Jung on War, Politics and Nazi Germany: Exploring the Theory of Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

Author(s) : Nicholas Lewin

Jung on War, Politics and Nazi Germany: Exploring the Theory of Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

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In the thirties Jung was at the height of his powers and found himself swept up in the international politics of his day. At this time he was president of what was to become the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. As a consequence of Hitler's rise, Jung and his ideas were placed in the centre of a whirlwind of theoretical and political controversy. These chaotic times led him to comment widely on political events and saw his most extensive attempt to explain these events in terms of his theories of the collective and his use of the archetype of Wotan to explain Nazi Germany. This work is part of the ongoing reappraisal of the intellectual fabric of Jung's theory and the perspective he sought to establish, and seeks to re-examine the period, to unravel some of the confusion by setting out the historical background of Jung's ideas, and provide a fresh debate on Jung and his collective theory.

Reviews and Endorsements

'A remarkably detailed study of a controversial aspect of an indisputably significant thinker. Nick Lewin clarifies and contextualizes Jung's political outlook without seeking to excuse or exculpate, and presents a powerful argument for seeing Jung's political stance as more complex and sophisticated than it is often assumed to be.'
- Professor Paul Bishop, University of Glasgow, author of "Analytical Psychology and German Classical Aesthetics" (Volumes 1 & 2)

'Nicholas Lewin's study is a remarkable piece of scholarship that applies a strategic perspective to the subject of psychology and war. It provides a compelling exploration into the thinking of the renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung, who attempted to understand the upheavals that afflicted the world that he witnessed in the 1930s and 1940s. In particular Lewin explores Jung's ideas concerning war of the psychopathology, both in terms of his attitudes towards the growing threat of war that a revanchist Germany represented from 1936, and later, during the war itself, as a psychiatric consultant for Alan Dulles (future director of the CIA) in American intelligence's early attempts at profiling the enemy leadership using Freudian and Jungian techniques. This is a superb piece of innovative and critical analysis that offers its readers a mastery of Jungian analysis and subtle insights about the challenging world around us.'
- M.L.R. Smith, Professor of Strategic Theory, Department of War Studies, King's College, University of London

'This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of Jungian theory and draws on a rich mixture of historical material, evolutionary psychiatry and Jungian scholarship. It offers us new perspectives to understand and use Jung's work. The book re-explores the internal logic of Jung' s collective theories and brings new thought to bear on the contribution of Geographical Determinism and the persistence of Lamarckian influences in psychoanalytic thought, and shows how they continue to distort our ability to bring Jungian psychology into contemporary psychological theory. By carefully unpacking Jung's collective theories the book provides the opportunity to refine some of the tools by which we understand, apply and continue Jung's work, and as part of this process Dr Lewin offers some theoretical innovations to archetypal theory, bringing in contributions from evolutionary psychiatry and meme theory to enrich his discussion.'
- Dr Gottfried Heuer, Jungian training analyst and supervisor with the Association of Jungian Analysts, biodynamic body psychotherapist and trainer, in private practice in West London.

About the Author(s)

Dr Nick Lewin is on the executive committee of the C. G. Jung Analytical Psychology Club London and is in training as a Jungian psychotherapist. His degree was in 'International Politics and Strategic Studies' at University College Wales Aberystwth, his MA was in 'War Studies' at King's College and his PhD at Essex University was on Jung's use of his theories to explain European politics and Nazi Germany in the Thirties. He trained as a teacher and has taught across the age range from primary school to the MSc in 'War and Psychiatry' at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry. At present he is preparing his next book on Jung, Freud, the Jews and Nazi Germany, while working in private practice and as an honorary psychotherapist with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Health authority.

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