The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Obviously, Hitler could not rationalize his projection as long as he stood by 
himself as a single individual, nor could he combat the Jew single-handed. 
For this he needed a large group which would fit the picture he had created. 
He found this in defeated Germany as a whole. At the close of the war it 
was in a position almost identical with his own before the transformation 
had taken place. It, too, was weak and exposed to further attack and 
humiliation. It, too, had to be prepared to eat the dirt of the conquerors 
and during the inflation period, it, too, was confused, pasive and helpless. 
It, therefore, made an excellent symbol of his earlier self and Hitler again 
shifted his personal problems to a national and racial scale where he could 
deal with them more objectively. Providence had "given" him the spark which transformed him over-night. It was now his mission to transform the 
remainder of the German people by winning them to his view of life and 
the New Order. The Jews now played the same role in the life of Germany 
as his effeminate, masochistic and perverse adjustment had played in his 
own life. He now resolved to become a politician.

Many writers have expressed the opinion that Hitler's anti-Semitism is 
motivated primarily by its great propaganda value. Undoubtedly, anti-Semitism 
is the most powerful weapon in his propaganda arsenal and Hitler is well 
aware of it. He has even expressed the opinion on several occasions that the

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Jews would make Germany rich. All our informants who knew him well, 
however, agree that this is superficial and that underneath he has a 
sincere hatred for the Jews and everything Jewish. This is in complete 
agreement with our hypothesis. We do not deny that he often uses 
anti-Semitism porpagandistically when it suits his purpose. We do 
maintain, however, that behind this superficial motivation is a much 
deeper one which is largely unconscious. Just as Hitler had to exterminate 
his former self in order to get the feeling of being great and strong, so 
must Germany exterminate the Jews if it is to attain its new glory. Both 
are poisons which slowly destroy the respective bodies and bring about death.

"All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally 
creative race died off through blood-poisoning."
"...alone the loss of purity of the blood destroys the inner happiness 
forever; it eternally lowers man, and never again can its consequences 
be removed from body and mind."

The symbolism in tehse quotations is obvious and the frequency with 
which they recur in his speaking and writing bears testimony to their 
great importance in his thinking and feeling processes. It would seem 
from this that unconsciously he felt that if he succeeds in ridding himself 
of his personal poison, his effeminate and perverse tendencies as 
symbolized in the Jew, then he would achieve immortality.

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In his treatment of the Jews we see the "Identification
with the Aggressor" mechanism at work. He is now practicing
on the Jews in reality the things he feared the victors might do to 
him in fantasy. From this he derives a manifold satisfaction. First, 
it affords him an opportunity of appearing before the world as the 
pitiless brute he imagines himself to be; second, it affords him an 
opportunity of proving to himself that he is as heartless and brutal 
as he wants to be (that he can really take it); third, in eliminating the 
Jews he unconsciously feels that he is ridding himself, and Germany, 
of the poison which is responsible for all difficulties; fourth, as the 
masochist he really is, he derives a vicarious pleasure from the 
suffering of others in whom he can see himself; fifth, he can give 
vent to his bitter hatred and contempt of the world in general by 
using the Jew as a scapegoat; and sixth, it pays heavy material and 
propagandistic dividends.

Early political career.

Armed with this new view of life Hitler sought for
opportunities to put his resolve to become a politician into
effect and start on the long road which would redeem Germany 
and lead her to new greatness and glory. This was not easy
in post-war Germany which was now engaged in violent internal
strife He remained in the Reserve Army for a time where he
engaged in his "first political activity" - that of spying on his 
comrades. His duties were to mingle with the men in his

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barracks and engage them in political discussions. Those who voiced 
opinions with a Communict flavor he reported to his superior officers. 
Later, when the offenders were brought to trial, it was his job to take 
the witness stand and give the testimony which would sent these comrades 
to their death. This was a severe trial for his new character but he carried 
it off in a brazen and unflinching manner. It must have given
him tremendous satisfaction to find that he actually could play  
this new role in such an admirable fashion. Not long afarwards
it was discover that he had a talent for oratory and he was rewarded 
for his service by being promoted to instructor. The new Hitler, 
the embryo Fuehrer, was beginning to pay dividends.

