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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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby -1- on October 16th, 2018, 5:29 am 

Dolfi was a typical case of "I ain't stupid; I am crazy."

He had a domineering personality; those people get their way done.

Adolf had a vision: the hatred for Jews. A vision will carry a man to great lengths. Had he not had this vision, he would have got tired of his quest (world domination) much sooner.

Building his war machine got Germany out of the world-wide depression; much like it brought out the USA a decade later, when they armed after Pearl Harbour. The USA uses the building of war machinery to this day with great economic success.

All this got to Hitler's head. He was on a high, like Mick Jagger and Brian Jones were when the line of good-looking women and drugs came in a constant stream to them.

This high is very addictive, and hard on you when you can't accelerate it any further. Typically a Hollywood effect. A constant stream of success and drugs and sex is not enough ever; you need a constantly INCREASING dosage of them to keep the same high going.

To Hitler it was the war, the economic success, the killing of Jews, the adoration and devotion of his people to him.

By 1941 his high was stagnating. He controlled non-Russian Europe, with the exception of appendage (Scandianavia partly, the Iberian peninsula, and most of the Balkan). Britain was a cookie he only half-assedly bit on, seeing he considered the Britons quasi-Germans.

Clearly, he needed a fix, and the only way to proceed was to the East, because there was still virgin fronts there.

THIS is why he attacked the Soviet Union. Not because he was stupid. Not because he was a military genius or a military failure. He was simply hungry for more high.

It was interesting what previous posters wrote about his reluctance to introduce assault rifles, radar detection, and jet engine / jet fighter development. He was old-fashioned, he aged 20 years since he had started his far-reaching political career.

They say "the greatest opponents to new developments in any human endeavour are the people who had made the greatest advances in the pioneer days of that endeavour." Einstein could not get to see eye-to-eye with certified Quantum Mechanics, Lenin did not support the space race, Moses fought tooth-and-nail against the much later coming introduction of three hundred and forty-eight more commandments by G-d. (Some of which had to do with Anti-combine commandments, commandments against frittering chewing gum on sidewalks, and a commandment to ceremonial left-ear loss to both of a marrying couple.) Hitler was a great man introducing hate, war, misery; but he was later a strong opponent of carrying on this tradition via introducing newer technology.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Lomax on October 17th, 2018, 4:23 am 

Ouch, you're banned before I had chance to reply. Interesting points - they would explain why he continued (increasingly) to waste military and economic resources on the holocaust. Military strategists consider Napoleon's rise to have been partly due to his advanced military strategies, and his downfall to be due to the fact that he didn't continue to advance them, while others caught up and overtook.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Braininvat on October 17th, 2018, 12:23 pm 

I got a report of trolling. Went back and looked at recent posts, and couldn't find any actual trolling, so ban was lifted. Carry on.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby -1- on October 18th, 2018, 11:47 am 

Thank you for reinstating me, Braininvat. I am really appreciative of this. I am brand new to this forum, and I like it very much. I was near desperation earlier when I found myself banned for life. Thanks again.

With regard to Hitler's mental capacity and capabilities: His obsession with antisemitism bordered with or went into the realm of clinical obsession. Like all geniuses, he had his strong areas and very weak areas. His strong areas were the ability of convincing others. His ability to overpower opposition in opinions. His ability to manage, on a large scale. His ability to not falter at set backs.

His faults were lack of insight, lack of ability to change course of action and policy when needed, lack of critical thinking esp. about his own ideas.

I don't know how good a general in military matters he was. I don't know who designed the Blitzkrieg, and the Russian invasion--whether it was Hitler himself or his generals (help in factual knowledge needed-- Anyone here could extend it?)

Some strategists now think that if he did not attack the Soviet Union, and retained the land-grab and invasion status quo to that point, and made a pact with Great Britain, his empire would have developed into something politically unsustainable anyway. The Third Reich could only exist in strong military / policing form, and as long as that stood, it was sustainable; but the moment a successor of his showed weakness in administering military and police oppression in a number of invaded countries, the Third Reich would have fallen.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby zetreque on October 20th, 2018, 9:30 pm 

If you haven't already, check out the movie "Being There."
I think that explains certain people in power to some extend :)

Too bad the trailer kinda reveals so much about the movie. Kinda ruins the surprise.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby -1- on October 21st, 2018, 6:33 am 

Yes, I have seen the movie, when it was a first-run brand new release. I LOVED it! To this day it's one of my favourite movies, although I can't watch it a second time (while "Life of Brian" etc. I watched 20+ times).

"Being There" was amazing. I shan't say more, lest I spoil it for someone else.

