When Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in the same place - BBC News
Hitler and Stalin were ideological enemies but similar leaders. In he took a liking to the communist theories of Lenin and joined the fledgeling Bolshevik. Hitler is almost universally vilified; Lenin remains entombed on Red Lenin's legacy, as is sometimes assumed, Stalin was Lenin's logical heir. German–Soviet Union relations date to the aftermath of the First World War. The Treaty of The countries' economic relationship dwindled in , when Adolf Hitler Joseph Stalin towards Nazi Germany between the Nazi seizure of power and Russian and the West, under Lenin and Stalin, New York Mentor Books, .
Perhaps his personality was not "markedly deviant" than that of his culture of origin. In other words, was Hitler independently pathological or simply the vanguard of a pathogenic society? Or is it possible or meaningful to move beyond the cultural relativism of DSM-IV, which prohibits diagnosing a personality disorder unless the behaviors and traits are markedly deviant from one's own culture, and characterize an entire society or culture as pathological?
Evidence of the pathoplasticity of the culture of the Third Reich can be found by a survey conducted by Muller of case histories of schizophrenic inpatients between and ; 66 out of of the patients' delusions had political themes, most relating to the Adolf Hitler personally.
That most affiliated themselves more with the National Socialists than with the victims of their policies was reflected in the fact that only a minority had delusions of persecution; most had delusions of being on a political or quasi-religious mission, futher underscoring the cultural complicity in Hitler's actions Muller, Eckhardt analyzed the values of fascism as expressed in the speeches and writings of Goebbels, Hitler, and Mussolini, and concluded that the ideology denied its own shortcomings, projected these onto an "enemy," then determined to use any means to actualize its own values.
Using this pattern of traits, he defined fascism as a sociopathic personality raised to the level of a sociopathic society, with intermingled paranoid, aggressive, and schizoid personality traits.
Such a society would ultimately be antisocial, antiself, and antilife Eckhardt, Berke argues that Hitler played into and fueled the destructive impulses of a nation into a rampant nationalism, establishing a feedback loop in which the dynamics of both leader and led manipulate and reinforce each other.
Yet even this model downplays the contribution of the group, the society, the culture from its contribution to the eventual horrors of the concentration camp.
Lothane makes this point when he argues that if Hitler is to be labeled as paranoid or grandiose, then the society and culture that kept him in power also must be diagnosed with those pathological traits. Nevertheless, those with an interest in psychohistory despite its limitations have attempted to diagnose Hitler as he was inusing the Personality Assessment Schedule PAS.
A psychiatrist and a historian both used historical information to categorize his personality. Although there was some discrepancy in rating the historian rated Hitler as less pathological than did the psychiatristboth diagnosed him with dissocial personality disorder using the ICD criteria. The psychiatrist also diagnosed Hitler with paranoid and histrionic personality disorders Henry, et al, Muslinusing a self psychology approach, diagnosed Hitler with an enfeebled self that lacked any capacity for self-worth or self-regard; furthermore, he felt that the German people after World War I suffered this same collective defect in self, and that Hitler was seen as a solution to this core deficit.
Robins argues that not only was Hitler paranoid, but that his paranoia helped him influence the German masses who felt confronted with an insoluble problem the economic collapse and political chaos following Germany's defeat in World War II. Mayer posited that an entirely new diagnostic category should be created for messianic, destructive leaders such as Hitler and Stalin, dangerous leader disorder DLDwhich would consist of 1 indifference toward people's suffering and devaluation of others, 2 intolerance of criticism, and 3 a grandiose sense of national entitlement.
However, this seems little more than a restatement of narcissistic personality disorder at the level of a national leader. Lambert contends that Hitler's fanaticism was born in the trenches of World War I and his constantly combative stance was a defense against the meaningless of his own existence; as he rose to mythical proportions, Germans were enthralled by him as a person rather than any abstract National Socialist propaganda.
Some authors have advanced a biological theory of Hitler's personality traits. Martindale posited that Hitler might have suffered from a relative left hemispheric deficiency evidenced by lack of a right testicle, leftward eye movements, and trembling in his left extremities.
The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, – review | Books | The Guardian
This left hemispheric dominance might have driven two of his predominant lifetime theories: Hershman and Lieb argued Hitler might have been suffering from a variant of manic depression. However, given the current evidence supporting a biological basis of personality, this does not rule out personality disorder.
Perhaps in our search of labels and explanations, however, we are merely attempting to understand a set of historical events that seem incompatible with the values and norms of Western society today. That evil exists we all accept in our everyday lives; in the realm of mental health, however, we frequently gloss it over by redefining it in terms of "sociopathy" or "antisocial behavior.
The same society that tried Hitler's henchmen at Nuremberg was perfectly comfortable incinerating hundreds of thousands of civilians in Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima.
