YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

March 16, 2015

Who were the precursors of the New Left? The WASP establishment or Communists?

viperscoverUntil I read Philip Wylie’s best seller A Generation of Vipers (1942), I had assumed that the sprinkling of red-diaper babies who rose to prominence in the social movements of the 1960s, were the bearers of the intellectual ideas that gave rise to the women’s movement, the antiwar movement, the back to Nature movement, and to multiculturalism, with its emphasis on “race” over “class.”

(I should have known that no true communist would sort people out by “race” as the anti-racist Soviet Union was adamant about the conception of proletarian internationalism; moreover, communists wrote A World View of Race in the mid-1930s, that identified the fiction of “race” with the aims of the imperialist bourgeoisie, letting workers off the hook.)

I had already learned at Cornell U. in my course with David Brion Davis that “evil was back” with the renewed popularity of Reinhold Niebuhr, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 1940s. And the “evil” within each of us (to cite Penny Dreadful), was there to offset excessive progressive optimism about the promise of American life, which enabled upward mobility for the Common Man or Woman.

What stunned me about the Wylie “sermon,” that echoed everything that Henry A. Murray and his Harvard associates alleged (e.g., Walter Langer, Talcott Parsons, Gordon Allport, etc.), was his diatribe against Cinderella turning into Mom, the source of all angst in the male sex, including the medical profession. Here is a sample of Wylie’s vituperative book of essays:

“MOM IS THE END PRODUCT OF SHE. She is Cinderella…the shining-haired, the starry-eyed, the ruby-lipped virgo aeternis,  of which there is presumably one, and only one, or a one-and-only for each male, whose dream is fixed upon her deflowerment and subsequent perpetual possession. This act is a sacrament in all churches and a civil affair in our society. The collective aspects of marriage are thus largely compressed into the rituals and social perquisites of one day. Unless some element of mayhem or intention of divorce subsequently obtrudes, a sort of privacy engulfs the union and all further developments are deemed to be the business of each separate pair, including the transition of Cinderella into mom, which, if it occasions any shock, only adds to the huge, invisible burthen every man carries with him into eternity….Mom is an American creation.” (Chapter XI, p.184)

Wylie, like Henry Murray, was a convinced Jungian and primitivist, and like the pagan Murray, was an avowed elitist, also a free-love kind of fellow (but not an advocate for gay rights, for “nances” were sub-textually tied to Mom.) So Wylie was obviously attacking “sentimental” conservatives of a fundamentalist religious bent. He shared with Murray an admiration for the true grit of the Russian people, a taste for internationalism, and for FDR’s personality, with Wylie going so far as to suggest that those who lacked the [independent, masculine, upper-class unsentimental education] should not even vote or hold elective office.

Moreover, the immigrants, preceded by the Nature-wrecking pioneers were a bunch of rowdy rascals. Anyone who denied this was a Mom-identified sentimental “patriot” and deserving of contempt—in short, a viper of the type that devout Christians embodied. Such conservatives, he alleged, had twisted the life and legacy of Christ, ignoring the imprecation to “know thyself,” i.e., to know thy limitations, that such (feminized) devils are not “trained to rule” (Murray’s notes to Melville’s White-Jacket).

I have reported elsewhere that Murray thought that Hitler had Jewish blood (https://clarespark.com/2009/12/13/klara-hitlers-son-and-jewish-blood/, footnote 2), and I didn’t understand this until I read Wylie on the Jews. Wylie spurned vulgar beliefs that upper-class Jews controlled the world (they were but a small portion of the elite, though they controlled the new media), but agreed with Talcott Parsons (Murray’s colleague) that the Jews were vain and believed in their chosen-ness and separateness. And Hitler’s crime was not just to persecute the Jews, but to imitate Jewish pridefulness; the Germans were the new Chosen People.

Where could Hitler have gotten this horribly mistaken idea unless he was something of a Jew himself, putting on airs and vain…rather like Mom.

The Wikipedia bio of Wylie states that he went on to become an early Green and fierce opponent of nuclear power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Wylie.)

Philip Wylie, nature-lover

Philip Wylie, nature-lover

Although recent research has to some degree vindicated Joe McCarthy, uncovering the presence of Communist spies out to steal secrets for the benefit of Soviet-style internationalism, we should pay more attention to the dour pessimism of the old WASP establishment, who were the true parents of New Left movements, all smacking of the populism and “middle way” espoused by Philip Wylie and his contemporaries.

Wylie’s daughter, a novelist herself, has insisted that her father was no misogynist, it should be noted that “Mom” is a middle-class clubwoman married to a businessman, beguiled by materialism/consumerism/: the Northeastern elite’s idea of a Republican. And such benighted sentimentalists shouldn’t be trusted to vote.

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December 10, 2014

Were Nazis “Socialists”?

stalin-mao-hitler-murderers-secret-combinationWith so many readers expecting short blogs readable on smartphones these days, it is not surprising that a limited number of my numerous Facebook friends have the patience to read deep-diving explanations of why they have swallowed the rumor that Hitler and the Nazis or others called “fascists” were indistinguishable from Communists and other advocates of “progress.” Still, I promised to deliver something that serious  readers would find digestible.

First, it is well known that communist historians in America have often blamed “Republicans” for Nazism.It is understandable that many conservatives, waylaid by the term “National Socialism” would return the favor by pouncing on the word “Socialism,” without deciphering its meaning to Germans.

Even before Hitler was appointed Chancellor by German President Paul von Hindenburg (to destroy the threatening German Communist Party and the Soviet Union, but with von Papen as Vice-Chancellor to hold Hitler in check), citizens of the Reich understood the concept of socialism to entail sacrifice of the individual for the benefit of the state. I already pointed this out: https://clarespark.com/2010/02/18/nazi-sykewar-american-style-part-four/. The exact quote in this series German Psychological Warfare: Survey and Bibliography edited by Ladislas Farago (1941) on behalf of the American “moderate” progressives is here Note the date, 1920:

“43. Spengler, O. Preussentum und Sozialismus. Muenchen: Beck, 1920.
PRUSSIANISM AND SOCIALISM. Spengler, a philosopher turned political prophet, ‘discovered’ during the war years the close identity of Prussianism to Socialism. Prussianism and “genuine Socialism”—not of Marx, but of Friedrich Wilhelm I, which was authoritarian, anti-democratic and anti-revolutionary—are consolidated in the old Prussian spirit and are equal to each other because both mean power. This thesis was taken up by the Nazis in what was called ‘Socialism of action.’ Socialism meaning comradeship, service, and duty, not class struggle.” [And what “moderate” anticommunist would not find this appealing? CS]

Second, many rightists swear by Jonah Goldberg’s best-seller Liberal Fascism. I read the book twice and blogged about its slant and deficiencies here: https://clarespark.com/2010/03/10/jonah-goldbergs-liberal-fascism-part-one/. No historian or major intellectual takes this book seriously. It does feed into the misconception fostered by ardent anticommunists that it is proper and appropriate to paint the Hitler moustache upon any progressive, particularly those that were interested in social hygiene and public health, as Hitler really was, though in the context of Aryan superiority and “the People’s Community” (the Volk) I suspect that there is a strong misogynistic element motivating Goldberg and his followers, especially with their insistence that the welfare state is better described as the “nanny state.” Or perhaps there is less misogyny here than bitterness over the departure of the patriarchal father in the home, disciplining children and allocating family resources: a process that has been going on since the rise of industrialism and the rise of “the moral mother.” (See https://clarespark.com/2012/02/25/moral-atheists/, and https://clarespark.com/2009/10/23/murdered-by-the-mob-moral-mothers-and-symbolist-poets/.

Third, although virtually all historians agree that the populist/anti-bourgeois S.A., one obstreperous faction of the new Nazi party, was finished by June 30, 1934 (the Night of the Long Knives), one recent scholar agrees that a minimal socialist element persisted throughout the Nazi regime (see Robert O. Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism for this judgment, that I have not seen duplicated elsewhere in the English language, though in his earlier book The Racial State, co-written with Wolfgang Wipperman, he makes no such claim). For my rundown of Paxton’s most recent book, see https://clarespark.com/2014/11/13/the-anatomy-of-fascism-robert-paxtons-analysis/.

Finally, rightist culture warriors have spread the inflammatory myth that the refugee scholars of Jewish descent (the Frankfurters fleeing Nazism, who unsuccessfully attempted to fuse Marx and Freud) have turned the heads of the American electorate, propagating the notion of political correctness. I find this particularly infuriating and even likely to be antisemitic. See one of many blogs on this subject: https://clarespark.com/2011/10/21/did-frankfurters-kill-the-white-christian-west/. Rather, it was the early Progressive movement, all Christians by the way, who invented identity politics; i.e. “ethnic” or hyphenated American identity would suffocate “proletarian internationalism.” Later, to mollify and co-opt the social movements of the 1960s, similar elitist statists deployed the crypto-racism of “multiculturalism” and “cultural relativism” to quiet the new “extremists” (some of whom did sympathize with the Old Left, especially Leninist anti-imperialism).

I can understand that many conservatives remain hung up on anticommunism and continue to defend Joe McCarthy, for major scholars have examined the briefly opened Soviet archives after 1989, and found that many of McCarthy’s claims were based in fact. But these same scholars have also documented the fall of the KGB and the sharply dwindling communist movement in America. I refer to Mark Kramer, Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Ron Radosh, to name a few. None would deny that Hitler’s task, as patronized by German conservatives, was to destroy the independent working class movement and its inspiration, the Soviet Union.
To imagine that Hitler was “really” a communist/Socialist, is to weaken the argument against the increasing statism demonstrated by the Obama administration. As Paxton and his inspiration Martin Broszat, convincingly demonstrate, Leader, Party, State, and sub-agencies (such as the SS) were in constant conflict during the Third Reich. Earlier scholars failed to see that the State was up for grabs during the Third Reich, partly because of sequestered documents.

obama-hitler

Ironically, where conservative have ammunition linking “socially responsible capitalists” to Nazism, they fail to use it. For instance, to my knowledge, only I have uncovered ignore the important role that New Deal-affiliated social psychologists played in mind-management during the late 1930s and early 1940s: if you want to dig up scandals, this one is a dilly, for such luminaries as Henry A. Murray, Gordon Allport, and Walter Langer consciously adopted Hitlerian methods of controlling the little people (the mob or “the people, untrained to rule”) they held responsible for Nazism. (See https://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/, and https://clarespark.com/2009/12/13/klara-hitlers-son-and-jewish-blood/. Henry A. Murray argued that Jewish blood would explain Hitler’s success in fooling other world leaders.

January 16, 2014

Hitler and the Big Lie, corrected

[“Romantically” “Jewish”] Hitler encounters the restless, skeptical, switching ‘Jewish’ mind

 pinocchionose While reflecting upon Hitler’s publications (along with the productions of other “moderate men”), I have seen an incoherence and madness which, however affected by family history, seems primarily structured by class position (? as a conservative, von Mises would have preferred “class interest”); my synthesis supplements the work of those historians who have stressed counter-Enlightenment as the centerpiece of Nazi ideology.[1] Racial thinking, I argue, is not about some ahistoric group superiority per se, ever present and perhaps inevitable, as the functionalists who write our school curricula would have it, but about corporatism/organicism: Tribal or feudal social relations are upheld or applied to halt developing societies; such localisms are undermined by concepts of international species-unity, by capitalism supposed to be moving leftward.  In spite of ultra-conservative or hippie brakes, industrial societies are science-driven, hence retain their capacities to promote the wandering imagination.

     My particular interest in Hitler’s Jewish problem stems from study of the moderate men, led by Henry A. Murray, who have revived/not revived “the forgotten” Herman Melville (1819-1891) after 1919.  I inferred that double-binds specific to modernity (the demand for both truth and order, independence and loyalty) structure ‘liberal’ socializing institutions, that Melville pointed this out most powerfully and unambiguously in Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852), and possibly for that reason Melville, tracer of lost persons, both fascinated and upset many readers who then either continued to puzzle over him, or distorted his positions or rendered him persona non grata  in American letters.  Hitler’s revealing table talk,” taken with the passages on propaganda in Mein Kampf, bear out my thesis: There are analogies between readers hostile/attracted to Ahab’s/Melville’s modernism and Hitler’s extremely anxious response to bold, expressive critical thought above all, his own and his father’s.  Some key Melville readers and Hitler alike simultaneously try to hold the center/flee to the margins.  They are not alone in their spaced-out confusion.

[A Pennsylvania educator, 1949:]  “This wonderful something which we call life comes to the teacher in its most plastic, pliable state and condition.  The teacher’s mind, will, and conviction mold the plastic mind of the pupils.  It is clearly evident that the teacher’s position is important in the social and cultural relations of the group…Nervous activities must be normal to enjoy one’s work.  Then the teacher speaks in a well modulated voice and not in shrill or harsh tones which disturb the orderly procedure of the class room.

A good, careful preparation for one’s work is the chief source of confidence.  One knows what he is going to do.  He knows his material.  Confidence utilized in the right way helps him to be positive and constructive in his teaching.  He will help to have all sides of a question discussed and try to arrive at a definite decision as far as possible.  It might be remembered that an opinion expressed does not constitute the teaching of social studies.  The result to be achieved must be definite and not probable.”  [2]

Lord Bullock (1991, 164) and his predecessors in the aristocratic Hermann Rauschning historiographical tendency in Hitler studies have constructed an extremist, a cynical demagogue descended from Marat and Robespierre.  Strangely, this Hitler is a paranoid merged with narcissistic masses worshipping the Goddess of Reason/themselves, yet at the same time, the detached puppeteer gloating over the credulity/cynicism of “mob society” swallowing the Big Lie; this curious character is now a cliché in American high and popular culture.[3]  Besides Murray and Mosse, their ranks include Hannah Arendt, T.W. Adorno, Leo Lowenthal, Georg Lukács, and Joachim Fest.  I have seen nothing in Hitler’s published writings, however, to support such a view; on the contrary, it is almost always “the Jew” who manipulates the helpless; Hitler defines himself as the good teacher-saviour defeating Social Democratic/Jewish “artistry in lying.”  As a representative of European high culture and (conservative) Enlightenment, Hitler loathes Weimar mass culture (also Jewish); if he must carefully craft his messages for the masses, it is in response to the imperative of mass psychology (not to be equated with individual psychology, cf. LeBon and Freud) and for their own good.  Moreover, inexact translations of some small but key words in Mein Kampf have made it more difficult to spot Hitler’s consistent obsessive need for clear boundaries between categories, images, and feelings.  Similarly, typing Hitler (the brute) hides the particular psychodynamics (the switch) that seem to lead him to despair/purging/more switches.

Hitler’s construction of  the Jew cannot be attributed solely to family trauma and individual psychology, the authoritarian family ahistorically conceived, but was probably a function of the historically specific hopelessness of a declining class, the small producer competing with more efficient rivals.  Charting his class position would reveal collapse and quagmire.  If Hitler was a psychopath then neither his craziness nor his elusiveness is unique to himself or the Germans; therein lies the true horror and the lesson for ourselves as “progressive,” “moderate,” “public interest” intellectuals similarly positioned in middle-management, and decrying both the “insane” hard-hearted bourgeoisie and Marxist labor unions, both wings needlessly inciting class hatred.  In the section that follows I quote passages from the knightly Hitler’s writing that suggest a pattern of blended phobia, hysteria, paranoia, and time-tested conservative reform.

[Hitler:] “These men [his fellow construction workers in Vienna] rejected everything: the nation as an invention of the “capitalistic” (how often I was forced to hear this single word!) classes; the fatherland as an instrument of the bourgeoisie for the exploitation of the working class; the authority of the law as a means for oppressing the proletariat; the school as an institution for breeding slaves and slaveholders; religion as a means for stultifying the people and making them easier to exploit; morality as a symptom of stupid, sheep-like patience, etc.  There was absolutely nothing which was not drawn through the mud of a terrifying depth. (Mein Kampf, Chapter 2, 40, Manheim transl.).

…Millions of workers were surely inwardly hostile to the Social Democratic Party at first, but their resistance was overcome by the manner, often quite insane, in which the bourgeois parties opposed any demand of a social nature.  The simply hidebound obstruction of all attempts to improve working conditions, of safety devices on machines, of prevention of child labor and of protection for women at least during the months when she carries the future comrade of the people beneath her heart–all this helped to drive the masses into the nets of Social Democracy, which gratefully seized upon every case of similar contemptible sentiments.  Our political citizenry, our bourgeoisie, can never make good such past sins.  For by resisting all attempts to cure social ills, it sowed hatred, and apparently justified the claim of the deadly enemies of the whole people that the Social Democratic party alone represented the interests of the working people (56-57).”

[Hitler:] [A standard for good trade unions:] If union activity envisages and attains the goal of improving the position of a class that belongs to the pillars of the nation, its effect not only is not hostile to state or fatherland, but is “national” in the truest sense of the word.  It is helping after all, to lay the social groundwork without which no generally national education is thinkable.  It deserves the highest credit for destroying social cancers by attacking both intellectual and physical bacilli, and thus contributing to the general health of the body of the people (57).

…Our present struggle is merely a continuation, on the international level, of the struggle we waged on the national level.  Let everyone, in his own field, take care to do his best, with the knowledge that on every occasion we were pushing the best of us forward; that’s how a people surpasses itself and surpasses others.  Nothing can happen to us if we remain faithful to these principles, but one must know how to advance, step by step, how to reconnoitre the ground and remove, one after another, the obstacles one finds there.

If one neglected to appeal to the masses, one’s choice would be rather too confined to intellectuals.  We would lack brute strength.  Brute strength consists of the peasant and worker, for the insecurity of their daily life keeps them close to the state of nature.  Give them brains into the bargain, and you turn them into incomparable men of action.

Above all, we must not allow our élite to become an exclusive society.

The son of an official, at the fifth or sixth generation, is doomed to become a lawyer…So what kind of role can a nation play when it’s governed by people of that sort–people who weigh and analyse everything? One couldn’t make history with people like that…The bourgeois with whom we flirted at the time of our struggle were simply aesthetes. (Table Talk, Nov. 1-2, 1941, 108).

[Hitler:] It was a fundamental error to discuss guilt from the standpoint that Germany could not be made solely responsible for the outbreak of the catastrophe; the right way was to load the guilt solely upon the enemy, even if this had not corresponded to the actual situation, which in this case it really did.  What was the result of this half-measure?  The great masses of a people do not consist of diplomats or even of teachers of international law, in fact not even of people capable of a reasoned judgment; they are human beings, wavering, inclined to doubt and uncertainty.  The moment their own propaganda concedes so much as the faintest glimmer of justice to the other side, the seeds for doubt of their own cause have been sown.  The masses are in no position to tell where the enemy’s misdeeds end and their own begin.  In such cases they become uncertain and suspicious, particularly if the enemy is not guilty of the same foolishness, but puts the guilt lock, stock and barrel upon his adversary.  What’s more natural than for one’s own people at last to believe the hostile propaganda, more concerted and single-minded [geschlossener, einheitlicher] as it is, rather than one’s own.  This is most easily proved to be true with a people who suffers from the objectivity craze [deutsche Objektivitätsfimmel] as severely as the Germans do!  For here everyone will strive to do no injustice to the enemy, even at the risk of accusing, nay destroying, his own people and State.  The masses never become conscious that it is not thus intended in high quarters.  The overwhelming majority of the people is so feminine in tendency and attitude that emotion and feelings [gefühlsmassige Empfindung] rather than sober consideration determine its thought and action.

But this feeling is not complicated; it is simple and firm [einfach und geschlossen].  There are not many shadings [Differenzierungen], but a positive or a negative, love or hate, right or wrong, truth or lie, but never half this or half that, or partly, etc.

All these things English propaganda in particular realized–and took account of with positive genius.  Here were no half-measures which might have raised doubts. (Mein Kampf, Part One, Chapter 6, “War Propaganda”).

[Clare:] The Ludwig Lore translation of these passages misleadingly renders einfach as “simple,” geschlossen as “firm,” gefühlsmassige Empfindung as “emotion and feelings.”  Other translations add the theme of coherence, but neither singleness nor closure.[4]

Although these last paragraphs are usually excerpted (briefly) by rival propagandists to prove that Hitler preached the necessity for the constantly reiterated Big Lie directed on behalf of his own power lust and against the interests of the masses, there is no support for such a reading; indeed he would have been crazy to have made such a statement in a book heavily promoted during the Third Reich and intended to win over farmers, workers, and small businessmen to the Nazi program.  Rather, to evade “the objectivity craze” (Stackpole ed. 1939) or “the mania for objectivity” of “the German people” (Houghton Mifflin, 1939), Hitler copies the British by stressing the necessity for simple/single, clear, conclusive propaganda images to match the single intuitive emotion (gefühlsmassige Empfindung) of the masses that determines their thoughts and actions (Diese Empfindung aber ist nicht kompliziert, sondern sehr einfach und geschlossen).  Hitler is not only protecting the people from the indecision that leads to defeat, he nervously seeks and roots himself in one monocausal, internally consistent historical explanation/image with no moral mix-up, no refusal of closure, no “frightful daubs.”  Unlike “Hitler”–the lover of Romantic fogs and mists/ruins and rubble of the long Marxist night transmitted by the moderates–Hitler is a neo-classical morning man like themselves.  Weighing and analysing everything, however, immobilizes him; close to “nature”–the idealized rustic or small-town family, the good labor union–his capacity for effective action (briefly?) returns.

Later chapters of Mein Kampf bear out my argument (see MK Part Two, Chapters 6 and 11).  Sentences from Chapter 6 are frequently taken out of context to confirm Hitler’s cynicism, irrationalism, protean character, and power-hunger; i.e., Hitler is read as an archetypal Jew.  But in Hitler’s text, mass suggestion is deployed solely to build community, to fortify the isolated, meek individual in his adherence to a new, more historically truthful idea, to help the worker switch more comfortably away from the ruin of Marxist internationalism/war guilt which, thanks to Jewish orators/agitators, has captured the irrational, emotionally resistant portion of his psyche: the heart.  Crucially, the focus of Hitler’s discussion of propaganda is the question of the war guilt or innocence of the German people, a matter obviously intertwined with Hitler’s inhibitions about criticism of authority within the family, but also a genuine confusion given the secrecy and duplicity of the ruling class of Germany.[5] There is a tortuous line from doubt to parricide, a pattern possibly related to his father Alois’ cosmopolitanism, perceived by Hitler as contradicting “pronounced national sentiments” and described without apparent rancor:

[Hitler:] …he had arrived at more or less cosmopolitan views, which, despite his pronounced national sentiments, not only remained intact, but also affected me to some extent. [M.K., 51, Manheim trans.].

