Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Planned for Hitler, a Fate Worse Than Death?

I recently came across a Business Insider article about an October 1943 report for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Adolf Hitler by a psychologist, Dr. Henry Murray. The current reporting on this has centered around Hitler's life and mental state, but what I found somewhat amusing was to picture Murray's suggestion for post-war Hitler, if they could keep him from killing himself or otherwise seeking martyrdom.

The suggestions included, following the trial and execution of the other Nazi leaders:
"Commit Hitler to an insane asylum (such as St. Elizabeth's, Washington, D.C.) and house him in a comfortable dwelling specially built for his occupancy. Let the world know that he is being well treated." (p. 34)
He would be spared from death because it would lessen his "legend" to become a mental patient. This was to be accomplished by convincing him he could live out his life like Napoleon on St. Helena when in fact he would have been studied, monitored, and displayed until he was no longer interesting:
If taken in a routine, scientific and undramatic manner the pictures will become quite tiresome after a while and the people will get bored with Hitler in a year or so.

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