C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950
To H. G. Baynes
My dear Peter, Bollingen, 12 August 1940
This is the fateful year for which I have waited more than 25 years.
I did not know that i t was such a disaster.
Although since 1918 I knew that a terrible fire would spread over Europe beginning in the North East, I have no vision beyond 1940 concerning the fate of Europe.
This year reminds me of the enormous earthquake in 26 B.C. that shook down the great temple of Karnak.
It was the prelude to the destruction of all temples, because a new time had begun.
1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius.
It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age.
Up to the present moment Bollingen has escaped-together with Switzerland-the general destruction, but we are in prison.
You don’t see the walls, but you feel them.
The newspapers are hushed and one hardly cares to read them, except for doubtful information about the war.
For a while, just when I studied your book, I went with all my grandchildren to the West of Switzerland because we expected an attack.
Afterwards I was very busy because all doctors were with the army.
It is awkward to write, as the censor reads the stuff.
But I must tell you how often I think of you and all my friends in England.
I often complain that Mr. Chamberlain did not read my interview with Knickerbocker.
Your book is quite interesting and it seems as if your interpretations hit the nail on the head.
Certain points would need some discussion.
But one should talk, writing is too clumsy.
It is difficult to be old in these days.
One is helpless.
On the other hand one feels happily estranged from this world.
I like nature but not the world of man or the world to be.
I hope this letter will reach you and convey to you all the wishes the human heart can’t suppress in spite of censors.
They are human too after all.
In autumn I resume my lectures at the E .T.H. about the individuation process in the Middle Ages!
That’s the only thing with me one could call up to date.
I loathe the new style, the new Art, the new Music, Literature, Politics, and above all the new Man.
It’s the old beast that has not changed since the troglodytes.
My dear Peter, I am with you and with old England!
Cordially yours, C.G.
Note: While working on the “North Africa” chapter in his Memories (IX, i) , Jung related to Aniela Jaffe that, soon after peace was declared in 1918, he had a “visionary dream” which
continued to haunt him until the outbreak of World War II:
“I was returning to Switzerland from a trip in Germany. My body was covered with burns and my clothes were burnt full of holes; for I had seen fire fa11ing like rain from heaven and
consuming the cities of Germany. I had an intimation that the crucial year would be 1 940.” (Communication from A.J.)
In the autumn of 1913 , while actually on a journey, Jung had an “overpowering vision” of a “monstrous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps . . . .
Then the whole sea turned to blood.”
The vision was repeated two weeks later; During the spring and early summer of 1914 he had “a thrice-repeated dream that an Arctic cold wave descended and froze the land to ice”
(Memories, pp.1755f./169). – These dreams and visions foretold the outbreak of World War I.
And in 1918 he wrote: “As the Christian view of the world loses its authority, the more menacingly will the ‘blond beast’ be heard prowling about in its underground prison, ready at any
moment to burst out with devastating consequences” (“The Role of the Unconscious,” CW 10, par. 17). Cf. also “The Fight with the Shadow,” ibid., par. 447.
Note: An interview with the American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker, “Diagnosing the Dictators,” Hearst’s International Cosmopolitan, Jan. 1939.
In it Jung suggested that Western civilization might be spared the horrors of Nazi terrorism by turning Hitler’s aggressive libido towards Russia, as the only way to stop Hitler
making war on the West.
In this way Nazism could be induced to commit suicide. The interview is included in C. G. Jung Speaking (in press).
Alchemy I and II, Nov. 1940-Feb. 1941; May-July 1941. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 285-286.