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(PDF) Encounters between the Psychoanalytic Community and the U.S.-American Military-Intelligence Community 1940–1945

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Beginning in 1940, members of the US-American psychoanalytic community began to collaborate with the US-Intelligence Community (IC). Early activities (1940-1945) focused on the immediate threat of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and their imperial Japanese ally and included studies on a variety of anti-axis propaganda issues, e.g., home front radio broadcasts, analysis of enemy broadcasts, studies on domestic morale, analysis of enemy national character etc. Moreover, psychoanalysts used clinical data retained from ongoing analyses to be used by the IC in search of certain patterns of totalitarian attitudes in patients which might be counteracted by psychoanalysis or by psychoanalytically informed propaganda programs. Documents retained from various US-archives reveal that nearly 50% of the membership of the American Psychoanalytic Association were involved in intelligence efforts during the years 1941-1942. In latter years (1942-1945) additional fields of collaboration opened up for psychoanalysts, including the search and development of »truth drugs«, useful »knock-out pills«, the development of an assessment program of future agents of the Office of Strategic Services-the predecessor of the CIA-, and psychohistorical studies on Adolf Hitler. This paper attempts to give a brief introduction into the history and consequences of this rather unexpected liaison.