The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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(12) A keen appreciation of the value of slogans, catchwords, 
dramatic phrases and [unreadable] epigrams in penetrating the deeper 
levels of the psyche. In speaking to Hanfstaengl on this point he 
once used the following figure of speech:

"There is only so much room in a brain, so much wall space, as it 
were, and if you furnish it with your slogans, the opposition has no 
place to put up any pictures later on, because the apartment of the 
brain is already crowded with your furniture." Hanfstaengl adds 
that Hitler has always admired the use the Catholic Church made of 
slogans and has tried to imitate it." (899)

(13) Realization of a fundamental loneliness and feeling of isolation 
in people living under modern conditions and a craving to "belong" to 
an active group which carries a certain status, provides cohesiveness 
and gives the individual a feeling of personal worth and belongingness.

(14) Appreciation of the value underlying a hierarchical political 
organization which affords direct contact with each individual.

(15) Ability to surround himself with and maintain the allegiance of 
a group of devoted aides whose talents complement his own.

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(16) Appreciation of winning confidence from the people by a show 
of efficiency within the organization and government. It is said that 
foods and supplies are already in the local warehouses when the 
announcement concerning the date of distribution is made. Although they 
could be distributed immediately the date is set for several weeks ahead 
in order to create an impression of super-efficiency and win the 
confidence of the people. Every effort is made to avoid making a 
promise which cannot be fulfilled at precisely the appointed time.

(17) Appreciation of the important role played by little things 
which affect the everyday life of the ordinary man in building up and 
maintaining the morale of the people.
(18) Full recognition of the fact that the overwhelming majority 
of the people want to be led and are ready and willing to submit if 
the leader can win their respect and confidence. Hitler has been 
very successful in this respect because he has been able to 
convince his followers of his own self-confidence and because he 
has guessed right on so many occasions that he has created the 
impression of infallibility.
(19) This was largely possible because he is so naturally a tactical 
genius. His timing of decisions and actions has almost been uncanny. 
As Thyssen puts it:

"Sometimes his intelligence is astonishing... miraculous political 
intuition, devoid of all moral sense, but extraordinarily precise. 
Even in a very complex situation he discerns what is possible and 
what is not."

(20) Hitler's strongest point is, perhaps, his firm belief in his 
mission and, in public, the complete dedication of his 
[00010047.GIF  Page 50] life to its fulfillment. It is the spectacle 
of a man whose convictions are so strong that he sacrifices himself 
for the cause which appeals to and is able to arouse similar 
convictions in others that induces them to follow his example. 
This demands a fanatical stubbornness which Hitler possesses to a 
high degree.

"Only a storm of glowing passion can turn the destinies of 
nations, but this passion can only be roused  by a man who carries 
it within himself."

(21) He also has the ability to appeal to and arouse the sympathetic 
concern and protectiveness of his people, to represent himself as 
the bearer of their burdens and their future, with the result that he 
becomes a personal concern to individuals and many, particularly the 
women, feel tenderly and compassionately about him. They must always 
be careful not to inflict undue annoyance or suffering on the Fuehrer.

(22) Hitler's ability to repudiate his own conscience in arriving at 
political decisions has eliminated the force which usually checks and 
complicates the forward-going thoughts and resolutions of most 
socially responsible statesmen. He has, therefore, been able to take 
that course of action which appeals to him as most effective without 
pulling his punches. The result has been that he has frequently 
outwitted his adversaries and attained ends which would not have 
been as easily attained by a normal course. Nevertheless, it has 
helped to build up thte myth of his infallibility and invincibility.

(23) Equally important has been his ability to persuade others to 
repudiate their individual consciences and assume that [00010057.GIF Page 51]
role himself. He can then decree for the individual what is right and 
wrong, permissible or impermissible and can use them freely in the 
attainment of his own ends. As Georing has said: "I have no 
conscience. My conscience is Adolph Hitler."
(24) This has enabled Hitler to make full use of terror and mobilize 
the fears of the people which he evaluated with an almost uncanny 
(25) He has the capacity for learning from others even though he may 
be violently opposed to everything they believe and stand for. The 
use of terror, for example, he says he learned from the Communists, 
the use of slogans from the Catholic Church, the use of propaganda 
from the democracies, etc.

