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Lowenfeld, H. (1971). Dictators and Disciples. From Caesar to Stalin. A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of History. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 52:321-323.

(1971). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52:321-323

Dictators and Disciples. From Caesar to Stalin. A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of History

Review by:
Henry Lowenfeld

By Gustav Bychowski. New York: Int. Univ. Press. 1969. Pp. 291.

Evil in Man. The Anatomy of Hate and Violence. By Gustav Bychowski. New York and London: Grune & Stratton. 1968. Pp. 98.

As early as 1948 Bychowski published Dictators and Disciples, in which he explored the psychology of five tyrants and their effect on the masses. In the present edition two chapters are added in which the author looks back on what he had written some 25 years ago about the main themes of his book, Hitler and Stalin. Much new material has been published in the meantime about the two dictators but it can be stated, and it is remarkable, that Bychowski had no reason to revise his basic concepts. The problems of dictatorships lead to two questions: what kind of man succeeds in becoming a dictator? What strivings in the people make his success possible? Bychowski explores the common denominators in the personalities and in the historical situations, which in spite of the differences of time and place, lead to the successful conquest of power by those men.

The three chapters on Caesar, Cromwell and Robespierre are an introduction to the main part of the work. The basic points can be summarized: in certain times when a great mass of people has lost faith in the old solutions of their problems, in religion or other ideologies, and the social superego has deteriorated, a state of disappointment, despair and insecurity leads to a psychological regression with all its implications of infantile reactions, to a wish for the strong man, the helping father.

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