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Term Paper for Personality.

A Personality Analysis of ADOLF HITLER.

Submitted byKarl Pestonji MA-II

Adolf of the worst names the world has heard of. We often wonder as to why Hitler committed the various heinous crimes he did. The two most frequently asked questions are: 1) Why did Hitler feel such strong hatred towards the Jews and carried out the holocaust. 2) Why did Hitler choose to join the German army over the Austrian Army? The following is an attempt to answer these two questions . But before that is a brief snippet from the life of Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 at half-past six in the evening at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in Braunau am Inn, AustriaHungary, the fourth of Alois and Klara Hitler's six children. His younger brother Edmund died of measles on 2 February 1900. Hitler was extremely attached and close to his mother who also doted on him, but had a troubled relationship with his authoritarian father, who frequently beat him. Alois Hitler was short-tempered, strict and brutal. His mother may have been the only person he genuinely loved in his entire life. Alois wanted his son, Hitler to follow in his footsteps as an Austrian customs official, and this became a huge source of conflict between them as he desperately wanted to become a painter. Klara had lost three children before Adolph was born. In 1907 Hitlers mother Klara died of breast cancer under the supervision of a Jewish doctor, Eduard Bloch. Her death affected him far more deeply than the death of his father. He had fond memories of his mother, carried her photograph wherever he went and, it is claimed, had it in his hand when he died in 1945. As a child, he tirelessly played "Cowboys and Indians" and, by his own account, became fixated on war after finding a picture book about the Franco-Prussian War in his father's things. He wrote in Mein Kampf: "It was not long before the great historic struggle had become my greatest spiritual experience. From then on, I became more and more enthusiastic about everything that was in any way connected with war or, for that matter, with soldiering." He went to a number of schools and performed poorly. At age fifteen, his mother sent him to a new school several miles away. His midterm report card showed failing grades in German, French, Math, and stenography. He disliked most of his teachers. At the end of what we would call the ninth grade, Hitler talked his dying mother into allowing him to drop out of school. He fantasized about becoming a great painter and architect. In 1907 he persuaded his mother to finance his attempt to study art in Vienna. He failed the entrance exam for the Academy of Fine Arts not only once but twice, as the committee felt that his sample drawing was unsatisfactory. In Mein Kampf, Hitler later described this experience as an "abrupt blow". I was so convinced that I would be successful that when I received my

rejection, it struck me as a bolt from the blue. He sought an explanation and was told by the Rector of the Academy that there was no doubt about his unsuitability for the school of painting, but that his talent plainly lay in architecture. Hitler left the interview, as he put it, for the first time in my young life at odds with myself. After a few days of thought he concluded that the Rector was right and that he wanted to become an architect and obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken. In reality, his rejection was a body blow to his pride and he did not bounce back as quickly as he as his own story suggests. He applied again the next year and was rejected again. All of his life he bore the wound of that rejection. He raged that the art schools were staffed by "pipsqueaks" and aimed only "at killing every genius." The blow to his self esteem was profound and his bitterness showed. He would fly off the handle at the Slightest provocation. During his time in Vienna Hitler became an anti-Semite in Vienna, which had a large Jewish community, including Orthodox Jews. Around this time Hitlers hatred for Jews grew. Hitler claimed that Jews were enemies of the Aryan race. He even held them responsible for Austria's crisis. Later he even went on to blaming Germany's military defeat in World War I on the Jews who he considered to be the culprits of Germanys downfall and subsequent economic problems as well. Hitler had the option of choosing to join either the German or the Austrian army. Inspite of being born in Austria as well as his father being Austrian, Hitler decided to register himself under the German Army i.e. the Bavarian regiment. He was present at a number of major battles on the Western Front, including the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras and the Battle of Passchendaele. In 1939 Hitler ordered the complete destruction of the Austrian village of Dllersheim. The tiny village, birthplace of his ancestors, was converted into an artillery range for the army and blasted beyond recognition by guns and mortars On 15 October 1918, during the battle of Ypres, Hitler was admitted to a field hospital, temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack. The English psychologist David Lewis and Bernhard Horstmann suggest the blindness may have been the result of a conversion disorder (then known as "hysteria").While he was recovering in hospital, Germany surrendered. Hitler was devastated. By his own admission, he cried for hours on end and felt nothing but anger and humiliation. In fact, Hitler said it was during this experience that he became convinced the purpose of his life was to "save Germany." Some scholars, notably Lucy Dawidowicz, argue that an intention to exterminate Europe's Jews was fully formed in Hitler's mind at this time, though he probably had not thought through how it could be done. Most historians think the decision was made in 1941, and some think it came as late as 1942. Lucy Dawidowicz commented that the history of the Holocaust begins in Hitler's hospital bed.