[Clare:] Calm will switch to hysteria for the tension between cosmopolitanism and nationalism is loaded for Hitler, though apparently invisible to some Freudians.[6]  Compare several parallel passages from Mein Kampf (publ. 1925-1927) and the Secret Book (written 1928).  Here is an increasingly vertiginous Hitler at wits end.

Hitler wants his antisemitism to be understood as rational: grounded in fact, in study and personal experience.  At first he was a cosmopolitan like his father, opposed to “organized hostility” against the Jews.  But in Vienna, Hitler meets an “apparition” (an orthodox Jew with black caftan and black hair locks), becomes disillusioned with the Jewish “world press,” and feels the need to separate Germans from liberal Jews and liberal Jews from Zionists.  Now he will unmask the hidden Jewishness (Zionism) of the liberal Jew, then the secret Jewish control of both white slavery and Social Democracy.

[Hitler, from “Learning and Suffering in Vienna”:] “If one knows this people, the veil of misconception about aim and meaning of the party fall from his eyes, and the ape-like meaning of Marxism rises grinning from the fog and mist of social talk (62).”  Personal contact has brought demystification; Hitler switches from confusion to clarity and (temporary) peace: “When I recognized the Jew as the leader of Social Democracy, the scales began to fall from my eyes.  With this a long spiritual struggle came to an end (MK, 70).” No sooner has he seen the light when suddenly Hitler switches to a topic not set up in the immediately preceding paragraphs, moving in and out of hypnotic confusion:

“Even in daily contact with my fellow-workmen I was struck by the extraordinary chameleon power by which they took several attitudes toward a single question, often within a few days, sometimes even within a few hours.  I could scarcely understand how people who, taken singly, still held reasonable views could suddenly lose them the moment they came under the spell of the masses.  Often it was enough to drive one to despair.  I would argue for hours, and finally believe that this time at last I had broken the ice or cleared away some piece of nonsense, and would be feeling heartily glad of my success; and then I would be grieved to find that I had to begin all over again.  It had all been futile.  The madness of their opinions seemed always to swing back again like a perpetual pendulum.

I could understand everything; that they were dissatisfied with their lot, cursed Fate, which often dealt them such hard knocks; hated the business men, who seemed to them the heartless tools of this Fate; railed against government offices, which in their eyes had no feeling for the workers’ situation [they, the workers, are scapegoating? C.S.]; that they demonstrated against food prices, and marched through the streets in support of their demands–all this one could still understand without referring to reason.  But what I could not understand was the boundless hatred they felt for their own people, the way they despised its grandeur, defiled its history, and dragged great men in the gutter.

This struggle against their own kind, their own nest, their own homeland, was as senseless as it was incomprehensible.  It was unnatural.

They could be temporarily cured of this vice, but only for days, for weeks at most.  If later one met a supposed convert, he had fallen back into his old self.  His unnatural tendencies would have him again in their grip. (MK, Ludwig Lore translation, 1939, 70).”

Persistently, Hitler tries to disabuse his “own little circle” of their “Marxist madness”: “The more disputes I had with them, the better acquainted I became with their dialectics.  First they would count on the stupidity of their adversaries, and then, if there was no way out, they pretended stupidity themselves.  If all else failed, then they claimed they did not understand correctly, or being challenged, instantly jumped to another subject [!], and talked truisms; but if these were agreed to they at once applied them to entirely different matters, and then in turn, being caught again, they would dodge and have no exact knowledge.  No matter where you seized one of these apostles, your hand grasped slimy ooze, [7] which poured in separate streams through the fingers, only to unite again the next moment…I was often simply paralyzed.  One did not know which to admire more–their fluency or their artistry in lying…(72). ”

Next, Hitler has another (?) odd idea of what constitutes a logical opposition; he seems to be oscillating between class collaboration and antimodernism; once again the theme of the vulnerable small producer dependent on fluctuations in money interest and prices enters his rhetoric: “On the one hand it was the duty of every thinking person to force his way into the front ranks of the accursed movement, thus perhaps to prevent it from going to extremes; on the other hand, however, the actual creators of this national disease must have been true devils.  Only in the brain of a monster–not of a human being–could the plan take shape for an organization the eventual result of whose activity must be the collapse of human civilization and the desolation of the world (73).”

“The ultimate expression of this general valuation is the historical, cultural image of a people, which reflects the sum of all the radiations of its blood value or of the race values united in it.

Blood mixing and lowering of the race are not seldom introduced through a so-called predilection for things foreign, which in reality is an underestimation of one’s own cultural values as against alien peoples.  Once a people no longer appreciates the cultural expression of its own spiritual life conditioned through its blood, or even begins to feel ashamed of it, in order to turn to alien expressions of life, it renounces the strength which lies in the harmony of its blood and the cultural life which has sprung from it. It becomes torn apart, unsure in its judgment of the world picture and its expressions, loses the perception and the feeling for its own purposes, and in place of this sinks into a confusion of international ideas, conceptions, and the cultural hodge-podge springing from them. Then the Jew can make his entry in any form and this master of international poisoning and race corruption will not rest until he has thoroughly uprooted and thereby corrupted such a people. The end is then the loss of a definite unitary race value and as a result, the final decline. [Hitler’s Secret Book,1928, 28-29].”

[Clare:] Is Hitler re-experiencing the suspended contradiction which did, in imagination, shatter the “intact” father? Is father the hypercritical devil whose excesses, treachery and ambiguity empty the world of meaning, demanding obedience without a clear set of rules? Had the desire to escape such confusion turned the adolescent boy into a murderer?  These passages may take our understanding of Hitler’s psyche beyond the suggestions of Erich Fromm, Wilhelm Reich, Adorno and Horkheimer, and other Freudians that Hitler, with other authoritarian personalities, possesses a sadistic-anal social character, is constantly callous and overarmored, is torn between defiance and submission, and perceives Jews as sexual aggressors and castrating fathers.

Such psychoanalytic explanations are too abstract and ahistoric, unrooted in Hitler’s subjective experience of his life, his self-understanding.  By following his psychodynamics as Hitler himself defined them, we glimpsed a man with no boundaries and terrified that he may lose his balance: open the door even a crack to the German craze for objectivity and Hitler (unlike Bartleby the Scrivener) literally does not know where he is standing, where he begins and others leave off, who is a Jew and who is not.  There is no “I” there, no safe prospect, no cognition, no “bourgeois subjectivity,” therefore no observing ego, no possibility of a relatively complete history, no sublimity. [8]

When Hitler says “they” to whom is he referring?  Workers, Jewish whoremasters, Social Democratic pamphleteers and the masses have run together like “slimy ooze.”  Is this an image of the dissolution of his class seeping through the crystal clean facade, a quicksand so powerfully dragging him to hell that Hitler, even armed with “exact knowledge” and “racial value,” may not enter the movement to moderate it?  Like any gentle chivalrous knight he steels himself only to destroy the monster; in this mood he is turning away from class collaboration and its intolerable suspension of cosmopolitanism and nationalism.  If the Jew perishes, Hitler saves himself from father, and father from himself: thus he has reconstructed the lovely family with no double-binds; is this the flight to romantic authoritarianism that some of “the children” of democratic pluralism have taken since the 1960s?  Obviously, Hitler’s panic in the Gorgon face of ambiguity could have been transferred to the perception of interpenetration of categories and points of view expressed in cubism and other forms of aesthetic modernism (Hinz: “problematic or unfinished work”) proscribed by the Nazis. From Mein Kampf to the Table Talk, then, Hitler constantly returns to the theme of his painful confusion when asked to understand modern (abstract, constantly revised, internally contradictory) analyses of society; indeed he will directly associate to talk of exterminating or otherwise removing the Jews. [9]

Misleading and wrong

Misleading and wrong

NOTES.


[1] See Bernard Semmel, Imperialism and Social Reform: English Social Imperial Thought 1895-1914 (Harvard U.P., 1960): 41.  The social imperialists adopted Darwinism, but made tribes and races the competing units; Karl Pearson held that race or national feeling were stronger factors shaping conduct than market forces.  Also, see Eberhard Jäckel, Hitler’s World View (Harvard U.P. Paperback, 1981, orig. publ. 1975); Hans Staudinger, The Inner Nazi: A Critical Analysis of Mein Kampf (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State U.P., 1981).  Hitler was of course not supporting laissez-faire industrial capitalism favored by Social Darwinists, rather the reactionary utopian agrarianism one would expect from a member of the declining petit-bourgeoisie; parallel movements can be discerned in the English Distributists of the early twentieth century, American Southern Agrarians of the 1930s and in the more nostalgic sectors of the New Left, especially in those who have repressed the anti-Semitic side of populism; intellectual mentors of this tendency include William Blake, the Christian Socialists, William Morris, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, Aldous Huxley, and Lewis Mumford.  See Meyer Schapiro, review of Mumford’s The Culture of Cities, “Looking Forward to Looking Backward,” Partisan Review (June 1938), 12-24, for analysis of Mumford’s reactionary organicism; John L. Thomas, Alternative America (Harvard, 1983). These radicals would probably agree with Sombart that it was “the Jewish spirit” that created economic determinism, that is, the domination of money and the market as Parson argued in 1928, quoted above.

  [2] Charles William Heathcote, “The Teacher of Social Studies: A Reappraisal,” The Social Studies, Vol.40 (1949): 67,68.  The author was “Head, Department of Social Studies, State Teachers College, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

  [3] See T. W. Adorno, Leo Lowenthal, and Paul W. Massing, “Anti-Semitism and Fascist Propaganda,” Antisemitism: A Social Disease, ed. Ernst Simmel with a Preface by Gordon Allport (N.Y.: International Universities Press, 1946): 132: “…it is a deceptive idea, that the so-called common people have an unfailing flair for the genuine and sincere, and disparage fake.  Hitler was liked, not in spite of his cheap antics, but just because of them, because of his false tones and his clowning.  They are observed as such, and appreciated….The sentimentality of the common people is by no means primitive, unreflecting emotion.  On the contrary, it is pretense, a fictitious, shabby imitation of real feeling often self-conscious and slightly contemptuous of itself.  This fictitiousness is the life element of the fascist propagandist performances.”  See also Hannah Arendt, “The Concentration Camps,” Partisan Review, July 1948, 745: “Hitler circulated millions of copies of his book in which he stated that to be successful, a lie must be enormous–which did not prevent people from believing him….”  This claim, the center of her irrationalist argument, is not footnoted; in any case, she implies that Hitler was boasting about his own successful lying in attaining the support of the German people (and which I challenge in this essay).  Arendt argues that Nazis were philistines, relativists/nihilists, not pseudo-aristocrats defending “individuality” in terms similar to her own (for Arendt: “the uniqueness shaped in equal parts by nature, will, and destiny,” 758).  Note the refusal of former critical tools: “An insight into the nature of totalitarian rule, directed by our fear of the concentration camp, might serve to devaluate all outmoded political shadings from right to left and, beside and above them, to introduce the most essential political criterion of our time: Will it lead to totalitarian rule or will it not? (747).”

See Georg Lukács, The Destruction of Reason (London: The Merlin Press, 1980): 721-726 for the claim that Hitler learned his demagogical techniques from American advertising (imperialist Americans were the new Nazis in 1950s Stalinist propaganda). Citing Rauschning as his source, Lukács wrote, “In their speeches and writing, the fascist leaders poured out with a nauseating show of emotion their national and social demagogie, whose public second names were honour, loyalty, faith and sacrifice, etc. But when they came together in private, they spoke with the most cynical, knowing smiles of their own messages and manifestoes” (721).  It was of course English wartime propaganda that Hitler credited in Mein Kampf and he disavowed manipulativeness, see below; Cf. Jim Fyrth, Britain, Fascism, and the Popular Front (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1985): 10: “…fascism posed as a form of socialism and its anti-capitalist rhetoric was directed at the working class and lower-middle class.” The Tory/Stalinist characterization of Americans as the new Nazis persists in anti-imperialist movements today; see for instance, Alexander Cockburn’s ill-timed insinuation in The Nation, 8/17-24/92, 163 that Jews (in the persons of Edward Alexander and the Jews who publish him) selfishly and callously minimize the suffering of other oppressed groups (American Indians and Southern slaves) by resisting [ahistoric] attempts to equate “the Holocaust” with other forms of mass death.  Cf. The New Masses during the 1930s which defended the revolutionary bourgeoisie and its development of the productive forces in the same progressive America that would be treated as a country of Bad Jews after the war.

Also see Joachim Fest, Hitler (Harcourt Brace, 1973): Fest presents a bouquet of diagnoses in “the manic simple-mindedness with which he traced all the anxieties he had ever felt back to a single source.” (101-102); “[Hitler learned everything from Marxism and its idea of the vanguard.]  He also went much further than his model.  In his nature there was an infantile fondness for the grand, surpassing gesture, a craving to impress.  He dreamed of superlatives and was bent on having the most radical ideology, just as later he was bent on having the biggest building or the heaviest tank.” (126) i.e., both Marxism and Hitler are crazy.

Although E. Jäckel criticized the Hermann Rauschning tendency, such arguments appeared before Rauschning’s book.  See for instance, George Sylvester Viereck, 1923 (his self-published journal, with the “explosive” Hitler as Byron, vagina dentata, Jewish intellectual, and Gorgon); also Johannes Steel, Hitler as Frankenstein, with a preface by Harold Laski (London: Wishart, 1933): 7.  Describing Mein Kampf: “Eight hundred pages full of curses against Pacifists, Jews, Marxists, Internationalists, and Capitalists without a single productive idea.  His political faith as proclaimed in this book is, that everybody is wrong and only he is right.  A curious book…in which he never speaks about himself, his family, his life, or even his program for the future, but only about generalities.  Metaphysical theories on the necessity of the purification of the German race, of which he is not a member, and in addition to that, nothing but hate and again hate…. (7).  At the end of his speech he registered a child-like happy self-satisfaction” (9).  Hitler is drawn as a Henry Ford-type, not a corporatist liberal: “[Henry Ford] like himself, was a bourgeois, did not like Jews, Socialists, Communists or Revolutionaries, or government interference with private business.” (33).  On Jew-hatred, Steel writes of  “black-haired Jews who seemed to have such an easy life, just trading, arguing and talking and yet getting on and on more rapidly than he, or anyone around him” (3).  The Hitler-Robespierre-syndicalist connection was explicit in Hendrik Willem Van Loon, Our Battle (N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1938): 68 ff, 77.

On 7/17/92 Los Angeles public television broadcast a British film, Führer: Seduction of a Nation, advised by Lord Bullock, which carried these themes, depicting Hitler as an inflamed narcissist, “a face from the crowd” taking in the masses with a line that “sounded democratic”; the grandiose Hitler was too close to his mother, the father was described as “authoritarian” and perhaps half-Jewish.

For other works by conservatives that promulgate the Big Lie theory of Nazi propaganda/Nazi narcissism see the Fireside Discussion Group of The Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith, Hitler’s Communism Unmasked (Chicago, 1938); Louis W. Bondy, Racketeers of Hatred: Julius Streicher and the Jew-Baiters International (London: Newman Wolsey, 1946); Adolf Leschnitzer, The Magic Background of Modern Anti-Semitism (N.Y.: International Universities Press, 1956): 142-143; Stanley G. Payne, Fascism: Comparison and Definition (Madison: U.of Wisconsin Press, 1980): 7.  In his typology of social movements, Payne describes Nazi style and organization as “Emphasis on esthetic structure of meetings, symbols, and political choreography, stressing romantic and mystical aspects”; David Welch, Propaganda and the German Cinema 1933-1945 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983): 44-45; Ian Kershaw, The ‘Hitler Myth’: Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986): 3, 147, 259-62; Martin Broszat, “A Plea for the Historicization of National Socialism,” Reworking the Past, ed. Peter Baldwin, op.cit., the (populist) Nazis [not Plato et al] invented the idea of the Big Lie! (84).

A somewhat differing impression of Nazi propaganda is carried in Leonard W. Doob, “Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda,” Public Opinion Quarterly, vol.14 (Fall 1950): 419-442.  Doob believes Goebbels defended the “truth” of his propaganda, but “credibility” was sought in the spirit of Machiavellian expediency, not morality.  But, according to Richard Crossman (British M.P.), this was (also?) the Allies’ position!  See his “Supplementary Essay” to Daniel Lerner, Sykewar (N.Y.: George Stewart, 1949): 334-335.  For Crossman, the “arch propagandist” Goebbels was sincerely deluded in his Big Lie (then described as necessarily duplicitous): “Where the Germans differed from us was not in their means, but in their ends.  The Nazis really believed that the Germans were a Herrenvolk, with the right to dominate the world; that democracy was an expression of decaying capitalism, and civil liberty a relic of a decadent bourgeois civilization; that the Soviet Union was simply a Mongolian despotism, and Communism a disease; that the Slavs were natural slaves and the Jews vermin, fit only for extirpation.  The real lie of which Goebbels was guilty was the attempt to conceal from the rest of Europe the implications of his Herrenvolk idea…. (334)  Earlier, he claimed that Nazis “took over and vastly refined Bolshevik techniques of mass persuasion (323).”  (Compare Hitler’s admiration in Mein Kampf of British war propaganda for its clarity regarding guilt and innocence; in the Crossman essay, he states that the same propaganda was solely dedicated to urging the Germans to overthrow the Kaiser and establish democracy.)

In Doob’s account, Goebbels himself did not evolve criteria for measuring the effectiveness of differing media, so tried everything to catch his fish.  As often happens, mind-managers have less confidence in their tactics than their critics.  But see Weinreich, “The Jew As A Demon” (Hitler’s Professors, 1946) for evidence of hypocrisy among Goebbels’ disciples.  In my essay, I make no further claim than the absence of Hitler’s bragging about manipulating the masses (against their interests) in either Mein Kampf or Table Talk.

  [4] See for instance Hideya Kumata and Wilbur Schramm, “Propaganda Theory of the German Nazis,” Psychological Warfare Casebook, 1958, p. 49.  The authors translate the sentence as “This sentiment, however, is not complicated but very simple and complete.”  The “Nazi socialists” oppose “objectivity” (48).  The article was originally prepared for the USIA by the University of Illinois, Urbana, Jan. 1955, and part of Four Working Papers on Propaganda Theory. (It would have been more correct to say that all propagandists desire closure and hence oppose ambiguity and mixed-messages.)  A few pages later, the authors quote Goebbels as he established the Propaganda Ministry, “…Monopoly control of all media of mass communication within the movement’s zone of influence must be accomplished.  These include music, art, theater, architecture, books, tourist trade, fairs, exhibitions and schools, as well as the usual channels.  If possible, however, control of communications will be exercised in such a way as not to give an impression of direct manipulation (52).” See Ernest K. Bramsted, Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda 1925-1945 (Michigan State University Press, 1965): 26. Bramsted accurately transmits Hitler’s notion of simplicity but ignores the point about the general German craze for objectivity, maintaining that Hitler looked down upon the masses. “As we have seen, it was the success of Allied propaganda which made Hitler realize that propaganda had to be primitive and to be attuned to the very limited understanding of the masses. It had to be confined to a few points and to be carried out with persistency. Hitler was convinced that the Allies had looked at the masses with the same contempt that he himself felt for them. In Mein Kampf Hitler made made much of the subjective character of the people, who, he declared, are “so feminine in their nature and attitude that their activities and thought are motivated less by sober consideration than by feeling and sentiment.” Their sentiment was uncomplicated, and very simple. It did not allow for differentiation; it was positive or negative, based on love and hatred, it only knew right or wrong, truth or lie, but no shades, no ability to see two sides of a question. English propaganda had “understood and considered all this in the most ingenious manner.” From these observations Hitler arrived at a basic tenet of all propaganda, “it has to confine itself to little and to repeat this eternally.” (He cites pp. 240, 237, 238, 239 of the 1939 translation.)

     I am not arguing that the Nazis were not advocating the most rigid control of culture to propagate their ideology; rather that they would never have boasted about a Big Lie, and moreover, they believed in the correctness and goodness of their Weltanschauung as they skillfully mobilized the Germans for war and sacrifice.  I have written this essay to alert liberals that what has passed for “the Left” bears a striking resemblance to the racialist thinking of the Third Reich; that they have a common origin in German Romanticism, and that this lineage must not be discounted in reassessments of  policy choices.

[5]See Fritz Fischer on German war aims, quoted above.  Fischer had access to archives not opened until after the war;  he has shown that the German people had no evidence to contradict the apparent responsibility of  Russia, France and England in starting the war.  His revisionist account has been neglected by the Left.

 [6] This sentence was absent in Saul Friedländer, Nazis et l’antisémitisme, 1971; also in his Introduction to Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution (Berkeley: UC Press, 1984): 3.  Fleming is describing the debate regarding the exact period when Hitler became antisemitic.  He quotes (but does not footnote)  Mein Kampf, Chapter 2: “It is difficult if not impossible for me to say today when the word ‘Jew’ first gave me pause for serious reflection.  I cannot recall ever having even heard the word in my father’s house while he was still alive.  I believe that the old gentleman would have regarded as entirely backward a particular emphasis given to this word….At school I found no reason to question the picture I received from home, either [what picture?!!]….It was not until I was fourteen or fifteen that I came across the word ‘Jew’ more frequently, possibly in connection with political discussions.”  This lapse of course supports the author’s thesis that Hitler was a frustrated artist losing himself in Wagner, hewing to racial theories that placed Jews “at the bottom end of the scale,” the “anti-race” representing “worthless life (8).”  Cf. California high-school curriculum quoted above in The Material Body.  In this context, “anti-race” could mean pollutant to pure races, not cosmopolitanism as hostile to the politics of national identity.

