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The Mind Of Adolf Hitler The Secret Wartime Report

1545 words (6 pages) Essay in History

5/12/16 History Reference this

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About the Author

Walter C. Langer, who was a professor at Harvard, held a Ph.D but not an M.D., and was the first person admitted to the American Psychiatric Association who lacked a medical degree. His other publication includes Psychology & Human Living (1945). He had been studying in Germany and Austria during 1937-38 and had witnessed Hitler’s triumphant entry in the city of Anschluss, Austria.

About the Book

The Mind of Adolf Hitler:The Secret Wartime Report, published in 1973 by Martin Secker & Warburg Limited is based on, and contains as its core, a World War II report by psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer which probed the psychology of Adolf Hitler from the available information. The report was prepared for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and submitted in late 1943 or early 1944.

The book contains not only Dr. Langer’s report, but also a foreword by his brother, the historian William L. Langer, an introduction by Langer himself and an afterword by the psychoanalytic historian Robert G.L.

The book has been divided into six parts beginning from introduction and then comprising, Hitler as German people know him, his associates know him, As he knows himself finally psychological analysis and reconstruction and his probable behavior in future.

Author Thesis

Langer’s purpose was not to give full account of Hitler as an historical phenomenon, but to provide American military policy maker with a psychological profile that might make some practical contribution to the defeat of a war time enemy. The author fulfilled and achieved his objectives remarkably, but to the extent that analysis is restricted in purpose and scope.

Author try to prove that deprivation of Adolf in his early child hood and his stay at Vienna, his father’s attitude as well as his inability to save his mother from his father’s harsh treatment, and earlier death of his brothers left indelible imprint on his mind and he started viewing things otherwise. Fear of death & desire of immortality, disturbance of love and his feministic characteristic also have relative impact on his personality

Walter C. Langer, a psychoanalyst associated with war time strategic study, unfolds explicit facts about one of history’s most mysterious figures. Langer’s research digs out a new aspect of Adolf Hitler, which most of the historian have ignored prior to publication of this report, that psychology plays an important role in the formation of personality. The author reveals that there was much more to Hitler’s life than that which Nazi propaganda portrayed. The author seeks helps from close associates of Hitler, used many sources to profile Hitler, including a number of informants, including Ernst HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Hanfstaengl”Hanfstaengl, Hermann HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Rauschning”Rauschning, Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe, Otto HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Strasser”Strasser, FriedlindeHYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedlinde_Wagner” Wagner, and Kurt HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Ludecke”Ludecke.

General Summary

The author specifies chapter regarding different views about Hitler as German people know him and he himself believes to be. This book contains facts which contradict most biographies of Hitler, including Hitler’s own “Mein Kampf.” i.e. Hitler was not bold enough as he posed himself to be, number of time he threatened to commit suicide to emotionally blackmail his audience. The book explains, he befriended and was aided by a number of Jews throughout his life, in contrast to the fact that he was responsible for holocaust and killing of millions of Jews. He was in the habit of procrastination and indecision.

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Hitler’s behavior pattern, as his close associates observe them, one gets the impression this is not a single personality, but two that inhabit the same body and alternate back and forth. The one is a very soft, sentimental, and indecisive individual, the other is just the opposite–a hard, cruel, and decisive person with considerable energy–who seems to know what he wants and is ready to go after it and get it regardless of cost.

The book gives the notion that Hitler was so mentally disturbed, he could not have functioned effectively, but matter of fact is that he was consummately able political and military tacticians.

He was a great orator and believes “The great masses of the people . . . more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one” even the greatest opponent concede that he is the greatest orator that Germany has ever known. He clearly knows how to hypnotize his audience. He never used to listen anybody and he was least concerned with sex and this led some to believe that he was an impotent; or homosexual, many members of his party were homosexual, he has profound contempt for the weakness in men for sex and the fools that it make of them, nevertheless he was fond of music party and pornography.

Clearly ambition and Providence play a key role in Hitler’s life. more than anything else, it was this vision that convince him that he had a great mission to perform. This is probably the most outstanding characteristic of Hitler’s mature personality, and it is this that guides him with the “precision of a sleepwalker”. He was a staunch believer of fate. One can only wonder what Hitler would have done with his life had he not endured such malaise before his rise to power. Ironically, Langer’s perspective on Hitler makes it possible for the reader to feel sympathy for a man who is responsible for killing millions of people and has become a gauge to measure the cruelest act of human being.

Reaction to Author

This book is detailed analysis of multiple factors that led to the formation of Hitler as ambitious & motivated person to raise Germany up before world even at the cost of destruction of humanity. The author has aptly justified his point of view with the help of close associate of Hitler, as he knows himself, as German people know him, as his associates know him and finally as actually he was. In order to have deep insight psychoanalysis of Adolf, author sought help from various sources including Hitler’s own auto biography i.e. Mein Kampf and refer it on many occasions. .

This book has established its credentials on basis of prophecy made by Walter C Langer regarding the future of Hitler, if he lost the war. He predicted eight different propositions that would be the final outcome of Hitler. He indicated that he might be killed in battle, he might seek refuge in neutral country, he may fall into their hands and last but not the least he might commit suicide. Here writer becomes biased, as he deems that Hitler’s killing in battle would be most undesirable from his point of view because his death is served as an example for his followers to fight on. This would be what Hitler would want for he has predicted that:

“We shall not capitulate… no, never. We may be destroyed, but if we are, we shall drag a world with us… a world in flames.”

The author goes on saying that Hitler’s suicide would be extremely undesirable from their point of view because if it is cleverly done it would establish the Hitler legend so firmly in the minds of the German people that it might take generations to eradicate it. Dr. Langer proposes that from his point of view, it would be most desirable to have Hitler fall into their hands.

Langer is incorrect in thinking that Hitler did not become an anti Semitic during his first years in Vienna (1908-1913) but research reveals that Hitler joined an anti Semitic society in April of 1908. It may tell us a great deal about the mental processes of Adolf Hitler, but it cannot be as comprehensive or conclusive as the findings of a direct study conducted with the cooperation of the individual. The writer excessively depends upon making surmise instead of giving concrete conclusion.

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This report is so sharply focus on the individual that we see very little of the historic setting and thus get a distorted picture of Hitler and his time.


The book has been written in simple & eloquent style, the reader can easily grasp the idea because of simplicity of language, however somewhere sentences are in multiple phrases. It can be compare with Hitler; the evil unprecedented or any book on the subject with distinction of future prediction about Hitler and his physiological analysis. This book is unique in the sense that perhaps it is first deliberate attempt to combine psychology & warfare. At the end, book contain detailed bibliography, notes, index and other resources of information i.e. photographs. There are many facts found in the book that I would never have imagined could have been true. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to find out almost everything there is to know about.

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