Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War

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Freud began work on the 'Project' in the late summer of in a rush of creativity following one of his 'congresses' with Fliess.

Hate and the ‘Jewish Science’: Anti-Semitism, Nazism and Psychoanalysis (Book Review)

His ambition was to set out a psychology firmly grounded in neurology and biology, which he referred to as his 'Psychology for neurologists'. Freud likened the task to an exhausting but exhilarating mountain climb, during which more peaks to be conquered kept appearing. Exhilaration soon gave way to frustration and dejection however, and by November he wrote to Fliess that he could 'no longer understand the mental state in which I hatched the Psychology' Freud , Project for a scientific psychology, , The undeniably abstruse draft survives only among Fliess's papers, and Freud makes no mention of this momentous effort in his autobiographical accounts.

It was published posthumously in English in , four years after publication in German, having been rescued from Fliess's papers by Marie Bonaparte following his death in , and edited by James Strachey Standard Edition , vol. As Strachey points out in his editor's introduction Freud clearly regarded this ostensibly neurological work as a failure. Although it cannot be said to constitute the foundation of psychoanalytic theory as such, it contained the seeds of many ideas elaborated in his later psychological writings, for example drive theory, repression, and an economy of mind based on mental conflict.

Freud's friendship with Fliess was destined to collapse amid recriminations, with Fliess alleging that Freud had appropriated his ideas on inherent bisexuality without acknowledgement. Ten years later Freud's friendship with Jung was also to end acrimoniously, with Jung's questioning of the sexual origins of neurosis at the centre of the dispute.

Long before the split with Jung , and in the period preceding his violent quarrel with Fliess in , Freud reflected on the nature of his relationships to contemporaries, which he linked to his intensely ambivalent attachment to his nephew John , who had moved to England when Freud was three. My emotional life has always insisted that I should have an intimate friend and a hated enemy.

Hate and the ‘Jewish Science’: Anti-Semitism, Nazism and Psychoanalysis (Book Review)

I have always been able to provide myself afresh with both, and it has not infrequently happened that the ideal situation of childhood has been so completely reproduced that friend and enemy have come together in a single individual—though not, of course, both at once or with constant oscillations, as may have been the case in my early childhood. Fortunately for Freud this easily discernible pattern of turbulent relationships prone to eventual breakdown was restricted to close male colleagues.

His family relationships and other friendships were contrastingly consistent and loyal. It was no coincidence that the professional disagreements which caused these intimate friendships to break down were concerned with Freud's insistence on the centrality of sexuality. Sexuality represented to Freud the direct and essential instinctual link between psychology and biology, without which he would find himself caught up in the dichotomy of mind and body which he was desperate to avoid. Later in his career Freud recalled the s as years in an intellectual wilderness.

His papers on hysteria had not won the respect of the medical establishment and he was aware of his Jewishness in that largely Catholic milieu. In addition Freud had confessed his own surprise that 'the case histories I write should read like short stories and that, as one might say, they lack the serious stamp of science' Standard Edition , 2. Until the late s Freud's observations of the infantile and sexual origins of hysteria had led him to believe, through listening to his patients' accounts, that his patients had fallen ill as a result of childhood sexual abuse by adults.

In he modified this theory of actual childhood seduction and proposed instead that these accounts were often derived from infantile sexual fantasies and therefore belonged in the realm of the patient's own psychic reality and were not, as he had previously thought, necessarily objective facts. To Freud children were no longer assumed to be innocents in a world of adult sexuality: they possessed sexual feelings and wishes of their own which were liable to repression, elaboration, and distortion during development.

This shift in Freud's thinking has proved enduringly controversial. Critics have argued that patients' experiences have been denied through their reassignment by Freud to subjective reality and that he changed tack in this way only because he shied away from alienating bourgeois Vienna by reporting widespread sexual abuse in its families. In fact, Freud never denied the reality of child sexual abuse, and it was his attribution of sexual feelings to children which most shocked his contemporaries.

Freud was not to be deterred from his line of enquiry. Indeed the cynicism of his medical contemporaries and outrage from members of the wider public seem to have acted as a spur to new vistas opening up. In addition to setting the scene for the detailed exposition of human development, for example in the later Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie 'Three essays on the theory of sexuality' , , the recasting of the aetiology of hysteria in the light of childhood sexuality paved the way to a more general understanding of the role of impulse and desire in the human mind, rendered unconscious through repression.

With the publication of Die Traumdeutung in Freud decisively challenged the accepted limits of scientific psychology, by bringing mental phenomena generally considered beyond the pale, such as dreams, imagination, and fantasy, into the fold. The leitmotif which runs throughout the book is that dreams represent the disguised fulfilment of repressed infantile wishes and that as such 'the interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind' Freud , Interpretation , Freud stated at the outset that his theory of dreams was generally applicable and not restricted to neurotic patients.

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Indeed, his curiosity about the nature of dreams had been aroused during his self-analysis and the bulk of the illustrative material was trawled from his own dreams and autobiographical material, along with dreams of friends and children. It was in The Interpretation of Dreams that Freud , drawing characteristically on his classical schooling, introduced the Oedipus complex, which asserts the universal desire of a child for the parent of the opposite sex and consequent hatred of the parent of the same sex, which must be resolved through repression in order for normal development to proceed.

Although sales were slow and a second edition was not needed until , Freud's explorations of normal psychological functioning did stimulate interest in a wider public. At the time of writing his dream book Freud was planning other studies of normal psychological processes which would none the less plumb the depths of the psyche, namely Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens 'The psychopathology of everyday life' , , which explored the unconscious meaning of everyday slips of the tongue and bungled actions, and Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten 'Jokes and their relation to the unconscious' , for which he drew on his repertoire of 'profound Jewish stories'.

