Adolf Hitler is well known for being the leader of the Nazi Party in Germany and making questionable decisions during his reign as Chancellor. Whether it was targeting individuals based on looks, religious beliefs, or even disability, his name is associated with these evil actions that led to the decimation of millions of people, the Holocaust being one of the events he constructed. Hitler’s rise to power was strictly manipulative; as he convinced Hindenburg, the president of the time who suffered from dementia, to enact Article 48, a document that suspended the basic rights of citizens during a time of chaos. Having achieved full control over the government, Hitler embarked a full systematic suppression of his political oppositions, declaring the Nazi Party as the only legal party in Germany. Hitler was on a mission to make Germany great again. Being a veteran of the First World War and also suffering the humiliation of losing, Hitler’s quest for revenge was only the beginning of the destruction, he and his minions casted against the world. In the eyes of Hitler and most Germans, the Treaty of Versailles was void due to the fact that the Germans were not allowed to negotiate terms in the treaty but were required to admit war guilt (Article 231) and accept the monetary responsibilities of both Germany and her allies. Hitler’s mental health before and during his dictatorship was unstable due to PTSD he experienced from his participation in the First World War as a soldier. The effects of the war and his constant drug use obliterated whatever sanity he had left. Forcing him to be more radical before and after the Nazi era, making policies that were fused with anti-Semitism and anti-communism.
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Hitler’s military experience began in the First World War; a war that began after the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed by a Serbian terrorist on June 28, 1914. Eager for war action, Hitler enlisted at the age of 25 in a Bavarian Regiment. For most of the war, Hitler was pretty lucky with escaping injury. His first interaction with the British led to 2,500 of the 3,00 men in his regiment killed. By 1916, however, all of Hitler’s luck ran out during the Battle of Somme he was wounded in the leg in by a shell fragment. This was his first time away from the military, and Hitler became witness to the anti-war sentiment among German civilians. In response, Hitler blamed the Jews for conspiring to undermine the German military. This idea of anti-war conspiracy involving the Jews, later became an obsession and an added factor for his ever-growing hatred of them.
People proclaimed Hitler to be a brave soldier. He received five medals and the Iron Cross 1st Class, a rare award for foot soldiers. Despite his good record he remained a corporal, due to his superiors believing he lacked leadership qualities to command as a sergeant. In October 1918, Hitler became partially blind in a mustard gas attack in Belgium. He was admitted to a military hospital where news of armistice reached him. World War I influenced young Hitler to believe that Germany lost the war due to enemy propaganda and not the defeat on the fronts.
Hitler’s bad mental state can be attributed to his PTSD. According to the Institute of Medicine, the diagnosis criteria of PTSD is a person who has been exposed to a traumatic event in which they either experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury. Seeing that Hitler sustained physical injuries, as well as emotional trauma from World War I, he fits the criteria of someone suffering from shell shock. Hitler’s hospitalization at Pasewalk, was a very important event in his life and is considered a crucial contribution to his later atrocities. Undoubtedly, his trauma enhanced his paranoia, narcissistic and sadistic temperaments.
PTSD can affect one for a lifetime and pervades all aspects of a veteran’s life including mental and physical health, family and social relationships. It is often concurrent with other health problems, such as depression, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain and substance abuse disorder. Hitler who suffered from substance abuse later on, was also unamused on how the war ended. He was enraged by what he viewed as betrayal of defeated Germany from the Jews, as they negotiated with the Allies about armistice. This motivated Hitler to want to become a politician and World War One led him to be vengeful and hold anger towards the Allies, the Jews and left. Furthermore, proving Hitler’s inability to be a great leader, as he acts upon his vengeance and emotions instead of thinking rationally and making policies as such . Henry Murray who was a psychologist at Harvard University saw Hitler’s personality as developing counteractively in response to avenge his perceived humiliations, injuries and insult to his own pride and his imagined pride of Germany, when he did a personality research on him.
Walter Langer was a psychoanalyst from Cambridge, Massachusetts also conducted a psychological analysis of Hitler. Langer examined the 1918 incident when Hitler was temporarily blinded with mustard gas and believed that Hitler exaggerated his symptoms in a hysterical way, when he spoke on his divine vision at the Pasewalk Hospital. In terms of analyzing Hitler’s psychopathology, this incident is pivotal because it is the chief suspected diagnosis of schizophrenia. Langer determined that Hitler was on “”a hysterical at the edge of schizophrenia, which led him to be mentally unstable for a position that was of such importance at the time. Using sources available to him, Langer diagnosed Hitler as a neurotic bordering with a messiah complex, masochistic tendencies, strong sexual perversions, and a high likelihood of homosexuality. He also stated that Hitler had many schizophrenic tendencies and that the most plausible outcome for Hitler would be that he would commit suicide
Hitler would have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the paranoid type if he was still alive. His clinical elevations have supported this hypothetical diagonics, and would of course lead one to question if someone with a schizophrenic disorder should have held such a powerful and high position. Symptoms of schizophrenia the paranoid type includes anger, hallucination, persecutory or religious delusion, argumentativeness and anxiety. This further indicates that such individuals are prone to suicidal behavior and extreme violence. Nonetheless, it has been proven that murderous schizophrenic people like Charles Manson and Jim Jones, did have an extraordinary hold on individuals.
Moreover, there is first person testimony on Hitler’s acts. In
Much can be say about Hitler’s qualifications to be the leader of a society during a difficult time. The people were so desperate for a leader to make things better that the worst was chosen for them. In his autobiography Mein Kampf, written while he was imprisoned in 1924, Hitler dives into his relationship with his parents. Hitler was very fearful of his father and even told his secretary Christi Schroeder, I didn’t love my father but I was all the more of him. He had tantrums and immediately became violent The parenting style of his father is defined as an authoritarian style. Such parenting style is characterized with physical punishments, obedience without questioning and rigidity. Research shows that this style of parenting can lead one to develop an aggressive personality and antisocial behavior which was evident throughout Hitler’s life. It can be suggested that the lack of positive relationship Hitler shared with his father was a defining factor in the development of his personality. Hitler was a troubled adolescent who find peace and refuge in a world of fantasy. Historians refer to the typical characteristics of Hitler as impulsive, self – centered, cold, aggressive and unempathetic. These personality traits fits Eysenck’s theory that such attributes are an indicator of high levels of Psychoticism. Hitler’s rise to power only highlighted these poor personality traits. His policies reflect how unempathetic he was, and how he viewed himself in a messianic complex. His peculiar personality was a perfect match for the disillusioned Germans who were suffering from the economic disaster of the time.
Adolf Hitler - The Leader of the Nazi Party in Germany. (2019, Jul 31).
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