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Munk, M. (1943). Der Mythus Vom Wein Der Intendatur. (The Myth about the Army Wine.): Marie Bonaparte. Int. Ztschr. f. Psa. u. Imago, XXVI, 1941, pp. 220–231.. Psychoanal Q., 12:588.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Der Mythus Vom Wein Der Intendatur. (The Myth about the Army Wine.): Marie Bonaparte. Int. Ztschr. f. Psa. u. Imago, XXVI, 1941, pp. 220–231.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:588

Der Mythus Vom Wein Der Intendatur. (The Myth about the Army Wine.): Marie Bonaparte. Int. Ztschr. f. Psa. u. Imago, XXVI, 1941, pp. 220–231.

Margrit Munk

It was rumored in the French Army that bromides were being mixed into the wine issued to the soldiers with the effect of temporarily impairing their sexual potency. Similar rumors were current among the mobilized armies of other countries and were also known during the first world war.

According to Frazer primitives of various tribes, before meeting their enemy, voluntarily subject themselves over an extended period of time to severe fasting rituals including sexual abstinence. This sacrifice had the purpose of influencing their God to protect them and bring them victory.

An analogous psychic mechanism, according to Bonaparte, seems to compel the modern warrior to abstinency which he no longer consciously accepts. The archaic commandment has become unconscious through biological and cultural development and returns into consciousness as a neurotic inhibition which the soldier in fantasy projects on an outside force.

Regarding the question as to why abstinency should lead to victory, two factors seem important. First, a magical, omnipotent quality is attributed to semen and it must be preserved to strengthen the warrior's body. Second, the archaic infantile fear of the primeval father who represents all enemies necessitates propitiation. The soldier may hope for victory provided it is preceded by a sacrifice (abstinence) which is a symbolical atonement for Oedipal parricide. This gives him license to repeat the crime on the enemy. Abstinence thus represents the equivalent of castration. Primitives subject themselves consciously to the requirements of the taboo in obedience to the father, while the modern soldier does the same thing unconsciously by creating the 'myth of the drugged wine'.

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Article Citation

Munk, M. (1943). Der Mythus Vom Wein Der Intendatur. (The Myth about the Army Wine.). Psychoanal. Q., 12:588

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