Was Hitler A Moron?

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Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Lomax on March 29th, 2017, 10:01 pm 

Once, sat around a table in a pub, I was told confidently and insistently by a group of people that Hitler was a genius. I felt as though I'd heard it all before, and I've heard it all again since. So I'm going to try to make the case that fortune, not intelligence, thrust Hitler to the fore, and that his leadership was often crucially hapless. I hope to hear arguments on both sides of the motion.

The night before the Munich Putsch in 1923, Hitler's two main allies, Kahr and Lossow, decided to call off the Nazi uprising. Angered with this, Hitler held them at gunpoint and demanded that they rejoin him in his march on Munich. Satisfied with their capitulation, he let them go home. The next day Hitler and his soldiers stormed Munich, but overnight Kahr had tipped off the Weimar authorities, and army and police reinforcements had been dispatched to Munich. 16 Nazis died, and Hitler himself was wounded, tried for treason, and imprisoned for years. Beside the mistake of letting Kahr go home - right after having treated him like an enemy - he managed not to notice, or receive any intelligence, that the Wiemar Republic had moved hundreds of soldiers into the city he was in, overnight.

Sebastian Haffner presents evidence that, during the second world war, Hitler knew that his health was failing and that his time was nearly up no matter what, and that this is why he was making madly overambitious strategic moves and using fight-or-die tactics, and even that some of his generals had sensed this and were merely trying to stall him.

During his reign Hitler did everything he could to centralise power upon himself, and in addition to this, demanded that his generals and high officials not wake him up under any circumstances. On D-Day, Allied forces began to close in at 9am, while Hitler slept; and nobody had the authority to make his decisions for him. When he finally awoke at midday the war was, essentially, over.

It's a myth that the Nazis invaded Russia in the winter - they invaded it twice, in June then in August - but when they did invade they made no plans for upcoming winters. Russia, naturally, was not conquered by the time winter came around, and the red army turned the Nazis around and chased them back through Europe, marking the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. Hitler finally chose this moment to follow the advice of his generals and distribute assault rifles - a new invention, vetoed by him completely over the previous years on the grounds that he didn't have enough for everybody - to his armies. Too little, too late; and all this is without mentioning the insanity of declaring war on Russia (and the US) at all, given that the strategic difficulty of fighting on two fronts was what did for Germany in the previous war.

Which is nearer the mark: that Hitler achieved (if that is the right word) what he did due to talent, or due to luck, or by happening to be the expression of much German feeling at the time? Jensen, one of the inventors of the loudspeaker, regretted his invention on the grounds that physically unimpressive men could not have become leaders of vehement movements without it. And had the American economy not collapsed in the 1920s, leading America to demand faster payment of reparations from the Wiemar Republic, the republic would not have been so furiously hated by its populace. Without Article 48, power could not have become so centralised so easily. My contention is that the thing which propelled Hitler forward is the same thing which spelled his demise - not brilliance, but simple, uncompromising, audacity.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby wolfhnd on March 30th, 2017, 4:27 am 

Estimating Hitler’s IQ

https://pumpkinperson.com/2015/10/18/es ... itlers-iq/

Hitler was most likely slightly above average in intelligence. What that means in terms of competency may always be subjective.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby SciameriKen on March 30th, 2017, 5:59 pm 

Lomax » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:01 am wrote:Which is nearer the mark: that Hitler achieved (if that is the right word) what he did due to talent, or due to luck, or by happening to be the expression of much German feeling at the time? Jensen, one of the inventors of the loudspeaker, regretted his invention on the grounds that physically unimpressive men could not have become leaders of vehement movements without it. And had the American economy not collapsed in the 1920s, leading America to demand faster payment of reparations from the Wiemar Republic, the republic would not have been so furiously hated by its populace. Without Article 48, power could not have become so centralised so easily. My contention is that the thing which propelled Hitler forward is the same thing which spelled his demise - not brilliance, but simple, uncompromising, audacity.



Funny I just had a discussion about Hitler at lunch which my friend was trying to argue that Hitler should not be totally held to blame as he was quite literally mentally ill. I think it might just be the case that he was mentally ill and his successes were probably driven by the extremely talented people that surrounded him and were to consumed with power to recognize the path they were on.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby someguy1 on March 30th, 2017, 9:56 pm 

He was a branding genius. He designed the color scheme, the symbology. He was a genius of crowd psychology. Clearly he wasn't a very good military strategist else he wouldn't have wasted seven months bombing London then marched his army into the Russian winter. Even if he did it during the summer as noted.

He was utterly focussed on his goal. He took lessons in public speaking, developed his ways of making a crowd share his madness. That's an art whether it's used for good or evil. I would say he was a genius in many areas of human psychology. If he'd left the war to his generals, Europe would look a lot different today.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby vivian maxine on March 31st, 2017, 1:53 pm 

Competency, like common sense, is not the result of a high IQ. IQ tests reflect mainly book learning. Life experiences and the ability to reason produce competency and sometimes common sense, the latter which really isn't so common any more.

