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Question: How have the narcissistic behaviors of Nazis impacted the social life of the German society?
Adolf Hitler who was the leader of Nazi Germany and the Nazis have a great influence on the history of the world as it is the cause of World War II. Hitler served as a dictator and ruled the Nazi Party. He caused millions of people to die and one of the biggest reasons why he killed the Jews was the belief that he superior to those who carry different ethnic genes. The fact that he had extreme narcissistic character explains why he devastated many lives including even women from his own nation. None of these happened only because of him, he used the Nazis authoritarian power for his own intention and willing of being the one and only most powerful governor of Germany. In the beginning the Nazis pulled of German economy from the deep pothole. However, then the party ruined many peoples’ lives. During this period, Germans not only said nothing, but also did not do anything from getting out of pressure. The reasons behind were authority fear, peoples’ own intentions, conformity and group identity. Hitler’s characteristic features are the best examples to analyze the narcissistic behaviors of leaders. His wrongdoings still continue to affect modern Germany. The narcissistic behaviors of Nazis impacted the social life of the German society through the political ideology of Hitler giving unlimited power to Nazis, changing the structure of the German society and making it racial nationalism and the economy becoming unstable.
The narcissistic behaviors of Nazis impacted the social life of the German society through the political ideology of Hitler giving unlimited power to Nazis. Adolf Hitler’s historical background must be given in order to understand what his narcissistic behaviors and his political intellection are based on. There is a strange situation about him that he was born in Austria and became a German nationalist. According to Mein Kampf, “My father was a civil servant who fulfilled his duties very conscientiously. My mother looked after the household and lovingly devoted herself to the care of her children” (Hitler, 1924, p.11). His father wanted Adolf to be a servant as himself while Adolf’s interest was in painting and music. His father was pressuring that Adolf should be a child as he wanted. He was a drunk father who tended to resort to violence and Adolf never wanted to be like his father. When narcissistic behaviors develop on the basis of childhood, the child usually chooses a hero and a figure that is hated. In his own book, Hitler said “I respected my father, but I loved my mother” (1924, p.21). Hitler admired his mother and hated his father. Such parents are important in shaping the child’s future life and the narcissistic behaviors in the adulthood. According to Psyco- Analysis research of Adolf Hitler, “This parental style was defined by Baumrind (…) as an authoritarian style. Such a parenting style is characterized by rigidity, obedience without questions, and physical punishment. Research suggests that authoritarian parenting style is closely related to the development of aggressive personality and antisocial behavior (…) which can be clearly observed in Hitler’s later life” (Hyland, Boduszek, Kielkiewicz, 2011, p. 60). Little Adolf who had narcissist parents did not feel consistently loved and would think for himself as he was insignificant. He would have selfish and cruel character while he was trying to find a place in the society. According to his own words in Mein Kampf,
I gave scarcely any serious thought to the question of choosing a vocation in life, but I was certainly quite out of sympathy with the kind of career which my father had followed. I think that an inborn talent for speaking now began to develop and take shape during the more or less strenuous arguments which I used to have with my comrades. I had become a juvenile ringleader who learned well and easily at school but was rather difficult to manage (1924, p.11-12).
Hitler believed that he carried his leading position since his childhood because he had the ability to speak and manage people effectively in the society. He started to be influenced by some politicians. He created a new concept as “pure race” and began to see Jews as its main enemy. He saw the German race superior to all other races and aimed to purify the race. He blamed the Jews for the crisis in Austria and Germany’s military defeat in World War One. The Treaty of Versailles made Germany from its territory. The country went bankrupt and millions of people were unemployed. Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, known as the Nazi. The Nazis called on all Germans and even outside the country to unite under one nation. According to Mein Kampf, Hitler was now a very good speaker, there was a great economic depression and the public was now looking for a saver (1924, p.326). Hitler and Nazis made Propaganda using this opportunity to spread the pure race of Nazism. Hitler’s narcissistic leader traits played a role in persuading his followers to convert to Nazism. He affected his community and gained the trust of them. This dictator gained the authority when he was elected. The authority gave Nazis unlimited power. They abused this power for their own opportunities and selfishness. This is exactly Hitler’s narcissistic political ideology. With this point of view, they almost destroyed the society of Jews and put their own country politics in a difficult situation.
The narcissistic behaviors of Nazis impacted the social life of the German society through changing the structure of the society and making it racial nationalism. In these years under Hitler’s administration, Hitler established Nazism consciousness. He also liberated Germany from the arms restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles and provided German citizens full employment. Adolf Hitler was a saver for Germans but in reality, he was a narcissist dictator even if German society had not noticed it yet. The social life in the period of Nazism, the Nazi party members were happy because they had all the best houses of Germany and good jobs in the government. Ordinary German citizens’ lives were also good because they had financial security and property because they had their jobs. They were full of hope in the Nazi Propaganda and had a legal system that worked right in the beginning. As Hitler proposes in Mein Kampf,
Through this political doctrine, it is possible to bring great masses of the people into an organization which is constructed as rigidly as it could be. Such an organization is the main preliminary that is necessary for the final triumph of this ideal (1924, p.319).
