When the International Psychoanalytic Association gathered for its twelfth congress in Wiesbaden in 1932, its president, Max Eitingon, had pointed out that “in Germany, under the influence of the ever-deepening financial and social crisis, interest in psychological problems has been overshadowed by economic and sociological ones,” adding: “which is understandable, but which hopefully will pass quickly.”
The political development that would be taken by the Weimar Republic, backed by fewer and fewer Germans, was at the time the last thing that could have been foreseen.
In the July elections of 1932 the National Socialists had captured a 37 percent share of the vote, which meant 230 seats in the Reichstag.
And although the November elections of that year produced a decline in their number of votes, the Nazis still made up a third of the delegates.
The full implications for the psychotherapeutic movement in Germany (and later in Austria) of Hitler’s seizure of power on 30 January 1933, and the pronouncement of the dictator’s “empowerment” through a law to that effect in the German parliament on 24 March, were not widely recognized.
This is the more astonishing as the majority of analysts, whether they followed Freud or Adler, were Jewish, and what Hitler had in mind for the Jews he had bruited about in National Socialism speeches and in writing for a full decade.
That no “Jewish science” or any other discipline would be allowed to survive must have been well known.
But analysts too-Jewish and non-Jewish alike-shared the hope of others of their contemporaries, for example with the words Freud wrote in passing in July 1933: “Maybe it will not turn out too badly.”
In any case, the marks of the “national upheaval” are known to all. A few particulars will serve to refresh the memory.
The beacon of the Reichstag fire on 27 February 1933 was followed in March by the setting up of the first concentration camps for the isolation of “undesirable members of the community.”
On 1 April, with the installation of national governors in the states, began the so-called “coordination” according to the brown-shirt ideology and its principle of authoritarian leadership.
No longer were Jews allowed to hold public posts.
On 10 April, in front of the opera in Berlin and in many other German cities, the funeral pyres of the book-burnings blazed up.
With the words “against the soul-destroying overestimation of the sexual life and for the nobility of the human soul,” “the writings of a certain Sigmund Freud” were consigned to the flames.
Freud’s commentary and his poor consolation were: “At least I am burning in the best of company.”
By reason of his typological nature-introversion-and of his wide-ranging scientific interests and his exacting medical duties as a psychotherapist, Jung’s personality was anything but inclined to political activity.
Once he even referred to himself self-mockingly (in 1934!) as a “Swiss Philistine residing at 228 Seestrasse, Kusnacht, Zurich.”
Of course this self-accusation should be taken with a grain of salt, for one thing because it was addressed to James Kirsch, a close Jewish friend and student, and for another because Jung had always regarded himself as a European, following with a wary eye the events of the day, whose psychological background he analyzed no less attentively, and left no room for doubt as to his Swiss-tinged, fundamentally democratic stance.
Marie Louise van Franz commented on this fact on the strength of her many years of close collaboration with her teacher:
“His passionate commitment was to the droits de l’homme, the fundamental rights of man and the greatest possible freedom of the individual, which are guaranteed on one hand by the federal state, and on the other even more by the maturity, wisdom, and conscientiousness of the individual members of a community. The individual, in this sense, is even more important than the system. Naturally he repudiated any sort of dictatorship or tyranny; he did not believe in forcible ‘improvements’ in a system as long as the individual had not changed himself.”
As characteristic of Jung’s way of understanding the phenomena and tendencies of his time from the perspective of depth psychology, we may take for example his remarks on “The Development of Personality,” which he had first presented in Vienna in November 193 2-only a few weeks before Hitler seized power-under the title “The Voice from Within.”
From Jung’s title one would hardly have suspected that the discussion was aimed at a symptomatology of current events.
Whereas Freud had once sought to trace people’s faith in authority to a primitive herd-mentality, and Wilhelm Reich was the first to derive National Socialism from a specific attitude of the sexually repressed petite bourgeoisie, Jung took a different tack in his Vienna lecture.
He looked at the opposition between the individual maturing toward its personality, which follows an inner voice of its own destiny, and the mass or social group, guided by convention.
Whereas every individual attains a particular degree of consciousness, the mass persists by nature in a dull, thoroughly unconscious we-instinct.
At the same time it tends to back the “personality” or “strong man,” yet it is blind to whether he is a true leader toward the self-fulfillment of the individual and the community, or a dangerous misleader.
“For that is the great and redeeming thing about every genuine personality, that it voluntarily decides to sacrifice itself to its destiny, consciously translating into its own individual reality that which, if lived unconsciously by the group, would only lead to ruin.”
Historically speaking, the person and life of Jesus represented for Jung a paradigmatic example of such genuine leadership, for Jesus embodied the “prototype of the uniquely meaningful life” in contrast to the power-mad delusions of a Caesar, the religion of love in contradistinction to the Roman power devilry.
Jung placed the events in central Europe in November 1932 into this same context.
While the general consciousness was taken up solely with problems of everyday politics, such as domestic peace and high unemployment, Jung was already speaking of “gigantic catastrophes that threaten us,” catastrophes that were not primarily of a physical or biological nature, but rather to be traced back to psychic facts and processes.
As early as 1932, fourteen years after the end of the First World War and seven years before the outbreak of the Second, Jung made a diagnosis:
We are menaced to a terrifying degree by wars and revolutions that are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any time several million people can be stricken with madness, and then we have another world war or a devastating revolution. Rather than wild animals, falling rocks, and flooding waters, man is now exposed to the elemental powers of his own soul. The psyche holds a great power, one that surpasses by many times all the forces of the earth.