See also Rudolf Binion, HitlerAmong the Germans (N.Y.: Elsevier, 1976). Binion obliterates the father’s opposition to Hitler’s artistic ambitions and blames mother: “The Oedipal-minded will ask where Hitler’s father came into his politics.  The answer is: in a by-motive. His pampering at the breast left him especially vulnerable to the classic moment of untruth when, in coming to fear castration by the father, a boy will remember his weaning, construed as a warning.  Little Adolf saw his father, then, as the culprit behind his weaning–as liable for the mother’s breast having been removed.  Bloch (the Jewish doctor who treated Klara Hitler’s breast cancer) threw back to the father once the mother had committed herself to his close care and to the castrating father when he ordered the mother’s breast removed, especially as the mother too was thereby castrated after a fashion…”  But Hitler’s style is both Jewish and American:  “Now for the touchiest riddle left.  Hitler’s image of “the Jew” was a self-image over and beyond its distorted reference to Bloch in 1907.  More exactly, one part of it was a self-reflection and he aped the other part…He styled himself like a Jewish prophet…[Hitler took the theme of racism and extermination from] the American heritage–by way of cowboys-and-Indian stories in the first instance.”

The absence of the theme of filial criticism as parricide in the psychoanalytic scholarship on Hitler is not noted by Wolfgang Benz, “Warding Off The Past,” op.cit., even though he describes the outrage in Germany following an attempt by Niklas Frank “to engage in memory work in public, merciless toward both his own person and his father, Hitler’s infamous governor-general in occupied Poland….” (211).  This incident confirms my impression that “the Jews” represent the critical spirit (objectivity) that spares no one in the search for an accurate history.  It is curious and disturbing that the late Tim Mason, an historical materialist, claiming that there was no immediate revolutionary threat after 1930, found theories of the authoritarian family unhelpful in his attempt to grasp Nazi brutality;  see “Open Questions on Nazism,” op.cit., 209.

 [7] In other editions translated as “slimy jelly” (Houghton Mifflin, 1939, ed. John Chamberlain, et al); and “jelly-like slime” (Houghton Mifflin, 1943, 1971, ed. Ralph Manheim).

[8] Cf. E. Jäckel’s very different observation of Hitler’s “panic fear of changing his mind.” This is not the same as being caught in double-binds and switched no matter what he does. Some call the double bind “Catch 22”.

 [9] It need not be the Jew, it may be a modern woman who switches Hitler into panic.  See Table Talk entry for Feb.5, 1942 on Baroness Abegg, in Dietrich Eckart’s opinion, “the most intelligent he’d ever known”: “I’d have been willing to accept the intelligence if it hadn’t been accompanied by the most spiteful tongue imaginable.  The woman was a real scorpion.  She was as blonde as flax, with blue eyes and excessively long canine teeth, like an Englishwoman.  I admit she was remarkably intelligent…She had travelled a lot, all over the world.  She was always in one or other of two extreme states.  The first kept her at home in a state of almost complete collapse.  She would sprawl on her veranda, like a run-down battery, whilst everybody around her was kept busy attending to her.  The second state was one of incredible petulance–she’d fly into a rage, sweep out like a whirlwind, climb up somewhere and come rushing torrentially down again.”  See his earlier remarks against feminism in a speech to the National Socialist Women’s Organization, Sept. 1934: “…It is not true, as Jewish intellectuals assert, that respect depends on the overlapping of spheres of activities of the sexes; this respect [Nazi] demands that neither sex should try to do that which belongs to the sphere of the other.  It lies in the last resort in the fact that each knows that the other is doing everything necessary to maintain the whole community….” quoted Documents on Nazis, 1919-1945, introduced and edited Jeremy Noakes and Geoffrey Pridham (London: Jonathan Cape): 364.

January 15, 2014

Was Nazism a symptom of bourgeois decadence?

Immanuel.Deviant Art

Immanuel.Deviant Art

Many cultural historians and social psychologists see Nazism as bourgeois decadence.  Popular among nativist radicals, this theory brings out the latent antisemitism in some New Leftists and in counter-culture anti-imperialism.  Both the Soviets and American crypto-Tories have made Hitler (the consummate anti-bourgeois, anti-sentimentalist!) into a product of disintegrating capitalism and sentimental bourgeois culture.  They and similar thinkers have conflated American puritans/bad Jews and Nazis, functionally equating “genocides,” in this case, the extermination of European Jews, the American Indians, American blacks, the Vietnamese, etc.

Harvard professor F.O. Matthiessen, “a Christian and a Socialist,”identified Melville’s Ahab, a prototypical American, with the alleged savagery of the Hebrew prophets (1941, 1948).[1]  Also centered at Harvard were the Walter Langer team, authors of The Mind of Adolf Hitler, originally a 1943 report for the OSS but revised for publication in 1972 to diagnose hippie-fascists.  Langer, aided anonymously by Henry A. Murray, Ernst Kris, and Bertram Lewin, attempted to account for his subject’s “ambitiousness” and “extraordinary political intuition” (atypical of a “basically illiterate peasant family”); Langer and Murray actually gave credence to rumors that Hitler carried Jewish blood: Langer reported that Hitler’s grandmother might have been a servant in the home of the Baron Rothschild; Murray was impressed by a Jewish godfather to Hitler;[2] what’s more Hitler’s brilliant (Jewish) insights into the minds and hearts of the little men (the class base of fascism for the CIA and other moderates during the 1950s) should be adapted by American mind-managers.  Here are more excerpts from the declassified Murray report to FDR, 1943:

[The following diagnosis of Hitler’s condition was prepared by W.H.D. Vernon, under the supervision of Henry A. Murray and Gordon Allport, all Harvard men:]  Now it is known that syphilophobia often has its roots in the childhood discovery of the nature of sexual congress between the parents.  With a father who was an illegitimate and possibly of Jewish origin, and a strong mother fixation, such a discovery by the child Adolf may well have laid the basis of the syphilophobia which some adventure with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna fanned to a full flame. [fn: “This is mere conjecture and must be treated as such. But it is the sort of explanation which fits known psychological facts”]…Hitler’s personality structure, though falling within the normal range, may now be described as of the paranoid type with delusions of persecution and of grandeur.  This stems from sado-masochistic splits in his personality…Just as the father is the cause of his mixed blood, the source of his domination and punishment, and of the restrictions of his own artistic development; just as in the childish interpretation of sexual congress, the father attacks, strangles, and infects the mother, so the Jew, international Jewish capital, etc., encircle and restrict Germany, threaten and attack her and infect her with impurities of blood…But the mother is not only loved but hated.  For she is weak, besides he is enslaved to her affections and she reminds him all too much, in his role as dominant father, of his own gentle sensitive nature.  So, though he depends on the German people for his position of dominance, he despises and hates them, he dominates them, and because he fears his very love of them, he leads them into the destructiveness of war where multitudes of them are destroyed.  Besides, the Jewish element in his father identification permits him to use all the so-called “Jewish” tricks of deceit, lying, violence, and sudden attack both to subject the German people as well as their foes (78-80).

[Henry Murray: Hitler’s “revengeful dominance” is “a counteraction to insulted narcism” presumably inflicted by his (possibly half-Jewish) father:] …Knowing something of the character of Alois Hitler, we can safely infer experiences of abasement and humiliation suffered by the son….(196)…Since many of the prominent positions in Vienna were held by Jews, some of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, as well as his hatred of Vienna, can be attributed to humiliations received from the upper classes during these years…(199)  [The “determinants” of Hitler’s antisemitism:]…3. The suitability of the Jew as an object on which to project his own repudiated background and traits: his Jewish god-father (and possibly his Jewish grandfather), his physical timidity and sensitiveness, his polymorphous sexual impulses…5. The realization, after having once embarked on the road to militarism, that the stirred-up aggression of his followers needed some outlet…7. In building his military machine the anti-militaristic Jewish people could not be of much help to him.  At bottom, Fascism is the advocacy of the aggressive drive over and above the acquisitive drive (with which the Jew has generally been identified), and, by the same token, it is the substitution of Power and Glory for Peace and Prosperity, a materialistic paradise on earth (with which Communism and the Jew have also been identified).  Finally, the Nazi doctrine of fanatical irrationality (thinking with the blood) is antipathetic to the intellectual relativism of the Jew.  Thus there are several fundamental points of opposition (as well as certain points of kinship) [where?!! C.S.] between Nazi ideology and Jewish ideology (207-209).

[Murray, cont.]  Hitler has a number of unusual abilities of which his opponents should not be ignorant.  Not only is it important to justly appraise the strength of an enemy but it is well to know whether or not he possesses capacities and techniques which can be appropriated to good advantage.  Hitler’s chief abilities, realizations, and principles of action as a political figure, all of which involve an uncanny knowledge of the psychology of the average man, are briefly these: [21 items follow, including:]…Heiden speaks of “Hitler’s frequently noted incapacity to impose his will in a small circle, and his consummate skill in winning over a crowd prepared by publicity and stage management, and then, with its aid, vanquishing the small circle, too” (211).

[Clare:]     So what is this “Jew”?  Brutal/humiliating/hypermasculine or timid and gay?  Or both, as in Jewish switching, a.k.a. “sudden attack”/”intellectual relativism”?  Not surprisingly, Hebraic types (for Murray, Melville as Ahab) were deplorable to the crypto-Tories/New Dealers, because, after instructing guileless WASPS in mind-control, they turn around to blast good non-humiliating father-figures, to decode the mythic narratives that alone  confer national unity or group solidarity in a pluralist society.[3]  The writing of George L. Mosse, distinguished mentor to a generation of New Left cultural historians at the University of Wisconsin, similarly transmits the ambivalence of the moderate conservatives.

Mossememoir

Mosse’s investigations into the sources of Nazi culture address modernization theory and develop a utopian, mass political lineage for Nazism.[4]  What were the Nazis: moderns, antimoderns, or a distinctive, confusing new blend of both?  In answer to my letter requesting a clarification of his influential formulations, Mosse replied that he once believed “National Socialism was largely a critique of modernity,” a view he has since revised: “…I think it was part of a protest of modernization…I would say that National Socialism masked modernity even as they were furthering it.” [5] Mosse seems to be saying that, on second thought, the Nazis were cunning and dishonest in their goals.  I wonder if Mosse’s “switch” overrelies on a definition of modernity as the advent of industrialization, not the institutionalization of civil liberties in the state; the unintended effect is to relativize Nazi brutality and level distinctions between autocratic and democratic bourgeois societies, a difference Mosse is elsewhere careful to maintain, cautioning me that I could “certainly compare völkisch movements to American conservatism,” but not “Nazi Germany to the United States.”  He does not say which American conservatives he thinks are völkisch; probably the right-wing populists, not the (élite) ethnopluralists!  Mosse went on to distance himself from analyses like my own that discern analogies between the world-views of ethnopluralism (identity politics) and national socialism.  He wrote, “I reject the current controversy over macho multiculturalism or postmodernism having anything whatever to do with Hitler’s psyche.  That seems to me totally unhistorical.”

The confusions of conservative Enlightenment permeate Mosse’s writing when he is not in his materialist mood.[6] In The Holy Pretence: A Study in Christianity and Reasons of State from William Perkins to John Winthrop (1968), a book about “emancipation of political action from moral restraint,” Mosse frets that “…the victory of the Dove can lead to unbridled idealism, and the ignoring of secular realities; while the victory of the Serpent means the total acceptance of what the sixteenth century called ‘Machiavellism’” (154).  Mosse lauds the Baroque synthesis that prudently balanced the Serpent and the Dove so that “neither obliterates the other.”  The realism of the secular world was not achieved through science and libertarian ideas, he argues, but through wise adjustments in religion itself (152) [cf. Dumont, 1977].

The leftward trajectory of the Reformation is an ongoing concern for anyone who analyzes propaganda and fascism.  Writing seven years later in The Nationalization of the Masses (1975), Mosse makes the crucial point that the modern intellectual constantly historicizes and demystifies symbolic discourses; this habit militates against the maintenance of a stable national identity expressed through symbols.[7]  When inside the anti-materialist Aristotelian civic humanist tradition, Mosse will not turn around and demystify “moderate” mind-managers in the West, the followers of Durkheim, Weber, and Parsons.  Given his reputation among New Leftists and other antifascists, Mosse has presented a disturbingly inaccurate synthesis for the intellectual origins of fascist brutality in his “General Theory of Fascism.”[8]  Arguing against the “stereotype” that fascism is a reaction to liberalism and socialism (1), Mosse claims throughout that fascism (Nazism more than Italian fascism) selectively appropriated and, through its control of mass media, put a corporatist spin on Western ideals (5, 14, 17-19).  Hitler and Mussolini are carefully separated; Hitler came out of the jacobin antipluralist, antiparliamentary tradition of mass politics and popular culture (the repulsive part of the West); the more pluralist Mussolini allowed new and old élites to co-exist because he respected aristocratic culture and tradition; this aristocratic culture embraced the German idealism that Mosse suggests was foreign to Nazis (3, 10, 28, 33, 35).  Fascist violence originated in the brutality and camaraderie of World War I (which Mosse blurs with youth and the mobs of the French Revolution, aka Napoleon, “Romantic Nationalism,” “popular sovereignty” and “workers movements,” even “middle-class virtues”), not the medievalism of the aristocracy (4, 6, 9, 10, 17-19, 21, 25, 31, 37, 38).  There was no counter-revolution and no civil war; weak bourgeois institutions simply collapsed, and Hitler and Mussolini presented themselves to fill the void.  Conservatives left the Nazi government after six months (19).

Mosse is politically allied to the pluralists and pragmatists of the moderate center (many of whom were intrigued with Italian Fascism during the 1930s) and who have abandoned the open-ended processes and unpredictable outcomes of liberal nationalism, instead redefining American nationality on the basis of a mosaic of rooted ethnic groups; i.e., they are ready to play ball inside the fences erected by élites.  With intellectuals like Talcott Parsons and Henry A. Murray, the moderate nationalists have recommended that the state rely on the manipulation of symbols to enforce “integration” and “national unity” while simultaneously denouncing the tyrannical animal called mass politics!

Of course, as Mosse also realized, one problem with the formulation of a clear-cut Nazi radical conservatism or reaction [9] was Hitler’s desire to bring railroads, improved tools, and “welcoming farms” to central Europe; and, like other eugenicists, Hitler believed he was scientific, critical, and independent, following the truth wherever it might lead.  No less than the Burkean conservatives (including “socialists” like Karl Pearson, then the Fabians), the weaving, quilting Hitler wanted modernity and progress without the loss of a stable national/ethnic identity: capitalism without tears, slavery without guilt.  Sentimental Christians and Jews were de trop.

[Hitler, Table-Talk, Oct. 15, 1941:]  Inflation is not caused by increasing the fiduciary circulation.  It begins on the day when the purchaser is obliged to pay, for the same goods, at higher sum than that asked the day before.  At that point, one must intervene.  Even to Schacht, I had to begin by explaining this elementary truth: that the essential cause of the stability of our currency was to be sought for in our concentration camps.  The currency remains stable when the speculators are put under lock and key.  I also had to make Schacht understand that excess profits must be removed from economic circulation….All these things are simple and natural.  The only thing is, one musn’t let the Jew stick his nose in.  The basis of Jewish commercial policy is to make matters incomprehensible for a normal brain.  People go into ecstasies of confidence before the science of the great economists.  Anyone who doesn’t understand is taxed with ignorance!  At bottom, the only object of all these notions is to throw everything into confusion (65-66).

[Hitler, Nov. 5, 1941:]  The Jew is the incarnation of egoism…The Jew has talent for bringing confusion into the simplest matters, for getting everything muddled up…The Jew makes use of words to stultify his neighbors. And that’s why people make them professors….

If the Jew weren’t kept presentable by the Aryan, he’d be so dirty he couldn’t open his eyes.  We can live without the Jews, but they couldn’t live without us.  When the European realizes that, they’ll all become simultaneously aware of the solidarity that binds them together.  The Jew prevents this solidarity.  The Jew owes his livelihood to the fact that this solidarity does not exist (119-120).

[Hitler, Feb. 3-4, 1942; Hitler identifies with heretics; Jews have instigated the “collective madness” of witch hunts carried out by organized Christianity:]  A Jew was discovered to whom it occurred that if one presented abstruse ideas to non-Jews, the more abstruse these ideas were, the more the non-Jews would rack their brains to try to understand them.  The fact of having their attention fixed on what does not exist must make them blind to what exists.  An excellent calculation on the Jew’s part.  So the Jew smacks his thighs to see how his diabolic strategem has succeeded.  He bears in mind that if his victims suddenly became aware of these things, all Jews would be exterminated.  But, this time, the Jews will disappear from Europe.

The world will breathe freely and recover its sense of joy, when this weight is no longer crushing its shoulders (288).

[Hitler, June 13, 1943:]  I cannot make up my mind to buy a picture by a French painter, because I am not sure of the dividing line between what I understand and what I do not understand.  I have the same feeling when I look at paintings by Corinth and Trbner–to mention only two of our German artists.  These men started by painting pictures of great merit, and then, urged on by pride, they started to produce the most startling and extraordinary works. [THE SWITCH] In literature the Jew has already blazed the same pernicious trail, and artists like Corinth and Trübner have followed them.  The result is the frightful daubs with which they now inflict us (703-704).

[Clare:] Less is more. Like many conservatives, Mosse has placed Nazi excess in the tradition of mass politics and youth revolt, i.e., Jacobin democracy and terror.  But Hitler’s own writings place him securely in the ranks of the reactionary romantic anticapitalists; he was a typically vulnerable petit-bourgeois, railing against fluctuating money markets, terrified of status loss, and choking off the intellectual curiosity and expression that will cast him into the abyss reserved for lapsed conservative Christians and blue-collars.  He wants an enduring structure, a familiar terrain.  How many of those who have attempted to analyze him and/or the appeal of national socialism pay attention to his panic in the face of naturalistic romantic art and poetry? As with other neoclassicists, the consequence for Hitler is a deficient vocabulary; he cannot define his situation in concrete, descriptively precise language—words, tones, and gestures that chart the rise and fall of feelings, their switches, subtle interpenetrations and metamorphoses.  How might the scientistic social critic (his vocabulary similarly limited insofar as he turns away from the living world to his non-interactive models, ideal types and abstractions) react with phobic intensity to the finely differentiated emotions of everyday life, emotions that he cannot grasp without the words and detail that match the distinctive qualities, nuances and motions of each?   Might his own person become the loathsome, super-demanding, ever elusive creature that Hitler disowned as Jewish, the muddling (female) body that even after repeated exterminations inevitably returned to terrorize him again?  Might the tasteful planner or architect taken with structural models that may be encompassed at a single glance feel the same? Are there not escapist, mystical, and submissive longings , underneath such “aesthetic” preferences;  postures or dreamy states that quiet the rage of seeing, mop up the blood on the floor?[10]

The blurred formulations of Nazi ideology crowding the field of cultural anthropology and cultural history sharply contrast with the clear view of the enemy available in the straightforward writing of Hitler and other National Socialists.  They explicitly and plainly oppose independent labor unions, the rootless cosmopolitanism associated with capital, liberalism and international socialism, and the universalist ethics and the too-attractive no-holds-barred intellectual procedures associated with science and democracy, all products of the radical Enlightenment and identified with “the International Jew.”[11] Because the idealist social theorists described above are corporatist liberals wedded to the calming closures of Christian eschatology (and unconditional surrender?) their explanations for Nazi antisemitism are marred by the abstractness and vagueness of ideal types and antitheses.[12]  Above all they must carve a clear channel between Hitler and themselves as supporters of FDR and other self-sacrificing good fathers; as bureaucratic collectivists supposed to be different from fascists they necessarily construct Hitler as a creative figure, the failed, unbalanced romantic artist concocting an original, eclectic, incoherent ideology that may not be construed as another case of corporatist liberalism.[13].

[Henry A. Murray to FDR, 1943:]  [Hitler] was a compound, say, of Lord Byron and Al Capone (143)…It was not Germany as it was or had been that Hitler represented but rather the ideal social pattern which he wished to impose on the country.  Not only during his days of rumination in Vienna but later it was necessary for him to construct an ideology from diverse sources in terms of which he could preach to the people.  None of the elements were original with him but some inventiveness was required in developing the precise combination of principles that became the creed of the Nazi Party.  Besides this, he was continually preoccupied with inventing means to his goals, which involved a considerable amount of creative thought; thus, to a certain extent, he functioned as a creative artist and certainly conceived of himself as such (178-179).

[Clare:] The only switch visible to the moderate men is the metamorphosis of extreme nationalism to antisemitism and xenophobia, a change that moderate nationalism resists after the social psychologists have cooled it out.  In the mass media that have interpreted the Third Reich to millions, the outsider Hitler’s own voice has been presented, perhaps invariably, as a rant in the German language, shadowed by domineering Jewish blood, lapped up by cheering fresh-scrubbed German Aryan women.

NOTES.


 

                [1] See F.O.Matthiessen, American Renaissance (Oxford U.P., 1941); From The Heart of Europe (Oxford U.P.,1948): 182-183.  See Lord James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, Vol.II (N.Y.: Macmillan, 1891): 275-276, 278, 281-82, for a more ambivalent account of American [Chosen People]: “If you ask an intelligent citizen why he so holds [incorrect majorities will be persuaded of the right], he will answer that truth and justice are sure to make their way into the minds and consciences of the majority.  This is deemed an axiom, and the more readily so deemed, because truth is identified with common sense, the quality which the average citizen is most confidently proud of possessing.  This feeling shades off into another, externally like it, but at bottom distrust–the feeling not only that the majority, be it right or wrong, will and must prevail, but that its being the majority proves it to be right.  This feeling appears in the guise sometimes of piety and somtimes of fatalism.  Religious minds hold–you find the idea underlying many books and hear it in many pulpits–that Divine Providence has specially chosen and led the American people to work out a higher type of freedom and civilization than any other state has yet attained, and that this great work will surely be brought to a happy issue by the protecting hand which has so long guided it (276).”

 [2] Walter Langer, The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report (Basic Books, 1972): 102-103. Murray, op.cit.

