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Fischbein, S.V. (2013). The Totalitarian Mind. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 94(6):1183-1185.

(2013). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 94(6):1183-1185

The Totalitarian Mind

Susana Vinocur Fischbein

The chair opened the panel with data related to the history of the two current German psychoanalytic societies. As a member of the German Psychoanalytic Society (DPG), Ursula Kreuzer-Haustein referred to the splitting between her Society, which joined the IPA in 2009, and the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV) founded in 1950 by members of the traditional society who had left it after the war. The newly founded DPV was meant to be the ‘good’ society, and was immediately accepted by the IPA in 1951, whereas for several decades the DPG was considered the ‘bad’ Nazi society. Those years of hostile relationships were gradually followed by better contact and psychoanalytic exchanges between them. Kreuzer-Haustein considered this splitting as involving a powerful rejection of becoming aware of the historical responsibility of many members of the DPG, who, yielding to the Nazi racial laws, had first ousted their president, Max Eitingon, in 1933 and in 1935 had asked all the Jewish members to leave the DPG.

In The Totalitarian Unconscious, Michael Rustin primarily considers the systems of Nazism and Stalinism as the central examples of totalitarian systems. Nazism was responsible for the exiling of psychoanalysis from its German-speaking heartland, and this meant that the largest development of psychoanalysis in the period since the 1930s took place in the English-speaking world, in France and in Latin America.

What distinguishes totalitarianism from other kinds of authoritarian government is the dynamic role of a collective unconscious fantasy (essentially paranoid-schizoid) in the motivation and organization of the totalitarian system.

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