The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts

Paperback | May 1, 2014

byDaniel Pick

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The story of how psychoanalysis was used in the war against Nazi Germany - in the crucial quest to understand the Nazi mind. Daniel Pick brings both the skills of the historian and the trained psychoanalyst to weave together the story of clinical encounters with leading Nazis and the Allies' broader interpretations of the Nazi high command and the mentality of the wider German public who supported them. Following the bizarre capture of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in 1941, Pick follows closely the story of how leading British psychiatrists assessed their new charge, in an attempt to understand both the man himself and the psychological bases of his Nazi convictions. At the same time, he uncovers thestory of how a team of American officers working for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, were engaged in an attempt to understand Hitler's personality from afar, using the theories and techniques of Sigmund Freud. Drawing upon a large cache of archives on both sides of the Atlantic, Pick asks what such psychoanalytical and psychiatric investigations set out to do, showing how Freud's famous "talking cure" was harnessed to the particular needs of military intelligence during the war and the task of post-warreconstruction that followed. Looking beyond this, he then shows just how deeply post-war Western understandings of how minds work and groups operate were influenced by these wartime attempts to interpret the pychopathology of Nazism.

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From the Publisher

The story of how psychoanalysis was used in the war against Nazi Germany - in the crucial quest to understand the Nazi mind. Daniel Pick brings both the skills of the historian and the trained psychoanalyst to weave together the story of clinical encounters with leading Nazis and the Allies' broader interpretations of the Nazi high com...

Daniel Pick is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. An editor of History Workshop Journal, he is also a practising psychoanalyst and a fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He is the author of numerous works on European cultural history, including Svengali's Web: The Alien Enchanter in Modern Cultur...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.01 inPublished:May 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199678510

ISBN - 13:9780199678518

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Characters and Causes3. 'The Deputy Madman'4. Getting Through to Hess5. Madness and Politics6. The OSS7. Hitler's Mind8. So Plainly Mad?9. Nuremberg: Conspiracy and Confession10. Sane Futures?11. Legacies12. AfterwordAppendicesNotesFurther ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Pick's considerable achievement is to reach far beyond the study of Nazism to an extended meditation on different systems of thought and knowledge, and see how these are applied to man's search for meaning." --Frances Stonor Saunders, The Guardian 04/08/2012