  [3] The Zionist writer Alex Bein (cited above) relies on Alan Bullock and the Langer report in his presentation of Hitler’s personality.  The influence of the crypto-Tories in American Studies is the terrain of my doctoral dissertation on the Melville revival.  One of the central debates in American history surfaces in an essay by Barbara J. Fields, “Ideology and Race in American History,” Region, Race and Reconstruction, ed. J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson (N.Y.: Oxford U.P., 1982): 143-177.  This subtly argued essay challenged the New Left/American Studies interpretation of white supremacy (not class conflict) as the motor of American history.

[4] Compare to Sternhell, Zeev. Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France, translated by David Meisel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. Pre-fascist ideology in France set the stage for the Vichy Revolution in 1940-41. Revolutionary syndicalism and radical nationalism of the late 19th century were fused in the 1920s and 1930s to create a novel, mass based, youth-inspired revolt against materialism and decadence blamed on liberalism, democracy and reformed Marxism (i.e. social democracy). For the prefascists, the enemy was finance capital and monopoly, seen as Jewish, American and British. The deracinated individual was the source of decadence, and the compensatory discourse was corporatist/communitarian and meant to integrate the proletariat into the nation through a strong planning state, coterminous with the nation. Emphasized family, work (in tradition of medieval guilds), and region. Did not eliminate profit or private property. Neither ideology nor economic crisis alone could have created this revolutionary departure from the principles of 1789; hence the implicit warning to other social democrats: don’t allow economic crisis to develop: this ideology is still extant. Sternhell somewhat plays down the antisemitic, Christian character of the sources of the ideology, though he does not deny it. France was “impregnated” by the ideology of fascism (a revolution of the spirit: modern, aesthetic, and moral, exalting blood and soil, instinct, force, violence, the healthy body, sacrifice, and monkish asceticism, futurism, modern architecture of Le Corbusier, and Freud). The nonconformist journalist politicos in the 1930s penetrated popular culture; only a few of them, however, explicitly embraced nazism and fascism, though they came very close. Henri De Man the principle theorist of an idealist Marxism. (Sternhell does not consider historical materialism to be idealist.)

This book is directed against Marxist interpretations of fascism as a reaction by monopoly capital to working class militancy in a period of economic crisis. Sternhell thanks A. James Gregor (a self-described fascist and biographer of Mussolini) in the acknowledgments.(vii) and places five of his books in the bibliography. Also Mosse’s General Theory of Fascism, and Masses and Man.

Sterhell does not explain how Freud could contribute to fascist ideology, given that Freud did not advocate unleashing the instincts, as did Jung, for whom the unconscious, home of the racial ancestry and spirits, was a source of creativity.

[5] Cf. Erik Levi, Music In The Third Reich (N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press, 1994): 124, commenting on the paradoxical Nazi views of technological progress misted over with anti-industrial romanticism. , a conflict that was apparent in confused music policies.

 [6] See The Crisis of the German Ideology (1962), and Toward The Final Solution (1980).

  [7] George L. Mosse, The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany From the Napoleonic Wars Through the Third Reich (Howard Fertig, 1975).

  [8] See Mosse, “Introduction: A General Theory of Fascism,” International Fascism, ed. George L. Mosse (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979): 1-41.

  [9] Mosse’s Nazi Culture was criticized by readers as ignoring the role of technology in the Third Reich, he reports.  See also Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967).

[10]Cf. the Tory poet and editor J.C. Squire, quoted above.

 [11] Cf. Sander L. Gilman, Jewish Self-Hatred; Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U.P., 1986).

 [12] See Erich Dinkler, “Earliest Christianity,” The Idea of History in the Ancient Near East, ed. Robert C. Dentan (New Haven: Yale U.P., 1955): 187-190 for the ways Christian eschatology (a world of cycles and repetitions, filled with “anticipations,” types and antitypes) is incompatible with history and critical thought but not anthropology (a view which I feel applies to anthropology as practiced by Carl Jung, Ruth Benedict, Geoffrey Gorer, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Henry Murray, etc.).

 [13] See Victor Serge’s suggestive comment of 1944, reminiscent of pre-Popular Front communist definitions of “social fascism”: “The Soviet regime, fascism, Nazism, and the New Deal undeniably share common traits determined in the last instance by the collectivist tendencies of the modern economy…As a consequence of the exhaustion of the working class, these tendencies take on the form of bureaucratic collectivism.” Quoted in Susan Weissman, doctoral diss., 459-460.

MosseCrisis

June 13, 2013

Hollywood’s “pact” with Hitler?

Illustration used byTablet

Illustration used byTablet

The May 10, 2013 issue of Tablet magazine featured a review of a forthcoming book published by Harvard University Press, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler, that is said to reveal a “creepy love affair” with Hitler. See http://tinyurl.com/lnbengk. I had a negative response to this article nailing Hollywood executives such as Carl Laemmle Sr., Jack Warner, and (by implication) MGM’s Louis B. Mayer. For many decades, I have studied the U.S. appropriation of Nazi methods in controlling the” little people” that prominent German refugees held responsible for the rise of Hitler. Indeed, the Frankfurt School critical theorists, elitists that they were, blamed mass media for Hitler’s appeal. I have detailed analysis of the populist and progressive support for Nazi methods of mind control on my website, and have shared them here.

But what I find particularly ironic is that David Mikics, the author of the Tablet piece is a postmodernist exponent of Jacques Derrida (the hero whose dubious alliances have been questioned by other postmodernists), while the author of the forthcoming book Ben Urwand, is  a Harvard Junior Fellow. How ironic? Harvard was the site of many ardent proposals that Nazi and German methods of managing the masses be taken up by progressives and populists in America. See for example this series of essays posted on my website: https://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/, https://clarespark.com/2009/12/13/klara-hitlers-son-and-jewish-blood/, and https://clarespark.com/2010/04/18/links-to-nazi-sykewar-american-style/.

One of the principal disseminators of protofascist social psychological methods, Henry A. Murray, former director of the Harvard Clinic, has sealed papers at Harvard University Archives, controlled by his widow Caroline Fish Murray (I tried to get into them in 1995 and was rebuffed unless I provided Mrs. Murray with an outline of the book I planned to write!)  Murray’s role in these propaganda offensives has been effectively covered up by the professoriate. Other figures associated with Murray, such as Gordon Allport and Walter Langer, have been similarly protected from academic scrutiny.

All the facts unearthed in Urwand’s dissertation research are disturbing. But to neglect the widespread fascination with Hitler and Mussolini among American populists (Father Coughlin comes to mind), as well as the admiration of Mussolini’s corporate state by FDR, suggests to me that Urwand’s forthcoming tome on Hollywood may serve as revenge for the Hollywood blacklist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_blacklist), as if leftists and liberals were holding up Hitler signs in protests against the Tea Party and Republicans in general. It should never be forgotten that the Hollywood left and its sympathizers today nailed Republicans and big business in general for supporting the Third Reich. (For a recent interview with Urwand see http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/author-ben-urwand-talks-hollywoods-597114.) UPDATE: I have read the book once and will write something brief set of impressions and reservations for Friday the thirteenth and Yom Kippur.  It is a bad book, but I never dreamed that Harvard would publish anything this outrageous. [Update 12-21-13: the documentation of “fact” in the Urwand book is highly suspect and even unpersuasive to a professional historian or to any careful reader who checks footnotes. Mark Horowitz did a good job taking the book apart in a recent TABLET, probably in response to widespread academic skepticism on the social democratic Left, the political position that Urwand seems to represent.]

February 14, 2010

Nazi sykewar, American style, part one

"The Lord's Prayer," Hans Haacke, ca. 1984

For years, I have wondered why I alone seemed alarmed by the recommendation of prominent progressive social psychologists that Hitler’s methods for mind-management be adopted by the Roosevelt administration. Readers of my book, Hunting Captain  Ahab or my article Klara Hitler’s Son will know that such figures as Henry A. Murray, Gordon Allport, Talcott Parsons, and Walter Langer were some of the names involved in proposing such a project in the interest of “national morale” or “civilian morale.” But then, while researching the history of military psychiatry, I came across a reference to German Psychological Warfare: Survey and Bibliography, edited by Ladislas Farago, and published in two editions by the Committee for National Morale (second ed. 1941), that addressed my deep concerns, for it was not only such as Murray, Allport, Parsons, and Langer that had entertained a full-fledged program of mind-management, but almost the entire progressive elite as it existed circa 1940-41, including A. Philip Randolph! The opening page presents their rationalization, and it brims with down-to-earth confidence that appropriating Nazi methods in a democracy is not an insuperable challenge, but first they suggest the purposes of the appropriation:

“[Germany] uses defensive psychology to select the right man for the right place, to bolster the morale of the whole German “nation in arms,” to habituate its soldiers to the hazards, dangers and strains of technical warfare, to cushion the shocks of combat and increase the efficiency of military life, to regulate relations between officers and men, and to solve all the complex problems of human behavior raised by war.”

“Offensive psychology is used to break down the morale of Germany’s enemies both on the military and the home fronts, to conquer public opinion in neutral lands, to pave the invader’s way into unprepared countries by disintegrating the political, social and intellectual structure of nations singled out for future attacks.”  [Note that they constantly refer to Germans, not Nazis, perhaps to ally themselves with advanced enlightened prewar German culture, and to decrease the shock of their copying Nazi maneuvers in mind-control. C.S.] Now they explain that the Germans are not the sole source of their program of “national morale.”:

“Germany has no exclusive lease on the psychological amplification of strategy and tactics. Neither was she the first to exploit psychology for the more efficient prosecution of modern wars. When drawing up their master plan, German psychologists borrowed freely from pioneering American, French, and Russian psychologists, going even to a Hungarian school of pyrotechnicians for several patterns of tests. [Later they will pin it all on Freud, and before that Clausewitz. C.S.]

“As things stand today, however, the Germans have staked rich claims on the use of psychology in Total War.

“The primary purpose of this Survey and Bibliography is, therefore, to acquaint Americans with the background, organization, functions and development of German military psychology. Its best features, stripped of their bias, obscurity, and apparent mystery, and freed of t heir verbalism, can easily be adapted and amplified for the benefit of America’s own national defense within the framework of our traditions and democratic way of life….” [These latter quotes are from their first page to the “Survey,”  laying out the project of the book.]

Why, you may ask, do we need “Total War?” The science-minded authors are crystal clear on that point, after they quote Prof. E. Weniger, writing in 1938, who believes that “every German can be raised as a soldier….”:

[the authors:] “ Investigation showed that military psychological factors are subject to specific laws and rules which can be recognized in advance and solved accordingly. Frictions, for example, have their preliminary symptoms and are not as unpredictable as certain pre-war theorists assumed. A knowledge of these laws and symptoms [preventive politics! C.S.] are held capable of enabling leaders to cope with frictions not only when they occur, but to forestall them or reduce their effectiveness by eliminating their psychological causes.

“The solution of such problems became all-important when total war inevitably made man himself (his attitudes and sentiments) rather than arms and supplies, the focal point for determining ultimate victory or defeat. In the last forty years the organization of the masses and the enlightenment of the individual have made immense progress. Traditional influences lost much of their original value when they were countered with the rationalism of modern man whom technological training and increasing urbanization accustomed to independent and critical thinking. Instead of accepting traditional impulses at their face value, this modern man searches for causes and feels competent, and often powerful enough, to demand explanations.

“Urbanization also tended to diminish natural courage. The enlightened man rejects the idea of ‘bravery for the sake of bravery’ and weighs the ‘practicability’ and legitimate stake of his action as against its possible returns. Thus his voluntary approval (his morale) became the dominating stimulus of his will to cooperation (47-48).” [my emph.]

To be continued. I am going to quote liberally from this revealing source on the goodness of lying. It is all shocking, and justifies everything on my blog to date. For the complete series see https://clarespark.com/2010/04/18/links-to-nazi-sykewar-american-style/.

December 13, 2009

Klara Hitler’s Son and Jewish “Blood”

Hitler, Pierrot, Captain Ahab, Daumier’s man of the crowd

Cite: Clare Spark, “Klara Hitler’s Son: The Langer Report on Hitler’s Mind,” Social Thought and Research, Vol.22, No. 1/2 (1999): 113-37.

[This essay is a spin-off from my book on psychological warfare in the Melville Revival, 1919-1999.  Unbelievably, leading scholars in the twentieth-century “revival” of Herman Melville (1819-1891) read their subject as a Jew; bad because, like the abolitionists and other radical puritans, he thought Judeo-Christian morality ought to be lived out in everyday life and could not be compromised in the interests of “expediency.” Such rigorous and consistent moralism was viewed as wild-eyed zealotry or monomania by the pragmatic moderate men who intervened between readers and Melville’s texts, annexing Melville’s art and the lessons of his bumpy career to their own left-wing agendas.  The same scholars (Dr. Henry A. Murray, Charles Olson, and Jay Leyda) who frowned upon Melville/Ahab the Hebraic moralist were simultaneously involved in the creation of propaganda during the Roosevelt administration. Neither antisemitism in the Melville Revival nor Murray’s Jungian reading of Hitler’s soma and psyche can be understood without reference to the Tory response to Hebraic radical puritanism as it surfaced in the English Civil War. With Herman Melville and Captain Ahab on his mind, Dr. Henry A. Murray and his Harvard colleague Walter Langer suggested to FDR that Nazi evil was drawn from Jewish blood, applying racial theory to the long-distance psychoanalysis of Hitler.  Of course, Murray and Langer did not profess antisemitism; quite the contrary.  Such a deficit in self-understanding was the inevitable outcome of conservative (i.e., “moderate”) Enlightenment.]

Lockean constitutionalism, “leveling” republicanism, and species-unity composed the elements of Enlightenment that were denounced as sentimental bourgeois culture by displaced aristocratic elites.  Nietzschean romantic conservatives have argued that popular sovereignty–jacobin fanaticism, bad taste, a bad smell, history as written by the plebs, a.k.a. “mass culture”–accounted for the rise of Hitler and the decline of the West.[2]  The Harvard psychologists and their humanist collaborators were assiduous adherents to conservatively enlightened progress and expertise; they and the class whose interests they serve (while proclaiming their “autonomy”), routinely make decisions affecting the state of our planet. [3]  Such immense authority is justified because as moderate men, they are held to be more rational and intelligent, more independent, ecologically aware and socially responsible than “the people” or “the masses” they represent, overawe, instruct, and control.  As philosophical idealists and cultural relativists, their friendliness to “multiplicity” and “pluralism” is displayed in their hostility to the history written by their competition, the radical liberals.  In this article, I will draw out the consequences for public policy when materialism (the epistemology of the radical Enlightenment) is erased in favor of Jungian psychohistory (the servant of conservative Enlightenment).

My subject is the 1972 best-seller published by Basic Books in response to the perceived protofascism of 1960s Romantics: Dr. Walter Langer’s The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report, ostensibly the replica of his 1943 report for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  Nowhere are the strange, wandering and broken spirits of the moderate men more evident to the naked scanner of events than in the Langer report, yet it has been praised for its prescience in the popular press, even by the sophisticated British New Statesman.  Langer actually leaned heavily on Dr. Henry A. Murray’s already existent views on Hitler’s psyche as stated both in his Harvard seminar worksheets for “civilian morale” (1941) and in his classified report to FDR (October 1943); this indebtedness was concealed by Langer.[4]  Langer, Murray and other theorists of psychological warfare may have been swept away by the apocalyptic sublime–the conservative vision that constitutes the terror-gothic style in art, in life, and in the writing of modern history.

In 1972 Basic Books touted the Langer report with Barnum-esque hyperbole:

“Here is the secret psychological report written in 1943 for “Wild Bill” Donovan of the OSS, which correctly predicted Adolf Hitler’s degeneration and eventual suicide.  This fascinating work, the most remarkable attempt ever made by a government intelligence agency to apply psychoanalytic insight to warfare, was classified as a secret for almost a quarter of a century.  Yet among those few historians and scholars who have ever seen it, it is regarded as a masterpiece of “psychohistorical reconstruction,” whose judgments concerning the personality and probable behavior of the Third Reich’s Evil Genius are, in the light of what we know today, uncanny in their accuracy.

By combining a careful study of documents and other writings available at the time with personal interviews arranged by the OSS with informants who had known Hitler before the war, Dr. Walter Langer inquired into Hitler’s troubled family background, his sexual pathologies, death fears, Messiah complex, vegetarianism, and other characteristics.  Drawing on his clinical knowledge of psychiatric patients with similar traits, Dr. Langer was able to foretell Hitler’s increasing isolation, his frequent rages, and the general deterioration of his mental condition.

What effect did this astounding secret document have on Allied war policy?  That is not yet known.  But in the words of Robert G.L. Waite, the distinguished historian, Dr. Langer’s The Mind of Adolf Hitler is, in itself, “fascinating…a significant and suggestive interpretation which no serious student of Hitler will ignore.” [end quote]

The jacket blurb was followed by a photo of elderly Dr. Langer, seated in an inexpensive lawn chair, dressed informally, relaxed, gazing at the viewer with an attentive smile.  He looks composed, but forthright and open to whatever life may have in store: the knees are spread, his clasped hands rest mostly on his right thigh.  Hans Gatzke has shown, however, that the claim to have published the original OSS report was a misrepresentation.  Even without Professor Gatzke’s comparison of the two publications, the alert reader might have suspected that broad strokes of docudrama had replaced high fidelity to primary sources, for instance in this folksy rendition of a conversation between Donovan and Langer:

“What we need,” the General said, “is a realistic appraisal of the German situation.  If Hitler is running the show, what kind of person is he?  What are his ambitions?  How does he appear to the German people?  What is he like with his associates?  What is his background?  And most of all, we want to know as much as possible about his psychological makeup–the things that make him tick.  In addition, we ought to know what he might do if things begin to go against him.  Do you suppose you could come up with something along these lines?” (10).

If we are to believe our eyes as we read the book jacket to The Mind of Adolf Hitler, and then the text and sub-text beneath the covers, Walter Langer and his unnamed collaborators (Henry A. Murray, Bertram Lewin and Ernst Kris) had, at best, an attenuated relationship to the real fact of “the final solution” to “the Jewish problem,” although Hitler had always advertised himself as the saviour of “nature” (i.e., aristocratic culture), the good father (or, better, the good peasant son) doing the work of the Lord/Master (Herren) to save the planet from Jewishly instigated degeneration. In 1939, Hitler had threatened revenge against all of European Jewry, the real agents of war, in his warning to the Western democracies.  Millions of Jews had been killed by the time the Langer report was filed with the OSS in the late summer of 1943, yet only in the context of predicting Hitler’s responses to military defeat did the idea of a “complete extermination” even come up:

…4. Hitler may be assassinated. Although Hitler is extremely well protected there is a possibility that someone may assassinate him.  Hitler is afraid of this possibility and has expressed the opinion that: “His own friends would one day stab him mortally in the back…And it would be just before the last and greatest victory, at the moment of supreme tension.  Once more Hagen would slay Siegried.  Once more Hermann[5] the Liberator would be murdered by his own kinsmen.  The eternal destiny of the German nation must be fulfilled yet again, for the last time.”  This possibility too, would be undesirable from our point of view inasmuch it would make a martyr of him and strengthen the legend.

It would be even more undesirable if the assassin were a Jew, for this would convince the German people of Hitler’s infallibility and strengthen the fanaticism of the German troops and people.  Needless to say, it would be followed by the complete extermination of all Jews in Germany and the occupied countries (210, my emphasis).

Even if the word “complete” indicates that the writers were aware that two million Jews were known to have been killed by 1943, since the subject of genocide had not been mentioned elsewhere in the book, the sentence suggests that only an assassination by a Jew would provoke such revenge. Perhaps the Langer team did not mention the Holocaust already in progress because it was more interested in another issue: Hitler’s uncanny insight into the psychology of other little men, as these parallel passages indicate:

[Murray and Allport, 1941:] What are the strengths and weaknesses of Nazi ideology as an instrument for world conquest?

[Murray, 1943:] Hitler has a number of unusual abilities of which his opponents should not be ignorant.  Not only is it important to justly appraise the strength of an enemy but it is well to know whether or not he possesses capacities and techniques which can be appropriated to good advantage.  Hitler’s chief abilities, realizations, and principles of action as a political figure, all of which involve an uncanny knowledge of the average man, are briefly these:…. [6]

[Langer:]…It can scarcely be denied that [Hitler] has some extraordinary abilities where the psychology of the average man is concerned.  He has been able, in some manner or other, to unearth and apply successfully many factors pertaining to group psychology, the importance of which has not been generally recognized and some of which we might adopt to good advantage.  [63].

Twenty-seven “factors” follow; those which “we might adopt” are not specified. These passages become even more gripping in light of the Langer report’s conclusions: “It is Hitler’s ability to play upon the unconscious tendencies of the German people and to act as their spokesman that has enabled him to mobilize their energies and direct them into the same channels through which he believed he had found a solution to his own personal conflicts.  The result has been an extraordinary similarity in thinking, feeling, and acting in the German people.  It is as though Hitler had paralyzed the critical functions of the individual Germans and had assumed the role for himself.  As such he has been incorporated as a part of the personalities of his individual supporters and is able to dominate their mental processes.  This phenomenon lies at the very root of the peculiar bond that exists between Hitler as a person, and the German people and places it beyond the control of any purely rational, logical, or intellectual appeal.  In fighting for Hitler these persons are now unconsciously fighting for what appears to them to be their own psychological integrity (206).”

The Murray-Allport worksheets (1941) had directed a national constituency concerned with “civilian morale” to “Quote passages from the original unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler expresses his cynical contempt of the masses, and the necessity of deceiving them.  Quote him in order to prove that he planned the war and devised the tactics.  Ridicule Mein Kampf as a Bible, contrasting paragraphs from the two sources.”

