Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Our Top Story: Hitler Still Dead

Click here for AmazonThe indispensible Best of the Web points us to this startling headline:

Harvard Study: Hitler Held Grudges, Craved Attention

Now that's what I call a hot news flash.

In any event, the article describes a detailed psychological profile of Hitler commissioned by the OSS in 1943. The article reports:

The rare 1943 document was among the papers discovered in Cornell University Law School's collection from the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

The psychological profile of the Nazi dictator is now available on the law library's Web site.

The report said that if Germany were to lose the war, Hitler might kill himself. Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker in late April 1945.

The interesting thing is that I recall reading this report years ago. It was in book form, probably published in the late 1940's or early 1950's and was titled, I think, "The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report".

There are some interesting tidbits in the report. While there is a prediction that Hitler would commit suicide, the recommendation for postwar treatment of Hitler is fascinating. The primary goal of the treatment was to prevent a living Hitler from becoming a cause celebre or some sort of martyred symbol of persecution:

...1. (a) Bring the Nazi leaders to trial; condemn the chief culprits [to] death, but proclaim Hitler mentally unbalanced.
1. (b) Commit Hitler to an insane asylum (such as St. Elizabeth's, Washington, D.C.) and house him in a comfortable dwelling specially built for his occupancy. Let the world know he is being well treated.
1. (c) ...Unknown to him, have sound-films taken of his behavior. This will show his fits and tirades... of everyone in the world, including the German people.
1. (d) Exhibit regularly to the public... selected segments of these sound-reels, so that it can be seen how unbalanced he is, how mediocre his performance on the customary tests...

Update: the book is still for sale, and I just found it on Amazon. I would have to read the Harvard study in more depth, but at first glance, it would appear these two have markedly similar content.

The study is available on the Cornell Law School web site.

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