The words of a clairvoyant?
These warnings of Jung’s, bordering on the prophetic, were by no means anything new.
Even before he was able to give clearer contours to his psychology of the archetypes, at the end of World War I in 1 918 he had already referred to the latent peril that could come from the psyche of the “Germanic barbarian.”
Christianity, he said, had split this barbarian, as it were, into a light upper half and a repression-filled lower, darker one.
Only the light side had been domesticated and civilized, and against it traces of the heathen Germanic prehistory rumbled in the collective unconscious of central Europeans.
And this was no laughing matter, for:
The more the absolute authority of the Christian worldview is lost, the more perceptibly the “blond beast” will turn over in its subterranean prison and threaten us with the outbreak of devastating consequences. This takes place as a psychological revolution in the individual just as it can also appear as a social phenomenon.
Even Jung’s early experiences in America are reflected here, for there he had seen how the earth exercises an influence on the human psyche that must not be underestimated.
Hence every piece of ground holds its own secret, and this in itself was sufficient, he said, to account for the difference of the Jewish people, for example, who had in the course of their very much longer history assimilated far more culture, and so been “domesticized” to a greater degree, but at the same time had lost some of their contact with the earth.
It goes without saying that no value judgment was intended by this observation, least of all one that could have anything to do with the National Socialist racial doctrine; it was not the faceless collective but the individual, on the road to self-development in and for the community, that was Jung’s chief concern.
Hence his statements on the time and the situation of people troubled by the problems of the day were meant to be understood as exhortations to foresight and wake-up calls to increased consciousness.
The fact that they were barely heard, much less understood or followed, is another matter.
In any case they were by no means the accidental productions of an unsuspecting “Philistine.”
On the basis of these examples it is not hard to detect a definite continuity and a repeated insistence in Jung.
As a further indication of this, hardly had enraptured crowds in Germany begun pledging their allegiance to the Fuhrer when in February 1933 Jung spoke in Cologne and Essen on “The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man,” scrutinizing the “overwhelming magnetism” which no one seemed able to avoid, for one person was being swept along by the next among the greater part of the German people, right up to the realm of the church.
Jung argued that the tendency to individualism that had gained ground since the time of the Reformation was being answered by a “compensatory reaction toward the collective man,” which dominated and held sway over the masses.
And then in clear text, for those few who allowed themselves to be sensitized to the signs of the times:
The collective man threatens to suffocate the individual, on whose responsibility all the work of man ultimately rests. The mass as such is always anonymous and unaccountable, and so-called Fuhrers are the inevitable symptoms of a mass movement. The true leaders of humanity are always those who look after themselves, relieving the heavy burden of the masses of their own weight at least, by consciously keeping aloof from the masses’ blind subjection to the laws of nature.
Hence if one wishes to understand Jung’s attitude toward the events in Germany of 1933 and after, one must bear in mind the factors that played a decisive role in it.
At that time Jung, according to many, was the only student of Sigmund Freud who had turned his back on psychoanalysis-“a bright but somewhat ungrateful offspring,” as Thomas Mann saw fit to label him on the occasion of Freud’s eightieth birthday in 1936.
It is not entirely incomprehensible why possible anti-Semitic motives were imputed to him, partly in the open and partly veiled, when one considers that this same supposed apostate along with his colleagues in Zurich had once had to serve as an alibi for psychoanalysis’ not being bound to the Judaism of its first spokesman.
With the rift between Freud and Jung, which was demonstrably due to other causes, Freud’s original hopes were shattered.
Yet the share of Jewish colleagues and friends of C. G. Jung remained remarkably large, as ever, in terms of both quantity and quality.
Jung’s most independent and most productive student was Erich Neumann, a Jew who emigrated to Israel and met an early death, and who furthermore had delivered a study on the unconscious Jewish roots of psychoanalysis.
Aniela Jaffe, who took down Jung’s Memories and who together with Gerhard Adler undertook the German and English edition of his letters, was likewise of Jewish extraction, and the same was true of a number of other colleagues.
Independently of this there were, as always, considerable tensions between psychoanalysts and adherents of Jung’s analytical psychology, whether occasioned by practical matters or by personal animosities.
The young discipline, divided into schools, was a long way from being universally recognized, and the National Socialist program posed a serious danger to its continued existence in Europe, particularly since Germany and Austria contributed the largest numerical share of psychotherapists working in depth psychology.
For this reason alone any professional agency was presented with a twofold task: for one thing it was a matter of developing an activity that would mediate between the divergent schools and orientations, and for another it was necessary to work hard for international cooperation, precisely because nationalistic tenencies demanded this kind of countermovement.
At this crucial moment this task fell specifically to Jung.
Indeed he could not avoid it, because in March 1933 Ernst Kretschmer, at the time Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Marburg and well known for his theory of physical constitution in Physique and Character, stepped down from the office of president of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, an association of which Jung had been vice-president since 1930.
Asked by a number of his medical colleagues, for obvious reasons, to take over the presidency and the editorship of the Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie und ihre Grenzgebiete, which went with this post, Jung volunteered, “until further notice, that is until such time as the tangle of emerging problems should be definitively settled,” to take over the chair.
He named as his deputy his colleague and friend Gustav Richard Heyer.
Active in the National Socialist camp was Dr. M. H. Goring, a psychiatrist from Wuppertal-Elberfeld and cousin of the Prussian prime minister and later Reichsmarshal.
