The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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It is true that in the end he turned upon them one after another and 
treated them in a despicable fashion, but usually this change came after 
he discovered their personal shortcomings and inadequacies. As in many 
neurotic people of Hitler's type who have a deep craving for guidance 
from an older man, their requirements grow with the years. By the time 
they reach maturity they are looking for, and can only submit to, a 
person who is perfect in every respect -literally a super-man. The result 
is that they are always trying to come in contact with new persons of 
high status in the hope that each one, in turn, will prove to be the 
ideal. No sooner do they discover a single weakness or shortcoming than 
they depose him from the pedestal on which they have placed him. They 
then treat their fallen heroes badly for having failed to 
[00010163.gif Page 157] live up to their expectations. And so Hitler 
has spent his life looking for a competent guide but always ends up with 
the discovery that the person he has chosen falls short of his 
requirements and is fundamentally no more capable than himself. That 
this tendency is a carry-over from his early childhood is evidenced by 
the fact that throughout these years he always laid great stress on 
addressing these persons by their full titles. Shades of his father's 
training during his early childhood!

It may be of interest to note at this time that of all the titles 
that Hitler might have chosen for himself he is content with the 
simple one of "Fuehrer". To him this title is the greatest of them 
all. He has spent his life searching for a person worthy of the role 
but was unable to find one until he discovered himself. His goal is now 
to fulfill this role to millions of other people in a way in which he 
had hoped some person might do for him.  The fact that the German people 
have submitted so readily to his leadership would indicate that a great 
many Germans were in a similar state of mind as Hitler himself and were 
not only willing, but anxious, to submit to anybody who could prove to 
them that he was competent to fill the role. There is some sociological 
evidence that this is probably so and that its origins lie in the 
structure of the German family and the dual role played by the father 
within the home as contrasted with the outside world. The duality, on 
the average is, of course, not nearly as marked as we have shown
[00010164.gif Page 158] it to be in Hitler's case, but it may be this 
very fact which qualified him to identify the need and express it in 
terms which the others could understand and accept.

There is evidence that the only person in the world at the present 
time who might challenge Hitler in the role of leader is Roosevelt. 
Informants are agreed that he fears neither Churchill nor Stalin. He 
feels that they are sufficiently like himself so th at he can understand 
their psychology and defeat them at the game. Roosevelt, however, seems 
to be an enigma him. How a man can lead a nation of 150,000,000 people and 
keep them in line without a great deal of name-calling, shouting, abusing 
and threatening is a mystery to him. He is unable to understand how a man 
can be the leader of a large group and still act like a gentleman. The 
result is that he secretly admires Roosevelt to a considerable degree, 
regardless of what he publicly says about him. Underneath he probably 
fears him inasmuch as he is unable to predict his actions. 

Hitler's mother and her influence.

Hitler's father, however, was only a part of his early environment. 
There was also his mother who, from all reports, was a very decent type 
of woman. Hitler has written very little and said nothing about her 
publicly. Informants tell us, however, that she was an extremely 
conscientitious and hard-working individual whose life centered around 
her home and children. She was an exemplary housekeeper and 
[00010165.gif Page 159] there was never a spot or speck of 
dust to be found in the house - everything was very neat and orderly. 
She was a very devout Catholic and the trials and tribulations that 
fell upon her home she accepted with Christian resignation. Even her 
last illness, which extended over many months and caused her great 
pain, she endured without a single complaint. We may assume that she 
had to put up with much from her irrascible husband and it may be 
that at at times she did have to stand up against him for the welfare 
of her children. But all of this she probably accepted in the same 
spirit of abnegation. To her own children she was always extremely 
affectionate and generous although there is some reason to suppose 
that she was mean at times to her two step-children.

In any event, every scrap of evidence indicates that there was an 
extremely strong attachment between herself and Adolph. As previously 
pointed out, this was due in part to the fact that she had lost two, or 
possibly three, children  before Adolph was born. Since he, too, was 
frail as a child it is natural that a woman of her type should do 
everything within her power to guard against another recurrence of her 
earlier experiences. The result was that she catered to his whims, even 
to the point of spoiling him, and that she was over-protective in her 
attitude towards him. We may assume that during the first five-years of 
Adolph's life, he was the apple of his mother's eye and that she 
lavished affection on [00010166.GIF Page 160] him. In view of her 
husband's conduct and the fact that he was twenty-three years her 
senior and far from having a loving disposition, we may suppose that 
much of the affection that normally would have gone to him also found 
its way to Adolph.

The result was a strong libidinal attachment between mother and son. It 
is almost certain that Adolph had temper tantrums during this time but 
that these were not of a serious nature. Their immediatel purpose was 
to get his own way with his mother and he undoubtedly succeeded in 
achieving this end. They were a technique by which he could dominate her 
whenever he wished, either out of fear that she would lose his love or 
out of fear that if he continued he might become like his father. There 
is reason to suppose that she frequently condoned behavior of which the 
father would have disapproved and may have become a partner in forbidden 
activities during the father's absence. Life with his mother during these 
early years must have been a veritable paradise for Adolph except for 
the fact that his father would intrude and disrupt the happy 
relationship. Even when his father did not make a scene or lift his whip, 
he would demand attention from his wife which prevented her participation 
in pleasurable activities. 

