Myth: Nazi Leaders Were of Average Intelligence

Russel Stolfi, professor emeritus at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and retired colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve wrote in his book “Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny” boldly stated:

Virtually every literary piece written about Adolf Hitler in more than half a century since 1945 has been based on antipathy [towards Hitler].

Unfortunately, exactly the same can be said about just about everything written about just about every prominent Nazi politician, statesman or official. Which gave rise to an, alas, very popular myth spread by just about every “mainstream” book on Nazi Germany.

The reality was radically different. IQ tests administered by the psychologists hired by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg right before the (in)famous trial clearly demonstrated that only one defendant – Julius Streicher was of average intelligence.

Two defendants – Fritz Sauckel and Ernst Kaltenbrunner – were of a “superior intelligence; two – Hjalmar Schacht and Arthur Seyss-Inquart were “genius or near genius”; and all others – of “very superior intelligence” (see table):




Schacht, Hjalmar 143 Genius or near genius
Seyss-Inquart, Arthur 141 Genius or near genius
Dönitz, Karl 138 Very superior intelligence
Göring, Hermann 138 Very superior intelligence
Papen, Franz von 134 Very superior intelligence
Raeder, Erich 134 Very superior intelligence
Frank, Hans 130 Very superior intelligence
Fritzsche, Hans 130 Very superior intelligence
Schirach, Baldur von 130 Very superior intelligence
Keitel, Wilhelm 129 Very superior intelligence
Ribbentrop, Joachim von 129 Very superior intelligence
Speer, Albert 128 Very superior intelligence
Jodl, Alfred 127 Very superior intelligence
Rosenberg, Alfred 127 Very superior intelligence
Neurath, Konstantin von 125 Very superior intelligence
Frick, Wilhelm 124 Very superior intelligence
Funk, Walther 124 Very superior intelligence
Hess, Rudolf 120 Very superior intelligence
Sauckel, Fritz 118 Superior intelligence
Kaltenbrunner, Ernst 113 Superior intelligence
Streicher, Julius 106 Average intelligence

Obviously, a smart criminal is still a criminal and even very smart people can make terrible mistakes (blunders, even), but still Nazi Leaders were no mediocrities. And, by the way, more than half participants of the infamous Wannsee Conference had PhDs (as did many of the Einsatzgruppen commanders). So they were no mediocrities either.

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