During WWII theOffice of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, hired an American psychologist to analyse and predict the behaviour of the world’s most brutal tyrant.
Psychologist Henry Murray produced a 229-page report, “The Personality of Adolf Hitler,” in which he found Hitler to be a schizophrenic who acted like a paranoid “utter wreck” and who was “incapable of normal human relationships.”
Murray predicted that Hitler’s mental instability would lead to the Nazi leader’s downfall. “It can be confidently predicted that Hitler’s neurotic spells will increase in frequency and duration and his effectiveness as a leader will diminish,” Murray wrote.
Murray predicted nine possible scenarios of what could happen next as of 1943:
1. A revolutionary German group may capture Hitler and imprison him in a fortress
Murray noted that this scenario was highly unlikely considering Hitler’s “widespread reverence,” but if Hitler were captured, Murray was sure those forces would deliver him to the US. Once Hitler was out of power, “the General Staff will no doubt become the rulers of Germany,” Murray wrote.
2. Hitler might be assassinated by a German
In his report, Murray described Hitler as a paranoid “utter wreck” who frequently worried about being shot or poisoned. He therefore took extreme precautions and was “protected as never before,” according to Murray. Again, another unlikely situation, Murray wrote, because “Germans are not inclined to shoot their leaders.”
3. He may arrange to be executed by a close friend or a Jew
If necessary, Murray wrote, Hitler may orchestrate an elaborate and dramatic death to appear as a hero taken too soon from his nation. Similar to the deaths of Caesar and Christ, deathby the hand of a loyal follower really appealed to Hitler, Murray noted. “It might increase the fanaticism of the soldiers for a while and create a legend in conformity with the ancient pattern.”
To expand on this theory, Murray suggested Hitler may even ask for a Jewish person to shoot and kill him to validate his beliefs that Jews were evil. In this scenario, Hitler would hope “his fellow countrymen would rise in their wrath and massacre every remaining Jew in Germany.”
4. Hitler may die while leading troops into battle
Another way for Hitler to glorify himself as a courageous and decisive leader would be to die on the battlefield. This course of action was most likely, considering Hitler realised his death alongside troops would exemplify his battle cry to “fight with fanatical death-defying energy to the bitter end.”
5. He may go insane
Murray said Hitler was a schizophrenic who suffered from frequent emotional collapses and lacked mental clarity in high-stress situations.
Often described as moody and listless, Hitler was an insomniac and was traumatized by violent nightmares when he was able to sleep.
“The man has been on the verge of paranoid schizophrenia for years and with the mounting load of frustration and failure he may yield his will to the turbulent forces of our unconscious,” Murray wrote.
6. He may commit suicide
Based on Hitler’s stubborn pride, he would kill himself before being imprisoned.
“If he chooses this course, he will do it at the last moment and in the most dramatic possible manner,” Murray wrote. Hitler’s predicted suicide attempts included the following:
- Blow up his home and himself in Berchtesgaden with dynamite
- Make a giant funeral pyre and throw himself into the flames
- Shoot himself with a silver bullet, mirroring the suicide of Haitian Emperor Christophe
- Jump to his death from a bridge or balcony
This came to be: On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker with his long-term mistress Eva Braun, less than an hour after their wedding.
7. He could also die of natural causes
Inevitable of all human beings.
8. He might seek refuge in a neutral country
According to Murray, the only case for this happening would be if Hitler were drugged by one of his trusted advisers and put on a plane to Switzerland, where he would then be persuaded to stay once he woke up. This option would not please Hitler because he could be labelled as a deserter or coward.
9. He may fall into the hands of the United Nations
Murray didn’t elaborate on this prediction and described it only as a “least likely, but most desirable outcome.”
Here is Murray’s full study:
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