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Fisher, D.J. (2004). Towards a Psychoanalytic Understanding of Fascism and Anti-Semitism: Perceptions from the 1940s. Psychoanal. Hist., 6(1):57-74.

(2004). Psychoanalysis and History, 6(1):57-74

Towards a Psychoanalytic Understanding of Fascism and Anti-Semitism: Perceptions from the 1940s

David James Fisher, Ph.D.

To the memory of Bruno Bettelheim

The British historian E.H. Carr claimed that all history is contemporary history. No historian can escape from his own relationship to the present; each inevitably sees the past through the perspective, that is, the anxieties and desires, of the present. Historians record and evaluate the past refracted through the pressures of their current circumstances. The goal is to create a dynamic interaction between his material and himself, an honest and respectful dialogue between the facts of history and interpretations, an open-ended conversation between past and present (Carr 1961, p. 22). The 100-year history of psychoanalysis presents precisely the same problems that Carr mentions. What is selected and omitted, emphasized or de-emphasized, argued or refuted will all turn on the historian's contemporary concerns and how he consciously and unconsciously conceives of the present; nor can the historian's ideological affiliation, perhaps best conceptualized as theoretical and methodological loyalties, be bracketed out from his approach to the past.

Freud left a number of pithy remarks on anti-Semitism and German Fascism.

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