Thesis Title

Adolf Eichmann: a Reappraisal

Date of Graduation

Spring 1984

Degree

Master of Arts in History

Department

History

Committee Chair

Meridith Adams

Subject Categories

History

Abstract

The purpose of this reappraisal of Adolf Eichmann's character and career is to challenge Hannah Arendt's personification of Adolf Eichmann as a banal bureaucrat, which was presented in her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Since the publication of her book in 1963 there have been writers who have accepted her characterization of Eichmann as simple, obedient man just doing his job as the prototype for all modern day bureaucrats. A psychologist, Stanley Milgram of Yale University, based extensive research upon her premise that a normal man can be corrupted by a sinister system. Both Arendt and Milgram believed the totalitarian system of Nazi Germany was responsible for the moral corruption of its citizens whose only fault was their willingness to obey superior authority. This reappraisal is not based upon new material. Rather, it is founded upon evidence which has been either ignored or dismissed by those who have accepted Arendt's analysis of Eichmann's character. While there have been other writers who have faulted Arendt's thesis, they have not utilized the published psychiatric report of Adolf Eichmann written by Dr. I.S. Kulcsar, the court appointed psychiatrist who examined Eichmann before his trial. This psychohistorical analysis of Adolf Eichmann's personality and career is based upon Dr. Kulcsar's report and the opinions of other psychological experts who have evaluated Eichmann's psychological tests. I have also applied the theories of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm and several other noted twentieth century psychoanalysts to expand upon Dr. Kulcsar's diagnosis. I have also applied the classification methods of the American Psychiatric Association to define Eichmann's personality in contemporary term. This reappraisal of Eichmann's character proposes that he had a deviant personality structure and, therefore, developed a symbiotic relationship with the Nazi Party, rather than being a creation of the Party.

Copyright

© Lue Anne Christensen

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