Jung took on the assignment at a time when the Society was in what amounted to an interim status, for the “revolutionary changes in Germany” demanded an uncompromising “coordination” in all areas of social and cultural life, and with it the introduction of the “Fuhrer principle” based on the ideology of National Socialism.
The so-called Aryan paragraph excluded Jewish, or rather non-Aryan, public officials and doctors in principle.
Jung, as a Swiss, took advantage of his opportunity to lessen the effect of this compulsory standardization on the psychotherapeutic society by initiating the formation of an International Society and drafting its official constitution.
In concrete terms this meant that it would be formed of national groups, for example German, Swiss, Dutch, and Danish, but only the German section, with M. H. Goring as its “Fuhrer,” could be subject to the requirements of coordination.
For individuals who did not choose to be affiliated with any national section it was still possible to join the new International Society.
In this way access to the common organization was still open to Jewish colleagues in particular, the Aryan paragraph and the coordination principle notwithstanding.
In addition, in order to prevent any one nation’s becoming predominant in the “supranational” society-in practical terms this could only apply to the “coordinated” German group the statutes as devised by Jung stipulated that no national group would be able to hold more than 40 percent of the present votes.
Moreover, Jung endeavored to strengthen the international basis of the new society and also to advertise the cause among his Swiss countrymen, whose political shortsightedness he bemoaned.
To his Zurich colleague Alphonse Maeder in January 1934 Jung appeared to be thoroughly optimistic, believing that in this way he could be of help to the now isolated German science.
That is precisely why I find it necessary for neutrals on the outside to provide it with the possibility of international connections through the foundation of a general organization. Germany is at present more cut off intellectually from other countries than during the war, and as a consequence is more in need of contact with the rest of the intellectual world than ever.
In any event, the statutes of the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy were ratified at its seventh congress in Bad Nauheim in May 1934.
With this Jung also became de Jure the president of this “supranational” association.
Against the misunderstandings that are occasionally voiced even now, it must be emphasized that he had nothing to do with the coordinated German national group under Professor Goring.
In a circular letter signed by Jung and dated 1 December 1934, the medical psychotherapists were informed that a “determination had been made that affiliation with a national group is purely optional, that is, it is possible to hold individual membership within the framework of the Supranational General Medical Society for Psychotherapy.
The Supranational Society is politically and doctrinally neutral.”
This emphasis on “supra-nationality” speaks for itself, especially when one considers what it meant in practice against the background of National Socialist politics and pressure.
That Jung consistently pursued this line through the unrest of the thirties-resigning the post of president only in 1939-can be verified in various ways.
Thus for example he did not hesitate, in his book The Reality of the Soul (1934), to include a work by his Jewish colleague Hugo Rosenthal (Typological Opposition in the History of the Jewish Religion).
A year later, in a comment published in the Schweizerische .iirztezeitung, he advocated “understanding among the various Psychotherapeutic schools,” setting forth as synoptic works, alongside those of W. M. Kranefeldt and the National Socialist party member G. R. Heyer, a study by his Jewish colleague Gerhard Adler in particular.
In the same place Jung stressed his regard for the “European,” transnational status of psychotherapy.
It was high time, he said, for the individual psychotherapist to become aware also of his social responsibility.
And when, another year later, Jung greeted those who appeared for the ninth Congress for Psychotherapy in Copenhagen in October 1937, he accentuated how important it was to open up the widest possible horizons for this science.
In view of this necessity, any over narrow restriction to artificial boundaries of whatever kind, be they of national, political, linguistic, doctrinal, or philosophical nature, would be a catastrophe for our science …. The nations of Europe form a European family, which like every family has its own distinctive spirit. Far apart as our political aims may lie, they rest in the last analysis on a common European soul, of whose aspects and facets a practical psychology cannot afford to remain unaware.
In any event, the internationality which Jung so vigorously advocated could not be reconciled with the dogma of the supposed Aryan superiority.
The “supranational” society made possible precisely what the coordinated German national group strictly prohibited!
Although a practicable way seemed to have been discovered for the continued existence of medical psychotherapy, one that was also justified according to the rules of the international movement, it led to trouble.
There were two developments in particular that made Jung the target of vehement assaults and reproaches shortly after his assuming the presidency, triggered by two items published in the Zentrablatt.
One was more formal in nature and went back to the fact that Professor Goring, as leader of the German national section, had published in the December 193 3 issue of the Zentrablatt a kind of manifesto urging the subordination of German psychotherapists to National Socialist principles.
Jung had admittedly agreed to publish such an article-not, however, for printing in the Zentrablatt, but rather in a German supplement, for of course only the members of the “coordinated” German group could be called upon to make such a “pledge of allegiance.”
As for the area of his own jurisdiction, anyway, Jung saw no reason to exclude Jewish colleagues from continued collaboration in the future.
Thus, for example, even in late December 193 3 he enlisted the Viennese physician Rudolf Allers to take on the editing of the review section.
However, the publisher did find it advisable to turn over the general editorship of the new periodical “unconditionally” to a “coordinated” member of the profession.
During several weeks in which the further course of events remained somewhat unclear to the parties concerned, including Jung,17 the editor responsible, Dr. Walter Cimbal of Hamburg, neglected to keep Jung, as publisher, informed of what he was doing in good time, which is to say he acted on his own initiative.
