The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Office of Strategic Services
Hitler Source Book
Recollections of Adolf Hitler
Edward Deuss
(1 of 2)

[Page 1]

To: Professor Crane Brinton
From: Edward Deuss

Recollections of Adolf Hitler
Gained from personal contact, interviews
and on airplane campaign tours with Hitler
from September 1931 - May 1933.

The most obvious thing about Hitler is the blend of inborn feminine and masculine characteristics - a man on the borderline of woman, an incredible iron will subject to unfathomable fits of depression, a Spartan self-disciplinarian who would not kill a fly except in a rage, a mystic-realist, an intuitive warrior, an ascetic adventurer.

I once asked him what he considered he most revealing statement about himself in "Mein Kampf." He replied, "A short sentence at the very beginning of the book (on page 11 in fact) in which I say that as a youth I learned the meaning of history." And the most important factor in his early upbringing, he maintained, was Roman Catholicism, combined with the teachings of his intensely German-nationalist history teacher. He sees the world as a clash of opposing forces, and genius in man as the power to synthesize these opposing forces for the purpose of evolving a third and more powerful force. His personality is a synthesis of Austria and Prussia, of Marxian materialism and metaphysics. National Socialism, he was always proud of describing as a synthesis of Nationalism and Socialism. His appeal to the German people based on this synthesis.

[Page 2]

A monocled Prussian Junker general stumping Weimar Germany on behalf of Pan-German expansionism would have been regarded as a joke. But the Austrian corporal aroused no such misgivings.

The meaning of history, for him, consisted of deductions from an analysis of that age-old enticing problem -- the rise and decline of civilization. His faith in himself and his hope for Germany rested on the conviction that the great imperialist powers were subjected to a cyclical decline which presented Germany with an opportunity. His job was to build up a strong united Germany to claim the heritage of the empires at the moment of their greatest weakness. He has always made much of the fact that when the "world was divided" last time in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries Germany was compelled to look on helplessly because torn by internal strife. He does not subscribe to Carlyle's view that personalities make history; he believes that personalities appearing on the scene at opportune moments can share the destiny of their countries. Leaders may be motivated by purely materialistic considerations but the lasses of the people will fight only when moved by idealistic impulses. These idealisms have in the majority of cases been manufactured by those seeking or holding power for an express purpose, but those who seek have a chance of success only with a new religion, while those who struggle to hold must rely on the old-ineffectual refurbished.

In this sense, he recognized that the only serious contender for power in Europe was the new idealism of Bolshevism. The new German idealism on which German military might was to be based had to exert an appeal equal to if not stronger than Bolshevism.

[Page 3]

Having thus diagnosed the world situation, he was guided by his intuition. how his mind worked before put to the supreme test of thinking quickly in tight situations is shown by a conversation I had with him in October, 1932, on the airdrome at hamburg. I asked him whether he had found any other, possibly more convincing reasons, for considering France decadent, than those outlines in "Mein Kampf." He looked at me rather quizzically as if he were being subjected to a leg-pull. When apparently reassured, he replied: "Yes, the Maginot line." He paused to smile at my bewilderment and continued, "Whenever a people is so afraid to fight the barbarians (I interjected: "You mean the barbarians"? He replied, "Yes, I mean the barbarians.") that it builds a wall around itself to keep them out -- that nation is decadent. Look at the Roman lines in Southwest Germany, look at the great wall of China. These construction feats both marked the beginning of the downfall of great empires." In those far off days, he not only confessed his intention to smash France but he felt confident that France would fall without a fight, an opinion which he probably held until the Reynaud government came to power.

It is true that his analysis of the European situation in 1932 (and he made not the slightest effort at concealment) makes his conduct of the war more inexplicable. Having diagnosed the West as decadent and knowing that there would be little opposition to his assuming the role of crusader to slay the monster of Bolshevism, his obvious intention was to strike eastwards in the spring of the year, overrun Poland and then strike at Russia, confident that France and Britain would not bother him with a two-front war. I am sure that such was his intention. Why he failed to carry [Page 4] it out is difficult to tell.


Hitler is fully conscious of his lowly origin, his lack of formal education, his shyness, his unsocialability. After the last war, he literally manufactured himself into another man by sheer will power. He convinced himself that Germany had a future and that he could make himself the savior of his country. By "re-magnetising his heart" and "getting religion" he made himself into a public speaker because he felt that the spoken word was much more potent than the written. Handicaps which he could not overcome were bent to his advantage: Not being a hail fellow well-met, he molded himself into what passes for a strong, silent mystical character. He always blushed when select groups of Nazi mothers pushed their little boys and girls at him with bouquets on the airdomes. I never once saw him pat the bearers of these tokens on the head, ask their age or whether they went to school. He took the bouquets, usually wild or garden flowers, in his left hand, gave a limp salute with his right, and handed the flowers to the chief of his bodyguard, Schaub. who carried two revolvers under his raincoat.

His infinitely greater appeal to women than men was everywhere noticeable. Groups of women of all ages used to form flocks of guardian angels who watched over him all night in the lobbies of hotels while he slept somewhere above. In Flensburg in the summer of 1932 three flaxen-haired blue-eyed daughters of the three Nazi district leaders came to Brueckner, [Page 5] the adjutant and chauffeur, begging for the chance of [unreadable] Fuehrer in the eye." The Fuehrer consented and the [unreadable] were ushered into Hitler's hotel room, and [unreadable] as soldiers, de-filed just inside the room and [unreadable] Hitler. Hitler advanced from the other end of the room [unreadable] in front of the squad, clicked his heels and saluted. Then there was an awkward, rather embarrassing pause (the procedure [unreadable] Fuehrer in the eye) lasting about half a minute. Hitler [unreadable] strode back to his desk. The girls saluted, cried "Heil Hitler!" and then [unreadable] out of the room. Just outside they leaped up, threw their arms abound Brueckner's neck (he was six feet four) and kissed [unreadable]. Their lips were moist, in fact they were almost frothing [unreadable] completely hysterical with joy. Inside the room [unreadable] than Heil Hitler had been spoken. They did literally [unreadable] the bashful Fuehrer in the eye and yet, as they said over and over again the moment would remain the greatest of their lives. [Unreadable] still are believed also to run deep. Brueckner's comment [unreadable] to me was "The old man did that very well, don't you think?"

Hitler without a doubt molded himself into the leader [unreadable] would carry the people with him. And in the process [unreadable] all distractions. he always went about as if wrapped [unreadable] spoke little even to his bosom pals. A tip which [unreadable] from Schaub before the first airplane tour. He advised me never to ask the Fuehrer more than one or two questions at a time and never [unreadable] him unless time seemed heavy on his hands. [unreadable]

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