Sunday 24 September 2017

Morbid Hitler had 'Messiah complex'

An academic has uncovered new evidence about Hitler's mental state during the war
An academic has uncovered new evidence about Hitler's mental state during the war

A secret intelligence report - compiled just as Hitler embarked on the Final Solution - found the Nazi leader had a "messiah complex" and increasingly turned to "Jew-phobia" as defeat loomed.

The document was drawn up for British intelligence in April 1942 and has lain unread since the war.

Written just as the conflict was starting to turn against Hitler, it shows British analysts had noticed developing paranoia in his speechmaking and a growing preoccupation with what he called "the Jewish poison".

Just weeks after the analysis was compiled, senior Nazis set in place plans for the Final Solution - an intensification of the mass extermination of Jews. Experts say the papers show British secret services sensed that, as the war turned against him, Hitler would resort to increasingly drastic measures.

The document was found among a collection of papers belonging to the family of Mark Abrams, a social scientist who worked with the BBC's overseas propaganda analysis unit and the psychological warfare board during the war.

Written by Joseph MacCurdy, a Cambridge academic, it refers to earlier signs of "morbid tendencies", classifying these as "Shamanism", "epilepsy" and "paranoia".

The first referred to Hitler's hysteria and compulsion to feed off the energy of Nuremberg Rally-style audiences. By 1942, MacCurdy said he was in decline, and his report refers to the "dull flatness of the delivery".

The other two tendencies were, however, developing. "Epilepsy" referred to Hitler's cold and ruthless streak, but also a tendency to lose heart when his ambitions failed.

McCurdy thought the outcome of Operation Barbarossa, which had stalled the previous winter, had exposed this fatalism, and he wrote that Hitler's speech betrayed "a man who is seriously contemplating the possibility of utter defeat".

Most alarming, he said, was Hitler's growing paranoia. By this, McCurdy meant the Nazi leader's "Messiah complex", in which he believed he was leading a chosen people on a crusade against an evil incarnate in the Jews.

The paper came to light after Dr Scott Anthony, who is working on the history of public relations at the University of Cambridge, began tracking down Abrams' peers and relatives.

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