Date of Award


Document Type

Research Project

First Advisor



In the first section of this thesis, these early psychoanalytic accounts of Hitler’s development will be considered in depth. Specifically, I will elaborate more fully on the case studies of Hitler prepared by Langer and Murray, as well as Erik Erikson’s analysis of German fascism. In the second section, I will proceed to discuss “Pure Evil” as an alternative explanation for human misbehavior, including the malevolence of Hitler. I will then describe an original study that considers the role played by a Belief in Pure Evil (BPE) in college students' response to (a) a proposed miniseries that presumably humanizes Hitler, and (b) various psychological accounts of Hitler’s development. Paradoxically, appeals to Evil as an explanatory construct may obscure awareness of the very conditions that allow Evil to flourish.



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