"There was no medical reason for Hitler's second blindness and Dr. Forster reinforced in his initial conclusion that his patient was definitely 'a psychopath with hysterical symptoms.' Hitler, however, was convinced he was permanently blind."
In today's excerpt - in 1918, after one final military assault that fails, Germany is defeated. Young Adolf Hitler, blind after a mustard gas attack, and humiliated after the Fatherland's defeat, vows to enter politics. His entry is part of a wave that carries Europe from royalty to revolution - sweeping aside those kings and emperors that had carried Europe into the unprecedented carnage of a pointless war:
"Throughout Europe royalty was clinging to hollow power. From the untitled masses were emerging men like Hitler who would come to wield the substance of power, men of common and often vulgar beginnings, riding the relentless wave of popular revolt against a war which had demanded sacrifices for goals no one could define.
"As the train took Hitler to a hospital in the Pomeranian town of Pasewalk, his own pain and despair obliterated any such aspiration, but after several weeks of medical treatment be began to regain his sight.
"Sight also brought Hitler hope and renewed interest in the events of the day. Berlin itself was in a state of virtual siege as the new Chancellor urged the Kaiser to abdicate so that an armistice could be signed.
"The shame of Germany's surrender on November 11 in the forest of Compiegne overwhelmed him. Life seemed unbearable, but that night, or the next, Hitler was abruptly delivered from his misery, as he lay in despair on his cot, by a 'supernatural vision' (perhaps deliberately induced Dr. Forster). Like St. Joan, he heard voices summoning him to save Germany. All at once 'a miracle came to pass' - the darkness encompassing Hitler evaporated. He could see again! He solemnly vowed, as promised, that be would 'become a politician and devote his energies to carrying out the command he had received.' "
Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography
by John Toland by Anchor
Read more at campaign.r20.constantcontact.com
Delanceyplace is a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, mainly works of history, are occasionally controversial, and we hope will have a more universal relevance than simply the subject of the book from which they came.
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