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Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler

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Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler was a report commissioned by Office of Strategic Services head, William "Wild Bill" Donovan, in 1943.

A team of specialists brought together by William L. Langer prepared the report on a project headed by Professor Henry A. Murray, Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic, psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer, Dr. Ernst Kris, New School for Social Research, and Dr. Bertram D. Lawin, New York Psychoanalytic Institute.

The report used many sources to profile Hitler, including a number of informants. The groundbreaking study provided the basis for Offender profiling and political psychology, today commonly used by many countries as part of assessing international relations.

Dr. Langer used speeches, Hitler's book Mein Kampf, and interviews with people who had known Hitler. This culminated in the presentation of an 135-page profile of possible behavioural traits of Hitler, and his possible reactions to the idea of Germany losing World War II. Dr. Langer’s profile noted that Hitler was meticulous, conventional, and prudish about his appearance and body. He was robust and viewed himself as a standard-bearer and trendsetter. He had manic phases, yet took little exercise. He was in good health, so it was unlikely he would die from natural causes, but he was deteriorating mentally. He would not try to escape to a neutral country. Hitler always walked diagonally from one corner to another when crossing a room, and he whistled a marching tune. He feared syphilis, germs and moonlight, and loved severed heads.

The profile also pointed out Hitler's oedipal complex, with the effect being the need to prove his manhood to his mother, and his coprolagnia and urolagnia. He detested the learned and the privileged, but enjoyed classical music, vaudeville, and Richard Wagner's opera. He showed strong streaks of sadism and liked circus acts that were risky and dangerous. He tended to speak in long monologues rather than have conversations. He had difficulty establishing close relationships with anyone. Since he appeared to be delusional, it was possible that his psychological structures would collapse in the face of imminent defeat. The most likely scenario was that he would commit suicide, although there was a possiblity that he would order a henchman to perform euthanasia.

Since then other profiles have been developed, biographies published and theories developed to try to explain Hitlers behavior. Many of these amount too little more than speculation. Here we list only the main observations and views offered in the scientific literature.

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