To his colleague in Copenhagen, the founder of the Danish national section Oluf Briiel,
Jung defended the editor regarding “this irregularity,” but at the same time (2 March 1934) he expressed his displeasure to Cimbal:
As you will remember, I informed you of my express wish that the German volume should be signed by Professor Goring. As a foreigner, German domestic policy does not suit me. And with regard to the foreign subscriber to the Zentralblatt, it is a regrettable tactical error for platforms dealing purely with domestic politics, which one can if one must understand as necessities for Germans, to be shoved down the throat of the foreign reader who is critical as it is …. I would like to urge you most strongly to keep the Zentralblatt, which is intended for external circulation, in every respect nonpolitical.
And once again Jung closed by stressing that he, as president of the supranational society, had to maintain a scientific attitude, “apart from any politics.”
But the damage was already done. Jung spoke of the “smear campaign” that the Zentralblatt article had stirred up in Zurich.
But the readers, especially those outside Germany, could not have been aware of the background of this oversight (or perhaps intentional exposure of Jung?).
For another thing, Jung had also left himself open when it came to matters of content in the Zentralblatt.
Thus he promised in his prefatory remarks in volume 3 (1933):
the differences between Germanic and Jewish psychology, which actually exist and which have long been known to sensible people … should no longer be glossed over ….I would like to state expressly that this is not meant to suggest any depreciation of Semitic psychology, any more than a depreciation of that of the Chinese is intended when speaking of the characteristic psychology of the people of the Far East.
Harmless as this statement might be in itself, and especially when considered in the larger context of Jung’s work and indeed of Freud’s psychoanalysis, at this point in time and in view of the constellation of objective and personal factors, these words could fuel disastrous misunderstandings.
So it came about that the Swiss psychoanalyst Gustav Bally made a scathing attack on Jung in the Neue Zurcher Zeitungof 27 February 1934.
In his article entitled “Germanic Therapy” he said:
“The well-known publisher of this coordinated periodical is Dr. C. G. Jung …. thus a Swiss edits the official organ of a society which, in the words of one of its leading members, Dr. M. H. Goring, ‘expects of all its actively contributing members that they have thoroughly studied Adolf Hitler’s fundamental book Mein Kampf in all scientific earnest and recognize it as a basis.”‘
That this statement rests on a double misconception emerges only when one is aware of the circumstances we have described.
With this an avalanche was set in motion. Jung responded, also in the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, on 13 and 14 March, with an addendum on the fifteenth.
He asked his opponent, who had been joined by others, to consider whether in this difficult predicament for psychotherapy he ought to have retreated “to the security on my own side of the border as a cautious neutral,” or-as it actually turned out-stuck his neck out and exposed himself to the danger of misunderstanding.
Was I supposed to sacrifice the interests of science, collegiality, and the friendship which binds me to several German doctors in the vital context of intellectual culture in the German language to my own egoistic well-being and my differing political convictions?
I have seen too much of the agony of the German middle class, felt too much of the often unbounded misery of the life of a doctor in Germany at the present time, and I know too much of spiritual anguish to be able to withdraw from my clear duty as a man behind the shabby cloak of political pretense.
So there was nothing left for me but to stand up for my friends with the weight of my reputation and my independent position.
If the doctors in communist Russia had sought his help, he said, he would have defended them in the same way without hesitation, “for the sake of the human soul.”
Furthermore, we do not consider as a traitor to his country one who as a doctor,. in time of war, proffers help to a wounded enemy, for: As doctors we are first of all human beings, who perform their service for their fellow men, if need be, despite all the impediments of a given political situation.
At the same time Jung admitted to having been quite careless, so careless that as a psychologist he took care of the Jewish question by pointing out the “difference between Jewish and ‘Aryan-Germanic-Christian-European’ psychology.”
Naturally this referred not to psychology or psychotherapy as a scientific discipline, but to the fact that the practitioner of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy brings to the interaction between analyst and analysand, in his own person, a “subjective predisposition” that conditions any interpersonal relationship, particularly the psychotherapeutic process with its transference and countertransference.
From this point of view, he said, one could not disregard the “psychic differences” that exist among all nations and races, even among Ztirichers, Baslers, and Berners.
Once again, that no kind of value judgment could be expressed by this was obvious in any case.
Jung stressed this many times expressis verbis.
Above all, he said, no psychology, including Jewish psychology, could claim to be universal, and the desire to establish and investigate this fact should not be subjected to accusations of anti-Semitism.
Just such charges, however, have been raised against Jung time and again.
It would be interesting to know what Freud might have thought of the position Jung took during the days of the Third Reich, but apparently there is no evidence on this.
As for Jung’s thesis of the dissimilarities among psychologies, though, long before him Freud himself had stressed the emphatically Jewish character of his own ideas and of psychoanalysis, for example in a letter to Karl Abraham on 3 May 1908.
Here he said:
“Be tolerant, and do not forget that you actually have it easier than Jung in following my ideas, for in the first place you are totally independent, and then you come much closer to my intellectual constitution through being racially related, whereas he as a Christian and a pastor’s son finds his way to me only against great resistances. This makes his association all the more valuable. I would almost have said that his appearance rescued psychoanalysis from the danger of becoming a Jewish-national matter.”
According to Aniela Jaffe, Freud’s words showed the “awareness and the attitude of a great Jewish man who understood the psychic circumstances and saw beyond the human limitations of the moment.
“For him, recognizing the Jewish character of psychoanalysis in no way represented a depreciation.”
