Can Hitler’s bizarre prejudices and irrational thought processes be explained? Yes, but only with the application of medical knowledge, which the author is in a position to provide.
Hitler is traditionally portrayed as pure evil, a two-dimensional figure set apart from the rest of the human race, but are his beliefs and actions to be dismissed simply as those of someone innately wicked? Or is there more to the story of a man responsible for the deaths of millions? That Hitler suffered from delusions, especially about Bolsheviks and Jews, is evident from Mein Kampf. However, such delusions were probably present from when he began to read the magazine Ostara, written by an equally deluded former monk, Lanz von Liebenfels. But delusions alone do not necessarily denote insanity.
Andrew Norman has unearthed evidence of great significance, provided by Hitler himself and by two other, independent, sources: that Hitler heard voices which no one else could hear (‘auditory hallucinations’), whose commands he felt obliged to obey. The significance of this cannot be overestimated. It explains, for the first time, the origin of his bizarre thought processes, hateful prejudices, irrational decisions, peculiar body language, and mannerisms – the entire basis for his modus vivendi, in fact. It also allows a categorical diagnosis of schizophrenia to be made. Today, Hitler’s condition would be recognized for what it was, and treatment offered. In his day, in the absence of treatment, the combined presence of delusions and ‘command hallucinations’ in the most powerful man in the world, had cataclysmic consequences.