If a person has too much ego/pride about his genius level on a test, he will not believe he needs competency or common sense. He will simply believe his followers will do as he says because he is so smart. Too much intelligence - especially from book learning - can get us into all kinds of trouble, which his did.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Lomax on March 31st, 2017, 9:50 pm 

Thanks for your responses, everyone.

wolfhnd » March 30th, 2017, 9:27 am wrote:Estimating Hitler’s IQ

https://pumpkinperson.com/2015/10/18/es ... itlers-iq/

Hitler was most likely slightly above average in intelligence. What that means in terms of competency may always be subjective.

Do that guy's calculations adjust for the Flynn effect? If his IQ is 130 by modern standards it would be considerably higher by the standards of its day.

SciameriKen » March 30th, 2017, 10:59 pm wrote:I think it might just be the case that he was mentally ill and his successes were probably driven by the extremely talented people that surrounded him and were to consumed with power to recognize the path they were on.

Haffner argues that Hitler's generals did indeed begin to realise the path he was leading them on, but by then it was probably too late. Still, I can just imagine him using your idea as his defense at Nuremberg: "I was only following my disorders."

someguy1 » March 31st, 2017, 2:56 am wrote:He took lessons in public speaking, developed his ways of making a crowd share his madness. That's an art whether it's used for good or evil. I would say he was a genius in many areas of human psychology.

I'm curious as to the extent it can be argued he actually mobilised Nazi opinion, actually. Far-right views may have become common in Germany simply because of the economy, the rape of the country by foreign powers, and because of Germany's already nationalistic and imperialistic political climate. He did perpetuate the stab-in-the-back myth, but it was already well in circulation before he took charge of the GWP. I wonder if we have any evidence, one way or the other, how successful the Nazis would likely have been with any other member in charge.

vivian maxine » March 31st, 2017, 6:53 pm wrote:Competency, like common sense, is not the result of a high IQ. IQ tests reflect mainly book learning. Life experiences and the ability to reason produce competency and sometimes common sense, the latter which really isn't so common any more.

If a person has too much ego/pride about his genius level on a test, he will not believe he needs competency or common sense. He will simply believe his followers will do as he says because he is so smart. Too much intelligence - especially from book learning - can get us into all kinds of trouble, which his did.

My understanding is that IQ tests generally reflect spatio-temporal reasoning, which I can imagine comes in handy for military strategy, as well as economics. Anyway, in light of your post, I'd better put my books down and get out more.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Heavy_Water on May 10th, 2017, 9:44 pm 

I have never heard or read anybody claim Hitler blundered by launching Operation Barbarossa in the winter. Anybody with even a modicum of military history knowledge knows that's wrong. He of course simply waited a bit long with his early summer...June...beginning. this, coupled with an egregious underestimation of his Russian foes, ensured that his wehrmacht was slogged down and frozen when the unrelenting, and, btw, undefeated, Russia Winter came rolling in.

And of course Barbarossa was a massive blunder in itself. Perhaps his biggest. Along with him not giving more monies and materials to his rocketry program and the genius Werner von Braun. Also his jet aircraft, like the Me262. They could've win the sure war had they been given free reign. Maybe.

Hitler was far from a moron, mate. Though by wars end he was almost certainly clinically insane from rampant cocaine and amphetamine daily usage. Did you know he had cocaine injected into his eye sockets daily by his personal physician?

He was a gifted public orator. A shrewd politician. A WWI decorated soldier. Brave and resourceful. A great motivator. And a better than average military strategist. His original U-Boats planning and strategy to choke Great Brittain was perfect. Until the Allies figured out how to best it. Churchill admitted the only thing that scares him was the Nazi U-Boats.

I even think some of Hitler's social theory was brilliant and ahead of it's time. Did you ever read Mein Kampf? Sure, some delusion there, but also some nuggets of wisdom.

Hitler had a injurious mistrust of new technology. He definitely micro managed to the point of irreparable harm to his war effort.

But not even his worst critics refer to him as a complete moron. If you were to take all of the national leaders of countries at war through history I think it safe to say that Adolph Hitler was in the upper one quarter or so intelligence wise. But sad for him and his troops was the fact he also was beset with delusions and nsrcissism that outweighed that.

Hope this helps. Cheers.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Lomax on May 11th, 2017, 10:35 am 

Heavy_Water » May 11th, 2017, 2:44 am wrote:Though by wars end he was almost certainly clinically insane from rampant cocaine and amphetamine daily usage. Did you know he had cocaine injected into his eye sockets daily by his personal physician?

Dropped rather than injected, but I take your point.


Heavy_Water » May 11th, 2017, 2:44 am wrote:I even think some of Hitler's social theory was brilliant and ahead of it's time. Did you ever read Mein Kampf? Sure, some delusion there, but also some nuggets of wisdom.

