A useful introduction to the roots of Hitler's ideas concerning the Jews and the German people, combined with a reductionist
analysis of the psychology of the F?hrer and the German masses.
Gonen (A Psychohistory of Zionism, not reviewed) is most informative when delving into the roots of Hitler's "leadership
principle" or speculating on the biological origins of Nazi anti-Semitism. He stumbles badly, however, in supplying a number
of dubious psychoanalyses of the dictator and those who followed him. He argues, for instance, that Hitler's advocacy of
Lebensraum for the German nation in a 1937 speech actually reflected his doubts that he could achieve such a goal. But the
excerpt from the speech that Gonen quotes doesn't reflect such misgivings at all, leading Gonen to engage in some psychological
double-talk: "the denial of any doubts smacked too much of an affirmation through negation, that is, betraying the deeply hidden
doubts by allowing the subject to be only mentioned within the context of total denial." Statements such as these can neither be
proved nor refuted, and they depend totally upon the reader's trust in the author to adduce what is "deeply hidden." Gonen also
makes the highly dubious claim that the "physical genocide [of the Jews] reflected also an internal psychological self-immolation"
on the part of their German persecutors—as if Eichmann and other engineers of the Final Solution suffered from "psychological
self-immolation." Finally, Gonen writes about Germans in an undifferentiated, ahistorical way, maintaining that "the ideology
of death to the Jews but life to the Germans did not put the German self in conflict with its past beliefs." This assertion seems
historically false, given nongenocidal nature of most of pre-Nazi German anti-Semitism—as well as the opposition of small but
significant numbers of German gentiles to the Nazi program.
In short, the internal psychological dynamics of Nazism deserve a more nuanced, historically grounded treatment that is