The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Psychological Analysis & Reconstruction

[Transcription note: Bracketed [Page] links provide access to the individual images from which these transcriptions were made]

[Page 195]

The belief that Hitler is homosexual has probably developed (a) from the fact that he does show so many feminine characteristics, and (b) from the fact that there were so many homosexuals in the Party during the early days and many continue to occupy important positions. It does seem that Hitler feels much more at ease with homosexuals than with normal persons, but this may be due to the fact that they are all fundamentally social outcasts and consequently have a community of interests which tends to make them think and feel more or less alike. In this connection it is interesting to note that homosexuals, too, frequently regard themselves as a special form of creation or as chosen ones whose destiny it is to initiate a new order.

The fact that underneath they feel themselves to be different and ostracized from normal social contacts usually makes them easy converts to a new social philosophy which does not discriminate against them. Being among civilization's discontents, they are always willing to take a chance of something new which holds any promise of improving their lot, even though their chances of success may be small and the risk great. Having little to lose to begin with, they can afford to take chances which others would refrain from taking. The early Nazi party certainly contained many members who could be regarded in this light. Even today Hitler derives pleasure from looking at men's bodies and associating with homosexuals. Strasser tells us that his personal body guard is almost always 100% homosexuals. [Page 196]

He also derives considerable pleasure from being with his Hitler Youth and his attitude towards them frequently tends to be more that of a woman than that of a man.

There is a possibility that Hitler has participated in a homosexual relationship at some time in his life. The evidence is such that we can only say there is a strong tendency in this direction which, in addition to the manifestations already enumerated, often finds expression in imagery concerning being attacked from behind or being stabbed in the back. His nightmares, which frequently deal with being attacked by a man and being suffocated, also suggest strong homosexual tendencies and a fear of them. From these indications, however, we would conclude that for the most part these tendencies have been repressed, which would speak against the probability of their being expressed in overt form. On the other hand, persons suffering from his perversion sometimes do indulge in homosexual practices in the hope that they might find sexual gratification. Even this perversion would be more acceptable to them than the one with which they are afflicted.

Early school years.

The foundations of all the diverse patterns we have been considering were laid during the first years of Hitler's life. Many of them, as we have seen, were due primarily to the peculiar structure of the home, while others developed from constitutional factors or false interpretations of events. [Page 197]

Whatever their origins may have been, they did set up anti-social tendencies and tensions which disturbed the child to a high degree. From his earliest days it would seem he must have felt that the world was a pretty had place in which to live. To him it must have seemed as though the world was filled with insurmountable hazards and obstacles which prevented him from obtaining adequate gratifications, and dangers which would menace his well-being if he attempted to obtain them in a direct manner. The result was that an unusual amount of bitterness against the world and the people in it became generated for which he could find no suitable outlets. As a young child he must have been filled with feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and guilt which made him anything but a happy child.

It would seem, however, that he managed to repress most of his troublesome tendencies and make a temporary adjustment to a difficult environment before he was six years old, because at that time he entered school and for the next years he was an unusually good student. All of the report cards that have been found from the time he entered school until he was eleven years old, show an almost unbroken line of "A's" in all his school subjects. At the age of eleven the bottom dropped right out of his academic career. From an "A" student he suddenly dropped to a point where he failed in almost all his subjects and had to repeat the year. This amazing about-face only becomes intelligible when we realize that his baby brother [Page 198] died at that time. We can only surmise that this event served to reawaken his earlier conflicts and disrupt his psychological equilibrium.

In Hitler's case we may suppose that this event affected him in at least two important ways. First, it must have reawakened fears of his own death which, in turn, strengthened still further the conviction that he was the "chosen one" and under divine protection. Second, it would seem that he connected the death of his brother with his own thinking and wishing on the subject. Unquestionably, he hated this intruder and frequently thought of how nice it would be if he were removed from the scene. Unconsciously, if not consciously, he must have felt that the brother's death was the result of his own thinking on the subject. This accentuated his feelings of guilt on the one hand, while it strengthened still further his belief in special powers of Divine origin on the other. To think about these things was almost synonomous with having them come true. In order to avoid further guilt feelings he had to put a curb on his thinking processes. The result of this inhibition on thinking was that Hitler the good student was transformed into Hitler the poor student. Not only did he have to repeat the school year during which the brother died, but ever after his academic performance was mediocre, to say the least. When we examine his later report cards we find that he does well only in such subjects as drawing and gymnastics, which require no thinking. In all [Page 199] the other subjects such as mathematics, languages or history, which require some thinking, his work is on the borderline - sometimes satisfactory and sometimes unsatisfactory.

