Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Psychological Profiles of Foreign Leaders: Hitler

It seems that Columbia University classics professor Gilbert Highet wrote his psychological study of Hitler before Harvard psychologist Henry Murray wrote his.

"[Gilbert] Highet’s American career was just beginning to soar when he was called up to serve in the British Army at the outbreak of World War II. From 1941 to 1946 (on leave from Columbia) he served in the British Mission to the United States, in the British Intelligence Center in New York, and in the British Zone of occupied Berlin. Under Sir William Stephenson, the Canadian special operations executive, he carried out many missions, shrouded in mystery over the decades by the British Official Secrets Act. During the war he pioneered the art of preparing psychological profiles of Nazi leaders such as Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler—based on his psychoanalysis of Roman emperors. With limited information about his German subjects, he succeeded in predicting their behavior under different circumstances, in documents regarded as highly significant in those days. As America armed herself for battle, he shuttled between New York and Washington, and traveled to Canada and South America and Great Britain on military airplanes and ocean liners. On the shores of Lake Ontario, in a secret Canadian training facility, he prepared the first draft of the recently released volume The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas. As a member of the British Army of Occupation, he entered the smoldering remains of Hitler’s bunker and became responsible for helping to recover the gold reserves hidden by the Nazis. During the war he also completed his three-volume translation from the German of Werner Jaeger’s Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, still the classic model of the translator’s art."

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