Richard Overy

The Mind of Evil

The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts

By

Oxford University Press 357pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Writing in his prison diary in Spandau jail, Albert Speer reflected on his fellow-prisoner Rudolf Hess, serving a life sentence for crimes he could not remember: ‘Now at last he can play the martyr and the buffoon, thus fulfilling the two sides of his personality.’ This was a rough-and-ready analysis. Speer was no psychiatrist, but for years professionals had been trying to unravel the secrets of Hess’s inner mind. They hoped that psychoanalysing Hess would help them to understand the psychological bond that held the German people in thrall to Hitler.

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