The early years of the century also saw the publication of the first of five substantial case histories which read rather like novellas, the case of Dora , under the title Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria []. The most important insight from the analysis of Dora , which broke down when the young woman left, came to Freud with hindsight.

In a postscript, Freud reviews the analysis in the light of transference. The phenomenon of transference, whereby any individual's experience of early relationships is the blueprint for later relationships, had already been discussed in the Studies on Hysteria in terms of an unconscious false connection on the part of the patient between the physician and some earlier figure. Now, reflecting on Dora's inability to continue with her analysis, Freud became aware of the implications of the understanding of transference as a key factor in the therapeutic process of psychoanalysis: 'Transference, which seems ordained to be the greatest obstacle to psychoanalysis, becomes its most powerful ally, if its presence can be detected each time and explained to the patient' Standard Edition , 7.

During this period Freud's home life remained settled.


As his financial situation improved he was able to indulge his two great interests: Mediterranean travel and collecting antiquities, another natural consequence of a youth steeped in the classics. He also found time to follow the exciting archaeological discoveries being made at the time, and often cited archaeological excavation as a metaphor for psychoanalytic work, with its interest in painstakingly uncovering hidden layers and origins. In Freud made the first trip to England since his inspirational visit aged nineteen. He spent a fortnight visiting Manchester relatives who showed him Blackpool and Southport before he departed for London.

He returned full of praise for the architecture and people, having seen the Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum. It was not until the hasty move to London in that Freud once again found himself in his childhood dreamland. Freud's interests beyond the consulting room and the application of psychoanalytic theory to new areas became increasingly apparent in his writings in the years preceding the First World War. In Totem und Tabu 'Totem and taboo' , , Freud applied psychoanalysis to anthropological material for the first time.

As a privat-docent and from a professor extraordinarius Freud was entitled to lecture at Vienna University. These lectures attracted a small group of followers composed of both laymen and doctors. From onwards they met as the Wednesday Psychological Society , which evolved into the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society in In the meantime, to his great satisfaction, Freud's reputation began to spread beyond Vienna and he began to attract interest from foreigners, among them the well-known psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler and his young assistant Carl Jung.

The spread of psychoanalysis gained momentum and new societies were formed on the model of the Viennese. An international association was established in , uniting the various groups and promising a structure which Freud hoped would facilitate the perpetuation of psychoanalysis through training. Disagreements led to defection by some members, most significantly by Alfred Adler and Jung , whom Freud had thought of as his successor. Although the committee met into the s, its conspiratorial air set an unfortunate tone for the future functioning and reputation of the profession. Inevitably the First World War interrupted Freud's well-established working routine. His three sons, Martin , Ernst father of the writer and broadcaster Clement Freud and the painter Lucian Freud , and Oliver were all in active service and the real possibility of losses within the family had to be faced. Patients stopped coming, and the international psychoanalytical movement's activities came to a halt. Freud was left more time for private study, which proved very productive.

Dealing with five fundamental themes of psychoanalysis they are 'On narcissism' , 'Instincts and their vicissitudes' , 'Repression' all , 'The unconscious' , and 'Mourning and melancholia' both Freud went far beyond summing up his theories as they stood in these highly technical papers. In addition to containing new ideas they also hint at numerous revisions which would preoccupy him during the last phase of his career.

By the end of the First World War, Vienna—no longer at the centre of an empire—had become merely the capital of a small, impoverished country. After resuming his private practice Freud took on several British and American patients who proved a useful source of hard currency as a safeguard against soaring inflation.

The most serious British interest in Freud came from the members of the Bloomsbury group , in keeping with their characteristic receptiveness to progressive European ideas. Frances Partridge , who lodged with the Stracheys in Gordon Square during their early years as practising analysts, recalled how psychoanalysis was very much part of the Bloomsbury scene, and that she would often recognize patients as they arrived at the house for their sessions. Introductions, through Ernest Jones , were eased by the fact that Freud admired the work of James's older brother, Lytton Strachey.

Freud took James Strachey into analysis on condition that he begin translating his writings into English. Translating Freud , culminating with the publication of the complete works in twenty-four volumes by Virginia and Leonard Woolf's Hogarth Press , was to occupy Strachey for the rest of his life, and remains the standard text for the extensive scholarship on Freud in English, and for psychoanalysts without German.

The Strachey translation has been criticized for its recourse to dry scientific neologisms where Freud made use of plain German. For example, Strachey's term 'cathexis', now well established as a psychoanalytic term, takes the place of Freud's 'Besetzung', a common German word with rich nuances of meaning.

The first international congress following the war was held at The Hague in , which Freud attended in the company of his youngest daughter, Anna , the only one of his children to take an active interest in psychoanalysis, who was now training as an analyst herself and in analysis with her own father. Freud's three sons had survived the war, and the two elder girls, Mathilde and Sophie , were by now married. Disaster struck, though, in , when Sophie , Freud's 'Sunday Child', died suddenly leaving a husband and two small boys.

Three years later one of Sophie's children died of tuberculosis in the family's care in Vienna, aged four. Freud took the loss very hard—perhaps, as he reflected in a letter to his writer friend Romain Rolland , because it came soon after the shock of discovering that he was suffering from cancer of the jaw, from which he died some sixteen years later. The cancer, brought about by years of heavy cigar smoking, necessitated thirty-three operations and constant nursing attention from his daughter Anna in an attempt to contain it, and the fitting of an awkward oral prosthesis.

Freud was not deterred from smoking cigars, however, and indeed remained convinced of their therapeutic qualities: 'I believe I owe to the cigar a great intensification of my capacity to work and a facilitation of my self control' Ward , The great majority of photographs of Freud show him holding a cigar.

Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War
Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War
Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War
Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War
Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War
Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War Nazi Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Only Psychoanalysis Won the War

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