Portrait of the Führer as a dreamer with a complex about his sexuality

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Adolf Hitler had a feminine side: a romantic dreamer who loved painting ruined castles, he saw himself as the hero and author of his own great epic story. He was also deeply confused about his sexuality.

Adolf Hitler had a feminine side: a romantic dreamer who loved painting ruined castles, he saw himself as the hero and author of his own great epic story. He was also deeply confused about his sexuality.

A previously unseen psychological profile, compiled as the Third Reich approached collapse in 1943, has concluded that the Führer's loathing of his own perceived weaknesses was to blame for his murderous megalomania.

The report, which emerged this month at the Cornell University Law Library, has sent a wave of excitement through scholars of the Nazi period. It coincides with the release today in British cinemas of the powerful new film Downfall that details Hitler's desperate final days in his Berlin bunker.

Written by Henry Murray, a prominent personality specialist at Harvard University in the middle of the past century, it seeks to explain, through the use of existing texts, the motivation for Hitler's behaviour.

Among the conclusions, based partly on the use of metaphors in his book Mein Kampf, other writings and biographies, is that Hitler was unable to come to terms with his complex sexuality. According to Mr Murray, being caught in a sexual encounter with a girl of 12 left the future dictator with syphilophobia - a morbid fear of contaminating the blood through contact with a woman. He was also deeply scarred from seeing his three-times married, highly promiscuous and illegitimate father having sex with his mother.

Confusing sexuality, which he considered "exceedingly filthy", with the act of excretion, Hitler was both impotent and a "fully fledged masochist". But his inability to consummate the sex act left him with "exorbitant cravings for superiority".

To further complicate matters, the Führer may also have been homosexual as well. According to Mr Murray he found himself in awe of strong homosexual characters. His recurring nightmares were reminiscent of "homosexual panic", argues Mr Murray. While on one hand he had an "Oedipal complex", he was also beaten by his sadistic father, a man whom he both idolised and loathed.

The 1943 profile was commissioned by the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency. It had been assumed that the OSS only commissioned one study of Hitler's mind - a wartime report by Walter Langer.

Mr Murray paid particular attention to Hitler's childhood. He believed that if he could understand the make-up of the leader then he could appreciate the psyche of the German population that had fallen under his spell. He wrote: "Hitler's unprecedented appeal, the elevation of this man to the status of a demi-god, can be explained only on the hypothesis that he and his ideology have almost exactly met the needs, longings and sentiments of the German people."

Describing Hitler's early life, he wrote: "Hitler has many weaknesses. There is a large feminine component to his constitution. As a child he was frail and sickly, emotionally dependent on his mother. He never did any manual work, never engaged in athletics, was turned down as forever unfit for conscription in the Austrian army."

When he finally joined up he was "outwardly submissive and later annoyingly subservient" to senior officers. His experiences in the war left him with a severe neurosis and hysterical blindness.

But while Hitler was a "hive of secret neurotic compunctions and feminine sentimentalities" there was also a deep strain of creativeness. He loved painting temples and castles, though he preferred to depict them in ruins - symbolising his love of destruction. Unlike other politicians, he saw himself as a Romantic artist and even dreamed of retiring after he had achieved world domination to paint quietly.

Reviewers admit that Hitler's troubled personality oozes from the closely typed pages of the manuscript.

Among the final recommendations are how the Allies should handle Hitler if he were to be captured. He recommends secretly filming and recording him in his cell to convince his followers once and for all that he was insane. Among the names suggested to give him when talking to his defeated countrymen are False Prophet or False Messiah then Corporal Satan or World Criminal No 1.

Mr Murray also foresees that he will fight to the bitter end. "There is a powerful compulsion in him to sacrifice himself and all of Germany to the revengeful annihilation of Western culture, to die, dragging all of Europe with him into the abyss," Mr Murray wrote. Of the final chapter to Hitler's tragedy, one outcome he envisages is suicide - which in the end proved the preferred exit for the defeated Führer.