We can easily imagine that it was during this period that the father's ire was aroused and he began to bring pressure on the boy to apply himself in his school work and threatened dire consequences if he failed to do so. From sociological evidence it would seem that this is about the age at which most German fathers first take a real interest in their sons and their education. If Hitler's father followed this general pattern, we can assume that he had cause to be irate at his son's performance. The constant struggle between himself and his father, which he describes in MEIN KAMPF, is probably true although the motivations underlying his actions were in all likelihood quite different from those he describes. He was approaching the adolescent period and this, together with his little brother's death, served to bring many dormant attitudes nearer the surface of consciousness.

Many of these attitudes now found expression in the father-son relationship. Briefly enumerated these would be (a) rejection of the father as a model; (b) an inhibition against following a career which demanded thinking; (c) the anal tendencies which found an outlet of expression in smearing; (d) his passive, feminine tendencies, and (e) his masochistic tendencies and his desire to be dominated by a strong masculine figure. He was [Page 200] not, however, ready for an open revolt for he tells us in his autobiography that he believed passive resistance and obstinacy were the best course and that if he followed them long enough, his father would eventually relent and allow him to leave school and follow an artist's career. As a matter of fact, his brother Alois, in 193O, before the Hitler myth was well established, reported, that his father never had any objection to Adolph's becoming an artist but that he did demand that Adolph do well in school. From this we might surmise that the friction between father and son was not determined so much by his choice of a career as by unconscious tendencies which were deriving satisfaction from the antagonism.

Later school career.

He carried the same pattern into the schools where he was forever antagonizing his teachers and the other boys. He has tried to create the impression that he was a leader among his classmates, which is most certainly false. More reliable evidence indicates that he was unpopular among his classmates as well as among his teachers who considered him lazy, uncooperative and a trouble-maker. The only teacher during these years with whom he was able to get along was Ludwig Poetsch, an ardent German Nationalist. It would he an error, however, to suppose that Poetsch inculcated these nationalist feelings in Hitler. It is much more logical to assume that all these feelings were present in Hitler before he came in contact with [Page 201] Poetsch and that his nationalist teachings only offered Hitler a new outlet for the expression of his repressed emotions. It was probably during this period that he discovered a resemblance between the young state of Germany and his mother, and between the old Austrian monarchy and his father. At this discovery he promptly joined the Nationalist group of students who were defying the authority of the Austrian state. In this way he was able to proclaim openly his love for his mother and advocate the death of his father. These were feelings he had had for a long time but was unable to express. Now he was able to obtain partial gratification through the use of symbols.

The death of his father.

This probably served to increase the friction between father and son, for in spite of what Hitler says the best evidence seems to indicate that the father was anti-German in his sentiments. This again placed father and son on opposite sides of the fence and gave them new cause for hostility. There is no telling how this would have worked out in the long run because while the struggle between the two was at its height, the father fell dead on the street. The repercussions of this event must have been severe and reinforced all those feelings which we have described in connection with the brother's death. Again, it must have seemed like a fulfillment of a wish and again there must have been severe feelings of guilt, with an additional inhibition on thinking processes. [Page 202]

His school work continued to decline and it seems that in order to avoid another complete failure, he was taken from the school at Linz and sent to school in Steyr. He managed to complete the year, however, with marks which were barely satisfactory. It was while he was there that the doctor told him that he had a disease from which he would never recover. His reaction to this was severe since it brought the possibility of his own death very much into the foreground and aggravated all his childhood fears. The result was that he did not return to school and finish his course, but stayed at home where he lived a life which was marked by passivity. He neither studied nor worked but spent most of his time in bed where he was again spoiled by his mother who catered to his every need despite her poor financial circumstances.

One could suppose that this was the materialization of his conception of Paradise inasmuch as it reinstated an earlier childhood situation which he had always longed for. It would seem from his own account, however, that things did not go too smoothly, for he writes in MEIN KAMPF:

"When at the age of fourteen, the young man is dismissed from school, it is difficult to say which is worse; his unbelievable ignorance as far as knowledge and ability are concerned, or the biting impudence of his behavior combined with an immorality which makes one's hair stand on end...The three year old child has now become a youth of fifteen who despises all authority... now he loiters about, and God knows when he comes home."

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