This Propaganda constantly organized them. Following the war, people were made to think that they are special by defending the superiority of the German race. These extreme racist sentiments which were imposed by the Propaganda prove that the Nazis tried to make entire society as narcissistic as themselves. As it is in narcissism, to say “We are the best of all and other people as Jews are worthy of evil situations” could be accepted as extreme racism. German citizens were attached to Hitler with an unshakable belief and the Nazi race philosophy strengthened their belief in themselves. They began to feel strong again after the war. Most German young people were happy with the Nazi regime because Nazis had tendencies for the youth. They organized exciting activities for young men. Many parents were afraid that their children would be reported to the Ghetto. This situation gave young people power to enjoy themselves. However, all young people were not satisfied with the Nazi Regime. Many girls were not happy with Nazi’s women ideology because they were anti-feminist and male-dominated as a feature of grandiose narcissism which was about the people who were sovereign and had problems with empathy. According to Mein Kampf Hitler said, “”German youth, do not forget that you are a German,” and “Remember, little girl, that one day you must be a German mother”” (1924, p.16). They idealized the role of women as a vehicle for children and builder of the family. They also put obstacles on women to do their jobs. Female teachers, civil servants and doctors were forced to leave their jobs. In this case, narcissism is a psychological disorder because narcissistic people have a tendency to think and act extremely. They only cared about their superiors features as narcissistic behaviors and underestimated other races, and even their women race. Nazis’ censorship increased so much and it covered every phase of life. Press, movies, radio, books and even art were under this censorship. The Nazis also closed the unions and centralized laborers took their places. Churches were oppressed and priests preaching against Nazis were often arrested by Ghetto and sent to concentration camps. All youth institutions were disseminated and reorganized under the heading of Hitler’s youth organization. They created films to use to spread the Propaganda. According to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, “Films in particular played an important role in disseminating racial antisemitism, the superiority of German military power, and the intrinsic evil of the enemies as defined by Nazi ideology. Nazi films portrayed Jews as “subhuman” creatures infiltrating Aryan society.” (Nazi Propaganda, 2017). The Nazi Propaganda was quite successful in capturing power by frightening people. The Jews were no longer German citizens, and for this reason, they no longer had any legal rights. Jews were not allowed to work in public offices, in civil services, in the media, in farming, teaching, and even forbidden to practice medicine or law. Anti-Semitism which is a notion of discrimination against Jews, was increasingly among the Germans, and even some shops did not even accept Jews as customers. According to Hitler, the Jews were now systematically subjected to genocide as a Final Solution. The Jews were forced into the concentration camps by the Ghetto and used for medical experiments. The ruthless behaviors of Nazis as narcissistic people prove how people can be evil for their own benefit. The Germans, those who protested to all these cruelties, even those who were unhappy, were afraid to object to anything. They shut their eyes to all evil things and pretended that they did not realize what was happening.
The narcissistic behaviors of Nazis impacted the social life of the German society through the economy becoming unstable. Germany is a state that can be influential in the world with its strong economy. The German economy had been deeply affected by said narcissistic traits of Hitler, caused by the civilians’ uncertainty of the new social order after World War One and seeking an authority. Hitler’s and the Nazis’ narcissistic attitudes continue to be influential in modern Germany as well. The German’s political and economic developments showed that Germany cannot escape its bad image with regard to Hitler according to the news. Today, with its robust economy, Germany still one of the strongest economy in the world. After relieving the economic problem of employment and joining the labor parties together, Hitler and the Nazis prospected supremacy over enemies of the German people since the end of the World War One. The key point of the economy was the problem of unemployment, Hitler’s first issue was to change this situation after the war. According to The History Learning website, “A number of policies were introduced which caused the unemployment figures to drop” (The Nazis and The German Economy, 2015-2017). When the economy began to improve and the people started to be happy and support to Nazism. They also did not see Hitler different from their parents over time because he was the saver. The Nazis who had solved the economic problems had very merciless sanctions as narcissistic individuals. The website also argues, “The unemployed were given a very simple choice: do whatever work is given to you by the government or be classed as “work-shy” and put in a concentration camp” (The Nazis and The German Economy, 2015-2017). They aimed to take all young men into the army. The factories were built to equip these men with weapons and this was far from the figure of unemployment. Due to all these discipline, unemployment decreased considerably. The discipline inherited from the Nazis explains why the German economy is so strong today. This disciplinary structure was based on their narcissistic tendencies because people who have narcissistic features believe that they deserve the best of all and they can achieve whatever they want. Therefore, they have really high ambitions, the Nazis succeeded with this way. The Nazis opened up different and diverse work spaces for men. Compared to the failure and misery of the previous government, the people did not ignore the efforts of the Nazi government. Nevertheless, the Nazis tried to prevent the country’s economy from being linked to external sources. The Nazis continued to do disrespect and distinctness against women in the economic area. According to The History Learning website, “Women were no longer included in the statistics so any women who remained out of work under the Nazi’s rule did not exist as far as the statistics were concerned.” The Nazis tried to under their control of people with fear and threats. The crimes that they committed against humanity, the massacres that they did were destructed their successes. All the atrocities they did have ruined the economy and caused to start the Second World War. Germany’s economy has changed much since that day. All these ups and downs have taught them so much. According to economist.com website, “In the modern world, The EU needs Germany’s leadership more than ever, but is afraid of its superiority. Europe also needs consensus, but the Germans will not accept it unless they encourage it. If the economic confidence of Germany arises as political arrogance, things become worse” (Will Germany now take center stage? , 2010). Germany cannot escape their negative image on the basis of Hitler but they continue on their way, leaving behind their backgrounds and taking their lessons. Germans have drawn a new economic understanding by using the logical aspects of the Hitler’s ruthless policies.