Analysis: Alfred Adlers Theory of Personality:

We all are aware that Hitler had a very faulty lifestyle. According to Adler there are two basic childhood situations that mostly contribute to a faulty lifestyle. The first is pampering. Many children are taught, by the actions of others that they can take without giving. Their wishes are everyone else's commands. This may sound like a wonderful situation, until you realize that the pampered child fails in two ways: First, he doesn't learn to do for himself, and discovers later That he is truly inferior; and secondly, he doesn't learn any other way to deal with others than the giving of commands. And society responds to pampered people in only one way: hatred. The second is neglect. A child who is neglected or abused learns what the pampered child learns, but learns it in a far more direct manner: They learn inferiority because they are told and shown every day tat they are of no value; they learn selfishness because they are taught to trust no one. We should note that the neglected child includes not only orphans and the victims of abuse, but the children whose parents are never there, and the ones raised in a rigid, authoritarian manner. The surprising part is that Hitler experienced high levels of both.pampering from his mother and neglect from his father. His mother doted over him while his father, an authoritarian, very often abused him. As a result of this Hitler turned out to be a harsh dictator who went through severe phases of worthlessness and was ultimately hated by many. Being rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Hitlers self esteem crashed dramatically. As a result he suffered from an intense inferiority complex. This inferiority complex is not just a little problem; it's a neurosis, meaning it's a life-size problem. You become shy and timid, insecure, indecisive, cowardly, submissive, compliant, and so or overcompensate. There is also another way in which people respond to this inferiority besides compensation and the inferiority Complex, you can also develop a superiority complex. The superiority complex involves covering up your inferiority by pretending to be superior. If you feel small, one way to feel big is to make everyone else feel even smaller. Bullies, braggarts, and petty dictators everywhere are prime examples. More subtle examples are the people who are given to attention-getting dramatics, the ones who feel powerful when they commit crimes, and the ones who put others down for their gender, race, ethnic origins, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, weight,

height, etc. etc. Again Hitler fits this as he was a dictator who gained a sense of worth through war as well as the atrocities he committed against the Jews. Adler also noted an even more general form of inferiority: The natural inferiority of children. All children are, by nature, smaller, weaker, less socially and intellectually competent, than the adults around them. Adler suggested that, if we look at children's games, toys, and fantasies, they tend to have one thing in common: The desire to grow up, to be big, and to be an adult. In his biography it was reported that as a child, Hitler tirelessly played "Cowboys and Indians" maybe as an attempt to feel big and grown up. According to Adler a neurotic, which Hitler was, has an incessant quest to protect the self from feelings of inferiority. The neurotics inability to deal with lifes problems leads him or her to develop safeguards. Adler describes three general categories of safeguards. Excuses refer to any attempts to avoid blame for failures in life, aggression i.e. blaming others for failures and distancing which Hitler did by blaming the Jews for Germany's downfall and subsequent economic problems in World War I. Similarly Karen Horney, presented a list of ten Neurotic needs of which I think Hitler had the neurotic need for power (to make Germany ruler of the world) and the need to exploit others (the Jews). She then classified these ten neurotic needs under three headings: moving toward people, moving away from people and moving against people i.e. the need for power also labeled as aggression which Hitler showed. Another interesting read is, when Hitler was five years of age Klara gave birth to Edmund. This introduced a new rival onto the scene and undoubtedly deprived him of some of his mother's affection and attention, particularly since the new child was also rather sickly. Since his older three brothers died before he was born he was the eldest. According to Adler the oldest child is given a good deal of attention until the second child is born. Suddenly the child is dethroned from its favored position and must share its parents affections with the new baby. This makes the oldest child become hateful towards people, protesting and insecure. According to Adler neurotics, criminals, drunkards and perverts are usually the oldest child. As a result Adolph's animosity towards his younger brother grew and he even fantasized about getting rid of him.