Thus we see how manifestly important it is to know by whom and when a thing is said or done.
Of course Jung lamented this “extremely unfortunate and confusing encounter” of the researches he had been carrying on for many years with the “Nazi storm,” but as far as the question of the evaluation or devaluation of various psychologies was concerned, it must be said that Jung did after all allow himself to be carried away into statements which, if taken at face value, could and indeed were bound to be interpreted as serious discrimination.
This was true, for example, of formulations found in his essay on “The State of Psychotherapy Today,” also reprinted in the Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie.
Here Jung contrasted the Jews, members of a race whose culture was some three thousand years old, with the very much younger Aryan people, who as a result of this youthful immaturity were capable, he said, of creating new forms of culture that were as yet still slumbering in their unconscious.
In this case Jung was speaking of the positive aspect of the same situation he had characterized negatively about a decade and a half before, as the dangerous potential of the “blond beast.”
If one consults the texts that emerged later (but likewise still in the thirties), such as the essay “Wotan” (1936), it becomes reasonable to think that Jung could not have helped being aware of the archetypal menace of what had come to pass in Germany since the rise of National Socialism.
But at the time of his essay Jung managed to represent the unconscious of the “Jewish race as a whole” as less creative.
His words then were:
Apart from certain creative individuals, the average Jew is, I dare say, much too conscious and differentiated to labor with the tensions of an unborn future too. The Aryan unconscious has a greater potential than the Jewish; this is the advantage and the disadvantage of a youthfulness that is not yet fully estranged from barbarism.
For this very reason, he said, it was a grave mistake of medical psychology up to that time that it had indiscriminately applied Jewish categories-which were not even binding upon all Jews-to the Christian Germanic and Slavic peoples.
Anyone who was aware of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Alfred Rosenberg’s The Myth of the Twentieth Century, as well as all kinds of neo-Germanic and “German faith” writings such as Wilhelm Hauer’s The German Vision of God-and not a few of Jung’s adherents found themselves in Hauer’s Kommende Gemeinde!-was bound to assume in Jung an effective empathizer of his cause, for in the same connection he spoke of the “precious secret of the Germanic people”; he pronounced ..an oracle on the ”creatively ominous ground of their soul”; he apostrophized “the powerful phenomenon of National Socialism, on which the whole world gazes with astonished eyes …. ”
Of course the context shows that the author was referring to a view that extended beyond the personal unconscious, arising out of that which has been forgotten and repressed, to the supra-individual and collective unconscious, with its highly active archetypes.
But time and circumstance, indeed even his choice of words, were bound to leave open the door to misunderstanding, especially because C. G. Jung, about to complete his sixtieth year, had long since achieved worldwide recognition as the “famed Swiss psychologist.”
In 1932 the city of Zurich awarded him its prize for literature.
In 1935 the Swiss Institute of Technology, where he had been teaching for two years, named him an honorary professor.
In September 1936 Jung spoke on the occasion of the three hundredth anniversary of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he received the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.
Further honorary doctorates followed, including those from the universities of Calcutta, Benares, Allahabad, and Oxford in the year 1938.
Tributes from Swiss academies came comparatively late. The University of Basel named him Professor of Medical Psychology on 15 October 1944, during the war.
On 26 July 1945 he became an honorary doctor at Geneva University, and finally as an octogenarian the Swiss Institute of Technology conferred on him the honorary doctorate in science.
In addition there were commitments now and again to international speaking engagements, such as the Tavistock Lectures “On the Foundations of Analytical Psychology” in London in 1935, or the honorable Terry Lectures at Yale University, which appeared in book form under the title Psychology and Religion, and Jung’s substantial contribution to the genesis and formation of the likewise international and interdisciplinary Eranos conferences in Ascona on Lago Maggiore from 1933 on has already been thoroughly discussed.
Renown, then, wherever one looks!
Certainly there was no question about the helpfulness of Jung’s activity.
He was neither a Nazi partisan nor anti-Semitic.
This is shown even by his activities as president of the international society of medical psychotherapists.
Beyond this, he aided many individual Jews by word and deed; thus Aniela Jaffe emphasized, as one of those affected:
“However, the fact that Jung came out in public with this [his distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish psychology] at a time”;
When being Jewish was a threat to one’s life, and that he placed the psychological and racial distinctions on the scientific program of the International Society, has to be regarded as a serious mistake.
Even if the most abysmal consequences of the hatred of Jews only became known later, any reference to the differentness of Jews was at that time fuel for further fanaticism.
In this case the doctor’s silence, which we rely on and so often impose upon him, would have been the order of the day.”
Such was Aniela Jaffe’s judgment on her own doctor and teacher.
It was not only in the professional press, as we have described, that Jung spoke out quite unnecessarily on the subject of National Socialism.
When he held a seminar in Berlin between 26 June and 1 July, 1933, the Jungian Adolf Weizsacker, a practicing psychologist, conducted an interview with him on Radio Berlin.
Weizsacker succeeded in eliciting from (as he said) “the most progressive researcher in psychology today” all manner of statements that, from the very way in which the announcer presented them and in which the questions were phrased, were calculated to produce misconception.
Thus Jung’s “constructive psychology” was contrasted with the “demoralizing psychoanalysis,” and Jung advised that at this moment in history the older generation should be wise enough to leave leadership to youth and resign themselves “to this natural course of events.”
Further, there was much talk of the hour of the “leader” and the “times of leadership,” for “only in times of aimless quiescence” was “the aimless conversation of parliamentary deliberation” called for, and generally speaking “democracy or no democracy.”
