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Old July 9th, 2009 #30
Alex Linder
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Alex Linder
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Australian professor Stephen H. Roberts visited Germany from 1935-1937 and he interviewed Hitler and then wrote of his impressions of the German leader in his 1937 book The House That Hitler Built.

II. The Man Hitler

It is almost impossible to give any idea of Hitler's personality, because every interpretation of necessity reflects the viewpoint of the interpreter. There can be no finality. All that one can do is to set down the attributes that one has noticed in listening and speaking to Hitler oneself.

Hitler undoubtedly has a very complex personality. People like Stalin and Mussolini are much simpler--easier to analyse and understand; but there is something elusive about Hitler, and one feels that the simplest solutions fall short of the whole truth. The two most popular views picture him either as a mere ranting stump-orator, or as a victim of demoniacal possession, driven hither and thither by some occult force that makes him a power of evil. But these are as unsatisfactory as the view of his believers that he is a demigod, revealing the path Germany is to follow by some divine power of intuitively knowing what to do.

I think that he is primarily a dreamer, a visionary. His mind, nurtured by the other-worldness of the Alpine scenery round his mountain retreat of Berchtesgaden, runs to visions; and I have heard his intimates say that, even in cabinet meetings when vital questions of policy are being discussed, he is dreaming--thinking of the light that never was on sea or land, the consecration and the poet's dream.

South Germany has always produced dreamers and romantics, like the Swan-king Ludwig of Bavaria. The romantic side of medievalism is always with them. They live in an impracticable world of unbelievable mountains; their fields and houses are like stage settings; they dream of treasure-trove and speak of masses of emeralds on the peaks illuminated by the moon at her full; they accept the fairy-tale castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwengau as part of normal existence; they live, as it were, in a typical Wagnerian opera.

Hitler is one of them--a peasant's son with little more than a peasant's education, but now holding a position that outrivals the most magical transformation in their wildest fairy tale. Indeed, he always has the air of being faintly surprised.

Of course it is his dreaminess that hard-bitten advisers like Goebbels and Goering have capitalized. He is so transparently honest when he is weaving visions of his own creation that nobody can doubt him. He is ready, like a medieval saint, to go through fire and water for his beliefs. I am not certain that he would not actually like being tortured; he would love playing the martyr, if only for his own mental delectation. He sees himself as a crusader; he thinks the whole time of saving mankind. That is why he reaches such a stage of mystical exaltation when he talks about saving the world from Bolshevism. It is the old Siegfried complex once again. Just as the young German knight of old went out into the dim, dark forests to kill dragons, so he goes out to exterminate Bolshevism.


pp. 7-9