No one will in his or her right mind argue that Adolf Hitler was pure evil and without making less of the things he was responsible for , it is interesting to pick out a few more particular weird traits der Führer displayed.
During World War II, the United States intelligence agency OSS collected information about Hitler’s personality and commissioned a research team led by Walter Charles Langer to develop psychological reports in 1943.
In one of these reports, titled A Psychiatric Study of Hitler, the hypothesis was developed that Hitler was treated in Pasewalk by the psychiatrist Edmund Forster, who had in 1933 committed suicide for fear of reprisals.
The starting point of this report was the testimony of the psychiatrist Karl Kroner who also worked in the hospital in 1918. Kroner confirmed in particular that Forster had examined Hitler and that he had diagnosed him with “hysteria”.
The report was held under lock and key, but in the early 1970s rediscovered by the American Hitler-biographer John Toland.
Already in his lifetime, many elements in Hitler’s personal beliefs and conduct were classified by psychiatrists as signs of psychosis or schizophrenia: for example his faith that he was chosen by fate to liberate the German people from their supposedly most dangerous threat: the Jews.
One of the first who credited Hitler with the classic symptoms of schizophrenia was the Canadian psychiatrist W.H.D.Vernon; in 1942, he argued in an essay that Hitler was suffering from hallucinations, hearing voices, paranoia and megalomania. Vernon wrote that Hitler’s personality structure – although overall within the range of normal – should be described as leaning towards the paranoid type.
One year later, Henry Murray, a psychologist at Harvard University, developed these views even further. Like Walter C. Langer, Murray wrote his report, Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler, on behalf of the OSS.
He came to the conclusion that Hitler, next to hysterical signs, showed all the classic symptoms of schizophrenia: hypersensitivity, panic attacks, irrational jealousy, paranoia, omnipotence fantasies, delusions of grandeur, belief in a messianic mission, and extreme paranoia. He considered him as borderlining between hysteria and schizophrenia, but stressed that Hitler possessed considerable control over his pathological tendencies and that he deliberately utilized them in order to stir up nationalist sentiments among the Germans and their hatred against alleged persecutors. Like Walter C. Langer, Murray thought it likely that Hitler eventually would lose faith in himself and in his “destiny”, and then commit suicide.