Jewish blood was the source of brilliant insights, emotional disturbance, and the Big Lie.[7]  Internalized antisemitic stereotypes of switching Jews subverted Langer’s attempt at “a realistic appraisal of the German situation.”  The witch-hunters, to a man, will extrude unpredictably dirty materialism [8] for the limpid regularity of crystals.  A fragment from the 1930s provides the bridge to the Langer report; it marks Sergei Eisenstein’s flight from romanticism and montage to the cult of personality, from the sensibility associated with popular revolution to neo-classicism, from endless agitation to the final solution.  In 1936, the year that future Melville scholar Jay Leyda left the Soviet Union, rejected by his mentor, Eisenstein repudiated the extremes of cold, dry didacticism and ravings of the insane:

[Eisenstein:] It is not accidental that precisely at this period, for the first time in cinematography, there begin to appear the first finished images of personalities, not just any personalities, but of the finest personalities: the leading figures of leading Communists and Bolsheviks.  Just as from the revolutionary movement of the masses emerged the sole revolutionary party, that of the Bolsheviks, which heads the unconscious elements of revolution and leads them toward conscious revolutionary aims, so the film images of the leading men of our times begin during the present period to crystallise out of the general-revolutionary-mass-quality of the earlier type of film.  And the clarity of the Communist slogan rings more definitely, replacing the more general-revolutionary slogan…(New Theatre, April 1936, p.13).

I think that now, with the approach of the sixteenth year of our cinematography, we are entering a special period.  These signs, to be traced today also in parallel arts as well as found in the cinema, are harbingers of the news that Soviet cinematography, after many periods of divergence of opinion and argument, is entering its classical period, because the characteristics of its interests, the particular approach to its series of problems, this hunger for synthesis, this postulation and demand for complete harmony of all the elements from the subject matter to composition within the frame, this demand for fullness of quality and all the features on which our cinematography has set its heart–these are the signs of the highest flowering of an art… (New Theatre, June 1936, p.29). [9]

In Dr. Henry A. Murray’s publications as in his correspondence with Melville scholars, a Nietzschean amor fati slipped out to contradict Progressive social optimism and faith in the power of the will.  Although Murray rebelled against his horoscope in 1927, perhaps he, along with the more conservative Melville critics, did not believe in the possibility of human amelioration, other than through “management” of conflicts generated by unruly archetypes, or in the eternal combat between good and evil or the (laissez-faire) individual and (corporatist liberal) society.  This is one strategy to absolve the self of responsibility for having expelled the bad Jewish-androgyne-Indian within, the troublesome presence demanding a reconfiguration of social life and human possibility, activating compassion by connecting self-awareness to social awareness.  Such self-cleansing is advocated and performed by conservatives, in the interest, they say, of human solidarity and a functional non-Jewish Anglo-American identity: [10] a je ne sais quoi achieved through pluralism-without-dissenting individuals and anthropology-without-history.

Langer’s 1972 Introduction to the “secret wartime report” matched the manipulative approach to treatment promoted by Murray in his 1935 unveiling of the Thematic Apperception Test.[11]  Through free association, Langer explained, the neurotic patient exposes and spews forth his unconscious fears and fantasies.  The analyst then interprets for the patient, penetrating and weakening his defense mechanisms, bringing up ever earlier memories “to throw light on the unsound premises or misconceptions that are the basis of his subsequent adjustments” (14,15).  For these chiropractors of the psyche there is nothing structurally weak or contradictory about institutions that would lead to emotional difficulties; neither need they fear irrationality within themselves: they have stared the devil down.

The disordered family with its flawed or glistening genetic inheritance is the sole source of Hitler’s behavior.  The brutal father, the masochistic mother, the weak child are common enough; they are not peculiar to Hitler’s childhood.  In such environments the child is spoiled by over-indulgent mothers who have engaged in sex-play with the boy, as Hitler’s mother is supposed to have done (150).  Hence the asocial impulses are not conquered in early childhood.  Like Vienna, with its lower class and oversexed dirty Jews (185), these families are houses of incest, manufacturing revolting children, stirring the cauldron of war.  Peaceful, well-ordered families with humane gentleman at the head (kindly and consistent role-models like FDR), deflecting their wives’ libido away from the sons, will prevent disastrous social movements in the future. Here is a good king masquerading as a western hero: “Wild Bill” Donovan (Columbia, class of 1912), OSS chief, introduced to us as brilliant, broadly imaginative, independent in judgment, and foresighted.  In tandem with psychoanalysts, other Donovans will use their expertise to study the irrational processes that dominate society, the better to psych out the adversary and anticipate resistance to the draft, hence to build morale: to stomp out “smouldering” “sentiments” that ignite antiwar movements (5).  Indeed, at the urging of fellow-scholars (24,25), and in the interest of preventive politics, Langer explained, the report had been declassified to point the way toward further collaborations between psychologists and historians:

[Langer:] I may be naive in diplomatic matters, but I like to believe that if such a study of Hitler had been made earlier, under less tension, there might not have been a Munich; a similar study of Stalin might have produced a different Yalta; one of Castro might have prevented the Cuban situation; and one of President Diem might have avoided our deep involvement in Vietnam.  Studies of this type cannot solve our international problems.  That would be too much to expect.  They might, however, help to avoid some of the serious blunders we seem to have made because we were ignorant of the psychological factors involved and the nature of the leaders with whom we were negotiating.  I am not naive enough, however, to believe that even a well-documented study would completely offset the tendency of many policy makers to set their course on the basis of what they want to believe, rather than on what is known (23). [12]

One wonders if Langer was proposing other studies relying on theories of national and ethnic character to predict the behavior of antagonistic elites.  At times Langer adheres to Lockean environmentalism, patiently reconstructing interactions between individuals and their culture (as in a reference to “the formative years of [Hitler’s] life,” 18), but hereditarian thinking pops out to overwhelm his analysis.  For instance, in the view of Hitler as a poor physical specimen, “Professor Max von Gruber of the University of Munich, the most eminent eugenist in Germany” is quoted: ” It was the first time I had seen Hitler close at hand.  Face and head of inferior type, cross-breed; low receding forehead, ugly nose, broad cheekbones, little eyes, dark hair.  Expression not of a man exercising authority in perfect self-command, but of raving excitement.  At the end an expression of satisfied egotism (44).”

Hitler’s genetic inheritance was brought up several times.  Langer mentions the mental and physical weakness of Hitler’s siblings and other relatives, mentioning a hunchback, a child with a speech impediment, an imbecile, a high-grade moron, and a predisposition to cancer.  All are attributed to Klara Hitler’s “constitutional weakness,” a possible “syphilitic taint…One has grounds to question the purity of the blood” (105, 106). But worse, these investigators took seriously Hitler’s fantasy that he was one quarter Jewish.[13]  They would like to verify the rumors that Hitler’s father’s mother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, was impregnated by the Baron Rothschild or another Rothschild in the household in which she was a maid (101-102).  Some informants argued that the Jewish [genes] would account for Alois Schicklgruber’s “intelligence,” “ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition” that was atypical of “Austrian peasant families,” but “in harmony with the Rothschild tradition.”  More: “…it would be peculiar for Alois Hitler, while working as a customs official in Braunau, to choose a Jew named Prinz, of Vienna, to act as Adolf’s godfather unless he felt some kinship with the Jews himself.”[14]  Langer left the door open to the possibility of Hitler’s Jewishness and underlined its potential explanatory character, while asserting the superior rigor and discretion of his methodology:

[Langer:]  This is certainly a very intriguing hypothesis, and much of Adolf’s later behavior could be explained in rather easy terms on this basis.  However, it is not absolutely necessary to assume that he has Jewish blood in his veins in order to make a comprehensive picture of his character with its manifold traits and sentiments.  From a purely scientific point of view, therefore, it is sounder not to base our reconstruction on such slim evidence but to seek firmer foundations.  Nevertheless, we can leave it as a possibility that requires further verification (102-103).

A few pages later, Langer accepted Reinhold Hanisch’s description of Hitler in Vienna in 1910, a time when he was “not a Jew-hater,” because some of his best friends were Jews.  In fact, “…During this time Hitler himself looked very Jewish.  Hanisch writes:  “Hitler at that time looked very Jewish, so that I often joked with him that he must be of Jewish blood, since such a large beard rarely grows on a Christian chin.  Also he had big feet, as a desert wanderer must have (119. In the Afterword, 232, Robert Waite says Hitler never looked like that).”

Langer has given us two nearly identical sentences that state Hitler looked very Jewish.  Should there be any doubt in our minds that Langer believed Hitler carried Jewish blood, and that his Jewishness accounted for astonishing feats of statesmanship and duplicity?  Perhaps this was the source of his Jewish perversion, which he then had to disown and destroy in others.  But first, Langer established his own attitude toward dirt, laziness, and homosexuality:  “Hitler’s life in Vienna was one of extreme passivity in which activity was held at the lowest level consistent with survival.  He seemed to enjoy being dirty and even filthy in his appearance and personal cleanliness.  This can mean only one thing from a psychological point of view, namely that his perversion was in the process of maturation and was finding gratification in a more or less symbolic form.  His attitude during this period could be summarized in the following terms: “I enjoy nothing more than to lie around while the world defecates on me.”  And he probably delighted in being covered with dirt, which was tangible proof of the fact [His probable delight proves what fact?].  Even in these days he lived in a flophouse that was known to be inhabited by men who lent themselves to homosexual practices, and it was probably for this reason that he was listed on the Vienna police record as a ‘sexual pervert’ (182).”

On the next page, Langer seemed to lose his temper.  First he offered his explanation for the onset and growth of Hitler’s anti-Semitism: Hitler’s disgusting perversion (the desire to have women defecate and urinate upon him) was projected onto the Jews, and “the Jew became a symbol of everything that Hitler hated in himself.  Again, his own personal problems and conflicts were transferred from within himself to the external world where they assumed the proportions of racial and national conflicts.”  With words that leap off the page, Langer scolded Hitler:  “Forgetting entirely that for years he not only looked like a lower class Jew but was as dirty as the dirtiest and as great a social outcast, he now began to see the Jew as a [sic] source of all evil.”

Even were Langer to be arguing for a little Christian charity, he was admitting that “lower class” Jews are as bad as Hitler says they are.  Therefore, it was rational for Hitler to blame them for soiling society, but he should have blamed himself, too, for copying.  Next, Langer continued to ignore the role played by the European Right in the formation and transmission of anti-Semitic attitudes; Christian Socialism must be the sole cultural source of Jew hatred:  “The teachings of [Christian Socialists] Schoenerer and Lueger helped to solidify and rationalize his feelings and inner convictions.  More and more he became convinced that the Jew was a great parasite on humanity who sucked its lifeblood and if a nation was to become great it must rid itself of this pestilence…The greater the demands of his perversion became, the more he hated the Jews and the more he talked against them (183-184).”

The projection of the perversion was formative: “Here was his political career in an embryo state.”  This in turn stimulated selective reading habits:

[Langer:] He read only in order to find additional justification for his own inner feelings and convictions and to rationalize his projections…he never forms a rational opinion in the light of the information but only pays attention to those parts that convince him he was right to begin with. [184. Cf. Langer’s brother William: in the 1930s “the world was threatened by irrational and demonic forces,” vi].

Curiously, Hitler’s method resembled the Langer team approach in selecting their data: “A survey of the raw material [just described as not “first hand,” as “superficial and fragmentary”], in conjunction with our knowledge of Hitler’s actions as reported in the news, was sufficient to convince us that he was, in all probability, a neurotic psychopath.  With this diagnosis as a point of orientation, we were able to evaluate the data in terms of probability.  Those fragments that could most easily be fitted into this general clinical category were tentatively regarded as possessing a higher degree of probability–as far as reliability and relevance were concerned–than those which seemed alien [Jewish facts?] to the clinical picture.  Each of the collaborators screened the raw material from this point of view, and there was considerable agreement on what was probably pertinent to our study and what was not (16,17). [15]

One wonders if the common identification of the Jew with Bolshevism/finance capital got screened out, along with other more rational interests, but these are absent. For the Langer team, “Jew” connoted either sex and disease (lower-class Jew-type) or “ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition” (Rothschild-type).

Bereft of history and politics, Langer attempted to explain the total transformation of Hitler’s character from lazy pervert to imperial genius.  The defeat of Germany in 1918 caused a crisis and a revolution in his psyche: the scourging of Germany by the Allies tested himself and the German people.  Hitler somehow realizes that, as Klara Hitler’s son, he has mistakenly identified with his mother’s passive and masochistic humanity, which he boots out: “In their place we find what Hitler’s warped mind conceived the supermasculine to be: ‘…if a people is to become free it needs pride and will-power, defiance, hate, hate, and once again hate’ (193).”

Hitler hears voices assuring him he is the chosen one, and leader of the chosen people (190-191).  Perhaps Langer believed that the cunning, commanding Rothschild genes have asserted themselves over the fawning and coprophageous ghetto hippie Jewish ones displayed in the meek, defeated, forgiving, ignoble, feminized Christ (193).  Hitler, at the nadir of his career, suddenly Identifies with the Aggressor, and treats others the way he fantasizes “the victors” (the Jews?) would like to treat him (193-196).

[Langer:]  In his treatment of the Jews we see the “Identification with the Aggressor” mechanism at work.  He is now practicing on the Jews in reality the things he feared the victors might do to him in fantasy.  From this he derives a manifold satisfaction.  First, it affords him an opportunity of appearing before the world as the pitiless brute he imagines himself to be; second, it affords him an opportunity of proving to himself that he is as heartless and brutal as he wants to be (that he can really take it); third, in eliminating the Jews he unconsciously feels that he is ridding himself, and Germany, of the poison that is responsible for all his difficulties; fourth as the masochist he really is, he derives a vicarious pleasure from the suffering of others in whom he can see himself; fifth, he can give vent to his bitter hatred and contempt of the world in general by using the Jew as a scapegoat; and sixth, it pays heavy material and propagandistic dividends (195, 196).

Surely the mention (almost a “by the way”) of the rational core of Hitler’s behavior, the “material and propagandistic dividends” should not have been the last item in Langer’s description of, and explanation for, the dynamics of Hitler’s psyche.  He should have examined the antidemocratic discourse of Western conservatives: the deicidal, legalistic, carnal, crazy, hypercritical Jew had been its Other for nearly two thousand years. [16]  Besides the obvious benefits to professional rivals and looters of Jewish property, antisemitism provided an indispensable vocabulary to ruling classes in an age of mass politics and burgeoning socialist aspirations.  Langer should have started with the class interest that the purges protected and enhanced; he would have seen the pervasiveness of “sadism” and “masochism” (perhaps structured responses to the class tasks of middle management) that Langer applies to the “neurotic psychopath” Hitler and his dragon crew, the German people.  But of course that would have undermined the sharp distinctions that Langer must protect to please his clients: light vs. dark, rational vs. irrational, good geniuses vs. evil geniuses, democracy vs. autocracy: distinctions that may not be blurred by comparisons between the institutions, ideologies, and social practices of capitalist societies with societies held to be antithetical.[17]

Walter Langer’s portrait of Hitler’s personality and its achievements framed his published study.  It is patently a warning to the 1972 reading public to beware of the flower children in their midst, who, like Hitler, may suddenly expel their long-suffering feminine/Jewish components, with similar effects:  “Hitler, clearly, was more than the crazy paperhanger depicted in popular prints.  Up until the age of twenty-five he manifested many of the characteristics that we now associate with the “hippies” of the 1960s.  He was shiftless, seemed to lack any sense of identity, appeared to have no real sense of direction or ambition, was content to live in filth and squalor, worked only when he had to, and then sporadically, spent most of his time in romantic dreams of being a great artist, was anti-Establishment and vocal on the shortcomings of society, but was short on deeds.  Even his war record bears testimony to a certain incompetence.  After spending four years in a regiment that had suffered heavy losses, he had never been promoted to a rank above Lance Corporal.  Nevertheless, this apparently insignificant and incompetent ne’er-do-well was later able, in the course of a relatively few years, to talk his way into the highest political offices, hoodwink the experienced leaders of the major powers, turn millions of highly civilized people into barbarians, order the extermination of a large segment of the population, build and control the mightiest war machine ever known, and plunge the world into history’s most devastating war (10, 11).”

In Langer’s characterizations of Hitler and his followers, we have glimpsed typical conservative images: Dionysus sneaked in through the ear: talking, hoodwinking, turning, ordering, controlling, plunging.  Stealthily ousting Apollonian fathers and only apparently civilized, the possessed Nazis were bloodthirstily reverting to type, surpassing all previous tyrannies in destruction and cruelty.  How did they do it?  Better than we aristocratically educated American consultants to the OSS, Hitler, himself immersed in Americanized mass culture,[18] Jewishly psyched out the hidden feminine and masochistic character of the German masses.  Through mass hypnosis achieved through his eroticized flashing phallic eyes (father’s) and falsetto voice (mother’s), then mutual engorgement at the speeches and rallies, Hitler and the audience re-enacted the transformation from feminized and depressed Jekyll to brutal and excited Hyde.  Hitler’s gimlet eye bore its way into the German psyche, subliminally persuading it to act out his drama of purification and vicarious masochistic identification with the Jewish victims of Nazism.  But the false self created in these erotic transactions could not be maintained: every defeat would require more and more brutal action to maintain the aura of invincibility.  The German people, in short, would behave as Ahab and his mesmerized crew in the ecstatic final chapters of Moby-Dick [my leap, not Langer’s].

Langer’s exasperation was understandable: Hitler, the uppity Austrian peasant and crypto-Jew, should not have tried to pass himself off as a world leader, rational and respectable like the rest.  If he had been as rational as Langer et al, he would have seen that his politics were determined by his inner life: specifically that he had been behaving like a Jewish victim turned Jewish upstart.  If Langer had treated him, perhaps Hitler could have been persuaded that he was overindulged by his mother, that his family failed in not motivating him to conquer the asocial impulses that led him to sexual perversion.  He would have known that brutal, selfish and distracted fathers (defined against FDR the gentleman, 148-149) abandoning their sons to mysterious mothers (who are either too clean or too dirty, cf. Horace Walpole’s play “The Mysterious Mother”: who either pray or love too much) are at the root of his evil behavior.  And therefore, freed from responsibility for his perversion, Hitler could have blamed mother and father for transmitting their unsound premises, hence he would have been immune to the appeals of the Christian Socialists of Vienna (whose anti-Semitism was brand new to him).  And he would have understood that there are no real irreconcilable class and national conflicts in the world, only projections.  So, even in the modern world where ambitious and extraordinarily talented Jewish politicos are at large, there are happy endings when families are reformed in the interests of a strong “sense of [rooted] identity.”

The crypto-Catholic good father cure persists in popular culture: it resolves the double bind that Melville identified in his sarcastic description of  “virtuous expediency.”[19] In the 1956 movie, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, the tycoon Ralph Hopkins (played by Fredric March), founder of the gigantic United Broadcasting Corporation, discovers too late that his self-regarding obsessive ambition, his lust for power and money, has forced him to neglect his family; catastrophically, his wife has raised the children by herself, explaining perhaps why his only son was killed in World War II (because his womanish idealism required that he sign up as an enlisted man?), and father’s neglect has made his eighteen-year old daughter a ne’er-do-well and a nihilist: a spoiled brat, positively bored by her responsibilities as the steward of great wealth and preferring marriage to a parasite suggestively named Byron.

Hopkins is the tragic foil to his new employee Thomas J. Rath (played by Gregory Peck), a World War II veteran (a captain) who has had an idyllic but adulterous affair in Italy with a saintly young girl Maria.  Rath, still traumatized by his experiences in the war, comes to understand through the indignant prodding of his wife Betsy (played by Jennifer Jones) and the example of Hopkins’ sluttish daughter that he (Rath) must not compromise his integrity or his paternal duties for the sake of personal advancement.  In fact, Hopkins’ belated epiphany makes it possible for Rath to satisfy the demands of his long-suffering wife for both rectitude and career: Rath speaks his mind (criticizing the deficiencies of Hopkins’ proposed speech to physicians designed to promote community mental health with “preventive”measures!) and his boss loves it; Hopkins has lost his taste for sycophants (an outcome that would have made Melville snort in disbelief), but Rath will never sell out; he refuses to play the substitute son for Hopkins if that means sacrificing his stabilizing presence at the helm of the family–one with three children rapidly succumbing to the hypnotic qualities of violence in early television westerns.

The same day that Rath makes his stand for integrity, he is informed by his former sergeant that Maria and Rath’s love child are now destitute, indeed are being supported by the sergeant on his elevator operator’s salary. Stricken by the revelation, Rath figuratively lobs a grenade at his wife (as he did so in the Pacific, accidentally killing his “best friend”and leaving himself in crazy denial). But Betsy, though furious and briefly floored on their front lawn after learning of the affair in Italy, is strong enough to adjust; after a brief runaway in the family car, she agrees (off screen) that they must both support the love-child, filling the local Connecticut judge (a very principled, very stable man named Bernstein–always disturbed when he must choose between competing claims for justice– with awe and gratification: “As the poet said, ‘God’s in His heaven; all’s right with the world.’ ” Judge Bernstein will assume the responsibility for sending $100 per month to Maria and Child so that the father will not have to correspond directly with his Italian family.  As the reconciled married pair drive off having survived two crises, Rath’s last words to Betsy are “I worship you.”

Tension is maintained throughout in a sustained color scheme, the colors of night-time combat: tigerish orange and red explosions contrast brilliantly with the dark blue-green foliage and rust-colored earth of the Pacific island where Rath was traumatized. Hence we feel the persistence of the horrible wartime incident that begins the movie, whether in Rath’s drab suburban home, in Rath’s inherited nineteenth-century mansion, during R&R in Italy, in the offices of United Broadcasting Corporation, Hopkins’ apartment, or the elevator where Rath meets his former subordinate.

The décor of the judge’s office carries through the same colors but they are now cooler in tone; suffused with the blessing of authority, in this case, the smile of a Jewish judge, the terror-gothic has lightened up. [20]

[Added 1-18-10: There is something obscene about the filmmaker’s vision continuing the colors of traumatic combat into the postwar civilian life of the Gregory Peck character, assuming that this was a deliberate choice. But given the animus shown toward middle-class suburban life in the 20th century, it should be no surprise.]

NOTES.

[1] Joyce Sparer Adler, War in Melville’s Imagination (N.Y.U. Press, 1981): 127, defending Melville’s Indian-hater episode in The Confidence-Man from charges of racism.

