The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hitler.adolf//oss-papers/text/oss-profile-03-04

Bayles (2) reports two incidents that illustrate this reaction:

"Particularly noticeable is his inability to cope with unexpected 
situations, this having been amusingly revealed when he laid the 
cornerstone of the House of German Art in Munich. On this occasion 
he was handed a dainty, rococo hammer for delivering the three 
traditional strokes to the cornerstone, but not realizing the 
fragility of the rococo, he brought the hammer down with such force 
that at the very first stroke it broke into bits. Then, instead of 
waiting for another hammer, Hitler completely lost his composure, 
blushed, looked wildly about him in the manner of a small boy 
caught stealing jam, and almost ran from the scene leaving the 
cornerstone unlaid. His enjoyment of the Berlin Olympic Games was 
completely spoilt when a fanatical Dutch woman who had achieved a 
personal presentation suddenly clasped him in two hefty arms and 
tried to kiss him in plain view of 100,000 spectators. Hitler could 
not regain his composure or stand the irreverent guffaws of foreign 
visitors, and left the Stadium."

[00010071.GIF  Page 65]

This type of behavior is illustrated even more clearly in relation 
to Gregor Strasser because the occasion was one of extreme importance 
to Hitler. Strasser threatened to split the Party if a definite 
program could not be agreed upon. Hitler avoided the situation as long 
as he possibly could in the hope that something might happen, that the 
situation would somehow solve itself. When it did not he agreed to 
Strasser's demand for a meeting in Leipzig at which their differences 
could be thrashed out. Strasser was in the restaurant at the appointed 
hour. Hitler came late. Hardly had he sat down to the table when he 
excused himself in order to go to the toilet. Strasser waited for some 
time and when Hitler did not return he began making inquiries. To his 
amazement he discovered that instead of going to the toilet Hitler 
had slipped out of the back door and driven back to Munich without 
discussing a single point. (378)                                    

Heiden (527) also tells us that in 1923 he was in conference with 
Ludendorff when he suddenly rushed off without as much as an apology. 
In the spring of 1932 he ran out on a meeting of the Verband Bayrischer 
Industrieller before which he was to speak. This group was not kindly 
disposed to him but it was important for Hitler to win them over. 
He got up to speak:

" stookt, sieht auf den Tisch, Schweigen alles sieht sich verbluefft 
an. Peinliche Minuten. Ploetzlich dreht sich Hitler auf dem Absatz um 
und geht ohne ein Wort an die Tuer."

The same thing happened a year later when, as Chancellor, he was to 
speak to the Reichsverband der Deutschen Presse, Again he sensed 
opposition in the group and again he fled from the scene, 
Olde [00010072.GIF  Page 66] (611) says:
"Das ist ein Trick, den der Fuehrer noch oft anwerden wird: wenn die 
Situation peinlich wird, versteckt er sich."
At other times, when he finds himself in difficult situations, the 
great dictator who prides himself on his decisiveness, hardness and 
other leadership qualities, breaks down and weeps like a child appealing 
for sympathy. Raischning (267) writes:
"In 1934 as in 1932 he complained of the ingratitude of the German 
people in the sobbing tones of a down-at-the-heel music-hall 
performer! A weakling who accused and sulked, appleaed and implored, 
and retired in wounded vanity ('If the German people don't want me!') 
instead of acting."
Otto Strasser reports that on one occasion:
"He seized my hands, as he had done two years before. His voice was 
choked with sobs, and tears flowed down his cheeks." (381)

Heiden (280) reporting a scene at which the Party leaders were 
waiting for the arrival of gregor Strasser:
"'Never would I have believed it of Strasser,' he (Hitler) cried, and 
he laid his head on the table and sobbed. Tears came to the eyes of 
many of those present, as they saw their Fuehrer weeping. Julius 
Streicher, who had been snubbed by Strasser for years, called out 
from his humble place in the background: 'Shameful that Strasser should
treat our Fuehrer like that!'"
In extremely difficult situations he had openly threatened to commit 
suicide. Sometimes it seems that he uses this as a form of blackmail 
while at other times the situation seems to be more than he can bear. 
During the Beer Hall Putsch he said to the [000100073  Page 67] officials 
he was holding as prisoners:

"There are still five bullets in my pistol - four for the traitors, 
and one, if things go wrong, for myself," (253)

He also threatened to commit suicide before Mrs. Hanfstaengl directly 
after the failure of the Putsch, while he was hiding from the police 
in the Hanfstaengl home. Again in Landsberg he went on a hunger strike 
and threatened to martyr himself - an imitation of the Mayor of Cork. 
In 1930, he threatened to commit suicide after the strange murder of 
his niece, Geli, (302) of whom we shall speak later. In 1932, he 
again threatened to carry out this action if Strasser split the (98) 
Party. In 1933 he threatened to do so if he was not appointed 
Chancellor (63), and in 1936, he promised to do so if the 
Occupation of the Rhineland failed. (255)

These, however, are relatively infrequent exhibitions although his 
associates have learned that they are always a possibility and that 
it is wise not to push the Fuehrer too far. More frequent are his 
depressions about which a great deal has been written. It is certain 
that he does have very deep depressions from time to time. During 
his years in Vienna (1907-1912), after his mother's death, he 
undoubtedly suffered from them a great deal. Hanisch reports (64):

"I have never seen such helpless letting down in distress."

