|De Saussure, R. (1949). Dictators and Disciples. From Caesar to Stalin: By Gustav Bychowski. New York: International Universities Press, 1948. 264 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:94-95.|
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(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:94-95
Dictators and Disciples. From Caesar to Stalin: By Gustav Bychowski. New York: International Universities Press, 1948. 264 pp.
The dictators include Caesar, Cromwell, Robespierre, Hitler and Stalin. Excepting Stalin, all of them have been adored by fanatic followers and have then been killed.
The chief interest in the book is the chapter of conclusions wherein Bychowski summarizes the characteristics of the dictators and their followers. After wars or revolutions, the collective ego of some nations, weakened in its feeling of security and having regressed to a primitive of , inclines toward leaning on an individual who ascribes to himself the attributes of magic and total . His replaces the which has been shaken by the social crises preceding the dictatorship. The group accepts the new ruler because it finds outlets for repressed . is rationalized ideologically and by . Because of the the infallibility of the dictator restores security and faith to the group. 'Like a hypnotist, the ruler infuses the masses with his own desires, ideals, hatreds and resentments.' The relationship between the masses and the dictator is based on a complete reciprocity. The masses make him feel omnipotent and he makes them the strongest and wisest nation in the world. It is a process of mutual ; moreover, both are bound by ties of common and anxieties that are defended by delusions of grandeur and .
Dictators, however different, have in common excessive , aggressive hatred and lust for power. These conceal manifest weaknesses and insecurities, based on infantile and consequent inadequacies in virility. The dictator, like the artist, remains fixed to his infantile emotional conflicts, never relieves them except in so that they provide continual fuel for his activity. The of a dictator seems to be paranoid psychotic; what distinguishes him from a psychotic is the possibility of his fantasies in .
The last pages of the book are devoted to prophylaxis. It is regrettable that the author has limited himself to generalities about educating the masses. It would be well to remember the words of Kameneve to Trotsky in 1925: 'You imagine that Stalin is preoccupied with replying to your arguments—nothing of the kind! He
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