[2] See George Allen Morgan, What Nietzsche Means (Cambridge: Harvard U.P.: 1941); Morgan, a philosophy professor at Duke (the same Morgan as the consultant to the Psychological Strategy Board of the NSC, 1951-53?) masterfully decoded Nietzsche, showing that the ethical antinomy for the nineteenth century was not good Christian versus bad Jew, but austerely ascetic (impassible?) Heraclitean Greek versus (feminized) Christian/Jew; (the latter were of course, originators of the slave rebellions that had toppled towering geniuses).

[3] Barbara Ehrenreich, a leading feminist and social democrat, deplored the lack of autonomy of the professional-managerial class under Reagan, comparing its relative freedom prior to 1980 (KPFK radio broadcast, 10/2/89).  This would be precisely the argument of the socially responsible liberals of the Committee For Economic Development and other corporatists discussed throughout my study.

[4] See American Historical Review, April, 1973, 394-401; Oct. 1973, 1155-1163, for the dispute between Hans Gatzke and Walter Langer regarding the participation of Murray in the OSS report.  Gatzke could have made a stronger case in his own defense.  But an even more obvious influence was the worksheet on Hitler’s personality devised by Murray and Gordon Allport for their Harvard seminar on Civilian Morale (1941), and designed for national distribution to private organizations concerned with consensus building before, during and after the looming conflict.  The Harvard University Archives register for the Murray Papers states that Murray started work on his psychological profile of Hitler in 1938, after a request from the Roosevelt administration.

Two subsequent books contain conflicting reports regarding the inception of the Langer report. According to one account, Dr. Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, a former intimate of Hitler, was interrogated for many weeks. “The results were of great value to a psychiatric profile of Hitler which Donovan had commissioned.” See Anthony Cave Brown, The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan (Random House Vintage Paperback, 1984): 211 (no sources given).  But according to another researcher (in an obscurely written  paragraph discussing German hopes for a separate peace), the Langer report was part of “a flood of rumors” concocted by the British and O.S.S. Morale Operations in 1944-45 “to spread the tale that the Nazis were trying to use atrocities to provoke the British and the Americans into retaining the policy of unconditional surrender so that the German people would continue to feel that there was no alternative but to fight on….It was the Chief of London M.O. Fred Oechsner who had the idea of preparing a psychological study of Hitler to guide his covert propaganda operations. The  resulting work by Walter Langer, which was known in the O.S.S. as the “spiced-up” version and cost the organization $2500 in Langer’s fees, was heralded after the war as an Allied intelligence project prepared to predict the course Hitler would follow as he approached his end. In fact, it was just another of M.O.’s wild schemes, using juicy tidbits from the Führer’s life to addle the brains of the population of Central Europe.” See Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors (N.Y.: Basic Books, 1983): 276-77.  Smith’s sources are the British Foreign Office and the James Donovan Papers at the Hoover Institution. One problem with this bizarre scenario is that the Langer report was supposedly filed in 1943. Smith makes no connection between the Murray and Langer reports, but in a footnote p. 447, n14, refers to the 1943 Murray study of Hitler as utilizing Hanfstaengl as an informant (though no such source is named in the actual report), and as black propaganda intended “to cause dissension in Nazi ranks” (205); all this as part of FDR’s private intelligence team headed by John Franklin Carter. (Note that Basic Books had also published what it said was the original 1943 Langer Report, the subject of my essay.) John D. Marks also mystified the connection of the Murray report to FDR and the Langer Report, perhaps taking Walter Langer’s word that he was initially resistant to the project because he had no direct access to Hitler; see Marks, The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control (N.Y.: Times Books, 1978): 15.

[5] Cf. Charles Olson’s name switch from Herman to Hermann Melville in his article for New Republic, 9/8/52 and 9/15/52.

[6] Dr. Henry A. Murray, “Analysis of The Personality of Adolph [sic] Hitler, With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing With Him Now and After Germany’s Surrender,” October 1943, p.211, ff.  Murray’s list of Hitler’s skills are almost identical to those enumerated in the Langer report.  It is curious that Gatzke did not mention this in his refutation of Langer’s claim that Murray’s report was not even read by his team before it was filed with the O.S.S. in 1943!  However, there are important differences in interpretation between the two works; e.g. Murray, while giving credence to the Jewish blood, does not discuss Hitler’s sex life as a central determinant, but attempts a class analysis and gives weight to the Romantic Hitler’s reading and his life experience, the brutal lower-middle class father who opposed his son’s ambitions to become an artist, etc.  The Murray-Allport worksheets for their Harvard seminar on “Civilian Morale” (1941) do contain allusions to a deranged sexuality along with inferences drawn from Hitler’s physiognomy, but “social milieu” is deemed more important (“Hitler The Man…” p.11).

[7] Hitler believed that the masses were feminine and irrational, but he does not present himself as a cynical swindler in Mein Kampf.  He invariably paints himself as the good reliable father, protecting the gulllible people against switching Jews, the Fifth Column.  In both MK and Table Talk, he explains that Nazi propaganda must simplify, not falsify.

[8] Cf. Melville’s Dark Lady in Pierre, or the Ambiguities; Isabel is the bearer of a revised family history.

[9] Sergei Eisenstein, trans. Ivor Montagu, “Film Forms, New Problems,” New Theater, April-June 1936, pp. 13, 29; preserved in Leyda papers, UCLA. Leyda told his psychiatrist that his real father worked in the circus.

[10] Murray remarked to me that there were “differences between first, second and third-generation Jews.”

[11] See Henry A. Murray and Christiana Morgan, “A Method For Investigating Fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test,” Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 34, 1935.  In the TAT, the subject is shown a drawing which he then interprets in written form.  The Progressive Murray of course believed he was rescuing the patient from such neuroses as the Icarus complex (social radicalism, itself irrationally motivated) when he concluded: “…the thematic apperception test is an effective means of disclosing a subject’s regnant preoccupations and some of the unconscious trends which underlie them.  The advantages of the test are that it is a simple procedure which may be completed in two hours or in an abbreviated form in half that time, and it may be performed in a casual and informal fashion.  Since the subject is led to believe that it is a test of creative imagination, even when it is given in a clinic, he is unaware of the fact that he is revealing his innermost thoughts.  The subject’s attention is not on himself, and so in many instances he indirectly confesses to things which he would not be willing to mention directly.  But more than this, he exposes latent tendencies of which he is entirely unconscious.  For the fantasties being projected may be inwardly disclaimed and thus avoid complete repression…At the present time a young person who shows a few mildly neurotic symptoms or, like all inwardly developing young persons, is temporarily overburdened by mental conflict generally has, if he wants expert assistance, but two choices.  He may be analyzed, or he may consult a psychiatrist with no experience in analysis…There are numberless young men and women who need the kind of help which perhaps only a trained therapeutist trained in psychoanalysis is in a position to give and yet who do not need, or want or cannot afford an analysis lasting a year or more.  They need to confess and discuss their problems, to attain insight, but in most cases it is better not to impede their progressive efforts by having to revive and relive their past.  It is in such cases that the thematic apperception test may provide the psychotherapeutist with the information necessary for the fulfillment of his function as a guide and healer of men.”

[12] In his review of the Langer report, Robert Jay Lifton was worried about such extrapolations, but Charles Rotunda in the New Republic agreed with Langer.

[13] The charge that Hitler had Jewish blood was given credence by the antifascist muckraker George Seldes in Facts and Fascism (N.Y.: In Fact, 1943), in a classic example of petit-bourgeois radicalism (populism: the enemy is filthy lucre, not all forms of illegitimate authority): “Factual evidence shows that bankers, international or what-not, are without exception on the side of money; they always invest to make profits, and they are without exception on the reactionary or fascist side, no matter what church, nation, “race” or “blood” they belong to.  When Wheeler, Coughlin, Hitler, Goebbels and others make statements to the contrary such statements are propaganda, if not plain falsehood.  Curiously enough, no less an authority than Fritz Thyssen, the man who bought and paid for the Nazi Party, believes the rumor that Hitler is partly Jewish.  Every official trace of evidence concerning Hitler’s ancestry has now disappeared.  It has been destroyed by order, just as were Mussolini’s police record in Italy and his record for forgery in Switzerland (as well as his political arrests).  However, Thyssen writes: “According to the published records, Hitler’s grandmother had an illegitimate son, and this son was to become the father of Germany’s present leader.”  An inquiry by Chancellor Dollfuss of Austria “disclosed that the Feuhrer’s [sic] grandmother became pregnant during her employment as a servant in a Viennese family…none other than that of Baron Rothschild.”  Thyssen insists that Hitler learned of this document and that it was one of the reason [sic] for the murder of Dollfuss.  Thyssen believes the British secret service has a copy.  The original, he says, Hitler got from Chancellor Schuschning and destroyed.  If Thyssen’s rumors turn out to be fact, it would appear that the world’s greatest anti-Semite, the greatest liar and the greatest propagandist of the “international bankers” myth, is himself a Rothschild” (156).

The irony of the last sentence is dependent on seeing that Hitler’s Jewish blood would make him, in fact, “a Rothschild” of the domineering banker-type he, Hitler, appears to hate. Seldes’ statement at first glance seems to be criticizing Hitler’s racism in attributing Jewishmess to all bankers instead of dealing with their class interests. By the time Seldes wrote his book, the myth of the Jewish banking conspiracy had been thoroughly exploded in the liberal press.  But what did Seldes think he was doing by summoning Thyssen as a witness lending plausibility to a rumor that he, as a Nazi supporter, had every interest in suppressing, unless he, Seldes, at some level wished to muddy the waters regarding the links between international Jews and finance capital?  And why does Seldes tell the reader that all bankers are evil profiteers, regardless of genetic inheritance, but then, in the third and fourth sentences, create a suggestive link between “Hitler’s [possible part-Jewish] ancestry” and Mussolini’s shameful crimes? Why mention Mussolini’s cover-up at all?  Don’t all illegitimate rulers clean up their records? Has Seldes reverted, unconsciously perhaps, to the stereotyping he so furiously criticizes by connecting in a rapid-fire barrage of unsupported assertions, money, class, dirt (the shameful suppressed rumor), and hypocrisy? When the muckrakers raked, was their muck latently Jewish in content?

[14] Cf. Murray on peasant stock vs. Hitler’s Jewish blood in the Harvard worksheet “Hitler, The Man–Notes For A Case History.”  There is a mystery as to the grandfather: “The ancestors on both sides of the family were peasant people of the district of Waldviertel, highly illiterate and very inbred.”  Father’s eyes were “small sharp, wicked”; he was a “harsh, stern, ambitious and punctilious man” (2).  What are his relations to his mother?  Hitler had “large melancholy thoughtful eyes” (2) and an “essentially feminine appearance.”  The eyes of “neutral grey tend to take on the colors of their surroundings” (4).  Mother took his side in the dispute over Hitler’s becoming an artist over father’s objections (3).  The brutal father caused him to be submissive, but he was boiling over.  He was enslaved to mother, an attachment he never outgrew, so he perhaps harbored a deep unconscious rage against her.  Failure added to other factors would unleash aggression (11).  Discussing the sources of Hitler’s antisemitism (consisting solely of a “morbid connection” between “Jews and disease, blood disease, syphilis, and filthy excrescences of all sorts”) Murray mentions that Hitler was a common Jewish name and he was teased about his Jewish appearance in Vienna (11).  Murray speculates: “Now it is known that syphilophobia often has its roots in the childhood discovery of the nature of sexual congress between the parents.  With a father who was illegitimate and possibly of Jewish origin [fn The name Hitler is Jewish as was pointed out] and a strong mother fixation, such a discovery by the child Adolf may well have laid the basis of a syphilophobia which some adventure with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna fanned to a full flame.  Terrified by the fear of his own infection, all the hatred in his being is then directed toward the Jews…Hitler’s personality structure, though falling within the normal range, may now be described as the paranoid type with delusions of persecution and of grandeur.  This stems from a sado-masochistic split in his personality.  Integral with these alternating and opposed elements in his personality are his fear of infection, the identification of the Jews as the source…and some derangement of the sexual function which make his relations with the opposite sex abnormal in nature.”  He has projected his inner conflicts onto the world.

Murray describes ambivalence: Hitler hates the Germans, so he uses “Jewish” tricks–”deceit, lying, violence and sudden attack both to subject the German people as well as their foes.”  International Jewish capital, etc. strangles and infects the mother.  Father partly possesses her so Hitler destroys the Austrian State.  But Hitler’s aggression arouses protest from the other side, causing anxiety, panic, insomnia, and nightmares.  Now he controls himself, because Fate controls his violence.  Success assuages fear.  When the limit of success is reached, “the personality may collapse under the weight of its own guilt feelings.  It is, therefore, quite possible that Hitler will do away with himself at whatever moment German defeat becomes sufficient enough to destroy the fiction of Fate which has shielded him from the violence of his own guilt….” (11-14).  The Murray Papers at Harvard University Archives contain materials relevant to his conflicted relations with Walter Langer, but they are closed to me as of this writing.

[15] Gatzke objected to this procedure, but did not compare it to Hitler’s.  Also, if there was so much discussion, then agreement, why did the OSS report resemble Murray’s earlier report for FDR, as Gatzke noted?  (Langer said Murray opted out of the team almost immediately.)

[16] See Rosemary Radford Ruether, Faith and Fratricide (N.Y.: Seabury Press, 1973).  Ruether dates the onset of modern antisemitism with the writings of  Patristic church fathers.

[17] In an essay reviewing sixteen recent studies of the Holocaust (NYRB, 9/28/89), Istvan Deak, Professor of History at Columbia University, declared Marxist identifications of fascism with late capitalism passé; Deak, like other conservatives, apparently views the People, not the system, as the source of violence.  For Deak, the mass murder committed by the Nazis is unique, and probably incomprehensible (here quoting Arno Mayer).  Perhaps Nazi crimes would not be so inexplicable were they not encapsulated with the excuse of historicism.  For to insert Nazi violence into the continuum of permissible violence would reflect badly on the aristocratic paternalism which Deak and other elitists would like to protect; but worse, such comparisons (with child abuse, degradation of the environment, the cruelty of class education, the toleration of poverty and other unnecessary human suffering in an age of technology) would expose the fragility and novelty of the humanitarianism and science introduced during the Renaissance and Enlightenment–and their cooption and deformation by conservatives (another outdated ‘Marxist’ idea).

[18] Murray mentions Hitler’s reading of James Fenimore Cooper and Karl May  (a popular German writer on American Indians), worksheet on Hitler, p.3.

[19] See Plinlimmon’s pamphlet in Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852). Ultraconservatives have consistently identified Melville and his character Ishmael with Plinlimmon’s amorality in the service of social cohesion.

[20] This themes I have identified are suppressed in an H-Net Review (11-13-98) by Philip J. Landon of the History Channel’s series on the 1950s: “The small-town scandals of Peyton Place are balanced by interviews with Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique, 1963) and Sloan Wilson (in The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit, 1955), writers who chronicled the suburban domestic life of young businessmen climbing the corporate ladder and their wives, whose horizons have narrowed to children and kitchen appliances. Their discontents are illustrated primarily with scenes from the Hollywood adaptation of Wilson’s novel, which focuses on the middle-class and upwardly mobile Rath family. While the Raths may exemplify the disappointments awaiting those who achieve the American Dream, they are more 1950s myth than 1950s reality. Very few families ever enjoyed the Rath’s material well-being. The discontents which haunted most families originated in their failure to share the Dream which advertising and the mass-media held up as the reward awaiting all deserving Americans. To many of us who grew up in the lower-middle and working-class families and came of age during the 1950s, the tribulations of the Rath family seemed both delicious and desirable.”

August 31, 2009

Klara Hitler’s Son: The Langer Report on Hitler’s Mind

[Update: All the salacious material treated as fact by the Langer team appears to have been lifted from Konrad Heiden,  Der Fuehrer : Hitler’s Rise to Power (Boston, 1944).  Heiden’s docudrama was, inter alia, a defense of Social Democracy.]

This is my article (slightly revised) published in Social Thought and Research, Vol.22, No. 1/2 (1999): 113-37. Don’t miss the footnotes, some of which are as astounding as the analysis of Hitler’s psyche presented to FDR by both Murray and Langer.

[This essay is a spin-off from Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent State UP, 2001, paperback 2006).  Unbelievably, leading scholars in the twentieth-century “revival” of Herman Melville (1819-1891) read their subject as a bad Jew; bad because, like the abolitionists and other radical puritans, he thought Judeo-Christian morality ought to be lived out in everyday life and could not be compromised in the interests of “expediency.” (Moreover, “Captain Ahab” quarreled with God.)Such rigorous and consistent moralism was viewed as wild-eyed zealotry or monomania by the pragmatic moderate men who intervened between readers and Melville’s texts, annexing Melville’s art and the lessons of his bumpy career to their own corporatist agendas.  The same scholars (Dr. Henry A. Murray, Charles Olson, and Jay Leyda) who frowned upon Melville/Ahab the Hebraic moralist were simultaneously involved in the creation of propaganda during the Roosevelt administration. Neither antisemitism in the Melville Revival nor Murray’s Jungian reading of Hitler’s soma and psyche can be understood without reference to the Tory response to Hebraic radical puritanism as it surfaced in the English Civil War. With Herman Melville and Captain Ahab on his mind, Dr. Henry A. Murray and his Harvard colleague Walter Langer suggested to FDR that Nazi evil was drawn from Jewish blood, applying racial theory to the long-distance psychoanalysis of Hitler.  Of course, Murray and Langer did not profess antisemitism; quite the contrary.  Such a deficit in self-understanding was the inevitable outcome of conservative Enlightenment.]

Lockean constitutionalism, “leveling” republicanism, and species-unity composed the elements of Enlightenment that were denounced as sentimental bourgeois culture by displaced aristocratic elites.  Nietzschean romantic conservatives have argued that popular sovereignty–jacobin fanaticism, bad taste, a bad smell, history as written by the plebs, a.k.a. “mass culture”–accounted for the rise of Hitler and the decline of the West.[2]  The Harvard psychologists and their humanist collaborators were assiduous adherents to conservatively enlightened progress and expertise; they and the class whose interests they serve (while proclaiming their “autonomy”), routinely make decisions affecting the state of our planet. [3]  Such immense authority is justified because as moderate men, they are held to be more rational and intelligent, more independent, ecologically aware and socially responsible than “the people” or “the masses” they represent, overawe, instruct, and control.  As philosophical idealists and cultural relativists, their friendliness to “multiplicity” and “pluralism” is displayed in their hostility to the history written by their competition, the classical liberals.  In this article, I will draw out the consequences for public policy when materialism (the epistemology of the radical Enlightenment) is erased in favor of Jungian psychohistory (the servant of conservative Enlightenment).

My subject is the 1972 best-seller published by Basic Books in response to the perceived protofascism of 1960s Romantics: Dr. Walter Langer’s The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report, ostensibly the replica of his 1943 report for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  Nowhere are the strange, wandering and broken spirits of the moderate men more evident to the naked scanner of events than in the Langer report, yet it has been praised for its prescience in the popular press, even by the sophisticated British New Statesman.  Langer actually leaned heavily on Dr. Henry A. Murray’s already existent views on Hitler’s psyche as stated both in his Harvard seminar worksheets for “civilian morale” (1941) and in his classified report to FDR (October 1943); this indebtedness was concealed by Langer.[4]  Langer, Murray and other theorists of psychological warfare may have been swept away by the apocalyptic sublime–the conservative vision that constitutes the terror-gothic style in art, in life, and in the writing of modern history.

In 1972 Basic Books touted the Langer report with Barnum-esque hyperbole:

“Here is the secret psychological report written in 1943 for “Wild Bill” Donovan of the OSS, which correctly predicted Adolf Hitler’s degeneration and eventual suicide.  This fascinating work, the most remarkable attempt ever made by a government intelligence agency to apply psychoanalytic insight to warfare, was classified as a secret for almost a quarter of a century.  Yet among those few historians and scholars who have ever seen it, it is regarded as a masterpiece of “psychohistorical reconstruction,” whose judgments concerning the personality and probable behavior of the Third Reich’s Evil Genius are, in the light of what we know today, uncanny in their accuracy.

By combining a careful study of documents and other writings available at the time with personal interviews arranged by the OSS with informants who had known Hitler before the war, Dr. Walter Langer inquired into Hitler’s troubled family background, his sexual pathologies, death fears, Messiah complex, vegetarianism, and other characteristics.  Drawing on his clinical knowledge of psychiatric patients with similar traits, Dr. Langer was able to foretell Hitler’s increasing isolation, his frequent rages, and the general deterioration of his mental condition.

What effect did this astounding secret document have on Allied war policy?  That is not yet known.  But in the words of Robert G.L. Waite, the distinguished historian, Dr. Langer’s The Mind of Adolf Hitler is, in itself, “fascinating…a significant and suggestive interpretation which no serious student of Hitler will ignore.” [end, blurb]

The jacket blurb was followed by a photo of elderly Dr. Langer, seated in an inexpensive lawn chair, dressed informally, relaxed, gazing at the viewer with an attentive smile.  He looks composed, but forthright and open to whatever life may have in store: the knees are spread, his clasped hands rest mostly on his right thigh.  Yale historian Hans Gatzke has shown, however, that the claim to have published the original OSS report was a misrepresentation.  Even without Professor Gatzke’s comparison of the two publications, the alert reader might have suspected that broad strokes of docudrama had replaced high fidelity to primary sources, for instance in this folksy rendition of a conversation between Donovan and Langer:

“What we need,” the General said, “is a realistic appraisal of the German situation.  If Hitler is running the show, what kind of person is he?  What are his ambitions?  How does he appear to the German people?  What is he like with his associates?  What is his background?  And most of all, we want to know as much as possible about his psychological makeup–the things that make him tick.  In addition, we ought to know what he might do if things begin to go against him.  Do you suppose you could come up with something along these lines?” (Langer, 10).

