Evolutionary Heritage And Its Impression On Adolph Hitler

1613 words - 6 pages

Adolph Hitler is known as a man of great historical value. His doings during the Second World War have forever scarred the history of a nation and a planet. His contempt for the Jewish people and others who opposed him is notorious throughout the world for its brutal and inhumane application. Somewhere along the way this man grew to hate and abhor those around him. According to the evolutionary theory of personality, Hitler may not have had much choice in his character, which resulted in the man known as the administrator of pure evil.

One of the first things that contributes to Adolph Hitler's rather unique personality is his attachment to his mother and father. Attachment refers to seeking and sustaining proximity to another individual, and has functioned throughout human evolution to protect the infant from predators and to assure inclusive fitness. Infants start to build attachments within the first year of their life, forming an infant-caregiver bond. A secure versus insecure attachment can have a large effect on the individual's development (McAdams, 2002).

Hitler was raised by an overly doting mother, and a cold, dismissing father. His father was described as an "authoritarian, overbearing, domineering husband and a stern, distant, masterful, and often irritable father." He once feared he had beaten his son to death (McVay). His mother lost three children before the birth of Adolph, and one after him. Her concern for the well-being of her only two surviving children is well noted, and often described as smothering (Kershaw, 1998). Adolph's inconsistencies between his caregivers helped him develop what Ainsworth would call avoidant and resistant behaviors (McAdams, 2002).

The insecure attachment occurred for a young Hitler on a seemingly infinite continuum. The one extreme being the love and affection showed by his mother, the other the violence and neglect from his father. Hitler was faced with being overly secure in one situation, and being completely void of security in the next. The void of security left a feeling of abandonment in Hitler as a child. Desertion, or abandonment, has been found to be one of the most psychologically excruciating experiences human beings can endure, and is deeply rooted in the evolutionary fact that parental abandonment usually meant death for the infant. This period of abandonment will cause the infant to go through stages of angry protest, despair and sadness, and finally detachment (McAdams, 2002). Hitler provides evidence for these "stages of mourning" in his fireside monologues in the 1940's saying "he did not love his father, but instead feared him all the more (Kershaw, 1998)." Hitler had completed Bowlby's stages of mourning as stated in McAdams (2002), and had lost all sense of attachment to his absconding father. The young boy was deprived of affiliative needs by his father, who did not complete the requirements of socializer or playmate, in which cognitive and social stimulation could...

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