It was, in a word, a thoroughly shameful business.
Although the interviewee did point out the danger to those who are swept along by uprisings of this sort, because it is a characteristic of mass movements that they overpower the individual through mass suggestion and make him unconscious-as had been happening for more than twelve years under the circumstances this warning was hardly likely to be understood as such or taken seriously.
When Jung began his Zarathustra seminars in Zurich in the spring of 1934, in the more intimate circle of his students, he was able to say much in clear words and with appropriate critical distance.
Here he described the prevailing situation in National Socialist Germany as that prefigured in Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra: man lives in order to live or to die, no one knows what for; basically the Nazi party offered no real plan; its leaders did not know what they were risking; from the rational standpoint the Nazis’ entire undertaking was pure madness-one could call it completely pathological, a divine or demonic madness; Nietzsche, in this light, had become a great prophet of what was now happening in Germany.
What he had said in the inner circle of his students and friends in the form of a very exhaustive exegesis of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Jung published, with similar emphasis, in the spring of 1936, at a time when National Socialist Germany, with enormous propaganda, was sending out invitations to the Olympic Games in Berlin.
In view of Hitler’s brown and black storm troops (SA, SS, and so on), whose marching and drum-beating had long been impressed on the consciousness of their contemporaries, Jung characterized National Socialism, in his essay “Wotan,” as the outbreak of an archetype. Wotan himself was “a god of storm and agitation, an unleasher of passion and lust for battle, as well as a sorcerer and master of illusion who is woven into all secrets of an occult nature.”
This was a rude awakening for those who had believed up to now that they lived in a civilized country far removed from the Middle Ages.
And this ancient Wotan, he said, with his abysmally deep but never exhausted character, revealed more of the essential nature of National Socialism than attempts at rational explanation did.
Consequently Jung saw in the Wotan archetype an autonomous factor that produced collective influences, by seducing people who went along with the masses, and where it is not the individual but the mass that is moving, there people’s self-regulation ceases and the archetypes begin to be effective, as also happens in the life of the individual when he finds himself faced with situations that can no longer be mastered with the categories he knows.
But what a so-called Fuhrer does vis-a-vis the restless mass, we can observe … with all the clarity one could ask for.
And finally the oracular note again, according to which National Socialism might perhaps be far from the last word:
… rather, things may be expected to come out of the background, in the coming years or decades, of which right now we can likely form only a poor conception ….
These sentences were written three and a half years before the outbreak of World War II, only a few years before the installation of the brown-shirt extermination camps.
But since what Jung understood by the term “archetype” was not a factor that could be confined within national boundaries, in the end it was also necessary to think of the destructive potential that a somehow or other misguided humanity had meanwhile amassed around itself, to its own self-destruction.
Aside from the “Wotan” essay, published in the Schweizer Monatsheften, Jung had repeatedly made no secret of his attitude toward dictators, and especially the events in the Third Reich, to the international press as well.
In October 1938 the well-known American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker called at Jung’s home in Kusnacht, in order to conduct a detailed interview with him for the January 1939 edition of Hearst’s International-Cosmopolitan.
This happened in the same year that brought the annexation of Austria to Hitler’s Germany in March. Furthermore, after the so-called Sudeten crisis and Hitler’s threat of war, the two interlocutors were still under the immediate impact of the ominous Munich accord of 29 September 1938.
In the presence of Benito Mussolini, Hitler had had himself given the approval of France under Premier Edouard Daladier and Great Britain under Neville Chamberlain for his entry into the Sudetenland.
At this moment when Hitler came to be validated by nations outside Germany as well, Jung depicted the brown dictator as a kind of medicine man or shaman.
Quite a meaningless figure in himself, he nonetheless reflected the unconscious of the Germans.
He gave voice (too) loudly to that which the German people unconsciously expected of him.
The man from Braunau, Jung said, was not a political but actually a magical celebrity.
This set in motion processes of unconscious projection between the collective unconscious of the people, which had been possessed by the impetuous god Wotan, and this person, irrelevant in himself, who had been highly stylized into a kind of German messiah.
On the question of Hitler’s attitude toward women and marriage, Jung prophesied:
“He cannot marry …. Hitler’s real passion, of course, is Germany.”
Then, with a shot of Jungian irony, he said that this was the only reason Hitler talked so loudly, even in private conversation, because he always spoke with seventy-eight million voices.
Such a nation, together with its leader, was at bottom a monster; everyone should fear the terrible being, for “Big nations mean big catastrophes.”
The telephone rang, and Jung answered. Knickerbocker heard a patient crying that a hurricane was threatening to sweep him out of his bedroom.
“Lie down on the floor and you will be safe,” the doctor reassured him.
And Knickerbocker commented, “It is the same advice the sage physician now gives to Europe and America, as the high wind of dictatorship rages at the foundations of Democracy.”
Barely a year after this interview, the Second World War had begun.
We know what an impression Jung made on the American journalist from a comment by his English colleague Laurens van de Post: “He [Knickerbocker] had just returned from Zurich, where he had interviewed Jung for his newspaper.
He could talk of nothing else.
Over and over he said that Jung was the only person who really knew what was going on in Europe, that none of the statesmen or politicians had any idea at all of what the growing volcanic rumbling on the European scene heralded. Only Jung knew it.”
