The first were the simple, undivided natures, usually people without particular intelligence or finesse. These people were full of slogans and formulae from newspapers and magazines, of quotations from Hitler's speeches, Goebbels's articles and the books of Franck and Rosenberg. Without solid ground under their feet, they were lost [...] Like schoolchildren, they got together in little groups to mug up on Mein Kampf and to make precis of pamphlets and articles [...]
The second category were the intelligent cynics [...] In the company of friends they trusted, they were ready to laugh at most things - the ignorance of newly appointed lecturers and professors, the stupidity and lax morals of Leiters and Gauleiters. The only things they never laughed at were grand ideals and the Fuehrer himself. These men usually drank a lot and lived more expansively. They were to be met with most frequently on the higher rungs of the Party hierarchy; the lower rungs were usually occupied by men of the first category.
The men of the third category usually held sway at the very top of the hierarchy. There was only room for nine or ten of them, and they admitted perhaps another fifteen or twenty to their gatherings. Here there were no dogmas. Here everything could be discussed freely. Here were no ideals, nothing but serenity, mathematics and the pitilessness of these great masters [...]
The fourth category were the executives, people who were indifferent to dogma, ideas and philosophy and equally lacking in an analytic ability. National Socialism paid them and they served it. Their only real passion was for dinner-services, suits, country houses, jewels, furniture, cars and refrigerators. They were less fond of money as they never fully believed in its utility [...]
What Liss found most terrifying about Adolf Hitler was that he seemed to be made up of an inconceivable fusion of opposites. He was the master of masters, he was the great mechanic, his mathematical cruelty was more refined than all of his closest lieutenants taken together. And at the same time, he was possessed by a dogmatic frenzy, a blindly fanatical faith, a bullish illogicality that Liss had only met with at the very lowest, almost subterranean, levels of the Party. The high priest, the creator of the magic wand, was also one of the faithful, a mindless, frenzied follower.
Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate, 1959
Who is of course not only writing about A.H.