A couple of weeks ago—I don’t want to bother looking it up and linking to it because it’s too ugly—some of the presidential candidates had an incredible face-off deciding what they would do if they could go back in time to Adolph Hitler’s birth. It seemed each contender was trying to think up the most hideous thing they could do to that baby. They seemed to believe that the atrocities that he later caused to be perpetrated were built into that child at the moment of his birth, and that if they killed him the 20th century would have been a bliss-filled century.

At that time I mentioned in one of my discussion groups that if I had the power to go back to those times, and had such powers, I would choose to ease the demons that brought about those ugly acts. That discussion didn’t go anywhere, but later I thought I would look at Hitler through the psychological analytic tool called the ACE TEST (Adverse Childhood Experience test), and its derivative that I created, named the PCE TEST (Positive Childhood Experience test). Fortunately, there is available an excellent personality study done by his one and only friend, concerning the time when they were both sixteen years old to the age of twenty. This was a period of time when Hitler was still living at home, his personality had been formed, and he was cultivating his adult relationship to his world to come. His conversations with his friend have a dreamlike quality, populated with Germanic heroes and Wagnerian bombast that he presents as a continuous speech to his quiet and adoring, musically inclined friend.

The Young Hitler I Knew, by August Kubizek, is available at Amazon. During their late adolescence and young adulthood together they visited their small city Linz’s opera frequently and talked endlessly about Wagner, and art, and city architecture, while walking constantly about their Danube river locality, discussing its beauty and bridges. Then they roomed together for a year in Vienna, while Kubizek did well in the music conservatory, and Adolph wandered and studied the architecture of that great city. Hitler left and they never met again … until thirty-five years later when Kubizek received an invitation from the then Chancellor of Germany, his adolescent friend Adolph Hitler, to accompany him at the week-long Bayreuth Wagner Festival. This event was an extravagant dream for a small town bureaucrat and local music conductor, but it had become real life for his childhood friend.

Some strange counter-intuitive events came about in their years together; for example, when Kubizek was drafted into the Austrian military Hitler recommended that they abscond to a foreign country. Even with all of their Wagnerian bravado about battle and glory, young Adolph thought it was unacceptable to be drafted, as a German-speaking youth, into the Austrian army, even though that was the country of their birth and constant living. Another strange quality of Hitler’s was his constant concern for the underprivileged classes, and trying to develop ways for them to live better lives, and yet he refused to have any personal contact with them, and lived in abject poverty himself.

Hitler didn’t seem to have a high Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) score, and was apparently well treated by his middle-level Austrian bureaucrat father, and truly loved by his mother. He did well in his first few years of school, but dropped out before graduating. That proved a disaster because it prevented him from getting into art school or architecture school, and that was his fondest desire. He wanted to create monumental buildings and beautiful bridges, but couldn’t even get into school, because he lacked a common credential, even though he did have a spectacular portfolio of his drawings and a fabulous knowledge of architecture. His positive PCE score was probably quite high because he did have at least one person who supported him emotionally to the limit, and cultivated his ability to think spontaneously while under pressure and to present his new ideas verbally in a convincing way. This book will give you a much clearer view than the popular media of the most hated man of the 20th century.

Read this book if you have any strong positive or negative feelings about Hitler.