Many think -- myself included -- that Sellers ought to have received an Oscar for his acting in that movie role.
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Re: Was Hitler A Moron?

Postby Lozza on November 12th, 2018, 3:14 am 

For me, the issue doesn't hinge upon Hitler's level of intelligence, but upon the set of circumstances that Germany found itself in. Bureaucrats put Hitler into power, as they saw that what he said in the beer-halls at the time, resonated with the average working person. Germany had the worlds's largest bureaucracy at the time, due to its' emphasis upon the military, and the military requires a large bureaucratic infrastructure for the processing of troops, equipment and logistics etc. That's one aspect.

The Jewish people at the time in many countries of Europe, were not allowed to be property owners, but could run businesses. Something like 80% of the businesses in Germany prior to WWII were Jewish run. And let's not forget the Rothschilds, who ran banks in 5 European nations. Those stats alone make the Jewish people an easy target to vilify when the country's economy is in tatters, although this was no fault of the Jewish community, but of the reparations having to be paid post WWI and the agricultural and industrial lands that Germany lost from the Treaty of Versailles. Combine that with the entire Western Economy going into free-fall after the 1928 Stock Market Crash, placing higher demands upon Germany to repay their reparations, and you have a recipe for disaster starting at ground level with the average working person.

All this created mass unemployment and outrageous inflationary rates in Germany, to the point whereby people that had jobs were being paid twice a day, so they could shop at lunch time, as the prices would be double or more by the end of the day. In short, money ended up having no value at all, and there are some interesting photos of children playing with bundles of German paper currency like it was Monopoly money on the streets, making my point.

So my overall point is this...the Treaty of Versailles combined with the Stock Market Crash of 1928 were the main factors that created a situation in Germany whereby a Hitler could rise to power. Go figure, after WWII, we didn't decimate Germany's economy like we did after WWI, but instead we rebuilt it. The "West" learned its lesson.

Every country has a Hitler lurking in the background, but it takes a unique set of circumstances for them to rise to a position of power. Placing emphasis upon the individual, for me, misses the entire point of the bigger picture. Most people like to either extol the virtues of an individual or vilify an individual, rather than look at the bigger picture of how a person like that rose to a position of power. We look at events as stand-alone events rather than joining the dots of the prevailing circumstances and seeing that there are definitive reasons for how and why someone like that gets into power, or the types of decisions that are made by those in power.

Now, by Hitler reneging on the Treaty of Versailles, it gave him some cash flow to put into German infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads, and of course, the military. All of which created jobs for the unemployed German people. Again, go figure, he gained the wholehearted support of the German people who now could have lives again with an income, rather than the poverty and destitution they had been experiencing.

And finally, I've left the most contentious and provocative point for last...apparently, all the royal families of Europe supported Hitler's rise. Why? Because he made it very clear that he wanted to push north to Moscow. What's so important about that for the royals? Well, most of you would be aware of how the Romanovs (the last Russian royals before the Russian Revolution) were so viciously killed. Prince Phillip said of that event, "I lost half my family". So the royals were not just in fear of their assets, but they were literally in fear of their lives with the "communists" of Russia. So of course, you would support someone that stated they were going to put an end to the "communists" in Russia. That at least is initial support. I don't know that they supported him in the end, but they certainly supported him in the beginning.

I don't perceive Hitler as either a moron or a genius, but as a neurotic personality. Neurotics, by definition, have little to no personal insight, are very black and white in their thinking....there is no grey or a rainbow of colours for them between the extreme opposites, there's just black and white, right and wrong et al. They are emotionally immature, making them self-righteous, idealistic at an impractical level, self-serving and are people of no personal power or high confidence. They are dogmatic with a "my way or the highway" attitude, exemplified by the fact that Hitler didn't want to be awoken by anyone regardless of what was happening and that he had to be the decision-maker. They are, in short, the perfect bureaucrat...a piece of paper makes their decisions for them and once they are in a position of any form of bureaucratic power, wield that power wantonly with absolutely no regard for the consequences of the other person(s)...their self-righteousness tells them it's the other person's problem, not theirs. We have all encountered bureaucrats like that and even work colleagues and managers. In fact, neurotics are also known colloquially as "little Hitlers"...go figure! Because they are! It's then no surprise that the self-serving bureaucrats of Germany in that era recognized a soul-mate in Hitler, and so, recruited him.

What was Winston Churchill doing during England's darkest hour? He was rallying the public and making himself seen on the streets of London inspiring the public. What was Hitler doing in Germany's darkest hour? Hiding in a bunker, contemplating suicide. Two opposite personalities.
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