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Dunn, W.H. Grinker, R.R. Grotjahn, M. Murray, J.M. Weinstock, H.I. Kaufman, M.R. Frank, R.L. (1950). Psychoanalysts In World War II. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 6S(Supplement):1-19.

(1950). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 6S(Supplement):1-19

Psychoanalysts In World War II

William H. Dunn, Roy R. Grinker, Martin Grotjahn, John Milne Murray, Harry I. Weinstock, M. Ralph Kaufman, ex-officio and Richard L. Frank, Chairman

When, in December, 1941, war finally came to the United States, the psychoanalysts in training and in practice reacted much as did any other segment of the population. Each individual met the challenge in accordance with his own life situation and his own personal set of values. Being in the field of psychoanalysis made certain actions possible but by and large internal factors decided the course that was followed by each individual.

Like any organization of medical specialists, the psychoanalytic group was made up of older and comparatively settled men and women for whom the changes inherent in entering military service loomed large. Yet, steadily, individuals followed the dictates of their hearts and minds, responded to their beliefs, their hopes, their fears, and embarked on what to most was a difficult but successfully carried out course.

Each man's career in service was influenced by strange admixtures of fate, military necessities, personal ability, training and adaptability. Being psychoanalytically trained could not in itself determine what befell one or open up opportunities, though it might.

The technical knowledge about human behavior and the possibility of applying this knowledge to a wide variety of situations was an open sesame for the psychoanalytically trained medical officer. It induced, it is true, its share of fear and opposition but by and large it was welcomed even beyond the capacity of many to live up to the expectations. When used realistically results could be demonstrated that made the psychoanalyst a valued member of his group, no matter what his specific military assignment.

Perhaps it was the deep knowledge of possessing a valuable and utilizable skill that carried some through days of difficulty. Certainly, the ability to help under conditions where those with other training could not function sustained many.

But, by the same token, the flaming conviction which certain men carried within themselves as to the singular importance and significance of their psychoanalytic knowledge led to an intensification of their frustration and suffering where this was unrecognized or could not be applied.

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