And Knickerbocker had been familiar with the phenomenon for at least fifteen years-he had been studying psychiatry in Munich when Hitler’s Beerhall Putsch took place there in 1923.
After everything that may be assembled in the way of facts, impressions, and interpretations of Jung’s attitude during the national Socialist period, the question of a conclusive assessment presets itself.
How difficult, if not impossible, it is to give a valid answer is shown by the conflict of opinion among Jung’s critics, which blazed anew after the catastrophe of the world war and the Holocaust of the Jews.
Some tended to exonerate the “Swiss Philistine” entirely, as if a jointly responsible contemporary society condoned taking up a standpoint beyond good and evil.
There is no denying that Jung indeed comes off relatively well when one compares his early diagnosis of National Socialism and its leader with the questionable verdicts or positions that appealed to a majority of his contemporaries in politics and culture, among them Christian theologians ( even those from the confessional church), philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, who was “optimistic” in 1933, or such prominent Jews as Martin Buber, among many others.
On the other hand Jung was cursed hatefully as a “pimp of power” 0. H. Herwig).
Excess on one side or the other need not be discussed here. Nevertheless, if one applies Jung’s psychological picture of man to the founder of analytical psychology himself, the factor of the personal “shadow” cannot be overlooked.
According to Jung, the shadow personifies the dark side, generally unrecognized by the subject and so denied and projected onto others.
It is one’s own weakness of character, one’s own inferiority and deficiency, that one sees in others.
Hence Aniela Jaffe spoke in Jung’s case-and probably with good reason-of a manifestation of his shadow.
This archetype belongs, like the ego and the persona, whose role relationships are directed toward the outer world, to the totality of the human self, and for the sake of psychic wholeness it must never be denied. And where there is much light, there is also much shadow! Or, in Aniela Jaffe’ s words:
“Jung gave too much to the world and to mankind for his shadow ever to jeopardize his spiritual significance and his greatness as a man.”
As a coworker for many years-analysis with Jung in 1937, secretary of the C. G. Jung Institute in 1947, and Jung’s personal secretary from 1955-Mrs. Jaffe attested to how clearly one became aware of this shadow in dealing with him in person, but also to the fact that one could accept this dark side.
On this point Jung’s biographer refers to a letter she had received from the well-known Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem in Jerusalem, in which he gave an account of a conversation about C. G. Jung with Leo Baeck.
The Berlin rabbi, at the age of sixty-nine, had followed his congregation to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and had been one of the few to survive.
He knew Jung personally from the meetings at Count Keyserling’s in his “School of Wisdom” in Darmstadt. Hence he had not thought him capable of any National Socialist or even anti-Semitic sentiment, and had been all the more dismayed by the publications of 1933 and 1934.
Returning to Zurich shortly after the liberation, he quite intentionally did not seek Jung out, and declined an invitation to his home in Kusnacht. “Whereupon,” Scholem wrote, “Jung went to see him [Baeck] at his hotel, and they had a confrontation, two hours long and at times thoroughly lively, in which Baeck threw up to him everything he had heard about him.
Jung defended himself, with appeal to the special circumstances in Germany, but he also confessed to him: ‘Yes, I slipped up,’ when it came to his position on the Nazis and his expectation that perhaps this might have been the start of something great.
This phrase, ‘I slipped up,’ which Baeck repeated to me several times, is vivid in my memory. Baeck said that in this conversation they had cleared up everything that stood between them and were reconciled with each other once again.”
The importance of a communication of this kind may be assessed by anyone who knows the great sensitivity of Jewish people and comprehends the sense of injury in the deepest part of their fate, especially when it is a statement that has come from the likes of a Leo Baeck and been vouched for by a Gershom Scholem.
Taken by itself, the phrase “I slipped up” admittedly had seemed rather like an irritating minimization, and many took offense at it.
But here again the essential thing is the context.
In the same connection it is worth noting also that at the time of his conversation with Baeck, Scholem was faced with the question of whether, in view of Jung’s dominant position there, he too should accept an invitation to participate in the international Eranos conferences.
Thus Scholem’s decision was a further indication that Jung’s admission must have been far more than merely a casual, empty flourish.
Hence Scholem closed his letter to Aniela Jaffe with the words: “On the basis of this explanation by Baeck, I also then accepted the invitation to Eranos, when it came a second time …. ”
The events of the Third Reich, in which Jung was so tensely entangled, should not make us forget that this involved only a portion of his life and activity.
The decade of the thirties primarily represented for Jung a further important stage in his creative work.
As much as the No. 1 of his personality was engaged with the issues of the day, the No. 2 devoted himself concentratedly and almost undisturbed to his own work-to research, to teaching, as lecturer and speaker both at home and abroad, as writer and author of numerous articles and essays as well as book reviews, and not least as psychotherapist in demand on all sides from his home in Kusnacht.
Between 1930 and 1934 he conducted his English seminars in the Psychological Club of Zurich.
They bore the title “Interpretation of Visions” and consisted of lectures and question-and-answer sessions that were recorded and made available to students in typewritten form, totaling eleven volumes.
These were followed by the seminars on the “Psychological Analysis of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra,” which continued until 1939.
This must have been the most exhaustive interpretation of this famous work to date, making up another eleven volumes of typewritten reports.
In the framework of his series of Psychological Essays he brought out numerous essays and revised articles in the volume of collected papers Seelenprobleme der Gegenwart (1931) and Wirklichkeit der See le (1934).