I have read it, and I don't remember many nuggets of wisdom, but that may be a shortcoming of my memory. Could you give examples?

Heavy_Water » May 11th, 2017, 2:44 am wrote:He was a gifted public orator. A shrewd politician. A WWI decorated soldier. Brave and resourceful. A great motivator. And a better than average military strategist.

I would only question how shrewd - and how much better than average strategically - it was to declare war on the US, as well as violating the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Many of his generals knew at the time this was manic behaviour. This is in addition to the other major blunders I mentioned in my OP. It's possible that our admiration for power leads us to attribute too much talent to Hitler - I would at least want to hear better arguments than "your opinion is in a strong minority" if I were to change my mind on that point.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Forest_Dump on May 11th, 2017, 12:36 pm 

To get the OP out of the way, I would think he must have been well above average no matter how you weigh it. He would have had to be in order to out compete others who would have been wanting that kind of political power and he would have had to have been competent enough, relative to his time and place to maintain and hold and enhance his grip on power.

But professional bias also leads me to wonder in the end just how relevant that really is. While I acknowledge the "big man" aspect of theory, I think people like him were/are really predictable catalysts or sparks to set off something that was already present (the "big process"). IMHO, what is really important is the conditions that allowed something like that to happen (ie. along with Cambodia, Armenia, Russia under Stalin, China under Mao, Rwanda, Somalia, Congo, and how many others?). And from that, how do we predict and prevent the next ones? In the end, I don't like ideas that marginalize someone like Hitler as a monster, demon or overly unusual individual because that seems to presume it can't or won't happen again.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Heavy_Water on May 11th, 2017, 1:39 pm 

Hallo mate!

You're right of course, Hitler took a huge gamble when he declared War on the US a couple days after Pearl Harbor. He wrongly assumed, I think, that Japan--in light of their bad blood and history of warring with Russia--would not only weaken the USA to a point of rendering them as a "not so formidable enemy" but would also thrown in with Germany in their Operation Barbarossa against Russia. Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, as the saying goes, but his plan could've worked, ya know. Maybe. Hitler also knew that it was only a matter of time before we (the US) were over there anyway, since we'd been arming and greatly helping England for many months via "Lend-Lease." So, he figures, why not just get the jump on the Yanks. In true blitzkreig (lightning war) fashion?

I also don't think Hitler knew how lame Italy's war efforts would be. When Mussolini assured HItler that he would ally with Germany against the US, he most likely figured that help might be enough to put them over the top. Or at least win the war in North Africa, which we know was a very crucial one. In both a goods and a geographic sense.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Lomax on May 12th, 2017, 9:46 am 

Forest_Dump » May 11th, 2017, 5:36 pm wrote:To get the OP out of the way, I would think he must have been well above average no matter how you weigh it. He would have had to be in order to out compete others who would have been wanting that kind of political power and he would have had to have been competent enough, relative to his time and place to maintain and hold and enhance his grip on power.

Of course I'm using the word "moron" for effect; but I'm sure we've all had bosses we consider idiotic compared to ourselves. Even if you buy the "great man" theory there are attributes besides intelligence and wisdom we have to concede are beneficial. There's charm, for instance, and luck. There's "who you know". There's the appropriate amount of assertiveness or docility. So this is what I argue: that we overattribute his success to smartness, and underestimate how much of it owes to luck, and to happening to have the right personality for the job.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Heavy_Water on May 12th, 2017, 1:51 pm 

Lomax » May 12th, 2017, 8:46 am wrote:
Forest_Dump » May 11th, 2017, 5:36 pm wrote:To get the OP out of the way, I would think he must have been well above average no matter how you weigh it. He would have had to be in order to out compete others who would have been wanting that kind of political power and he would have had to have been competent enough, relative to his time and place to maintain and hold and enhance his grip on power.

Of course I'm using the word "moron" for effect; but I'm sure we've all had bosses we consider idiotic compared to ourselves. Even if you buy the "great man" theory there are attributes besides intelligence and wisdom we have to concede are beneficial. There's charm, for instance, and luck. There's "who you know". There's the appropriate amount of assertiveness or docility. So this is what I argue: that we overattribute his success to smartness, and underestimate how much of it owes to luck, and to happening to have the right personality for the job.



I am in complete agreement with you on this.

Luck is highly underrated.

As is the dynamic of "being in the right place at the right time." Which, I reckon, still falls under the "luck" category, eh?

Having spent many years in the music business, I can attest from experience that that last dynamic is REALLY true when it comes to that Industry. As well as others in Entertainment.

And could anybody deny that Hitler was the epitome of the Right Place, Right Time, rule? Many people do not even know that he never won an election!

No economic depression in Germany; No Germany being crippled from Reparations do to the Treaty of Versailles = No Adolf Hitler Rise to Power!

Cheers.
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