The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hitler.adolf/oss-papers/text/oss-profile-04-05

Its 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 [00010129.GIF  Page 123]
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.

[00010130.GIF  Page 124]

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
[00010131.GIF  Page 125] 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 [00010132.GIF Page 126]
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 [00010133.GIF Page 127] 
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
[00010134.GIF Page 128] 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 [00010135.GIF Page 129] 
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 [00010136.GIF Page 130]
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:

[00010137.GIF Page 131]

"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."

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.