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April 25, 1994

Giant Cell Arteritis and Hitler

Author Affiliations

Freiburg, Germany

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(8):930-931. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420080140018

The publication by Fritz C. Redlich1 recalls to mind one of the most terrible figures in the history of mankind, the diabolic dictator and instigator of the hell of World War II. Adolf Hitler—the man whose fanaticism, racial prejudices, and National Socialism inflicted disaster on so many people.

Redlich argued that from 1942 until Hitler's suicide in 1945 he may well have suffered from temporal arteritis. In support of this argument, he mentions symptoms of headache, disturbance of vision, hypersensitivity to pressure in the supraorbital and temporal regions, severely swollen temporal arteries, fever, mild anemia, cardiac symptoms, and a raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate. This author concluded, certainly with justification, that neither the previously suspected diagnosis of parkinsonism nor his own suggestion of temporal arteritis could possibly be regarded as excuses for Hitler's appalling conduct and criminal activities.

With regard to the differential diagnosis, my own opinion is that Hitler

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