Dr. Walter C. Langer, 82, a psychoanalyst who wrote a psychological study of Adolf Hitler for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II that became a best-seller when it was commercially in 1972, died July 4 in Sarasota, Fla.The cause of death was not reported.
Dr. Langer's profile, written in 1943, concluded that Hitler was "probably a neurotic psychopath bordering on schizophrenia." Dr. Langer accurately predicted that as Germany began to lose the war, Hitler would "become more and more neurotic" and probably take his own life.
When Dr. Langer's work was published in 1972 as "The Mind of Adolf Hitler," it received mixed reviews. It was hailed as a seminal work in combining history and psychology by historians of the behavioral school, and attacked by more traditional historians as being of little practical use and based of Dr. Langer's brothers, the late Harvard diplomatic historian Dr. William L. Langer, was a high official in the OSS and later in the CIA. It was he who introduced his brother to OSS Director William (Wild Bill) Donovank convincing Donovan of the need for psychoanolytic profiles of enemy leaders during the war.
Before the outbreak of the war, the Langer brothers had planned to write a diplomatic history of Europe using psychoanalytic tools and approaches. They never published their work. (Another brother, the late Rudolph E. Langer, was chairman of the mathematics department at the University of Wisconsin).
Dr. Walter Langer was a native of Boston and served with the Army in France during World War I. He was a 1923 graduate of Harvard University, later earning his master's and doctoral degrees there.
In the 1930s, he studied psycholanalysis in Vienna, where he was analysed by Anna Freud, the daughter of the discipline's greatest name, Dr. Sigmund Freud. Dr. Langer studied with Sigmund Freud and helped him escape from Vienna to London in 1938.
Dr. Langer practiced psychoanalysis from the late 1930s until retiring about 1960.
Survivors include his wife, Frances.