Hitler was a charismatic leader who deeply influenced the German society and his persecution was based on his psychological disease and his traumatic childhood. Some psychologist tried to find a logical explanation for the implications of Hitler’s atrocities. According to some psychological studies, Hitler’s situation is seen as a disease that based on his childhood and it is being tried to be shown as an excuse for the persecution of the German people and the Holocaust (Hyland, Boduszek, Kielkiewicz, 2011, p.58). People who try to prove themselves that they do not trust themselves. Lower self-esteem comes from its childhood as narcissism. According to Psyco-Analysis research, “Adolf Hitler suffered from a multitude of severe psychological disorders including paranoid schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder” (Hyland, Boduszek, Kielkiewicz, 2011, p.58). In this feeling is experienced by Hitler perceived himself as inferior to others. He who had lower self-esteem are actually in a delusion situation. He wanted to be like others by constantly comparing himself with others. He tried to show himself as the best one to the people around them because he did not feel good and confident. He could not be happy because he lived in a constant dilemma. This is an uncomfortable illness and explains why he humiliated other races. The persecution of the Nazis by following Hitler is based on their belief in their obligation to obey the authority unconditionally. The German citizens tolerated all these tribulations for their own interests so that the Nazis would not harm them. this indicates that they joined the Nazis. On the contrary, there is no excuse for the atrocities were done by Hitler and the Nazis because the things they did destroyed a nation. Hitler was in the right place at the right time because Germany was under the influence of the World War One. Hitler was talented and intelligent. After he joined the Nazi Party, he benefited from helplessness of people with Propaganda. He imposed his pure race project to the Nazis and they followed a policy together. They guided the authority and the power as how they wanted. It is obvious that the people who could do all these are the ones that were healthy. The Nazis deceived the German society by promising positive things. They gave a high standard of living to the people who defended the Nazi ideology. They either killed the protestors and those who were completely different from them, or took them to concentration camps. According to Psyco-Analysis research, these scientists have described what Hitler did as evil and they did not go to any other explanation because they could not find an explanation to death of millions of innocent people. (Hyland, Boduszek, Kielkiewicz, 2011, p.60). Mental disorder cannot be shown as an excuse for man who killed children and nearly half a nation only because of their race and nationality.
The narcissistic behavior of the Nazis affected the social life of the German society and still continues its influence over this community. Hitler governed the Nazi community because of his leadership and persuasion ability. Nazism was not just a political ideology. Nazism brought the world to the Second World War because of the government system and caused millions of genocide, intense nationalism and economic convenience. Nazism captured the lives of all German peoples in such a way to create a revolution. Nazism changed their culture structure and the functioning of factories. Nazism developed those of them and solved the problem of unemployment which was the basis of World War One. Furthermore, they deceived the German society by giving unrealistic and utopian promises. Adolf Hitler was the most influential and charismatic leader at that time. He received an unexpected attention of his citizens after World War One. Nazism gave Germans power beyond giving them a charismatic leader. Nazism was not only created by political parties to govern people, but also has been assumed as a role limited with a certain religious ideology. They also excluded people in different religions as they did on racial perceptions. They saw Jews as both racial and religious groups. Hitler frustrated the Germans oppressed under the burden of the first World War. He proved to be a narcissist dictator by dragging German people into the Second World War.
Hyland, P., Boduszek D., Kielkiewicz K. (2011). Psychology & Society. Vol. 4 (2). A Psycho-Historical Analysis of Adolf Hitler: The Role of Personality, Psychopathology, and Development (p. 58-63).
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“Will Germany now take center stage?” (2010). http://www.economist.com/node/17305755
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