The Quest for the Nazi Personality: A Psychological Investigation of Nazi War Criminals

The Quest for the Nazi Personality: A Psychological Investigation of Nazi War Criminals

The Quest for the Nazi Personality: A Psychological Investigation of Nazi War Criminals

The Quest for the Nazi Personality: A Psychological Investigation of Nazi War Criminals

Excerpt

Half a century after the collapse of the Nazi regime and the Third Reich, scholars from a range of fields continue to examine the causes of Nazi Germany. With the opening of the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and the release of Steven Spielberg's movie Schindler's List, an increasing number of young Americans are attempting to understand the circumstances that led to the rise of the Nazi party and the subsequent Holocaust, as well as the implication such events may have for today as the world faces a resurgence of neo-Nazism, ethnic warfare, and genocide. Were the Nazis monsters, or were they ordinary human beings? The debate regarding the behavior of Nazi Germany is still very much alive today. It is an important question because by studying the past we may be better able to understand the present, and most importantly, prepare for the future.

In the months following World War II, extensive psychiatric and psychological testing was performed on more than 200 Nazis in an effort to understand the key personalities of the Third Reich and of those individuals who "just followed orders." In addressing these issues, The Quest for the Nazi Personality examines the strange history of more than 200 Rorschach inkblot protocols that were administered to Nazi war criminals and answers such questions as: Why the long delay in publishing the protocols? What caused such jealousies among the principals? How should the protocols be interpreted?

Specifically, the goals of the current text can be summarized as follows: (a) to uncover important historical and political insights into the administration and dissemination of the psychological tests given to the defendants at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, (b) to trace the feud between the Nuremberg prison's psychiatrist and psychologist, (c) to report on the bizarre events that unfolded during the Nuremberg trials and in the postwar years that are just now being reported on, based on previously unavailable personal letters between the key figures. The volume will also provide a professionally responsible and schol-

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