A defining childhood experience in Hitler’s youth
I’m not an expert historian, but I am much interested in it. A few weeks ago, while reading an extract from Hitler’s secretary, Christa Schroeder’s memoir, one paragraph essentially stunned me. Ms. Schroeder had a unique insight into Hitler’s intelligence, temper and quirks. This article shows how he dealt with anger at his father from an early age, and explains much about Hitler’s psychological makeup.
“He also spoke of his mother, to whom he was very attached, and of his father's violence: 'I never loved my father,' he used to say, 'but feared him. He was prone to rages and would resort to violence. My poor mother would then always be afraid for me. When I read Karl May once that it was a sign of bravery to hide one's pain, I decided that when he beat me the next time I would make no sound. When it happened – I knew my mother was standing anxiously at the door – I counted every stroke out loud. Mother thought I had gone mad when I reported to her with a beaming smile, "Thirty-two strokes father gave me!" From that day I never needed to repeat the experiment, for my father never beat me again.'”
This was an article that I found myself rereading several times. It made me wonder what was going through his father’s head, when he decided to stop beating young Adolph. Was he thinking something along the lines of, “That must be enough for the young boy, for I see that I have already created a monster, which pain no longer disturbs?”