Hitler's parkinsonism

Neurosurg Focus. 2015 Jul;39(1):E8. doi: 10.3171/2015.4.FOCUS1563.


Of the multitude of medical and psychiatric conditions ascribed to Hitler both in his lifetime and since his suicide in April 1945, few are more substantiated than parkinsonism. While the timeline of the development of this condition, as well as its etiology, are debated, there is clear evidence for classic manifestations of the disease, most prominently a resting tremor but also stooped posture, bradykinesia, micrographia, and masked facial expressions, with progression steadily seen over his final years. Though ultimately speculation, some have suggested that Hitler suffered from progressive cognitive and mood disturbances, possibly due to parkinsonism, that affected the course of events in the war. Here, the authors discuss Hitler's parkinsonism in the context of the Third Reich and its eventual destruction, maintaining that ultimately his disease had little effect on the end result.

Keywords: Hitler; Parkinson disease; World War II; parkinsonism.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Famous Persons*
  • Germany
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / history*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / psychology*
  • World War II*

Personal name as subject

  • Adolf Hitler