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Henry Stein February 26th, 2005 10:30 AM

Adlerian Psychobiography and Psychohistory - Adolf Hitler
The disciplines of Adlerian psychobiography and psychohistory have not yet developed very far. There have been life style interpretations of Marilyn Monroe, Lee Harvey Oswald, Albert Einstein, Ann Richards, Nijinsky, Adolf Hitler, and Brian Wilson. Adler did write about Dostoevsky (The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 4, Chapter XVII), and Danton, Marat, and Robespierre (CCWAA. Vol. 5, Ch. IV). A fascinating (but not Adlerian) perspective on political leaders can be found in Presidential Character, by James David Barber. He examines the political style, world view, and character of selected presidents of the United States. In For Your Own Good, Alice Miller has also made significant psychoanalytic contributions to the discipline of psychohistory.

In the realm of fiction, within earlier forum threads, Manu contributed a "private logic" speculation on Shakespeare's Richard III, and Trevor brought our attention to Steve's articles about the author Alberto Moravia. In The Collected Works of Lydia Sicher: An Adlerian Perspective, edited by Adele Davidson, a full chapter is devoted to "The Family Constellation In the Old Testament."

Does anyone know of other Adlerian psychobiographies, or the current online links to the ones mentioned above?

Henry Stein February 26th, 2005 10:33 AM

Re: Adlerian Psychobiography and Psychohistory
To "kick off" a new thread on this topic, I just discovered that the O.S.S. has de-classified a psychological study of Adolf Hitler made in 1943 by Henry Murray (developer of the Thematic Apperception Test). Although he was not an Adlerian, the insights he presents utilize terms that are identical or similar to Adler's constructs. The document can be found online at You may have trouble printing the pages, so read as much as you can online.

Another resource that might be worth comparing to the Murray analysis, is Adolf Hitler: A Psycholgocal Interreptation of His Views on Architecture, Art, and Music, by Sheree Owens Zalampa. She attempts an Adlerian interpretation of his childhood and adult life.

Manu Jaaskelainen March 5th, 2005 01:01 PM

Re: Adlerian Psychobiography and Psychohistory - Adolf Hitler
There are interesting new approaches to Hitler and his "Reich". Ian Kershaw in his biography on Hitler (two volumes called "Hubris" and "Nemesis" respectively) wants to combine two different and contrasting approaches: on the one hand, the study of Hitler's personality, on the other hand, the study of the contemporary German society. Michael Burleigh in his book "The Third Reich" sees the phenomenon "Third Reich" as a kind of political religion. There was a very close interaction between the personalities of the leading people, and the German society as it existed. Another fruitful method of analysis is to compare Hitler with other leaders, e.g. with Stalin. This comparison, combined with the study of social and political processes, gives very interesting results. The book by Alan Bullock, "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives", is the prime example. The social and political background provided the basic ideas that were transformed by these leaders and their closest men into political ammunition. Both leaders were men who had deeply-rooted hatred in their background. Both had mothers who pampered them. Their fathers were violent persons who abused their children physically and psychologically. Both persons had very high ambitions, but their intelligence was not of a very high level. In their youth, both were subjected to ideological indoctrination, Stalin to communist ideology (in the divinity school) and Hitler to various extremist influences in the barracks of the unemployed men and in the streets of Vienna. Both were very good in combining their ideas into a political message that would find the right kind of response among the people, and both were very paranoid persons. Of these, two Stalin was more reality-oriented than Hitler who preferred to live in his fantasy-world. The problem was that there were many people who were willing to share this fantasy-world with their F├╝hrer. It was a neurotic world, full of imaginary promises.- In his own way, Stalin built up his own fantasy-world in architecture, in Arts, in Music, in first-May demonstrations and so on. Even his fantasies found response among the people. For many people, this gory world of yesterday still causes feelings of nostalgia and longing. - Both men are good examples of a private logic that ,deplorably, found response among so many people and thus had disastrous results.

Trevor Hjertaas March 14th, 2005 10:20 AM

Re: Adlerian Psychobiography and Psychohistory - Adolf Hitler
I have not, myself, ever examined actual historical figures, but like other Adlerians I have looked at literary creations, and have written articles on Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot", Sartre's "Nausea", and Camus' "The Outsider" for the Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.

Henry Stein March 14th, 2005 11:34 AM

Re: Adlerian Psychobiography and Psychohistory - Adolf Hitler
Are back issues of the Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology or The Journal of Individual Psychology available online? Several years ago I heard an announcement about the JIP being available online, but it may have been a service only to libraries. (I checked EBSCO, ProQuest, Questia, and ebrary.)

Trevor Hjertaas March 17th, 2005 04:22 PM

Re: Adlerian Psychobiography and Psychohistory - Adolf Hitler
The Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology is, unfortunately, not available online, but I would strongly encourage people to both subscribe and contribute to it. Under Steve Slavik's direction it has evolved into a fine venue for both clinical and intellectual topics of interest to Adlerians.

The journal is available through the Adlerian Psychological Association of B.C., which can be contacted at: or (604) 874-4614.

Steve Slavik can be contacted regarding submissions or back issues at:

The price for subscription is quite reasonable, merely $40 (Canadian)/year, plus $8 shipping in North America, or $16 international.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.

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