Paul Eisen

Paul Eisen

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Jung the Nazi.

 This is an article about Carl Jung’s Nazi sympathies, translated from the German by my friend and colleague Francis Clark-Lowes.

The article is excellent as, no doubt, is the translation, but do read Francis’ Introduction first – I think it's outstanding.

C.G. Jung’s Nazi Sympathies, and How to View Them

by Francis Clark-Lowes

As part of the celebrations around my 60th birthday in 2004 I organised a dinner at the White Hart Hotel in Lewes, the same place where Thomas Paine expounded his revolutionary ideas which played such a big part in the American independence movement. After we had eaten I rather cruelly delivered a speech in which I quoted Jung’s remarks contained in the essay I had translated below, and asked my audience to identify who had said them. I knew that there was a fair scattering of Jung enthusiasts present, and I’m afraid their unquestioning loyalty to the guru had come to annoy me. They saw in Jung a softer, kinder, more liberal version of psychotherapy than Freud’s psychoanalysis, but they were completely unaware of Jung’s Nazi past. Of course no one got the answer right, and my guests were visibly discomforted when I told them.

At that stage I still had no doubt that Nazism was an evil ideology. But by my 65th birthday I had somewhat changed my position. It now seemed to me that the elements in Nazism which Jung had liked were not as reprehensible as I had previously thought. Indeed they seemed to echo my own. Hadn’t I for long been saying that cultures were deeply embedded in our psyches, and that they largely formed our identities, without us even being aware that they did so? Hadn’t I maintained that this was not only inevitable but desirable? Weren’t these ideas similar to Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious and to the German emphasis, until the Second World War, on Volksgeist? And hadn’t I always maintained that leadership was an indispensable need in human society? My 65th birthday speech recalled what I had said at my 60th, but concluded that I no longer condemned Jung for admiring some aspects of Nazi ideology. A number of my friends were quite unhappy with what I had said.

In under two years I will reach my 70th birthday and am beginning to wonder what I might say then if I choose to make another speech. In the past three years there has been a steady erosion in my belief that Hitler and the Nazis were exceptionally wicked. This started when I realised that essential elements of ‘the Holocaust’ story, and indeed the ones which gave it that special title, were inventions (see Joel Hayward’s MA thesis starting on this blog at: I refer to the gas chambers, the six million figure and the idea of a systematic plan of exterminating Jews. It would now take a lot to reverse my scepticism – indeed my lack of belief – in these elements. As a result of expressing what I had come to believe I was expelled from the British ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ a year and a half ago.
But once you stop believing one aspect of history, it becomes difficult to remain confident that every other part remains true. Pat Buchanan’s book, Hitler, Churchill and the Unnecessary War left me gasping. So much of it made complete sense, but it turned upside down our conception that we, the allies, had waged just wars against Germany between 1914 and 1945. Buchannan saw the two wars as effectively one which aimed at the elimination of Germany as a competitor, but also at the personal gratification of a war-hungry Churchill. Both wars could have been avoided if Britain had not locked itself into treaties which didn’t make strategic sense. Moreover, the crushing terms of the peace treaties imposed on Germany at the end of the First World War made the conflict which led to the Second World War inevitable.

Further doubts about our endless self-congratulation for waging wars in defence of freedom and justice were raised by another book, Other Losses, by James Bacque. I already knew that the American POW camps after the Second World War were the first to be called ‘death camps,’ but Bacque’s book spelled out the whole horror and inhumanity of what happened to German POWs in American, French and to a lesser extent in British camps. This didn’t even serve the self-interest of the French, who were promised large numbers of German prisoners to reconstruct their country, but who got vast numbers of starving and diseased men incapable of work. I contrasted this with the experience of my Austrian father-in-law who spent seven years in a Russian POW camp and came back to tell a relatively up-beat story.

When I added to the revelations of mistreatment of POWs in the camps the British torture of German POWs which this blog has drawn attention to (see, my scepticism about modern history was almost complete. But there was one missing element in Pat Buchanan’s account, and it needs addressing. He hardly speaks at all about the Jews. One could accept that ‘the Holocaust’ didn’t happen, that the allied casus belli was fatally flawed in terms of self-interest, that the treatment of German POWs was inhumane in the extreme, but there is still the discrimination against, and the deportation of, the Jews of Germany and the occupied territories. Wasn’t our war against Germany justified – even if post-facto – by what the Germans did to the Jews? Even if it was not the intention of the Nazi government to exterminate all Jews, wasn’t it still culpable because the foreseeable consequence of their actions was that that large numbers of Jews would die from neglect, disease and starvation. And what about the actions of the so-called Einsatzgruppen in the east, the gruesome details of which are clearly recorded in German records.

