Was Hitler Ill?: A Final Diagnosis
November 2012, Polity
The image of a decrepit and drug-dependent psychopath in the Reich Chancellery bunker is one of the most enduring myths about Hitler. It provides a simple explanation for his actions: who but a sick man could have ordered the killing of millions of people? Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle study this question and seek answers in the detailed notes and diaries left by Morell, in medical reports, pharmacological analyses and interviews with eye witnesses. Their conclusions are clear and definitive.
List of Abbreviations xi
1 Madness, Design and Reality: Why a Medical Biography of Hitler? 1
2 The Diseased Hitler: A Historiographical Project 7
3 Hitler’s Doctors: Personal Physician Morell and Others 46
4 Hitler’s Medicine Chest: The Drugs and their Effects 74
5 Hitler’s Medical History 104
6 Hitler’s Health and the War 142
7 Concluding Diagnosis 186
Selected Bibliography 229
Henrik Eberle is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. In 2005, in collaboration with Mathias Uhl, he wrote The Hitler Book, which became an international bestseller.
- Two leading academics aim to answer one of the most controversial questions regarding Adolf Hitler: was he ill?
- The image of a decrepit and drug-dependent psychopath in the Reich Chancellery bunker is one of the most enduring myths about Hitler. It provides a simple explanation for his actions: who but a sick man could have ordered the killing of millions of people?
- Neumann and Eberle seek answers in the detailed notes and diaries left by Hitler’s personal physician Theo Morell, in medical reports, pharmacological analyses and interviews with eye witnesses and draw some definitive conclusions.
- This absorbing study will be essential reading for those interested in military history and should also appeal to a wide general readership.
"Few historians have emphasized 'the rational core of Hitler’s anti-Semitism: expedience' ... The authors’ conclusions are informative and often fascinating"
Journal of Modern History
"The authors provide an extremly detailed and well researched chronology of Hitler and his medical history"
"A tour de force ... Neumann and Eberle's treatment is sane, thorough and meticulous. It is anatomical in its detail, as befits the subject matter. It is clearly authoritative, without a trace of sensationalism ... The authors' conclusion is an important one, dispelling the myths and excuses: Hitler was healthy and fully responsible for his criminal actions."
Times Higher Education
"Eberle and Neumann's retrospective diagnoses are compact, clear, authoritative and persuasive."
London Review of Books
"Historian Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann, a professor emeritus of medicine at Berlin's Charité University Hospital, have combined the use of documentary material with modern medical analysis to separate myth from verifiable facts. The book purports to offer nothing short of 'conclusive findings' on Hitler's state of health. It also reveals quite a few ghastly details about the dictator."
"The image of a frail, drug-dependent psychopath in the bunker of the Reich Chancellery is one of the most enduring myths about Hitler. The explanation is simple: anyone who has millions of people killed must be ill. Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle pursue this theory and search for answers in the complete estate of Hitler's physician Morell, medical reports, pharmacological analysis and eyewitness reports. They arrive at a clear and decisive conclusion."
Der Neue Tag
"It's time to put an end to describing Hitler as mentally ill, which is not true according to Neumann and Eberle's research ... Hitler was not only healthy but could also be held fully responsible for his criminal actions. The most absurd rumours are taken up in several chapters of the book, such as Hitler's supposed homosexuality, his alleged Jewish descent and the often rumoured violent early childhood traumas. All these theses, the authors argue, can be refuted."