Adolf Hitler, the Child:
A Look at the Childhood Development of Adolf Hitler
GEN 505. Adult Human Development
Adolf Hitler, the Child
Adolf Hitler was dictator, murderer, and the Chancellor of the German Reich. Hitler used his position as Chancellor to act upon his own ideologies and biases. He led a nation into the murder of innocent Jewish people, seeing his actions as self-righteous. Hitler’s mental state can not easily be explained; nonetheless, we can examine his development into adulthood to attempt to comprehend his actions. This paper will attempt to understand Adolf Hitler’s violent actions by means of examining his life in relation to different childhood development stages; this is best understood using the development theories of Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalytic Theorist
According to Sigmund Freud, there is no randomness in the life of the mind (Koenigsberg 2004). A psychoanalytical theorist, he claimed all human beings are born with certain instincts. When we satisfy our basic needs, it becomes a source of pleasure, which Freud refers to as the “sexual” (Quigley 1998). Freud believed the sexual drive is awakened as early as a baby suckling at their mother’s breast. We can view Freud’s analysis by looking at his stages of human development. Oral, the first stage ranging from birth to one year, focuses on pleasurable sensations for the baby. An example of this type of sensation would be a mother nursing her baby. Freud believed a baby receives pleasure from the sucking when feeding. Conflict arises as the baby is weaned from the breast, thereby ending the pleasurable activity for them. Anal, the second stage, ranges from one to three years old, focuses on the child’s pleasure to the body, sexual curiosity, and toilet training. Freud viewed this as sadistic, because the child takes pleasure in expulsion. Ages three to six years make up the third stage called Phallic, which focuses on the male organ for stimulation and pleasure. The fourth stage, called Latency, extends from six to eleven years old, focuses less on physical pleasure, and more on their school work. The fifth stage, called Genital focuses back on the pleasure sensations as the adolescent seeks sexual satisfaction. Freud believed this stage lasted through adulthood. Eric Erickson, also a psychoanalyst expanded upon Freud’s stages, adding a social aspect to them. He believed children learned to be self-sufficient in activities such as walking, feeding, and exploring. Erikson believed children begin to learn who they are while starting to see the world around them. As they grow they show an interest in interacting with other children and developing their competencies. However, if they are not able to develop through these stages, they might not progress into mature adults. Background
Alois Schicklgruber, at the age of 39 changed his name to become Alois Hitler in an attempt to match his uncle’s name of Hiedler. Alois, widowed with 2 children, met and married Klara Polzl. Before Klara Hitler had given birth to Adolf, she gave birth to three children over several years with each ending in death. Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th, 1889 to Alois and Klara Hitler in the tiny Austrian town of Braunau Am Inn (Schwaab 1992 p12). Hitler’s mother lavished him with care; fearing she would lose him as she had the others. Klara was very preoccupied with her son, focusing all of her love and attention on him while turning her husband’s affections away. She nursed her son, allowing him to take and receive when he wanted, leading to an almost incest relationship. This is an example of Freud’s Oral stage, the pleasurable sensation a baby receives from the sucking and feeding. As he grew, his relationship with his mother continued to be extremely close. Freud thought a boy’s close relationship with his mother caused him to see his mother as a primary love object (Quigley...