Does Hitler Matter Anymore?

What we believe about Hitler is that he was an obviously inhuman madman whose deliberate hatred motivated him to kill millions of people in concentration camps. But was it that simple? What if he was, if not perfectly sane, sufficiently so to be fully responsible for his actions? And what dark psychological forces underlay that hatred? Are there more lessons for us to learn, lessons that could prevent recurrence of such mass exterminations? Or is it already too late for us?

“Writing in 1975, J.P. Stern regretted ‘the failure of creative literature to add very much to our understanding of Hitler’s personality . . . . literary imagination has on the whole found itself outstripped by the facts of the case . . . . The true nature of the man is trivialized and obscured rather than illuminated by the antics of Charles Chaplin and the deeply unfunny comedy of Bertolt Brecht’.” ―Ian Wallace, The Enigma of Hitler, Counterfactual Perspectives (2012)

Wallace suggests the possibility of a meaningful analysis of Hitler via a novelistic approach. While some today speak of “the banality of evil,” they provide little or no insight into Hitler’s particular evil and its causes, yet theories abound as to why Hitler hated the Jews. At my last count, there were at least seventeen such. There is now one more, one that I believe to be primary and definitive.

In the Mouth of the Lion tells the story of a secret mission to Nazi-occupied Austria, an attempt on the part of Valkyrie plotters to get Hitler declared insane in 1942 by a visiting psychiatrist from neutral Switzerland, Carl Jung. In the course of several hundred hours of research for this historical novel, new facts about Hitler were unearthed and old facts given new perspective. My fictional Jung analyzes as real a Hitler as could be constructed, beginning with Hitler’s earliest years, through the mysterious 1931 death of Geli [Gay’-lee] Raubal, Hitler’s niece, and beyond.

Please visit the novel website, http://www.mouthofthelion.com/ for more information and sample chapters.

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Filed under historical fiction, Jeff Guenther

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