Sigmund Freuds Psychoanalytic Theory:

The following is an attempt to apply Freuds theory of personality to further understand the reasons behind Hitlers atrocities. Klara, Hitlers mother had lost three children before Adolph was born. Since he, too, was a frail child it is natural that she would do everything within her power to protect Hitler from harm. As a result she ended up spoiling him, and was overprotective in her attitude towards him. As history reports, her husband was twentythree years older to her and far from loving and caring. Klara almost always gave into Hitlers demands and tantrums as she feared that he would either lose his love or become like his father. The result was a strong attachment between mother and son. However his father would intrude and disrupt the happy relationship. He would demand attention from his wife which was like a thorn in Hitlers relationship with his mother. It was natural, under these circumstances that Adolph should resent this intrusion and this aggravated the feelings of uncertainty and fear. As he became older and this strong attachment to his mother became stronger, both the resentment and fear undoubtedly increased. Infantile sexual feelings were probably quite prominent in this relationship as well as fantasies of a childish nature. This according to Sigmund Freud is the Oedipus complex. The great amount of affection given to him by his mother and the undesirable character of his father served to develop this complex to an extraordinary degree. Also as a child Hitler must have discovered his parents during intercourse. It would seem that his feelings on this occasion were very mixed. On the one hand, he felt extreme anger towards his father for what he considered to be a brutal assault upon his mother. On the other hand, he was also enraged with his mother because she submitted so willingly to the father, and he was also angry with himself because he was powerless to intervene. Being a spectator to this early scene had many repercussions. One of the most important of these was the fact that he felt that his mother had betrayed him in submitting to his father, a feeling which became aggravated still further when his baby brother was born. The outcome of these early experiences was probably a feeling of being very much alone in a hostile world. He hated his father, distrusted his mother, and despised himself for his weakness. The immature child would find such a state of mind extremely tough in order to gain peace and security in his environment these feelings are gradually repressed (defense mechanism) from his memory. This is a normal procedure which happens in the case of every child at a relatively early age which enables the child to re-establish a more or less friendly relationship with his parents without the interference of disturbing memories and

emotions. These repressions tend to find expression in the form of displacement, another defense mechanism. If the displacement is to be successful in preventing the reawakening of anxiety, it must be disguised to some suitable symbolic form. In Hitler's case, unfortunately, the symbols he unconsciously chose to express his own inner conflicts were such that they have seriously affected the future of the world. Unconsciously, all the emotions he had once felt for his mother became transferred to Germany. Germany, like his mother, was young and vigorous and held promise of a great future under suitable circumstances. Germany became a symbol of his ideal mother. Germans, as a whole, invariably refer to Germany as the "Fatherland", while Hitler almost always refers to it as the "Motherland. Just as Germany was ideally suited to symbolize his mother, so was Austria ideally suited to symbolize his father. Like his father, Austria was old and exhausted. He therefore transferred all his unconscious hatred from his father to the Austrian state. He could now give vent to all his pent-up emotions without exposing himself to the dangers he believed he would have encountered had he expressed these same feelings towards the persons really involved. The alliance between Austria and Germany symbolized the marriage of his mother and father. Over and over again we find references to this alliance and we can see clearly how deeply he resented the marriage of his parents because he felt that his father was a detriment to his mother and only through the death of the former could the latter obtain her freedom and find her salvation. Unconsciously he is not dealing with nations composed of millions of individuals but is trying to solve his personal conflicts and rectify the injustices of his childhood. As a result he chose the German army over the Austrian army and went to the extent of completely destroying the Austrian village of Dllersheim, the birthplace of his ancestors.

During the battle of Ypres, Hitler was admitted to a field hospital, temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack. The English psychologist David Lewis and Bernhard Horstmann suggest the blindness may have been the result of a conversion disorder (then known as "hysteria").While he was recovering in hospital, Germany surrendered. Again the same thing was happening but instead of his real mother it was his ideal mother, Germany, who was being betrayed, corrupted and humiliated and again he was unable to come to her rescue. During this experience he became convinced the purpose of his life was to "save Germany." Hitler, lying in his hospital bed, relived his mothers death except that this time Germany, his surrogate mother, was being destroyed. He then might have

made the connection that in both cases the Jews had been responsible (a Jewish doctor was treating his mother when she died of breast cancer) and as a result Hitler became anti-seministic (hostility towards Jews). As a result he blamed Germanys loss in the First World War on the Jews. He believed that the Jews were the reason for the 'inner poisoning' of Germany and that they had stolen the victory from Germany in WW-I.