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August 7, 1948

The Case of Rudolf Hess: A Problem in Diagnosis and Forensic Psychiatry

JAMA. 1948;137(15):1347. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890490075049

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The eight British and American psychiatrists who studied Rudolf Hess from 1941 to 1946 make available here their observations of this extraordinary character. Obviously the egomaniac was happy to know that he was of such importance, but where he now is, pleasure in this volume is probably exceedingly slight. In his letter that accompanies the book, written on Sept. 17, 1946, he takes it for granted that the experts who examined him did so by compulsion and that their attitude toward him was a crime. The experts incline to the conclusion that Rudolf Hess was a case of schizophrenia of a paranoid type Yet they recognize that a study of the structure and dynamics of his total personality made difficult any simple label. The whole story of Hess is told in this quotation: "...he appears as a self-centered, shy, shut-in, authistic personality, submissive but antagonistic to his father in early