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Chapter V: The Psychological Interpretation of Culture and History

Methodology for the Interpretation of Ideology
Richard A. Koenigsberg
Hitler's Ideology: A Study in Psychoanalytic Sociology

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“Such a great book. Incredibly precise, so challenging, the lines of thought are so clear.”
—Konnilyn Feig, Ph. D., author of Hitler’s Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness
The core of Hitler’s Ideology is its unique methodology. I present data—support for my propositions—in tabular form. Whereas traditionally one or two quotations are used to illustrate a given point, I included a long series of quotations to support each of my findings.

Studying Mein Kampf and Hitler’s speeches, I noticed the recurrence of certain images, phrases and metaphors. These metaphors focused on the body, specifically on the idea of the German nation as an organism or body politic.

The list of 32 Tables appearing directly below
conveys the central themes of Hitler’s ideology. These Table constitute the core—the skeleton or bedrock—of Hitler’s Ideology.

Table 1, for example, “The Country is a Living Organism,” contains seventeen statements from Mein Kampf and Hitler’s speeches. For example, “In place of the State must be set the living organism—the people” and “The German people had become a body corporate pulsing through and through with a vital inner life.”

Table 3, “The Disintegration of the National Body, consists of twenty-nine statements. For example: “The Jew becomes a ‘ferment of decomposition’ among people, and in the broader sense a dissolver of human culture” and “If these critics were to have their way, Germany would fall to pieces.”

In the LSS Newsletters to follow, I will reproduce from Hitler’s Ideology one of the Tables to illustrate how I presented my data.

In the Preface to Hitler’s Ideology, I state that—in aspiring to establish the science of psychoanalytic sociology—I was adhering to the “standards of inductive rigor required in the experimental sciences.” By presenting my findings in tabular form, I sought to clarify and simplify the data. The tables would enable readers to evaluate the evidence that had given rise to—supported—a specific interpretations.

In the Introduction, I explained that my book represented an empirical study of the “relationship between Hitler’s phantasies and his ideology.” I wanted to demonstrate how Hitler’s phantasies, projected into social reality, “shaped his beliefs and defined how he perceived the world.”

I used the term “primary process imagery” to characterize the organic metaphors that appeared throughout Hitler’s writings and speeches. My assumption was that these metaphors conveyed how Hitler felt and thought about terms such as “Germany,” “the Jew,” etc. I wanted to show how Hitler’s metaphors revealed his phantasies and defined his perception of reality.

Hitler’s Ideology is not a historical study or a study of Hitler’s personality. My objective was to convey “the ideas or thoughts that lie at the core of Hitler’s perception of reality” and to show how organic metaphors “conveyed the phantasies that defined Hitler’s ideas and ideology.”

List of Tables

Table Title
1 The Country is a Living Organism 5
2 The Purpose of Politics
3 The Disintegration of the National Body
4 The Prevention of Disintegration
5 Union as a Defenae A1ainst Disintegration
6 The National Body is Diseased
7 The National Body is Being Consumed
8 Germany is Rescued from Death
9 The National Body is Being Poisoned
10 Sexual Threats
11 Purity
12 German Weakness

Responses to Weakness

14 Jewish Domination
15 Resisting Oppression
16 The Habsburg State
17 The Union of Austria and Germany
18 Sacrifice
19 Devotion to the Country
20 Union with the People
21 The Immortality of the Nations
22-a The Psychological Meaning of Hitler's Ideology: I
22-b The Psychological Meaning of Hitler's Ideology: II
23 The Enemy's Wish to Destroy Germany
24 War as a Struggle for the Nation's Existence
25 The Refusal to Capitulate
26 Germany Will not Disintegrate
27 "Protecting the Rear"
28 The Need for Territory
29 Summary: Motives for War
30 The Maintenance of the "Goodness" of the Nation
31-a The Psychological Structure of the Nationalist Ideology: I
31-b The Psychological Structure of the Nationalist Ideology: II