Sigmund Freud

Reflections on War and Death 1

Caught in the whirlwind of these war times, without any real information or any perspective upon the great changes that have already occurred or are about to be enacted, lacking all premonition of the future, it is small wonder that we ourselves become confused as to the meaning of impressions which crowd in upon us or of the value of the judgments we are forming.
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Reflections on War and Death 2

War strips off the later deposits of civilization and allows the primitive man in us to reappear. It forces us again to be heroes who cannot believe in their own death, it stamps all strangers as enemies whose death we ought to cause or wish; it counsels us to rise above the death of those whom we love. But war cannot be abolished; as long as the conditions of existence among races are so varied and the repulsions between them are so vehement, there will have to be wars.
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Sigmund Freud


As befits the father of psychoanalysis – and of three sons at the front –, Sigmund Freud (b. May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia, d. September 23, 1939 in London) had an ambivalent and changing attitude towards the war. Still, the war years proved an extremely productive phase for Freud; among the many works he wrote or finished during that period are his timely “Reflections on War and Death” (1915).