These were more of an introductory character, as was also true of the five lectures he held in 1935 before some two hundred English doctors at the “Institute of Medical Psychology” in London, the so-called Tavistock Lectures (“On the Foundations of Analytical Psychology”), named for the Tavistock Square Clinic founded in 1920.
As E. A. Bennet remarked in his foreword to the first English edition:
“His lectures attracted a representative group of psychiatrists and psychotherapists from all schools, as well as many doctors from neurological clinics and even a few general practitioners …. His finding that bodies and souls react as a unit made Jung the first clinician to recognize the importance of the physiological concomitants of emotion that are familiar to everyone today as psychosomatic phenomena. “Also in the year 1935 came Jung’s sixtieth birthday. An outward sign of how the Jungian school was taking shape was represented by the numerous contributions to the comprehensive testimonial volume compiled for the occasion by Toni Wolff, on behalf of the Psychological Club in Zurich, under the title The Cultural Significance of Complex Psychology.
The wording of this title alone reveals that Jung’s work had gone beyond the more narrow bounds of medical psychotherapy and become a factor in interdisciplinary discussion. Among other places, this came to light in the context of the already mentioned annual Eranos conferences in Ascona, as well as a series of further international meetings and congresses.
The Terry Lectures of 1938 should be mentioned again here, with the important study “Psychology and Religion.”
This opened the eleventh volume of the Collected Works, in which Jung’s writings on Wes tern and Eastern religion were brought together, including other texts from the thirties, some of which originated in collaboration with the Sinologist Richard Wilhelm or the Indologist Heinrich Zimmer. Jung’s invitation to academic gatherings at Indian universities also came at this time.
But as university ceremony was basically distasteful to him, he was always happy to be invited to events in smaller groups, where he could speak without preconceived notions and generally “cut loose,” unconstrained by protocol or strict conventions.
Thus for example early in 1937 the Kongener League asked the Swiss psychologist to its annual conference at Konigsfeld in the Black Forest. Jung’s co-speaker was the theologian, then of Munster and later Bishop of Oldenburg, Wilhelm Stahlin. Reading the accounts, which reflect the impression both men made on their audience from the realms of theology, pedagogy, and social work, it is obvious that many found the Swiss guest’s “refreshing honesty” and his “wonderfully earthy matter-of-factness” -as organizer Rudi Daur put it-more appealing than the “much more strictly circumscribed accountability of expression” (in Alfons Paquet’s words) of the German theology professor.
“From the first moment Jung had a significant, very independent, very open-minded, and at the same time somewhat Mephistophelian effect on this society. He finds great fun in unmasking things. He unmasks the fervor and the sourness of temper with which many pious people destroy themselves and others.”
The Swabian theologian Rudi Daur fared similarly:
“Here stood before us one who, when asked what mission he was on when he spoke, took care of people, showed them paths, quite modestly but quite definitely rejected the question …. Several felt, here is a person with whom you could really trust all the questions, needs, all the confusions and mistakes of your soul.”
Daur also reported what Jung had answered when asked-a typical pious churchman’s question!-who his client really was.
The speaker, who was not easily rattled, appeared exceedingly surprised, but replied:
I am Herr Jung and nobody else, and there is Miss so-and-so. It would not be nice at all if I could not treat such sick people. Besides, I have a certain zest for work. I am enterprising; I have a pioneering spirit. If any kind of screwball at all comes to the door, the explorer in me is awakened, my curiosity, my spirit of adventure, my sympathy. It touches my heart, which is too soft-and people my size usually have something of this; they try to conceal it, but like fools they don’t succeed-and I enjoy seeing what can be done with such a crazy fellow. I have made a game out of healing even difficult cases. This is simply a kind of curiosity and sense of adventure.
Moreover there was also the whole usual necessity of making a living, the mundane reason of earning money, and so no trace of a pastoral mission as far as that went.
How did he, Jung, of all people, come to wish to care for the souls of others?
Jung evidently had tremendous fun giving the creeps to the “aroused” among his audience from Baden and Swabia.
In any case he made no bones about it when he continued: I can tell you this:
When you have to exhaust yourself terribly for a person and you don’t get paid for it, in time you lose your taste for it. So I confront the patient as a completely ordinary person, with all his pros and cons. The reporter could only add: “How cool this man stays at the mention of great, high-sounding words! How relentlessly he asks: what is really behind these high and mighty speeches? What does someone who talks this way have to hide? What is he trying to gain with such peremptory verbiage?” And finally, “Then a profoundly wise man with practically universal knowledge at his command stands with the deepest humility before the secrets of life. What he has read and learned in colleges and from books is not enough for him …. ”
Finally, still in the thirties, came the death of Sigmund Freud, who died on 23 September 1939, at the age of eighty three, in exile in London after having been driven out of Austria by the Nazis.
Just as Jung had already praised the Viennese master, earlier in the decade (1932), as a cultural historical phenomenon and a man who left behind a “glorious life’s work,” so now he dedicated a long obituary to the deceased in the Basler Nachrichten.
Here praise and criticism were joined, tied together with the avowal:
In the course of a personal friendship of many years which bound me to him, I had the privilege of looking deeply into the soul of this singular human being: he was a man “possessed,” one in whom a light has simply opened up with an overpowering impression, taken possession of his soul and not let it go.
Undoubtedly, this sentence about Freud can be applied word for word to Jung himself.
As he penned these lines, the horrors of World War Two had already begun. ~Gerhard Wehr, Jung: A Biography, Pages 304-330