Arnold Künzli, the author of the article below, is a straightforward anti-Nazi, and has no doubt about the justice of the war against Germany. But where do I stand. The simple truth is that I haven’t decided. But there are a number of questions which I would like answered:

1.Was the deportation of populations something which the allies had never done?
2. Were the actions of the Einsatzgruppen unique in human history? 

3. How many of the Jews killed by the Einsatzgruppen were partisans?

4. Was the decision to demand unconditional surrender by the Germans a major contributory factor in the undoubtedly high death toll in the camps?

5. Were the Nazis justified in considering that their demise in 1918, and again in the Second World War, was the work of Jews? In both wars the US, with its vast resources, was brought into the conflicts following massive Jewish lobbying.
6. Was pre-Nazi German culture ‘colonised’ by Jews, and if so was it reasonable for Germany to resist this colonisation? We could indeed ask ourselves the same question about our own Western culture today.

7. We could also pose the more general question: What is it reasonable for a culture to do to preserve its own identity? This is particularly relevant today in the Muslim world.

 I leave you to imagine how I will be received if I deliver a speech containing even some of these questions on 1st November 2014, some months after we commemorate, no doubt with further self-congratulation, the centenary of the outbreak of the 31-year war against Germany.

C.G. Jung and National Socialism: A Riposte to Wolfgang Bauman’s ‘C.G. Jung as Target’ by Arnold Künzli

(This was an article published in an Austrian journal, Werkblatt: Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse und Gesellschaftskritik [Workpaper: Journal for Psychoanalysis and Social Critique], 1993, No. 31, pp 122-125. Translated by Francis Clark-Lowes. Arnold Künzli was at the time of writing living in Zürich and was Emeritus Professor for the Philosophy of Politics at the University of Basle. After the Second World War he was foreign correspondent of the Basler Nationalzeitung [Basel National Newspaper] in Rome, London and Bonn. He has published Karl Marx – eine Psychobiographie [Karl Marx – a Psychobiography] with the Europa Verlag.)
Thanks to my relatively advanced age, I knew C.G. Jung personally, corresponded with him in my earlier years and once or twice took part in his ‘insider’[1] evenings at which Jung explained his depth psychology and ruled sovereign over his young women. These personal experiences, and my ever recurring engagement with Jung and psychoanalysis, have moved me, for the sake of veracity, to correct one or two statements by Wolfgang Baumann. In his Forum article, ‘C.G. Jung as target’ Baumann attempts to disqualify Renate Höfer’s book Die Hiobsbotschaft C.G. Jungs [The Bad News about C.G. Jung], and the review of this book by Gerda Weiler (in the BaZ[2] of 5.6.1993) as ‘extremely one-sided and unfactual’ defamation and discrediting of Jung. In doing so, I follow Wolfgang Baumann’s own advice that one should ‘not read about Jung, but read Jung himself.’

 Wolfgang Baumann writes: ‘The remarks according to which Jung regarded “reason as a regrettable occurrence in women”, or wanted to bring women “to their senses” by “seduction, beating and rape” are simply grasped out of thin air.’ But in reality Jung said exactly this. In 1951 he wrote: ‘In women Eros shapes the expression of her true nature, while reason not infrequently represents a regrettable occurrence… However friendly and willing her Eros may be, she will not be shaken by all the logic of the world, since she is ridden by the Animus. Men often have the feeling (and they are not completely wrong in this), that only seduction or beating or rape will carry a sufficient power to convince’ (GW 9/2, 24).[3] Simply grasped out of thin air, Herr Baumann?

 Further on Wolfgang Baumann turns against the ‘ever-repeated accusation, particularly among Freudian authors … that Jung felt sympathy towards National Socialism, an argument that has long since been answered.’ The opposite is the truth. I am not a Freudian author and am not party to any internal psychoanalytical disputes. We are concerned here with the simple truth about Jung’s attitude. What this might mean in relation to his psychology I leave to those who are more competent.

 The fact is that Jung, clearly seduced by his own teaching on the collective unconscious and the archetypes, fell deplorably under the spell of Hitler, National Socialism and also Mussolini. Moreover, at the very time when the persecution of the Jews was beginning he helped to give anti-Semitism a psychological respectability. In 1933, the year Hitler seized power, Jung wrote in a German journal about the ‘factually existing … differences between[4] German and Jewish psychology,’ and in the same journal the following year he wrote: ‘The Aryan unconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish unconscious.’ This was directed against the Jewish Freud who had not recognised ‘the Germanic soul.’ Had, asked Jung, ‘the tremendous phenomenon of National Socialism, on which the world looked with astonishment, taught [Freud] better? Where was that extraordinary tension and force before National Socialism existed? It lay buried in the German soul…’

