War Outside, War Inside
Freud was not prepared for the war that shook the world in 1914. He was confronted not with the triumph or potential triumph of reason, but with its opposite: all those primitive, destructive, hostile drives he had spent his personal and professional life in combating and subjugating. The war struck at Freud’s fundamental convictions, but it also struck at his personal life. A son-in-law and two of his sons, Martin and Oliver, fought as citizens of the Austro-Hungarian empire, on the side of Germany. Freud worried about them constantly. Freud’s own life and activities were restricted. International collaboration in psychoanalytic circles came to a virtual standstill. The ranks of Freud’s favourite apostles had been riddled by war service. From the abyss of his own disillusion with man’s humanity to man, Freud dredged up a pitilessly disillusioned answer to the “Why?” of the war.