To defeat Hitler, that society had to aided and abetted an even greater murderer, Josef Stalin, whose crimes had begun a decade earlier and were well-known in the West, whereas Hitler's Final Solution was largely unknown or unrecognized until the final months of World War II when the concentration camps were liberated.
So was Hitler suffering from a true personality disorder or was he simply the epitome of the evil of which his society of origin, including those who fought him, is capable?
Or is the entire concept of personality disorder simply a medicalization of many behaviors and attitudes that most cultures traditionally label as evil? Stalin Much of the discussion of the dynamics of Hitler's personality and the cult of personality that raised him to mythological proportions can be applied to Stalin.
1913: When Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in the same place
Who served as a role model for whom is a question historians will have to wrestle with, but the similarities between the two men are in many ways uncanny. Stalin began his mass murders with brutal, industrial efficiency years before Hitler did, and the similar methods used by each dictator arrest by secret police, forced confessions or mocked trials, detention at a labor or concentration camp, then death by summary execution or starvation, as well as the extensive use of railroads to depopulate entire regions or ethnic groups as well as their magnitude both are credited with killing several million human beings could not have been mere coincidence.
The fact that both men were allies after the signing of the Nonagression Pact and that the Red Army and Wehrmacht conducted joint military training exercises together further raises the possibility that a cross-cultural flow of information inspired each man to emulate and imitate the other, even while secretly or openly vilifying his counterpart.
Hitler described Stalin as a "beast" but a "beast on a grand scale" who could make Russia "the greatest power in the world.
Like Hitler, Stalin was not a native of the country he was to lead and dominate; born in Georgia, Stalin was a consummate bureaucrat who worked his way into Lenin's inner circle, then artfully maneuvered for complete control of the Party after the death of its founder.
Was Stalin a paranoiac and sadist whose lust for vengeance stemmed from some early childhood insult or loss a contemporary, Bukharin, noted that a childhood accident had created a physical deformity in his right hand, which he always kept hidden from public view; could this "suffering" have caused him to be such a "diabolical and inhuman Standing at only 5'4", he stated often that he wished he were taller, and had all official propaganda portraits angled from below to give the illusion of height.
Several portrait painters who did not follow this convention were shot. Like both Lenin and Hitler, he felt history or destiny gave him a right to rule that was beyond conventional morality.
He developed and refined the technique of decimating military units who retreated; the term literally means to shoot every tenth man and was used with great enthusiasm by Lenin and Stalin. Interestingly, Lenin denounced Stalin shortly before the final debilitating stroke that claimed his life; warning in a letter of Stalin's "rudeness" which made Stalin "dangerous" as a future ruler, Lenin was given credit for at least admitting his earlier failure in character assessment.
ByStalin launched the forced collectivization of the Russian peasants who had resisted the revolution launched at least partially in their name. On December 27,Stalin attacked the kulaks, independent peasants whom he labeled as counterrevolutionary and therefore no longer fit to live.
As Hitler was to do 12 years later with the Jews in the Final Solution, Stalin launched a massive genocide against a group he arbitrarily chose as a great enemy. Thus began one of the first of a series of great holocausts that was to strike Russia and Europe over the next quarter century.
The kulaks, a term that broadened as the terror spread through the countryside to include virtually any peasant, were rounded up by military units and specially formed police units, using techniques that were later to be imitated by Hitler's Einsatzgruppen.
They were either machine gunned and buried in mass graves or deported to concentration and labor camps to be killed or worked to death. Marxist scholar Leszek Kolakowski dubbed the operation "probably the most massive warlike operation ever conducted by a state against its own citizens. Those who did remain lost all property rights and were refused the internal passports necessary to permit travel within the country, in effect plunging them back to a stage of serfdom not seen under the most autocratic Czar; the simultaneous requirement of and stripping of essential documents for free travel and escape was another technique Hitler was to use with chilling exactness with the European Jews.
Johnson, ; Medvedev, The end result was the death of five million and the internment of approximately ten million in concentration and labor camps. In the winter ofStalin effectively turned the entire Ukraine into a massive concentration camp, sealing off its borders to the International Red Cross, seizing its wheat by force the crop that year was actually plentifuland giving local Party officials orders to shoot on sight anyone foraging for scraps of food; conservative estimates are that million died, but lumped together with those who died beginning inthe total number murdered easily exceed 10 million, a figure in excess of those killed by Hitler during the entire Holocaust.
The carnage accelerated over the next decade. Torture - mutilation of men and women, gouging out of eyes, perforating of ear drums, and encasement in "nail boxes" - was common practice in the NKVD People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs and often conducted in front of other family members for added humiliation and shock effect.
