hatred for those responsible for this deed I, for my part, decided to go into politics." -Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf (22)
"In no future war will the military be able to ignore poison gas. It is a higher form of killing." -Professor Fritz Haber, pioneer of gas warfare - who got his start through BASF - or receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1919 (23)
Hitler was temporarily blinded by British mustard gas in 1918 - a gas introduced by BASF chemist Fritz Haber the year before. (24) Hitler's prolonged blindness and poisoning - just as the war ended - must have had a profound effect on his outlook and world-view. Some said the experience "helped determine him to avenge the German Defeat." (25)
And while we're on the topic of common harsh chemicals and their effects on young Adolph's psyche, one other episode is worth recalling. Some historians have tried to explain Hitler's pathological hatred for Jews by pointing to the painful death Hitler's mother experienced at the hands of a Jewish Doctor back in 1907 who might have used too much "Iodoform" - a powerful chemical antiseptic - to fight her breast cancer. (26)
With an open mind, one could blame Hitler's mother's agony on the Doctor's faith in harsh chemicals more easily than on his faith in the Old Testament. An open mind, of course, was one thing Hitler was never known for.
(25) "A Higher Form of Killing," p. 32
(26) Toyland, John, "Adolf Hitler," 1976, Random House, p. 63. See also Rosenbaum, Ron, "Explaining Hitler," 1998, Random House, pp. 243-249