Rediscovered wartime analysis of Hitler shows ‘messianic tendencies’

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A secret intelligence report – compiled just as Hitler embarked on the “final solution” – found the Nazi leader had a “messiah complex” and increasingly turned to “Jew-phobia” as defeat loomed.

The document was drawn up for UK intelligence in April 1942 and has lain unread since the War.

Written just as the conflict was starting to turn against Hitler, it shows UK analysts had noticed developing paranoia in his speechmaking and a growing preoccupation with what he called “the Jewish poison”.

Just weeks after the analysis was compiled, senior Nazis set in place plans for the “final solution” – an intensification of the mass extermination of Jews.

Experts say the papers show UK secret services sensed that, as the war turned against him, Hitler would resort to increasingly drastic measures.

The document was found among a collection of papers belonging to the family of Mark Abrams, a social scientist who worked with the BBC’s overseas propaganda analysis unit and the psychological warfare board during the war.

Written by Joseph MacCurdy, a Cambridge academic, it refers to earlier signs of “morbid tendencies”, classifying these as “Shamanism”, “epilepsy” and “paranoia”. The first referred to Hitler’s hysteria and compulsion to feed off the energy of Nuremberg Rally-style audiences.

By 1942, MacCurdy said the Nazi leader was in decline, and his report refers to the “dull flatness of the delivery”.

The other two tendencies were, however, developing. “Epilepsy” referred to Hitler’s cold and ruthless streak, but also a tendency to lose heart when his ambitions failed.

MacCurdy concluded: “Hitler is caught up in a web of religious delusions. The Jews are the incarnation of evil, while he is the incarnation of the spirit of good.

“He is a god by whose sacrifice victory over evil may be achieved. He does not say this in so many words, but such a system of ideas would rationalise what he does say that is otherwise obscure.”

The paper came to light after Dr Scott Anthony, who is working on the history of public relations at the University of Cambridge, began tracking down Abrams’ peers and relatives.

An archive of Abrams’ documents is in the Churchill Archives at Cambridge University. His family added the original psychoanalysis to the collection, making it available to researchers for the first time.