Germany–Soviet Union relations, 1918–1941
That Stalin was personally involved in this butchery which often went beyond mere political expediency, real or imagined, and became an orgy of sadism, has been well-documented, through hundreds of thousands of death warrants with his signature on them, to his personal, well-publicized appearance at the capital show trials of some of his former comrades.
He seemed to take a personal delight in inflicting pain. Stalin was after something more than elimination of his enemies; his means and ends often seemed no less savage or primitive than those of Charles Manson 30 years later.
According to the historian Medvedev, young NKVD trainees were led to the torture chambers "like medical students to laboratories to watch dissections" Johnson, ; Medvedev, Although Himmler in began to copy the Soviet method of concentration and labor camps, he was unable to keep up, and even at the height of the Holocaust fromStalin continued to outdo the Nazis in the scale and scope of his extermination program.
One of the most curious aspects of Stalin's personality, however, stems from his period of alliance with Hitler after the signing of the so-called Nonagression Pact. How could a man so paranoid that he had murdered many of his closest allies and former friends ally himself with a dictator whose very rise to power was on a platform of anti-Semitism and anticommunism? Besides the obvious lack of judgment which in combination with Stalin's purging of his Red Army top commanders at least quadrupled the number of Soviet war dead following Operation Barbarossathis action seemed inconsistent with his paranoid personality features until one also considers his deep sociopathy.
One of the features of Antisocial Personality Disorder is a brutally utilitarian logical system; Stalin's alliance with Hitler allowed him to seize the Baltics and the eastern half of Poland in September,giving him a geographical buffer against any possible attack from the West as well as direct control over millions of Eastern Europeans. Yet his paranoia was so deep following the invasion that for several days he literally did not believe the German attack was taking place Birt, ; Johnson, ; Medvedev, Rancour-Laferriere posits that perhaps Stalin was identifying with the aggressor, in this case, Hitler, whom he recognized as a threat since the early s, although as has been demonstrated, Hitler probably copied far more from Stalin than vice versa.
At any rate, after suffering horrific casualties including the encirclement and destruction of entire Army Groups, and despite the fact that he had murdered virtually all of his senior military officers, Stalin was able to beat back Hitler's advance. So whatever personality traits Stalin possessed that blinded him to Hitler's true intentions also allowed him to retain power for almost a decade after Hitler's and Roosevelt's death.
In fact, as Robins has argued, perhaps it was this combination of paranoia and charisma with a millennial vision that allowed Stalin not only to rise to power but to cling to it.
Through sheer will and brute force, this one man was able to dominate fifteen Soviet Republics and half of Eastern Europe. For Stalin, it allowed a breathing space in which to build up armed forces that had been severely damaged by the purges of the previous years, as his botched invasion of Finland showed. It also gave him the chance to expand the Soviet Union to include parts of the old Russian empire of pre-revolutionary times.
Moorhouse is right, therefore, to insist that for Stalin the pact was not merely defensive, though he goes too far when he claims it was a golden opportunity for the Soviet leader "to set the world-historical forces" of revolution in motion. Moorhouse tells a good story and, though it has been told before, notably in Anthony Read and David Fisher's The Deadly Embracehe is able to add interesting new details.
Yet for all its virtues this is a deeply problematic book. Page after page is devoted to a detailed description of the horrors inflicted by Stalin and his minions on the territories the pact allowed him to occupy, with mass arrests and deportatations, shootings, torture and expropriation. The shooting of thousands of Polish army officers by the Soviet secret police in Katyn Forest and elsewhere has been well known for decades, like the brutal deportation of over a million Poles to Siberia and Central Asia, but much of the material provided by Moorhouse on the Baltic states is relatively new and makes sobering reading.
None of this, however, is balanced by any comparable treatment of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in Poland following their occupation of the western part of the country: If the pact allowed Stalin to visit his murderous policies on the Baltic states, it also permitted Hitler to do the same with the much larger and more heavily populated countries he invaded in western Europe at the same time, and even more so in the areas of southern Europe he conquered early in Moorhouse devotes considerable attention to the Soviet attempt to cover up the Katyn massacre, but fails to mention the deliberate killing of Red Army troops taken prisoner by the Germans.
The book ends by praising the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, instituted by the EU in at the behest of the Baltic states, and held every year on 23 August, the anniversary of the signing of the pact.
It is written very much in the spirit of the founding declaration of this "Black Ribbon Day", whose 19 points focus almost exclusively on Soviet atrocities while sparing barely a thought for Nazi ones. This reflects the post-communist mood in the Baltic states, where SS veterans are hailed as "freedom fighters" against the Russians and are allowed to parade unhindered through the streets of Tallinn. Yet, in the end, brutal and murderous though Stalinism was, Nazism visited even greater horrors on humanity with its policies of the genocidal elimination of the "inferior" and the "Jewish world enemy".