a firm spiritual foundation 
will be hesitating and uncertain. It lacks the stability which can 
only rest on a fanatical view of life. (MK 222)

"Every attempt at fighting a view of life by means of force against 
it represents the form of an attack for the sake of a new spiritual 
direction. Only in the struggle of two views of life with each other 
can the weapon of brute force, used continuously and ruthlessly, 
bring about the decision in favor of the side it supports." (MK 223)

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(7) The ability to portray conflicting human forces in vivid, 
concrete imagery that is understandable and moving to the ordinary man. 
This comes down to the use of metaphors in the form of imagery 
which, as Aristotle has said, is the most powerful force on earth.

(8) The faculty of drawing on the traditions of the people and by 
reference to the great classical mythological themes evoke the deepest 
unconscious emotions of the audience. The fact that the unconscious 
mind is more intensely affected by the great eternal symbols and 
themes is not generally understood by most modern speakers and writers.

(9) Realization that enthusiastic political action does not take 
place if the emotions are not deeply involved.

(10) Appreciation of the willingness, almost desire, of the masses 
to sacrifice themselves on the altar of social improvement or 
spiritual values.

(11) Realization of the importance of artistry and dramatic intensity 
in conducting large meetings, rallies and festivals. This involved 
not only an appreciation of what the artist - the writer, musician and 
painter - can accomplish in the way of evoking emotional responses 
but also the leader's recognition of the necessity of his 
participation in the total dramatic effect as chief character and hero. 
Hitler has become master of all the arts of high-lighting his own role 
in the movement for a Greater Germany. Shirer (157) describes this 
very well:

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"A searchlight plays upon his lone figure as he slowly walks through 
the hall, never looking to right or left, his right hard raised in 
salute, his left hand as the buckle of his belt. He never smiles - it 
is a religious rite, this procession of the moderm Messiah incarnate. 
Behind him are his adjutants and secret service men. But his figure 
alone is flooded with light.

"By the time Hitler has reached the rostrum, the masses have been 
so worked upon that they are ready to do his will...."

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