If we are to believe our eyes as we read the book jacket to The Mind of Adolf Hitler, and then the text and sub-text beneath the covers, Walter Langer and his unnamed collaborators (Henry A. Murray, Bertram Lewin and Ernst Kris) had, at best, an attenuated relationship to the real fact of “the final solution” to “the Jewish problem,” although Hitler had always advertised himself as the saviour of “nature” (i.e., aristocratic culture), the good father (or, better, the good peasant son) doing the work of the Lord/Master (Herren) to save the planet from Jewishly instigated degeneration. In 1939, Hitler had threatened revenge against all of European Jewry, the real agents of war, in his warning to the Western democracies.  Millions of Jews had been killed by the time the Langer report was filed with the OSS in the late summer of 1943, yet only in the context of predicting Hitler’s responses to military defeat did the idea of a “complete extermination” even come up:

“…4. Hitler may be assassinated. Although Hitler is extremely well protected there is a possibility that someone may assassinate him.  Hitler is afraid of this possibility and has expressed the opinion that: “His own friends would one day stab him mortally in the back…And it would be just before the last and greatest victory, at the moment of supreme tension.  Once more Hagen would slay Siegried.  Once more Hermann[5] the Liberator would be murdered by his own kinsmen.  The eternal destiny of the German nation must be fulfilled yet again, for the last time.”  This possibility too, would be undesirable from our point of view inasmuch it would make a martyr of him and strengthen the legend.

It would be even more undesirable if the assassin were a Jew, for this would convince the German people of Hitler’s infallibility and strengthen the fanaticism of the German troops and people.  Needless to say, it would be followed by the complete extermination of all Jews in Germany and the occupied countries (210, my emphasis).”

Even if the word “complete” indicates that the writers were aware that at least two million Jews were known to have been killed by 1943, since the subject of genocide had not been mentioned elsewhere in the book, the sentence suggests that only an assassination by a Jew would provoke such revenge. Perhaps the Langer team did not mention the Holocaust already in progress because it was more interested in another issue: Hitler’s uncanny insight into the psychology of other little men, as these parallel passages indicate:

[Murray and Allport, 1941:] “What are the strengths and weaknesses of Nazi ideology as an instrument for world conquest?”

[Murray, 1943:]” Hitler has a number of unusual abilities of which his opponents should not be ignorant.  Not only is it important to justly appraise the strength of an enemy but it is well to know whether or not he possesses capacities and techniques which can be appropriated to good advantage.  Hitler’s chief abilities, realizations, and principles of action as a political figure, all of which involve an uncanny knowledge of the average man, are briefly these:…” [6]

[Langer:]”…It can scarcely be denied that [Hitler] has some extraordinary abilities where the psychology of the average man is concerned.  He has been able, in some manner or other, to unearth and apply successfully many factors pertaining to group psychology, the importance of which has not been generally recognized and some of which we might adopt to good advantage.  [63].”

Twenty-seven “factors” follow; those which “we might adopt” are not specified. These passages become even more gripping in light of the Langer report’s conclusions:

“It is Hitler’s ability to play upon the unconscious tendencies of the German people and to act as their spokesman that has enabled him to mobilize their energies and direct them into the same channels through which he believed he had found a solution to his own personal conflicts.  The result has been an extraordinary similarity in thinking, feeling, and acting in the German people.  It is as though Hitler had paralyzed the critical functions of the individual Germans and had assumed the role for himself.  As such he has been incorporated as a part of the personalities of his individual supporters and is able to dominate their mental processes.  This phenomenon lies at the very root of the peculiar bond that exists between Hitler as a person, and the German people and places it beyond the control of any purely rational, logical, or intellectual appeal.  In fighting for Hitler these persons are now unconsciously fighting for what appears to them to be their own psychological integrity (206).”

The Murray-Allport worksheets (1941, see my blog on civilian morale) had directed a national constituency concerned with “civilian morale” to “Quote passages from the original unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler expresses his cynical contempt of the masses, and the necessity of deceiving them.  Quote him in order to prove that he planned the war and devised the tactics.  Ridicule Mein Kampf as a Bible, contrasting paragraphs from the two sources.”

Jewish blood was the source of brilliant insights, emotional disturbance, and the Big Lie.[7]  Internalized antisemitic stereotypes of switching Jews subverted Langer’s attempt at “a realistic appraisal of the German situation.”   In Dr. Henry A. Murray’s publications as in his correspondence with Melville scholars, a Nietzschean amor fati slipped out to contradict Progressive social optimism and faith in the power of the will.  Although Murray rebelled against his horoscope in 1927, perhaps he, along with the more conservative Melville critics, did not believe in the possibility of human amelioration, other than through “management” of conflicts generated by unruly archetypes, or in the eternal combat between good and evil or the (laissez-faire) individual and (corporatist) society.  This is one strategy to absolve the self of responsibility for having expelled the bad Jewish-androgyne-Indian within, the troublesome presence demanding a reconfiguration of social life and human possibility, activating compassion by connecting self-awareness to social awareness.  Such self-cleansing is advocated and performed by “moderate conservatives” in the interest, they say, of human solidarity and a functional non-Jewish Anglo-American identity: [8] a je ne sais quoi achieved through pluralism-without-dissenting individuals and anthropology-without-history.

Langer’s 1972 Introduction to the “secret wartime report” matched the manipulative approach to treatment promoted by Murray in his 1935 unveiling of the Thematic Apperception Test.[9]  Through free association, Langer explained, the neurotic patient exposes and spews forth his unconscious fears and fantasies.  The analyst then interprets for the patient, penetrating and weakening his defense mechanisms, bringing up ever earlier memories “to throw light on the unsound premises or misconceptions that are the basis of his subsequent adjustments” (14,15).  For these chiropractors of the psyche there is nothing structurally weak or contradictory about institutions that would lead to emotional difficulties; neither need they fear irrationality within themselves: they have stared the devil down.

The disordered family with its flawed or glistening genetic inheritance is the sole source of Hitler’s behavior.  The brutal father, the masochistic mother, the weak child are common enough; they are not peculiar to Hitler’s childhood.  In such environments the child is spoiled by over-indulgent mothers who have engaged in sex-play with the boy, as Hitler’s mother is supposed to have done (150).  Hence the asocial impulses are not conquered in early childhood.  Like Vienna, with its lower class and oversexed dirty Jews (185), these families are houses of incest, manufacturing revolting children, stirring the cauldron of war.  Peaceful, well-ordered families with humane gentleman at the head (kindly and consistent role-models like FDR), deflecting their wives’ libido away from the sons, will prevent disastrous social movements in the future. Here is a good king masquerading as a western hero: “Wild Bill” Donovan (Columbia, class of 1912), OSS chief, introduced to us as brilliant, broadly imaginative, independent in judgment, and foresighted.  In tandem with psychoanalysts, other Donovans will use their expertise to study the irrational processes that dominate society, the better to psych out the adversary and anticipate resistance to the draft, hence to build morale: to stomp out “smouldering” “sentiments” that ignite antiwar movements (5).  Indeed, at the urging of fellow-scholars (24,25), and in the interest of preventive politics, Langer explained, the report had been declassified to point the way toward further collaborations between psychologists and historians:

“I may be naive in diplomatic matters, but I like to believe that if such a study of Hitler had been made earlier, under less tension, there might not have been a Munich; a similar study of Stalin might have produced a different Yalta; one of Castro might have prevented the Cuban situation; and one of President Diem might have avoided our deep involvement in Vietnam.  Studies of this type cannot solve our international problems.  That would be too much to expect.  They might, however, help to avoid some of the serious blunders we seem to have made because we were ignorant of the psychological factors involved and the nature of the leaders with whom we were negotiating.  I am not naive enough, however, to believe that even a well-documented study would completely offset the tendency of many policy makers to set their course on the basis of what they want to believe, rather than on what is known (23).” [10]

One wonders if Langer was proposing other studies relying on theories of national and ethnic character to predict the behavior of antagonistic elites.  At times Langer adheres to Lockean environmentalism, patiently reconstructing interactions between individuals and their culture (as in a reference to “the formative years of [Hitler’s] life,” 18), but hereditarian thinking pops out to overwhelm his analysis.  For instance, in the view of Hitler as a poor physical specimen, “Professor Max von Gruber of the University of Munich, the most eminent eugenist in Germany” is quoted:

“It was the first time I had seen Hitler close at hand.  Face and head of inferior type, cross-breed; low receding forehead, ugly nose, broad cheekbones, little eyes, dark hair.  Expression not of a man exercising authority in perfect self-command, but of raving excitement.  At the end an expression of satisfied egotism (44).”

Hitler’s genetic inheritance was brought up several times.  Langer mentions the mental and physical weakness of Hitler’s siblings and other relatives, mentioning a hunchback, a child with a speech impediment, an imbecile, a high-grade moron, and a predisposition to cancer.  All are attributed to Klara Hitler’s “constitutional weakness,” a possible “syphilitic taint…One has grounds to question the purity of the blood” (105, 106). But worse, these investigators took seriously Hitler’s fantasy that he was one quarter Jewish.[11]  They would like to verify the rumors that Hitler’s father’s mother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, was impregnated by the Baron Rothschild or another Rothschild in the household in which she was a maid (101-102).  Some informants argued that the Jewish [genes] would account for Alois Schicklgruber’s “intelligence,” “ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition” that was atypical of “Austrian peasant families,” but “in harmony with the Rothschild tradition.”  More: “…it would be peculiar for Alois Hitler, while working as a customs official in Braunau, to choose a Jew named Prinz, of Vienna, to act as Adolf’s godfather unless he felt some kinship with the Jews himself.”[12]  Langer left the door open to the possibility of Hitler’s Jewishness and underlined its potential explanatory character, while asserting the superior rigor and discretion of his methodology:

“This is certainly a very intriguing hypothesis, and much of Adolf’s later behavior could be explained in rather easy terms on this basis.  However, it is not absolutely necessary to assume that he has Jewish blood in his veins in order to make a comprehensive picture of his character with its manifold traits and sentiments.  From a purely scientific point of view, therefore, it is sounder not to base our reconstruction on such slim evidence but to seek firmer foundations.  Nevertheless, we can leave it as a possibility that requires further verification (102-103).”

A few pages later, Langer accepted Reinhold Hanisch’s description of Hitler in Vienna in 1910, a time when he was “not a Jew-hater,” because some of his best friends were Jews.  In fact, “…During this time Hitler himself looked very Jewish.  Hanisch writes:    ‘Hitler at that time looked very Jewish, so that I often joked with him that he must be of Jewish blood, since such a large beard rarely grows on a Christian chin.  Also he had big feet, as a desert wanderer must have (119.’ ” In the Afterword, 232, Robert Waite says Hitler never looked like that.).

Langer has given us two nearly identical sentences that state Hitler looked very Jewish.  Should there be any doubt in our minds that Langer believed Hitler carried Jewish blood, and that his Jewishness accounted for astonishing feats of statesmanship and duplicity?  Perhaps this was the source of his Jewish perversion, which he then had to disown and destroy in others.  But first, Langer established his own attitude toward dirt, laziness, and homosexuality:

“Hitler’s life in Vienna was one of extreme passivity in which activity was held at the lowest level consistent with survival.  He seemed to enjoy being dirty and even filthy in his appearance and personal cleanliness.  This can mean only one thing from a psychological point of view, namely that his perversion was in the process of maturation and was finding gratification in a more or less symbolic form.  His attitude during this period could be summarized in the following terms: “I enjoy nothing more than to lie around while the world defecates on me.”  And he probably delighted in being covered with dirt, which was tangible proof of the fact [His probable delight proves what fact? C.S.].  Even in these days he lived in a flophouse that was known to be inhabited by men who lent themselves to homosexual practices, and it was probably for this reason that he was listed on the Vienna police record as a ‘sexual pervert’ ” (182).

On the next page, Langer seemed to lose his temper.  First he offered his explanation for the onset and growth of Hitler’s anti-Semitism: Hitler’s disgusting perversion (the desire to have women defecate and urinate upon him) was projected onto the Jews, and “the Jew became a symbol of everything that Hitler hated in himself.  Again, his own personal problems and conflicts were transferred from within himself to the external world where they assumed the proportions of racial and national conflicts.”   With words that leap off the page, Langer scolded Hitler:

“Forgetting entirely that for years he not only looked like a lower class Jew but was as dirty as the dirtiest and as great a social outcast, he now began to see the Jew as a [sic] source of all evil.”

Even were Langer to be arguing for a little Christian charity, he was admitting that “lower class” Jews are as bad as Hitler says they are.  Therefore, it was rational for Hitler to blame them for soiling society, but he should have blamed himself, too, for copying.  Next, Langer continued to ignore the role played by the European Right in the formation and transmission of anti-Semitic attitudes; Christian Socialism must be the sole cultural source of Jew hatred:

“The teachings of [Christian Socialists] Schoenerer and Lueger helped to solidify and rationalize his feelings and inner convictions.  More and more he became convinced that the Jew was a great parasite on humanity who sucked its lifeblood and if a nation was to become great it must rid itself of this pestilence…The greater the demands of his perversion became, the more he hated the Jews and the more he talked against them (183-184).”

The projection of the perversion was formative: “Here was his political career in an embryo state.”  This in turn stimulated selective reading habits:

“He read only in order to find additional justification for his own inner feelings and convictions and to rationalize his projections…he never forms a rational opinion in the light of the information but only pays attention to those parts that convince him he was right to begin with. [184. Cf. Langer’s brother William: in the 1930s “the world was threatened by irrational and demonic forces” vi].

Curiously, Hitler’s method resembled the Langer team approach in selecting their data:

“A survey of the raw material [just described as not “first hand,” as “superficial and fragmentary”], in conjunction with our knowledge of Hitler’s actions as reported in the news, was sufficient to convince us that he was, in all probability, a neurotic psychopath.  With this diagnosis as a point of orientation, we were able to evaluate the data in terms of probability.  Those fragments that could most easily be fitted into this general clinical category were tentatively regarded as possessing a higher degree of probability–as far as reliability and relevance were concerned–than those which seemed alien [Jewish facts? C.S.] to the clinical picture.  Each of the collaborators screened the raw material from this point of view, and there was considerable agreement on what was probably pertinent to our study and what was not (16,17). [13]

One wonders if the common identification of the Jew with Bolshevism/finance capital got screened out, along with other more rational interests, but these are absent. For the Langer team, “Jew” connoted either sex and disease (lower-class Jew-type) or “ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition” (Rothschild-type).

Bereft of history and politics, Langer attempted to explain the total transformation of Hitler’s character from lazy pervert to imperial genius.  The defeat of Germany in 1918 caused a crisis and a revolution in his psyche: the scourging of Germany by the Allies tested himself and the German people.  Hitler somehow realizes that, as Klara Hitler’s son, he has mistakenly identified with his mother’s passive and masochistic humanity, which he boots out:  “In their place we find what Hitler’s warped mind conceived the supermasculine to be: ‘…if a people is to become free it needs pride and will-power, defiance, hate, hate, and once again hate’ (193).”

Hitler hears voices assuring him he is the chosen one, and leader of the chosen people (190-191).  Perhaps Langer believed that the cunning, commanding Rothschild genes have asserted themselves over the fawning and coprophageous ghetto hippie Jewish ones displayed in the meek, defeated, forgiving, ignoble, feminized Christ (193).  Hitler, at the nadir of his career, suddenly Identifies with the Aggressor, and treats others the way he fantasizes “the victors” (the Jews?) would like to treat him (193-196):

[Langer:]  “In his treatment of the Jews we see the “Identification with the Aggressor” mechanism at work.  He is now practicing on the Jews in reality the things he feared the victors might do to him in fantasy.  From this he derives a manifold satisfaction.  First, it affords him an opportunity of appearing before the world as the pitiless brute he imagines himself to be; second, it affords him an opportunity of proving to himself that he is as heartless and brutal as he wants to be (that he can really take it); third, in eliminating the Jews he unconsciously feels that he is ridding himself, and Germany, of the poison that is responsible for all his difficulties; fourth as the masochist he really is, he derives a vicarious pleasure from the suffering of others in whom he can see himself; fifth, he can give vent to his bitter hatred and contempt of the world in general by using the Jew as a scapegoat; and sixth, it pays heavy material and propagandistic dividends (195, 196).”

Surely the mention (almost a “by the way”) of the rational core of Hitler’s behavior, the “material and propagandistic dividends” should not have been the last item in Langer’s description of, and explanation for, the dynamics of Hitler’s psyche.  He should have examined the antidemocratic discourse of Western organic conservatives: the deicidal, legalistic, carnal, crazy, hypercritical Jew had been its antitype for nearly two thousand years. [14]  Besides the obvious benefits to professional rivals and looters of Jewish property, antisemitism provided an indispensable vocabulary to ruling classes in an age of mass politics and burgeoning socialist aspirations.  Langer should have started with the class interest that the purges protected and enhanced; he would have seen the pervasiveness of “sadism” and “masochism” (perhaps structured responses to the class tasks of middle management) that Langer applies to the “neurotic psychopath” Hitler and his dragon crew, the German people.  But of course that would have undermined the sharp distinctions that Langer must protect to please his clients: light vs. dark, rational vs. irrational, good geniuses vs. evil geniuses, democracy vs. autocracy: distinctions that may not be blurred by comparisons between the institutions, ideologies, and social practices of capitalist societies with societies held to be antithetical.[15]

Walter Langer’s portrait of Hitler’s personality and its achievements framed his published study.  It is patently a warning to the 1972 reading public to beware of the flower children in their midst, who, like Hitler, may suddenly expel their long-suffering feminine/Jewish components, with similar effects:

“Hitler, clearly, was more than the crazy paperhanger depicted in popular prints.  Up until the age of twenty-five he manifested many of the characteristics that we now associate with the “hippies” of the 1960s.  He was shiftless, seemed to lack any sense of identity, appeared to have no real sense of direction or ambition, was content to live in filth and squalor, worked only when he had to, and then sporadically, spent most of his time in romantic dreams of being a great artist, was anti-Establishment and vocal on the shortcomings of society, but was short on deeds.  Even his war record bears testimony to a certain incompetence.  After spending four years in a regiment that had suffered heavy losses, he had never been promoted to a rank above Lance Corporal.  Nevertheless, this apparently insignificant and incompetent ne’er-do-well was later able, in the course of a relatively few years, to talk his way into the highest political offices, hoodwink the experienced leaders of the major powers, turn millions of highly civilized people into barbarians, order the extermination of a large segment of the population, build and control the mightiest war machine ever known, and plunge the world into history’s most devastating war (10, 11).”

In Langer’s characterizations of Hitler and his followers, we have glimpsed typical neoclassical images: Dionysus sneaked in through the ear: talking, hoodwinking, turning, ordering, controlling, plunging.  Stealthily ousting Apollonian fathers and only apparently civilized, the possessed Nazis were bloodthirstily reverting to type, surpassing all previous tyrannies in destruction and cruelty.  How did they do it?  Better than we aristocratically educated American consultants to the OSS, Hitler, himself immersed in Americanized mass culture,[16] Jewishly psyched out the hidden feminine and masochistic character of the German masses.  Through mass hypnosis achieved through his eroticized flashing phallic eyes (father’s) and falsetto voice (mother’s), then mutual engorgement at the speeches and rallies, Hitler and the audience re-enacted the transformation from feminized and depressed Jekyll to brutal and excited Hyde.  Hitler’s gimlet eye bore its way into the German psyche, subliminally persuading it to act out his drama of purification and vicarious masochistic identification with the Jewish victims of Nazism.  But the false self created in these erotic transactions could not be maintained: every defeat would require more and more brutal action to maintain the aura of invincibility.  The German people, in short, would behave as Ahab and his mesmerized crew in the ecstatic final chapters of Moby-Dick [my leap, not Langer’s].

Langer’s exasperation was understandable: Hitler, the uppity Austrian peasant and crypto-Jew, should not have tried to pass himself off as a world leader, rational and respectable like the rest.  If he had been as rational as Langer et al, he would have seen that his politics were determined by his inner life: specifically that he had been behaving like a Jewish victim turned Jewish upstart.  If Langer the psychologist had treated him, perhaps Hitler could have been persuaded that he was overindulged by his mother, that his family failed in not motivating him to conquer the asocial impulses that led him to sexual perversion.  He would have known that brutal, selfish and distracted fathers (defined against FDR the gentleman, 148-149) abandoning their sons to mysterious mothers (who are either too clean or too dirty, cf. Horace Walpole’s play “The Mysterious Mother”: who either pray or love too much) are at the root of his evil behavior.  And therefore, freed from responsibility for his perversion, Hitler could have blamed mother and father for transmitting their unsound premises, hence he would have been immune to the appeals of the Christian Socialists of Vienna (whose anti-Semitism was brand new to him).  And he would have understood that there are no real irreconcilable class and national conflicts in the world, only projections.  So, even in the modern world where ambitious and extraordinarily talented Jewish politicos are at large, there are happy endings when families are reformed in the interests of a strong “sense of [rooted] identity.”

The good father cure persists in popular culture: it resolves the double bind that Melville identified in his sarcastic description of  “virtuous expediency.”[17] In the 1956 movie, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, the tycoon Ralph Hopkins (played by Fredric March), founder of the gigantic United Broadcasting Corporation, discovers too late that his self-regarding obsessive ambition, his lust for power and money, has forced him to neglect his family; catastrophically, his wife has raised the children by herself, explaining perhaps why his only son was killed in World War II (because his womanish idealism required that he sign up as an enlisted man?), and father’s neglect has made his eighteen-year old daughter a ne’er-do-well and a nihilist: a spoiled brat, positively bored by her responsibilities as the steward of great wealth and preferring marriage to a parasite suggestively named Byron.

Hopkins is the tragic foil to his new employee Thomas J. Rath (played by Gregory Peck), a World War II veteran (a captain) who has had an idyllic but adulterous affair in Italy with a saintly young girl Maria.  Rath, still traumatized by his experiences in the war, comes to understand through the indignant prodding of his wife Betsy (played by Jennifer Jones) and the example of Hopkins’ sluttish daughter that he (Rath) must not compromise his integrity or his paternal duties for the sake of personal advancement.  In fact, Hopkins’ belated epiphany makes it possible for Rath to satisfy the demands of his long-suffering wife for both rectitude and career: Rath speaks his mind (criticizing the deficiencies of Hopkins’ proposed speech to physicians designed to promote community mental health with “preventive” measures!) and his boss loves it; Hopkins has lost his taste for sycophants (an outcome that would have made Melville snort in disbelief), but Rath will never sell out; he refuses to play the substitute son for Hopkins if that means sacrificing his stabilizing presence at the helm of the family–one with three children rapidly succumbing to the hypnotic qualities of violence in early television westerns.

