Freud argued that a person’s personality is largely determined by the various events that occurred during their childhood and early life. Likewise, all personality theorists agree that human beings, similar to animals, are born with innate desires, instincts, and motivations (Friedman & Schustack 2009). For example, newborn’s responses have been recorded in regards to painful and pleasurable stimuli. It is believed that at birth, babies have little opportunity to become acclimated but yet they display the remarkable ability to understand their basic wants and needs. It can be argued that these native responses are based upon their inner motivating force; therefore it is believed that this primal response to stimuli is inherently known and can be classified as the undifferentiated core of personality. These inborn responses confirmed Freud’s historical theories concerning his understanding of a phenomenon that he entitled the id. According to Freud, every individual possesses within themselves three primary components that comprise their personalities; the id, ego and superego (Friedman & Schustack 2009). These components are supposedly the catalyst for the behavior of humans; these different aspects comprised the personality, mannerisms, and practices of individuals. It was Freud’s belief that human beings actions and motivations originated within themselves as a direct result of the presence of these conditions. Within this paper, we will discuss certain attributes of Adolph Hitler to observe the accuracy of Freud’s belief.
Hitler (1939) similar to Freud, within his book stated that he firmly believed that the creativity, philosophy and understandings that he learned within his childhood directly influenced his life as an adult. Moreover he believed that it was the time he spent in his youth that provided the building material and plans for his future (Hitler 1939). This is interesting because it mimics Freud’s well known viewpoints. However, Freud goes deeper to state that he saw the psychological world as a series of opposing tension, such as tension between selfishness and society. Underlying these tensions, he believed to be sexual energy that was the psychic energy which is the primary drive or motivation. One of the stages that corresponded to this energy mentioned was the anal stage. I believed Hitler was stuck in this stage because of his response to his father’s authority. As a child he witnessed his father abusive nature and this caused him to rebel against anyone who chose to act as an authority figure (Hitler 1939). Eventually he turned his rebellion upon his father by dropping out of school because his father opposed his dreams of becoming an artist. Hitler wanted unbridled freedom. This meant that he wanted the ability to express (defecate) himself but his father repressed (toilet trained) his dreams according to his own desires. His father’s over aggressiveness placed Hitler in the anal stage and was the direct result of Hitler’s obstinacy in adulthood.
Freud‘s opinions on sexuality would undoubtedly shock Hitler but nevertheless Freud’s theory accurately defined multiple aspects of Hitler’s persona. Hitler is cited as being staunchly opposed against homosexuality (Wistrich, 1995). This is confirmed by the number of homosexuals that were murdered during the Holocaust in relation to their heterosexual counterpart. However, Hitler himself is rumored to have engaged in homosexual relations; although no reports had been substantiated, it is well known that one of Hitler’s longest confidants and closest friends was homosexual and Hitler never objected to it. This is interesting to note because Hitler’s plight of purifying the Aryan race was also seemingly hypocritical. The image he portrayed to the world was very unlike the image he saw in the mirror (Wistrich 1995). This finding is similar to the Reaction Formation principle given by Freud. Hitler’s actions were reminiscent of religious evangelist and governmental officials who publicly spoke against certain attributes yet possessed them.
Hitler was a small dark figured men but during his life he was an advocate for the blond hair, blond eye individual. During his adulthood, he spent his time terrorizing the very people he resembled while placing those unlike him on a pedestal. It is for this reason, that I believe that Hitler displaced his own insecurities of himself upon the Jewish people. It was his hate for himself that caused him to ruthlessly pursue them and through their death he was able to clean parts of himself.
Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality: Classic theories and modern research. Upper Saddle River, NJ, MA: Pearson.
Hitler, A. (1939). Mein Kampf. NY: Reynal & Hitchcock.
Wistrich, R. S. (1995). Who’s Who in Nazi Germany. Ny, NY.