(26) He is a master of the art of propaganda. Ludecke writes:

"He has a matchless instinct for taking advantage of every breeze 
to raise a political whirlwind. No official scandal was so petty that 
he could not magnify it into high treason; he could ferret out the 
most deviously [unreadable] corruption in high places and plaster 
the town with the bad news." (159)

His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never 
admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in 
your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; 
concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that 
goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; 
and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later 
believe it.

(27) He has the "never say die" spirit. After some of his severest 
set-backs he has been able to get his immediate asso-[00010058.GIF Page 52]
ciates together and begin making plans for a "come-back". Events 
which would crush most individuals, at least temporarily, seem 
to act as stimulants to greater efforts in Hitler.

These are some of Hitler's outstanding talents and capacities. 
They have enabled him to attain a position of unprecedented power in 
an incredibly short perios of time, over a rarely used route. No 
other Nazi in a high position possesses these abilities in any 
comparable degree and consequently they could not displace him in the 
minds of the masses.

His associates recognize these capacities in Hitler and they admire 
and respect his extraordinary leadership qualities, particularly the 
influence he has over people. In addition they love him for his very 
human qualities when he is at his best and is engaged in some 
important undertaking. These are aspects of Hitler's personality we 
should never lose sight of when evaluating his hold on his associates 
or on the German people. He has a magnetic quality about him which, 
together with his past accomplishments, wins the allegiance of people 
and seems to rob them of their critical functions. It is a bond which 
does not easily dissolve even in the face of evidence that he is not 
always what he pretends to be - in fact is more often than not, the 
exact opposite.
We have reviewed Hitler's strength and briefly portrayed his character 
when he is at his best. It is now time to look at the other side of 
his personality - the side which is known only to those who are on 
fairly intimate terms with him.

[00010059.GIF  Page 53]

Perhaps the truest words that Goebbels ever wrote are:

"The Fuehrer does not change. He is the same now as he was when he 
was a boy" (387)

If we glance at his boyhood we find that Hitler was far from a model 
student. He studied what he wanted to study and did fairly well in 
these subjects. Things which did not interest him he simply ignored 
even though his marks were "unsatisfactory" or "failing". For over a 
year before his mother died, he did nothing, as far as can be 
determined, expect lie around the house or occasionally painting a few 
water-colors. Although they were in difficult financial circumstances he 
did not seek work or try to improve himself in school. He was self-willed, 
shy and inactive. 

In Vienna, after his mother died, he continued this 
pattern even though he was frequently on the verge of starvation and 
reduced to begging on the streets. Hanisch, who was his flop-house buddy, 
reports that "he was never an ardent worker, was unable to get up in 
the morning, had difficulty in getting started and seemed to be 
suffering from a paralysis of the will." As soon as he had sold a 
picture and had a little money in his pocket he stopped work and spent 
time listening to parliament, reading newspapers in the cafes, or 
delivering lengthy political dissertations to his fellows in the hostel. 
This behavior he justified on the grounds that "he must have leisure, 
he was not a coolie." When Hanisch asked him one day what he was waiting 
for, Hitler replied: "I don't know myself."

As an adult he is still this little boy when he is not in one of his 
active moods. In 1931 Billing wrote:

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"Die inneren Schwierigkeiten einer Regierung Hitlers werden in der 
Person Hitler selbst liegen. Hitler wird nicht umhin koennen, sich an 
eine geregelte Geistige faetigkeit zu gowoehnen." (586)
Ludecke (168) also wrote:
"He had a typical Austrian 'Schlamperei'. He suffered from an 
all-embracing disorderliness. Naturally this grew less in time but in 
the beginning it was apparent in everything."

It was indeed so apparent that early in the history of the movement 
the party engaged a secretary whose duty it was to keep track of 
Hitler and see to it that he fulfilled his duties and obligations. 
The move was only partially successful, however; "Hitler was always 
on the go but rarely on time" (Ludecke, 168). He is still rarely on 
time and frequently keeps important foreign diplomats, as well as his 
own staff, waiting for considerable periods of time.

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