 Already in 1934 the highly regarded Zurich psychoanalyst, Dr Gustav Bally, had protested strongly in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung about Jung’s remarks. Recently a letter from Jung to one of his followers, Wolfgang Kranefeld, an enthusiastic Nazi, has come to light – you look for it in vain in the collections of Jung’s correspondence. Among other things Jung writes that ‘the Aryan people [could] indicate that in Freud and Adler specifically Jewish points of view are emphasised … which have a significantly subversive character. If the proclamation of this Jewish gospel is comfortable to the regime,[5] then so be it. On the other hand, the possibility exists that such a situation is not comfortable to the regime.’ This constitutes no more nor less than a disguised suggestion to Hitler that he forbid Freud and Adler’s subversive psychology. The alleged ‘subversive character’ of the Jewish soul was at that time a central ‘argument’ in racist Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda.

 In 1933, in a radio interview in Berlin, Jung had this, among other things, to say: ‘As Hitler said recently, the führer must be able to stand alone and must possess the courage to lead the way. … The true führer is one who at the same time can look not only others but himself in the eye, who above all has the courage to be himself.’ Jung went on to speak about the ‘idea of leadership’, even of ‘the nobility of leadership’. Finally he wound himself up to the following statement: ‘Times of mass movements are always times of leadership. Every movement organically reaches its summit in its leader, one who through his whole being incorporates the meaning and goal of the people’s striving. He is the incarnation of the folk-spirit and its spokesman … It is only in times of aimless calm that the inconsequential discussion of parliamentarians rises to the fore and this always indicates the absence of a deeper movement. Nobility by its very nature believes in blood and racial exclusivity. Western Europe fails to understand the particular psychological crisis of the youthful German people …’ And here again – in the very capital of Hitler’s Germany! – Jung speaks about the subversive spirit and ‘life-hostility’ of Freud and Adler’s psychologies. By contrast it is ‘one of the finest prerogatives of the German soul unconditionally to allow the whole of creation to work upon it in all its inexhaustible diversity.’

 In 1936, the year of the Berlin Olympics, Jung published his famous hymn to ‘Wotan’, the German ‘storm and thunder God,’[6] ‘unleasher of passion and battle-lust,’ whom he [Jung] promoted to the archetypal ‘God of the Germans’.[7] Wotan ‘explained more about National Socialism’ than all the economic, political and psychological factors. Jung’s sympathy for Wotan as an expression of the ‘essence of the German soul’ springs out of every line.

 In 1939 the sixty-three year old Jung explained to the American journalist Knickerbocker that he saw in Hitler’s eyes the dreamy ‘expression of a seer’. Hitler is ‘the loudspeaker which [amplifies] the unheard murmuring of the German soul.’ He allows ‘himself to be touched by his unconscious’, he is ‘like a man who listens attentively to the stream of inspiration delivered in a whisper from a hidden spring. …’

 Admittedly at a military parade in Berlin Hitler’s behaviour disappointed Jung, but only for him to fall all the more for the Italian charm of the equally criminal fascist political clown, Mussolini. Jung granted the Duce ‘the sure stature of a true man who in several respects is the possessor of genuine taste.’ Indeed: ‘I couldn’t avoid liking Mussolini. His physical energy and elasticity were warm, human and infectious.’ And Jung lauded the ‘good fortune’ which had permitted him to see, ‘only a few feet away, the Duce and the Führer together in Berlin.’

 No Nazi sympathy, Herr Baumann?

 Nevertheless, in contrast to the Jung sectarians who raise the master to the position of guru, after the war Jung himself admitted with considerable insight to Rabbi Leo Baeck, one of the great contemporary figures of Judaism: ‘Yes, I slipped up.’ (The parallel with Heidegger[8] is striking. In 1950, in a letter to Karl Jaspers he finally announced his shame about his relationship with the Nazis, and admitted that he had been overtaken by the ‘power-intoxication’ of that time.) C.G. Jung went further after the war describing National Socialism in an essay as ‘the most colossal crime of all time’. The question remains, however, what connection exists between Jung’s ‘slip-up’ and his psychology.

[1] In English in the original.

[2] This probably refers to a newspaper called the Baslerzeitung.

[3] This is a reference to the Gesammellte Werke, the Complete Works of Jung.

[4] Without information from other sources one might have translated this preposition as ‘of’, which would, of course, be more ambivalent.

[5] Künzli here adds in brackets ‘of Adolf Hitler’.

[6] ‘Sturm- und Brausegott’.

[7] The exact wording here is: ‘… den Jung zum Archetyp und zum “Gott der Deutschen” promovierte …’ (… whom Jung promoted to the archetype and to the God of the Germans …) I do not think my more elegant translation misrepresents Jung’s idea.

[8] Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), German existential philosopher, who was an enthusiastic member of the Nazi party during the 1930s.