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Johnson, N.M. (1971-72). Pro-Freud and Pro-Nazi: The Paradox of George S. Viereck. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(4):553-562.

(1971-72). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(4):553-562

Pro-Freud and Pro-Nazi: The Paradox of George S. Viereck

Niel M. Johnson, Ph.D.

George Sylvester Viereck, a controversial American poet, journalist and novelist, was one of the early popularizers of Freudianism in America. Although not as important as professionals like A. A. Brill and Fritz Wittels in making psychoanalysis respected in America, Viereck brought the message of Freud to millions of ordinary Americans through the pages of the Hearst newspapers and through his own journal and books. He likewise published widely his interviews with George Bernard Shaw and Albert Einstein.1 Viereck admired all three of these men and they in turn respected him, at least until 1933. It was in that year that Viereck revealed a side of his personality that had escaped the usually astute gaze of the “Columbus of the Unconscious.” In brief, Freud was astonished to find that his American apostle had become a defender and apologist for Hider and his regime.

There is reason to wonder how Viereck became a friend and advocate of Freud in the 1920's and why he then forsook this relationship to take up the cause of Hitler's Germany. Perhaps an answer can be found in tracing briefly Viereck's literary role and the nature of his relationship with Freud. Viereck first rose to public prominence in 1907 when he published a book of verse that sold well and earned praise from several notable American literary critics.2 Part of his popularity no doubt stemmed from the fact that his themes were exotic and sensual; his anti-Puritan emphasis on sexuality was bold for the time.

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