Freud and War

Editor : Marlene Belilos

Freud and War

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During the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism in Germany, Albert Einstein wrote to Sigmund Freud asking the fundamental question: What can be done to liberate humanity from the menace of war? The psychoanalyst replied at length and their exchange of letters (reproduced here) was published in March 1933 under the title Why War?. The book would be included in the book burnings in Berlin on 10th of May that year.

Why War? is important in Freud’s work because in it he develops a fundamental idea that leads him to conclude that the life and death drives are linked – a thought that he had already entertained in works such as Death and Us (1915), which is also included here. In a terrible irony, Freud dedicated a copy of Why War? to Mussolini, who nonetheless instituted a police investigation of its author. The contributors to this volume explore the reasons underlying the dedication, as well as giving their own reflections on the genesis of war.

Contributors include François Ansermet, Marlène Belilos, Philippe De Georges, Eugénie Lemoine-Luccioni, Laura Sokolowsky, Mark Solms, and Jean Ziegler.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This book offers a remarkable set of new insights on the key issue of destructivity in Freud’s work. The topic is extremely pertinent for the current state of affairs in the world and highlights once again the extraordinary insights that Freud has provided through his writings. The panel of experts selected covers the topic in a lucid and deep manner. A must-read for psychoanalysts and possibly even more importantly for neuroscientists, sociologists and political scientists.’
-- Pierre Magistretti, Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and President of the International Brain Research Organisation

‘At a time when barbarism between men has returned, this decisive contribution by Marlène Belilos brings Freud’s thesis on the effects of the death instinct out of the alwaysmenacing darkness. She has successfully collected works that show the modernity of Freud’s thesis, and made it a tool to decipher the enigmas of our time.’
-- Jean-Daniel Matet, President of the EuroFederation of Psychoanalysis

About the Editor(s)

Marlène Belilos is a psychoanalyst who has also worked for many years as a journalist for Swiss television and French radio (France Culture). She has published various articles in l'Anti-Livre noir de la psychanalyse, La règle du jeu, and the Revue de l'École de la Cause freudienne. She is a member of the École de la Cause freudienne and the Association Mondiale de Psychanalyse.

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