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The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

Hermann Goring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII by Jack El-Hai

10:56am, September 6, 2013

On New Year’s Day in 1958, after a screaming fight with his wife, U.S. Army psychiatrist Douglas Kelley grabbed a poison pill from his study, shoved it into his mouth and swallowed.

So begins journalist El-Hai’s investigation into the mind of the man who sought to understand the minds of Nazis. At World War II’s close, Kelley, head of psychiatric services at a military hospital, was given a new task: preserving the mental health of Nazi leaders awaiting trial.

To this task Kelley tacked on a secret mission. He wanted to ferret out what made these men tick — to find some mental seed shared by the criminals. What he found haunted him: Nazi leaders were not insane or even unusual. After months of psychological testing, Kelley determined that the Nazis shared two traits: They were goal driven and tireless workaholics. “Their like could

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