Hitler's Mind: A Plunge into Madness

Hitler's Mind: A Plunge into Madness

Hitler's Mind: A Plunge into Madness

Hitler's Mind: A Plunge into Madness

Synopsis

This book is the most up-to-date, comprehensive analysis of Hitler written by a psychologist. Going beyond the reliance on a Freudian interpretation of Hitler's personality, Schwaab employs his knowledge of abnormal psychology to penetrate the paranoid world of Hitler and to demonstrate the depth of his mental disturbance. The analysis is framed by a poignant personal reflection on Schwaab's experiences (and those of his father, who was first a follower of Hitler and later one of those who attempted to assassinate him) growing up in Nazi Germany and an afterword in which the meaning of Nazism is placed in the context of contemporary developments in a reunited Germany.

Excerpt

Although this study looks at Hitler's entire life span, it is not intended to be a biography covering all events of his time. I aim at exploring several critical aspects of the psychological makeup of a man whose delusional inner world was active long before he had assumed political power and long after he dominated world affairs militarily. From the large number of possibilities for analysis, I have singled out several topics of particular interest to a psychologist but also, it is expected, to the reader as well. By tracing the evolution of Hitler's world of ideas, I intend to delineate various stages in his personal life that lent distinct characteristics to the overall pattern of the totalitarian aberrations of his mind.

The origin of this study, as viewed in retrospect, may be said to go back to the days in Germany when I was one among the returning, defeated soldiers of the Second World War. A deep sense of disillusionment over the human tragedy of war generated my desire to search for an understanding of how it was possible for advanced Western nations to fight each other with such ferocity and a merciless determination to destroy their "enemies." After the guns were silent in 1945, I wondered whom Germans had been fighting with so much stubbornness. Who were the "enemies"? The healthy-looking, bouncy American GIs did not look the part of vicious destroyers of Germany. They were friendly and outgoing people who occupied my native country but also brought order and stability. In times of chaos and hunger they helped distribute CARE packages that seemed like gifts from heaven. Deeply ingrained fears of the "enemy" quickly turned into admiration and gratitude.

Following the First World War, Germany's experience of slow death was an entirely different matter. When young, I listened to my father's stories . . .

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