It is probably also true that he suffered from depressions 
during the war as Mend (199) reports.

[00010074.GIF  Page 68]

After the death of his neice, Geli (193O), he also went into a severe 
depression which lasted for some time. Gregor Strasser actually feared 
that he might cnmmit suicide during this period and stayed with him 
for several days. There is some evidence (Strasser, 302) that he 
actually tried to do so and was prevented from carrying it out. It is 
also interesting to note that for several years after her death he 
went into a depression during the Christmas holidays and wandered 
around Germamy alone for days on end (957).

Rauschning gives us a vivid description of his condition after the 
Blood Purge of 1934. He writes (716):

"Aber zunaechst machte auch er nioht den Eindruck des Siegers. Mit 
gedunsenen, verserrten Zuegen sass er mir gegenueber, als ich ihm 
Vortrag hielt. Seine Augen waren erloschen, er sah mich nicht an. 
Er spielte mit seien Fingern. Ich hatte nicht den Eindruck, dass er 
mir zuhoerte....Waehrend der ganzen Zeit hatte ich den Eindruk, dass 
Ekel, Ueberdruss und Verachtung in ihm herumstritten, und dass er mit 
seinen Gedanken ganz wo anders war.... Ich hatte gehoert, er sollte 
nur noch studenweis schlafen koennen...Nachts irrte er ruhelos umber. 
Schlafmittel halfen nicht.... Mit Weinkraempfen sollte er aus dem 
kurzem Schlaf aufwachen. Er haette sich wiederholt erbrochen. Mit 
Schuettelfrost habe er in Decken gehuellt im Seesel gesessen...Einmal 
wollte er alles erleuchtet und Menschen, viel Menschen um sich haben; 
im gleichen Augenblick haette er wieder neimanden sehen wollen...."

These are major crises in his life and we can assume that they 
probably represent his worst depressions. Undoubtedly he very 
frequently has minor ones when he withdraws from his associates and 
broods by himself, or periods when he refuses to see anyone and is 
irritable and impatient with those around him. On the whole, 
how-[00010075.gif [Page 69]ever, it appears that the reports of 
Hitler' s depressions have been grossly exaggerated. Not one of 
our informants who has had close contact with him has any knowledge 
of his ever retiring to a sanatarium during such times and there is 
only one source which indicates that he ever sought psychiatric help 
and that was not accepted. We must assume that the many reports that 
have flourished in the newspapers have been plants by the Nazi 
Propaganda agencies to lure us into false expectations.

There are a number of other respects in which Hitler does not appear 
before his associates as the self-confident Fuehrer he likes to 
believe himself to be. One of the most marked of these is his 
behavior in the presence of accepted authority. Under these 
circumstances he is obviously nervous and very ill at ease. Many 
times he is downright submissive. As far back as 1923, Ludecke (166) 
reports that:

"In conference with Poehner, Hitler sat with his felt hat crushed 
shapeless in his hands. His mien was almost humble..."

Fromm (371) writes that at a dinner:

"Hitler's eagerness to obtain the good graces of the princes present 
was subject to much comment. He bowed and clicked and all but knelt in 
his zeal to please oversized, ugly Princess Luise von Sachsen-Meiningen, 
her brother, hereditary Prince George, and their sister, Grand Duchess 
of Sachsen-Weimar. Beaming in his servile attitude he dashed 
personally to bring refreshments from the buffet."

On his visit to Rome, Hues (408) writes:

"When leading Queen Helene in Rome he was like a fish out of water. 
He didn't know what to do with his hands."

[00010076.gif [Page 70]

To Hindenburg, he was extremely submissive. Pictures taken of their 
meetings illustrate his attitude very clearly. In some of them it 
looks almost as though he were about to kiss the President's hand. 
Flannery (698) also reports that when Hitler first met Petain he took 
him by the arm and escorted him to his car. Hanfstaengl (912) reports 
that he found Hitler outside the door of the banquet hall in which a 
dinner and reception were being given to the former Kaiser's wife. 
He was unable to bring himself to go in and meet her Highness alone. 
When Hanfstaengl finally persuaded Hitler to go in he was so ill at 
ease that he could only stammer a few words to Hermine and then excused 
himself. Many other examples could be cited. From the weight of 
evidence it seems certain that Hitler does lose his self-confidence 
badly when he is brought face to face with an accepted authority of 
high standing, particularly royalty. 

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.