The same day that Rath makes his stand for integrity, he is informed by his former sergeant that Maria and Rath’s love child are now destitute, indeed are being supported by the sergeant on his elevator operator’s salary. Stricken by the revelation, Rath figuratively lobs a grenade at his wife (as he did so in the Pacific, accidentally killing his “best friend”and leaving himself in crazy denial). But Betsy, though furious and briefly floored on their front lawn after learning of the affair in Italy, is strong enough to adjust; after a brief runaway in the family car, she agrees (off screen) that they must both support the love-child, filling the local Connecticut judge (a very principled, very stable man named Bernstein–always disturbed when he must choose between competing claims for justice– with awe and gratification: “As the poet said, ‘God’s in His heaven; all’s right with the world.’ ” Judge Bernstein will assume the responsibility for sending $100 per month to Maria and Child so that the father will not have to correspond directly with his Italian family.  As the reconciled married pair drive off having survived two crises, Rath’s last words to Betsy are “I worship you.”

Tension is maintained throughout in a sustained color scheme, the colors of night-time combat: tigerish orange and red explosions contrast brilliantly with the dark blue-green foliage and rust-colored earth of the Pacific island where Rath was traumatized. Hence we feel the persistence of the horrible wartime incident that begins the movie, whether in Rath’s drab suburban home, in Rath’s inherited nineteenth-century mansion, during R&R in Italy, in the offices of United Broadcasting Corporation, Hopkins’ apartment, or the elevator where Rath meets his former subordinate.

The décor of the judge’s office carries through the same colors but they are now cooler in tone; suffused with the blessing of authority, in this case, the smile of a Jewish judge, the terror-gothic has lightened up. [18]


[2] See George Allen Morgan, What Nietzsche Means (Cambridge: Harvard U.P.: 1941); Morgan, a philosophy professor at Duke (the same Morgan as the consultant to the Psychological Strategy Board of the NSC, 1951-53?) masterfully decoded Nietzsche, showing that the ethical antinomy for the nineteenth century was not good Christian versus bad Jew, but austerely ascetic (impassible?) Heraclitean Greek versus (feminized) Christian/Jew; (the latter were of course, originators of the slave rebellions that had toppled towering geniuses).

[3] Barbara Ehrenreich, a leading feminist and social democrat, deplored the lack of autonomy of the professional-managerial class under Reagan, comparing its relative freedom prior to 1980 (KPFK radio broadcast, 10/2/89).  This would be precisely the argument of the socially responsible liberals of the Committee For Economic Development and other corporatists discussed throughout my study.                [4] See American Historical Review, April, 1973, 394-401; Oct. 1973, 1155-1163, for the dispute between Hans Gatzke and Walter Langer regarding the participation of Murray in the OSS report.  Gatzke could have made a stronger case in his own defense.  But an even more obvious influence was the worksheet on Hitler’s personality devised by Murray and Gordon Allport for their Harvard seminar on Civilian Morale (1941), and designed for national distribution to private organizations concerned with consensus building before, during and after the looming conflict.  The Harvard University Archives register for the Murray Papers states that Murray started work on his psychological profile of Hitler in 1938, after a request from the Roosevelt administration.    Two subsequent books contain conflicting reports regarding the inception of the Langer report. According to one account, Dr. Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, a former intimate of Hitler, was interrogated for many weeks. “The results were of great value to a psychiatric profile of Hitler which Donovan had commissioned.” See Anthony Cave Brown, The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan (Random House Vintage Paperback, 1984): 211 (no sources given).  But according to another researcher (in an obscurely written  paragraph discussing German hopes for a separate peace), the Langer report was part of “a flood of rumors” concocted by the British and O.S.S. Morale Operations in 1944-45 “to spread the tale that the Nazis were trying to use atrocities to provoke the British and the Americans into retaining the policy of unconditional surrender so that the German people would continue to feel that there was no alternative but to fight on….It was the Chief of London M.O. Fred Oechsner who had the idea of preparing a psychological study of Hitler to guide his covert propaganda operations. The  resulting work by Walter Langer, which was known in the O.S.S. as the “spiced-up” version and cost the organization $2500 in Langer’s fees, was heralded after the war as an Allied intelligence project prepared to predict the course Hitler would follow as he approached his end. In fact, it was just another of M.O.’s wild schemes, using juicy tidbits from the Führer’s life to addle the brains of the population of Central Europe.” See Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors (N.Y.: Basic Books, 1983): 276-77.  Smith’s sources are the British Foreign Office and the James Donovan Papers at the Hoover Institution. One problem with this bizarre scenario is that the Langer report was supposedly filed in 1943. Smith makes no connection between the Murray and Langer reports, but in a footnote p. 447, n14, refers to the 1943 Murray study of Hitler as utilizing Hanfstaengl as an informant (though no such source is named in the actual report), and as black propaganda intended “to cause dissension in Nazi ranks” (205); all this as part of FDR’s private intelligence team headed by John Franklin Carter. (Note that Basic Books had also published what it said was the original 1943 Langer Report, the subject of my essay.) John D. Marks also mystified the connection of the Murray report to FDR and the Langer Report, perhaps taking Walter Langer’s word that he was initially resistant to the project because he had no direct access to Hitler; see Marks, The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control (N.Y.: Times Books, 1978): 15.

[5] Cf. Charles Olson’s name switch from Herman to Hermann Melville in his article for New Republic, 9/8/52 and 9/15/52.

[6] Dr. Henry A. Murray, “Analysis of The Personality of Adolph [sic] Hitler, With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing With Him Now and After Germany’s Surrender,” October 1943, p.211, ff.  Murray’s list of Hitler’s skills are almost identical to those enumerated in the Langer report.  It is curious that Gatzke did not mention this in his refutation of Langer’s claim that Murray’s report was not even read by his team before it was filed with the O.S.S. in 1943!  However, there are important differences in interpretation between the two works; e.g. Murray, while giving credence to the Jewish blood, does not discuss Hitler’s sex life as a central determinant, but attempts a class analysis and gives weight to the Romantic Hitler’s reading and his life experience, the brutal lower-middle class father who opposed his son’s ambitions to become an artist, etc.  The Murray-Allport worksheets for their Harvard seminar on “Civilian Morale” (1941) do contain allusions to a deranged sexuality along with inferences drawn from Hitler’s physiognomy, but “social milieu” is deemed more important (“Hitler The Man…” p.11).

[7] Hitler believed that the masses were feminine and irrational, but he does not present himself as a cynical swindler in Mein Kampf.  He invariably paints himself as the good reliable father, protecting the gulllible people against switching Jews, the Fifth Column.  In both MK and Table Talk, he explains that Nazi propaganda must simplify, not falsify.

[8] Murray remarked to me that there were “differences between first, second and third-generation Jews.”

[9] See Henry A. Murray and Christiana Morgan, “A Method For Investigating Fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test,” Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 34, 1935.  In the TAT, the subject is shown a drawing which he then interprets in written form.  The Progressive Murray of course believed he was rescuing the patient from such neuroses as the Icarus complex (social radicalism, itself irrationally motivated) when he concluded: “…the thematic apperception test is an effective means of disclosing a subject’s regnant preoccupations and some of the unconscious trends which underlie them.  The advantages of the test are that it is a simple procedure which may be completed in two hours or in an abbreviated form in half that time, and it may be performed in a casual and informal fashion.  Since the subject is led to believe that it is a test of creative imagination, even when it is given in a clinic, he is unaware of the fact that he is revealing his innermost thoughts.  The subject’s attention is not on himself, and so in many instances he indirectly confesses to things which he would not be willing to mention directly.  But more than this, he exposes latent tendencies of which he is entirely unconscious.  For the fantasties being projected may be inwardly disclaimed and thus avoid complete repression…At the present time a young person who shows a few mildly neurotic symptoms or, like all inwardly developing young persons, is temporarily overburdened by mental conflict generally has, if he wants expert assistance, but two choices.  He may be analyzed, or he may consult a psychiatrist with no experience in analysis…There are numberless young men and women who need the kind of help which perhaps only a trained therapeutist trained in psychoanalysis is in a position to give and yet who do not need, or want or cannot afford an analysis lasting a year or more.  They need to confess and discuss their problems, to attain insight, but in most cases it is better not to impede their progressive efforts by having to revive and relive their past.  It is in such cases that the thematic apperception test may provide the psychotherapeutist with the information necessary for the fulfillment of his function as a guide and healer of men.”

[10] In his review of the Langer report, Robert Jay Lifton was worried about such extrapolations, but Charles Rotunda in the New Republic agreed with Langer.

[11] The charge that Hitler had Jewish blood was given credence by the antifascist muckraker George Seldes in Facts and Fascism (N.Y.: In Fact, 1943), in a classic example of petit-bourgeois radicalism (populism: the enemy is filthy lucre, not all forms of illegitimate authority): “Factual evidence shows that bankers, international or what-not, are without exception on the side of money; they always invest to make profits, and they are without exception on the reactionary or fascist side, no matter what church, nation, “race” or “blood” they belong to.  When Wheeler, Coughlin, Hitler, Goebbels and others make statements to the contrary such statements are propaganda, if not plain falsehood.  Curiously enough, no less an authority than Fritz Thyssen, the man who bought and paid for the Nazi Party, believes the rumor that Hitler is partly Jewish.  Every official trace of evidence concerning Hitler’s ancestry has now disappeared.  It has been destroyed by order, just as were Mussolini’s police record in Italy and his record for forgery in Switzerland (as well as his political arrests).  However, Thyssen writes: “According to the published records, Hitler’s grandmother had an illegitimate son, and this son was to become the father of Germany’s present leader.”  An inquiry by Chancellor Dollfuss of Austria “disclosed that the Feuhrer’s [sic] grandmother became pregnant during her employment as a servant in a Viennese family…none other than that of Baron Rothschild.”  Thyssen insists that Hitler learned of this document and that it was one of the reason [sic] for the murder of Dollfuss.  Thyssen believes the British secret service has a copy.  The original, he says, Hitler got from Chancellor Schuschning and destroyed.  If Thyssen’s rumors turn out to be fact, it would appear that the world’s greatest anti-Semite, the greatest liar and the greatest propagandist of the “international bankers” myth, is himself a Rothschild” (156).

The irony of the last sentence is dependent on seeing that Hitler’s Jewish blood would make him, in fact, “a Rothschild” of the domineering banker-type he, Hitler, appears to hate. Seldes’ statement at first glance seems to be criticizing Hitler’s racism in attributing Jewishmess to all bankers instead of dealing with their class interests. By the time Seldes wrote his book, the myth of the Jewish banking conspiracy had been thoroughly exploded in the liberal press.  But what did Seldes think he was doing by summoning Thyssen as a witness lending plausibility to a rumor that he, as a Nazi supporter, had every interest in suppressing, unless he, Seldes, at some level wished to muddy the waters regarding the links between international Jews and finance capital?  And why does Seldes tell the reader that all bankers are evil profiteers, regardless of genetic inheritance, but then, in the third and fourth sentences, create a suggestive link between “Hitler’s [possible part-Jewish] ancestry” and Mussolini’s shameful crimes? Why mention Mussolini’s cover-up at all?  Don’t all illegitimate rulers clean up their records? Has Seldes reverted, unconsciously perhaps, to the stereotyping he so furiously criticizes by connecting in a rapid-fire barrage of unsupported assertions, money, class, dirt (the shameful suppressed rumor), and hypocrisy? When the muckrakers raked, was their muck latently Jewish in content?

[12] Cf. Murray on peasant stock vs. Hitler’s Jewish blood in the Harvard worksheet “Hitler, The Man–Notes For A Case History.”  There is a mystery as to the grandfather: “The ancestors on both sides of the family were peasant people of the district of Waldviertel, highly illiterate and very inbred.”  Father’s eyes were “small sharp, wicked”; he was a “harsh, stern, ambitious and punctilious man” (2).  What are his relations to his mother?  Hitler had “large melancholy thoughtful eyes” (2) and an “essentially feminine appearance.”  The eyes of “neutral grey tend to take on the colors of their surroundings” (4).  Mother took his side in the dispute over Hitler’s becoming an artist over father’s objections (3).  The brutal father caused him to be submissive, but he was boiling over.  He was enslaved to mother, an attachment he never outgrew, so he perhaps harbored a deep unconscious rage against her.  Failure added to other factors would unleash aggression (11).  Discussing the sources of Hitler’s antisemitism (consisting solely of a “morbid connection” between “Jews and disease, blood disease, syphilis, and filthy excrescences of all sorts”) Murray mentions that Hitler was a common Jewish name and he was teased about his Jewish appearance in Vienna (11).  Murray speculates: “Now it is known that syphilophobia often has its roots in the childhood discovery of the nature of sexual congress between the parents.  With a father who was illegitimate and possibly of Jewish origin [fn The name Hitler is Jewish as was pointed out] and a strong mother fixation, such a discovery by the child Adolf may well have laid the basis of a syphilophobia which some adventure with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna fanned to a full flame.  Terrified by the fear of his own infection, all the hatred in his being is then directed toward the Jews…Hitler’s personality structure, though falling within the normal range, may now be described as the paranoid type with delusions of persecution and of grandeur.  This stems from a sado-masochistic split in his personality.  Integral with these alternating and opposed elements in his personality are his fear of infection, the identification of the Jews as the source…and some derangement of the sexual function which make his relations with the opposite sex abnormal in nature.”  He has projected his inner conflicts onto the world.

Murray describes ambivalence: Hitler hates the Germans, so he uses “Jewish” tricks–”deceit, lying, violence and sudden attack both to subject the German people as well as their foes.”  International Jewish capital, etc. strangles and infects the mother.  Father partly possesses her so Hitler destroys the Austrian State.  But Hitler’s aggression arouses protest from the other side, causing anxiety, panic, insomnia, and nightmares.  Now he controls himself, because Fate controls his violence.  Success assuages fear.  When the limit of success is reached, “the personality may collapse under the weight of its own guilt feelings.  It is, therefore, quite possible that Hitler will do away with himself at whatever moment German defeat becomes sufficient enough to destroy the fiction of Fate which has shielded him from the violence of his own guilt….” (11-14).  The Murray Papers at Harvard University Archives contain materials relevant to his conflicted relations with Walter Langer, but they are closed to me as of this writing.

[13] Gatzke objected to this procedure, but did not compare it to Hitler’s.  Also, if there was so much discussion, then agreement, why did the OSS report resemble Murray’s earlier report for FDR, as Gatzke noted?  (Langer said Murray opted out of the team almost immediately.)

[14] See Rosemary Radford Ruether, Faith and Fratricide (N.Y.: Seabury Press, 1973).  Ruether dates the onset of modern antisemitism with the writings of  Patristic church fathers.

[15] In an essay reviewing sixteen recent studies of the Holocaust (NYRB, 9/28/89), Istvan Deak, Professor of History at Columbia University, declared Marxist identifications of fascism with late capitalism passé; Deak, like other conservatives, apparently views the People, not the system, as the source of violence.  For Deak, the mass murder committed by the Nazis is unique, and probably incomprehensible (here quoting Arno Mayer).  Perhaps Nazi crimes would not be so inexplicable were they not encapsulated with the excuse of historicism.  For to insert Nazi violence into the continuum of permissible violence would reflect badly on the aristocratic paternalism which Deak and other elitists would like to protect; but worse, such comparisons (with child abuse, degradation of the environment, the cruelty of class education, the toleration of poverty and other unnecessary human suffering in an age of technology) would expose the fragility and novelty of the humanitarianism and science introduced during the Renaissance and Enlightenment–and their cooption and deformation by conservatives (another outdated ‘Marxist’ idea).

[16] Murray mentions Hitler’s reading of James Fenimore Cooper and Karl May  (a popular German writer on American Indians), worksheet on Hitler, p.3.

[17] See Plinlimmon’s pamphlet in Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852). Ultraconservatives have consistently identified Melville and his character Ishmael with Plinlimmon’s amorality in the service of social cohesion.

[18] This themes I have identified are suppressed in an H-Net Review (11-13-98) by Philip J. Landon of the History Channel’s series on the 1950s: “The small-town scandals of Peyton Place are balanced by interviews with Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique, 1963) and Sloan Wilson (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 1955), writers who chronicled the suburban domestic life of young businessmen climbing the corporate ladder and their wives, whose horizons have narrowed to children and kitchen appliances. Their discontents are illustrated primarily with scenes from the Hollywood adaptation of Wilson’s novel, which focuses on the middle-class and upwardly mobile Rath family. While the Raths may exemplify the disappointments awaiting those who achieve the American Dream, they are more 1950s myth than 1950s reality. Very few families ever enjoyed the Rath’s material well-being. The discontents which haunted most families originated in their failure to share the Dream which advertising and the mass-media held up as the reward awaiting all deserving Americans. To many of us who grew up in the lower-middle and working-class families and came of age during the 1950s, the tribulations of the Rath family seemed both delicious and desirable.”

August 29, 2009

Managing the little man, Hitler style, at Harvard

Klara Hitler

Here is an excerpt  from my article Clare Spark, “Klara Hitler’s Son: The Langer Report on Hitler’s Mind,” Social Thought and Research, Vol.22, No. 1/2 (1999): 113-37.  The full article is now on the website. I worked long and hard on this research because I honestly could not believe my eyes as I read Murray’s work for FDR on Hitler or Langer’s supposed secret report to the OSS. This blog is the teaser. Go to my blog of Aug. 31, 2009 for the full treatment (pun intended). https://clarespark.com/2009/12/13/klara-hitlers-son-and-jewish-blood/. Or for the background to this appropriation of Nazi techniques, see https://clarespark.com/2010/04/18/links-to-nazi-sykewar-american-style/. Four segments pick out highlights of Ladislas Farago’s important book, sponsored by leading progressives, that explains why they must wage “total war” to mobilize American public opinion and squash dissent.

[From the worksheets on “civilian morale”: Henry A. Murray and Gordon Allport, 1941: see https://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/] “What are the strengths and weaknesses of Nazi ideology as an instrument for world conquest?”

[Murray to FDR, 1943:] Hitler has a number of unusual abilities of which his opponents should not be ignorant.  Not only is it important to justly appraise the strength of an enemy but it is well to know whether or not he possesses capacities and techniques which can be appropriated to good advantage.  Hitler’s chief abilities, realizations, and principles of action as a political figure, all of which involve an uncanny knowledge of the average man, are briefly these:…. [1]

[Walter Langer:]…It can scarcely be denied that [Hitler] has some extraordinary abilities where the psychology of the average man is concerned.  He has been able, in some manner or other, to unearth and apply successfully many factors pertaining to group psychology, the importance of which has not been generally recognized and some of which we might adopt to good advantage.  [63].

Twenty-seven “factors” follow; those which “we might adopt” are not specified. These passages become even more gripping in light of the Langer report’s conclusions:

“It is Hitler’s ability to play upon the unconscious tendencies of the German people and to act as their spokesman that has enabled him to mobilize their energies and direct them into the same channels through which he believed he had found a solution to his own personal conflicts.  The result has been an extraordinary similarity in thinking, feeling, and acting in the German people.  It is as though Hitler had paralyzed the critical functions of the individual Germans and had assumed the role for himself.  As such he has been incorporated as a part of the personalities of his individual supporters and is able to dominate their mental processes.  This phenomenon lies at the very root of the peculiar bond that exists between Hitler as a person, and the German people and places it beyond the control of any purely rational, logical, or intellectual appeal.  In fighting for Hitler these persons are now unconsciously fighting for what appears to them to be their own psychological integrity (206).”

The Murray-Allport worksheets (1941) had directed a national constituency concerned with “civilian morale” to

” Quote passages from the original unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler expresses his cynical contempt of the masses, and the necessity of deceiving them.  Quote him in order to prove that he planned the war and devised the tactics.  Ridicule Mein Kampf as a Bible, contrasting paragraphs from the two sources.” [cf. my blog on Harvard social psychologists and “civilian morale” for other examples.]

Jewish blood was the source of brilliant insights, emotional disturbance, and the Big Lie.[2]  Internalized antisemitic stereotypes of switching Jews subverted Langer’s attempt at “a realistic appraisal of the German situation.”  The witch-hunters, to a man, will extrude the unpredictably dirty materialism of Melville’s character Isabel[3] for the limpid regularity of crystals.  A fragment from the 1930s provides the bridge to the Langer report; it marks Sergei Eisenstein’s flight from romanticism and montage to the cult of personality, from the sensibility associated with popular revolution to neo-classicism, from endless agitation to the final solution….

For a related blog series see https://clarespark.com/2011/06/19/index-to-links-on-hitler-and-the-big-lie/.


[1] Dr. Henry A. Murray, “Analysis of The Personality of Adolph [sic] Hitler, With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing With Him Now and After Germany’s Surrender,” October 1943, p.211, ff.  Murray’s list of Hitler’s skills are almost identical to those enumerated in the Langer report.  It is curious that Gatzke did not mention this in his refutation of Langer’s claim that Murray’s report was not even read by his team before it was filed with the O.S.S. in 1943!  However, there are important differences in interpretation between the two works; e.g.Murray, while giving credence to the Jewish blood, does not discuss Hitler’s sex life as a central determinant, but attempts a class analysis and gives weight to the Romantic Hitler’s reading and his life experience, the brutal lower-middle class father who opposed his son’s ambitions to become an artist, etc.  The Murray-Allport worksheets for their Harvard seminar on “Civilian Morale” (1941) do contain allusions to a deranged sexuality along with inferences drawn from Hitler’s physiognomy, but “social milieu” is deemed more important (“Hitler The Man…” p.11).

[2] Hitler believed that the masses were feminine and irrational, but he does not present himself as a cynical swindler in Mein Kampf.  He invariably paints himself as the good reliable father, protecting the gulllible people against switching Jews, the Fifth Column.  In both MK and Table Talk, he explains that Nazi propaganda must simplify, not falsify.

[3] Melville’s Dark Lady in Pierre, or the Ambiguities; Isabel is the bearer of a revised family history.

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