It was natural, under these circumstances, that Adolph should resent 
the intrusion into his Paradise and this undoubtedly aggravated the 
feelings of uncertainty and fear which his father's conduct aroused in him. 

[00010167.gif Page 161]

As he became older and the libidinal attachment to his mother became 
stronger, both the resentment and fear undoubtedly increased. Infantile 
sexual feelings were probably quite prominent in this relationship as 
well as fantasies of a childish nature. This is the Oedipus complex 
mentioned by psychologists and psychiatrists who have written about 
Hitler's personality. The great amount of affection lavished upon him 
by his mother and the undesirable character of his father served to 
develop this complex to an extraordinary degree. The more he hated his 
father the more dependent he became upon the affection and love of his 
mother, and the more he loved his mother the more afraid he became of 
his father's vengeance should his secret be discovered. Under these 
circumstances, little boys frequently fantasy about ways and means of 
ridding the environment of the intruder. There is reason to suppose 
that this also happened in Hitler's early life.

Influences determining his attitude towards love, women, marriage.

Two other factors entered into the situation which served to 
accentuate the conflict still further. One of these was the birth of a 
baby brother when he was five years of age. This introduced a new rival 
onto the scene and undoubtedly deprived him of some of his mother's 
affection and attention, particularly since the new child was also 
rather sickly. We may suppose that the newcomer in the family also 
became the victim of Adolph's animosity and that he fantasied about
[00010168.gif Page 162] getting rid of him as he had earlier 
contemplated getting rid of his father. There is nothing abnormal in 
this except the intensity of the emotions involved.

The other factor which served to intensify these feelings was the 
fact that as a child he must have discovered his parents during 
intercourse. An examination of the data makes this conclusion most 
inescapable and from our knowledge of his father's character and past 
history it is not at all improbable. It would seem that his feelings on 
this occasion were very mixed. On the one hand, he was indignant at his 
father for what he considered to be a brutal assault upon his mother. 
On the other hand, he was indignant with his mother because she 
submitted so willingly to the father, and he was indignant with 
himself because he was powerless to intervene. Later, as we shall see, 
there was an hysterical re-living of this experience which played an 
important part in shaping his future destinies.

Being a spectator to this early scene had many repercussions. One of 
the most important of these was the  fact that he felt that his mother 
had betrayed him in submitting to his father, a feeling which became 
accentuated still further when his baby brother was born. He lost much 
of his respect for the female sex and while in Vienna, Hanisch reports, 
he frequently spoke at length on the topic of love and marriage and 
that "he had very austere ideas about [00010169.gif Page 163] relations 
between men and women". Even at that time he maintained that if men 
only wanted to they could adopt a strictly moral way of living. "He 
often said it was the woman's fault if a man went astray" and "He 
used to lecture us about this, saying every woman can be had." In 
other words, he regarded woman as the seducer and responsible for 
man's downfall and he condemned them for their disloyalty. 

These attitudes are probably the outcome of his early experiences with his 
mother who first seduced him into a love relationship and then 
betrayed him by giving herself to his father. Nevertheless, he still 
continued to believe in an idealistic form of love and marriage which 
would be possible if a loyal woman could be found. As we know, Hitler 
never gave himself into the hands of a woman again with the possible 
exception of his niece, Geli Raubal, which also ended in disaster. 
Outside of that single exception he has lived a loveless life. His 
distrust of both men and women is so deep that in all his history 
there is no record of a really intimate and lasting friendship.

The outcome of these early experiences was probably a feeling of 
being very much alone in a hostile world. He hated his father, 
distrusted his mother, and despised himself for his weakness. The 
immature child finds such a state of mind almost unendurable 
for any length of time and in order to gain peace and security 
in his environmlnt these feelings are gradually repressed from his memory.

[00010170.gif Page 164]

This is a normal procedure which happens in the case of every child 
at a relatively early age. This process of repression enables the 
child to reestablish a more or less friendly relationship with his 
parents without the interference of disturbing memories and emotions. 
The early conflicts, however, are not solved or destroyed by such a 
process and we must expect to find manifestations of them later on. 
When the early repression has been fairly adequate these conflicts lie 
dormant until adolescence when, due to the process of maturation, 
they are reawakened. In some cases they reappear in very much their 
original form, while in others they are expressed in a camouflaged or 
symbolic form.

In Hitler's case, however, the conflicting emotions and sentiments 
were so strong that they could not be held a latent state during this 
time. Quite early in his school career we find his conflicts appearing 
again in a symbolic form. Unfortunately, the symbols he unconsciously 
chose to express his own inner conflicts were such that they have 
seriously affected the future of the world. And yet these symbols fit 
his peculiar situation so perfectly that it was almost inevitable that 
they would be chosen as vehicles of expression.

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