Paperback / softback
May 19, 2003
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.75 Pounds (US)
$35.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

The Roots of Nazi Psychology

Hitler's Utopian Barbarism

" Was Hitler a moral aberration or a man of his people? This topic has been hotly argued in recent years, and now Jay Gonen brings new answers to the debate using a psychohistorical perspective, contending that Hitler reflected the psyche of many Germans of his time. Like any charismatic leader, Hitler was an expert scanner of the Zeitgeist. He possessed an uncanny ability to read the masses correctly and guide them with ""new"" ideas that were merely reflections of what the people already believed. Gonen argues that Hitler's notions grew from the general fabric of German culture in the years following World War I. Basing his work in the role of ideologies in group psychology, Gonen exposes the psychological underpinnings of Nazi Germany's desire to expand its living space and exterminate Jews. Hitler responded to the nation's group fantasy of renewing a Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. He presented the utopian ideal of one large state, where the nation represented one extended family. In reality, however, he desired the triumph of automatism and totalitarian practices that would preempt family autonomy and private action. Such a regimented state would become a war machine, designed to breed infantile soldiers brainwashed for sacrifice. To achieve that aim, he unleashed barbaric forces whose utopian features were the very aspects of the state that made it most cruel.


"Basing his work in the role of ideologies in group psychology, Gonen exposes the psychological underpinnings of Nazi Germany's desire to expand its living space and exterminate Jews."—Bulletin of the Arnold and Leona Institute of Holocaust Research

"In the search to understand the genocidal mind, Gonen's book is a major step."—Clio's Psyche

"His may be in perfect case study for those in Washington and London convinced that they are all that stands between the frail blossom of civilization and the icy breath of barbarism."—H-Net Reviews

"Gonen makes a major contribution to understanding the destructive power of messianism, utopianism, apocalyptic ideology, and barbarism—phenomena that, in addition to scapgoating, the civilizing process must master if there are to be no more holocausts."—Journal of Psychohistory

"Traces the psychological currents flowing through the national character that allowed Hitler to promise German dominance and rebirth—the public fantasy of renewing the Holy Roman Empire."—McCormick (SC) Messenger

"Argues that German myth and history fostered 'shared group fantasies' of Jewish treachery."—Newsweek

"A very serious inquiry into the many ideas—some rational and intelligible, others illogical and crackpot—that helped shape Hitler's weird ideology."—NYMAS Newsletter

"Compellingly written and blessedly free of social science jargon."—Publishers Weekly

"No amount of patient scholarly probing of Hitlerism can render this grim piece of political pathology intelligible without empathic insight into the deeper workings of mass psychology and the quasi magical force of Hitler's message of national danger, deliverance and death. Gonen brings just such insight to this task in The Roots of Nazi Psychology , which for all his modest disclaimers, will leave reader after reader with the sense of a mystery solved."—Rudolph Binion

"A well-written, even brilliant psychohistorical analysis that will prompt a great deal of discussion."—Saul Friedman

"Presents an interesting and insightful case that makes the popular support for Hitler and the National Socialists more intelligible. . . . This book deserves a broad audience."—The Historian

"Nobody has succeeded as well as Gonen in proving by ideological analysis as well as by psychological and historical arguments that the logic of Hitler's world view would necessarily culminate in the Holocaust with all of its terrible consequences."—Utopian Studies

University Press of Kentucky

9780813190464 : the-roots-of-nazi-psychology-gonen
Paperback / softback
240 Pages
$35.00 USD

Other Titles in HISTORY / Europe / Germany

De-Centering History Education

Nicole Schwabe
May 2021 - University of New Orleans Press
$21.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Taking Nazi Technology

Douglas M. O'Reagan
Mar 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Communist Pigs

Thomas Fleischman
Jun 2020 - University of Washington Press
$40.00 USD - Hardback