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Was Hitler Ill?: A Final Diagnosis

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5222-1
300 pages
November 2012, Polity
Was Hitler Ill?: A Final Diagnosis (0745652220) cover image
Four months after the end of the war, Hitler’s personal physician Theo Morell stated to his fellow prisoner Karl Brandt: “In fact, Hitler was never sick.” Brandt, who had been responsible for the “euthanasia” killings and was thus deeply implicated in the crimes of the Nazi regime, disagreed. He claimed that Morell had “pumped the Führer full of drugs” and was now merely attempting to justify his actions. In his opinion, Morell had turned Hitler into a physical wreck.

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.
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Acknowledgements

1. Madness, Design and Reality: Why a medical biography of Hitler?

2. The Diseased Hitler - A historiographical project

3. Hitler's Doctors: Personal physician Morell and others

4. Hitler's Medicine Chest: The drugs and their effects

5. Hitler's Medical History

6. Hitler's Health and the War

7. Concluding Diagnosis

Archives

Selected Bibliography

Glossary

Abbreviations

Index

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Hans-Joachim Neumann is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

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.

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  • 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.
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"The authors provide an extremly detailed and well researched chronology of Hitler and his medical history"
Orange Standard

"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."
Der Spiegel

"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."
Focus Online

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