4 eerily accurate things the OSS predicted about Hitler during WWII
The Office of Strategic Services, the United States’ intelligence and special warfare section and precursor to the modern Central Intelligence Agency, was founded in 1942. President Franklin Roosevelt was concerned about American intelligence capabilities, because before the OSS, there was no overall agency dedicated to intelligence, code-breaking, or special operations.
Considering its short life span and how fast it was able to ramp up its operations, the OSS was wildly successful. One of the first things they did was commission psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer to create a complete analysis of German Führer Adolph Hitler, his mind, and his possible behaviors. When Langer released the report in 1943, it delivered some stunning and prescient revelations.
Langer wasn’t just some stuffy professor from Harvard, though he was Harvard-educated. He was the son of German parents who moved to the United States, where he was born. Langer served in World War I. He would later study analysis under Anna Freud in Germany, and was present when the Nazis took power. He saw the effect the rise of Hitler had on the civilian populations of Germany and Austria.
Needless to say, once war broke out between the U.S. and Germany, Langer was uniquely qualified to author an analysis on a man the American intelligence community had never met, and who was shrouded behind a veil of propaganda.
These days, it’s actually very common for the U.S. government to draw up psychological profiles of world leaders, especially those who are ideologically against American interests. How accurate those have been is for a different story, but Langer’s profile of Hitler made a few profound predictions that later turned out to be accurate.
Here are 4 eerily accurate things the OSS predicted about Hitler in the middle of WWII
1. He would stop appearing in public as the war turned against him.
Letting your population get bombed every night isn’t a good look for the man who’s supposedly leading the “master race.” As Hitler took on more and more responsibility for the direction of the war, it began to wear on his mental and physical health.
Langer predicted this would result in more and more frequent emotional outbursts and that Hitler himself would stop wanting to be seen in public, lest an angry audience turn against him or become critical of his leadership. Hitler would only make eight public speeches after 1943.
2. German aristocrats would try to assassinate him.
It was hard to argue with Hitler at the start of the war. The Nazi blitzkrieg had conquered most of Western Europe. When you’re winning, no one is going to question your judgement. After the war on the Eastern Front began to turn against him, however, he took more direct command, and the result was disastrous for Germany. Hitler could not be dissuaded from intervening.
German officers, mostly aristocracy, took a lot of pride in their ability to win battles and wars, and with Hitler preventing that, the war turned against them and their egos. Historians have uncovered at least 42 separate assassination attempts against him.
3. He would never surrender.
Hitler wasn’t just out to win a world war, he was out to wreak havoc and exact vengeance on the world, or so says Dr. Langer. With that in mind, there was no way he would surrender, capitulate or otherwise sue for peace with the Allies. His ego would never have allowed it, which was okay by the Allies, who demanded an unconditional surrender anyway.
4. Hitler would commit suicide if he lost the war.
Langer, like many psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and other mental experts, believed there was something wrong with Hitler. They remotely diagnosed him with everything from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder. Langer believed Hitler was a neurotic psychopath bordering on schizophrenia.
He also predicted that Hitler was a weakling, masquerading as a bully, and that his Fuhrer persona was a means of self-preservation. If that persona was shattered by defeat in the war, Langer predicted, Hitler would commit suicide rather than be proven wrong.