"Identification with the Agressor" is, at best, an unstable form of 
adjustment. The individual always has a vague feeling that something 
is not as it should be, although he is not aware of its origins. Nevertheless, 
he feels insecure in his new role and in order to rid himself of his 
uneasiness he most prove to himself, over and over again, that he is 
really the type of person he believes himself to be. The result is a 
snow-ball effect. Every brutality must be followed by a greater brutality, 
every violence by a greater violence, every atrocity by a great atrocity, 
every gain in power by a greater gain in power, and so on down the line. 
Unless this is achieved successfully, the individual begins to feel insecure 
and doubts concerning his borrowed character begin to creep in

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together with feelings of guilt regarding his shortcomings. This is the 
key to an understanding of Hitler's actions since the beginning of his 
political activities to the present day. This effect has not escaped the 
attention of non-psychological observers. Francois-Poncet, for example, 
writes in the French Yellow Book:

 "The Chancellor chafes against all these disappointments with indignant 
impatience. Far from conducing him to moderation, these obstacles 
irritate him. He is aware of the enormous blunder which the anti-Jewish 
persecutions of last November have proved to be; yet, by a contradiction 
which is part of the dictator's psychological make-up, he is said to be 
preparing to enter upon a merciless struggle against the Church and 
Catholicism. Perhaps he thus wishes to wipe out the memory of past 
violence with fresh violence..." (p. 49)

The mechanism feeds on itself and must continue to grow in order
to maintain itself. Since it has no real foundations to support it, the 
individual can never quite convince himself that he is secure and need 
fear no longer. The result is that he can brook no delays but must 
plunge ahead on his mad career.

Hitler's political career shows these tendencies to
a marked degree. Scarcely had he affiliated himself with the 
group which had founded the Party than he connived to get
control over it. Then followed a rapid expansion of membership,
the introductiom of terror, a series of broken promises, collusions
and betrayals. Each brought him fresh gains and new
power, but the pace was still too slow to satisfy him. In
1923 he believed himself to be strong enough to undertake a

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Putsch and seize the reins of government. The Putsch failed
and Hitler's conduct during it has been the subject of much                                    
comment. There are a number of versions c oncerning what 
happened. Some report that when the troops fired on them
Hitler fell to the ground and crawled through an alley which
carried him to safety while Ludendorff, Roehm and Goering
marched ahead. Some claim that he stumbled, others that he
was knocked down by his bodyguard who was killed. The Nazi
version is that he stopped to pick up a small child who had
run out into the street and been knocked down! Years later
they produced a child on the anniversary of the event to prove
the story!

From a psychological point of view it would appear
that he turned coward on this occasion and that he did fall
down and crawl away from the scene of activities. Although
he had usurped considerable power and had reason to have faith
in his new character, it seems unlikely that it was sufficient for 
him to actually engage the recognized authority in physical
combat. His attitude towards recognized superiors and authority
in general would make such a direct attack improbable. Furthermore, 
his reactions after his escape would seem to indicate
that his new role had temporarily failed. He went into a
deep depression and was restrained from committing suicide
only by constant reassurances. When he was taken to Landsberg
prison he went on a hunger strike and refused to eat for three

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weeks. This was his response to being placed again in the position of 
the vanquished. Perhaps memories of his fantasies in the hospital were 
returning to harass him! It was only after he discovered that his jailers 
were not unkindly disposed to him that, he permitted himself to be 
persuaded to take food.

During his stay in Landsberg he became much quieter. Ludecke says:

"Landsberg had done him a world of good. Gone from his manner was the 
nervous intensity which formerly had been his most unpleasant characteristic."

It was during this period, that he wrote MEIN KAMPF and we may suppose 
that his failure in the Putsch made it necessary for him to take a fresh 
inventory and integrate his new character more firmly. He resolved, at 
this time, not to try another Putsch in the future but to gain the power 
by legal means alone! In other words, he would not participate again in 
an open conflict with the recognized authority.

His rise to power.

It is scarcely necessary for us to trace the history
of his rise to power and his actions after he achieved it.
They all follow along the same general pattern we have outlined. 
Each successful step served to convince him that he was the person 
he believed himself to be but brought no real sense of security. 
In order to attain this he had to go a step higher
and give additional proof that he was not deluding himself. 
Terror, violence and ruthlessness grew with each advance and
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every recognized virtue was turned into a vice - a sign of
weakness. Even after he became the undisputed leader of
the nation, he could not rest in peace. He projected his own
insecurities onto the neighboring states and then demanded 
that they bow to his power. As long as there was a nation or 
a combination of nations more powerful than Germany, he could 
never find the peace and security h' longed for. It was inevitable 
that this course would lead to war because only by that means 
could he crush the threat and prove to himself that he need no 
longer be afraid. It was also inevitable that the war would be 
as brutal and pitiless as possible for only in this way could he 
prove to himself that he was not weakening in his chosen course 
but was made of stuff becoming to his conception of what a victor 
should be.

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