Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
How the Nazis Won World War II – And All Subsequent Wars
As Adorno and others often remarked, we repress the past–because it’s ‘shocked and awed’ out of us to join all the other bits of floating mental and emotional flotsam and jetsam out there that was once called history, and only comes back to us in the form of flashbacks, déja vu moments, and similar hauntings. In other words, what we are up against here–in the desire to ‘own’ time–is an updated version of the repression of neurotic symptoms in the psychoanalytic sense; that is, the invocation of representations that are actual, actant but also unconscious. ‘Nearly always it is a matter of a complex of representations, of assemblages of ideas and of memories concerning external events, or of chains of thought by the subject himself’ (Breuer 1895, in Laplanche & Pontalis 2002: 72). To understand this complex that goes back not only to before World War II and the Nazi ‘invention’ of Blitzkrieg, but also to the history and destiny of psychoanalysis in the West in its uncanny parallels with the development of the mass media, one needs turn to Laurence A. Rickels’ three-volume study of all this and its implications in Nazi Psychoanalysis (2002).
Springtime for Hitler
In the University of California at Santa Barbara press-release that accompanied the publication of his study, Rickels, professor of German literature and language and lay analyst, is quoted as saying, ‘What I liked about this project is that it is all about the uncanny continuity that keeps us closer to Nazi Germany than we might like to be’. Several of these continuities are well worth emphasizing (although Rickels provides the more complete picture): to simplify his argument, the Allies won World War II because they learned to ‘out-Nazi’ the Nazis in crucial ways. Among these were better Blitzkrieg techniques, and perfecting and turning against the German military their own invention of ‘psychological warfare.’ As philosopher Berel Lang has remarked, this also included what he terms the ‘technologization’ of language. In a word, the Allies won because of a greater belief in the perfectibility of human beings through technology. Conversely, the Nazis ‘lost’ the war–although it must not be forgotten how close they did come to actually winning it militarily as late as winter 1944–because of their nihilism: their belief that only certain categories of human were perfectible, whereas the subhumans were just disposable. It was therefore the Nazi obsession with applied racial biology that cost them the war: not only giving priority over military use of the railways to ‘transports’ of Jews bound for extermination, but also the earlier expulsion of Jewish physicists enabled the latter to work out the physics of the Manhattan Project whose atomic bomb was built to be dropped on Germany. Similarly, the expulsion of Jewish psychoanalysts would come back to haunt the Nazis, as we shall see. The point, however, as Rickels stresses, is that the basic ideas on both sides were of German, or more precisely of German-language, origin.
One of the problems that gets in the way of understanding these uncanny continuities revolves around the status of psychoanalysis under the Nazi regime. The story, carefully established partly by Freud himself, is that this ‘Jewish science’ had no place in the National-Socialist regime. Paralleling the debate between ‘intentionalist’ and ‘functionalist’ historians regarding the Final Solution, the debate around the scientific status of psychoanalysis under the Nazis has also turned on two similar positions: 1) what one could call a ‘functionalist’ version that ranges from the utter to surface incompatibility between the Nazi regime and psychoanalysis, but with the possibility of underlying adaptability, and 2) an ‘intentionalist’ version, claiming that Freud and Ernest Jones knowingly signed a ‘pact with the devil’ in order to save their creation, even if this meant the removal of a few Jewish analysts (see, e.g., Goggin & Goggin, 2001, Lothane ed., 2002). Either way, there would be a fit between psychoanalysis and the Nazi regime. This is where Rickels takes up the debate in Volume One, Only Psychoanalysis Won the War.
Most influential among the functionalists is historian Geoffrey Cocks, whose dissertation-book Psychotherapy in the Third Reich: The Göring Institute (first ed.1985) produced, as Rickels puts it, ‘a neutrally upbeat history of psychotherapy today, whether in Germany or in California, based on the standards of professional upward mobility, insurance coverage, and recognition by the military and medical establishments’ (I: 11). What Rickels objects to in Cocks–or similar attempts at historicizing or sociologizing the place of psychotherapy today–is that, in thus ‘normalizing’ psychoanalysis as a route for upward mobility, these too readily ignore Freud’s idea of the importance of resistance to psychoanalysis, the Nazi mania over ‘the Jew,’and thirdly that Nazi psychoanalysis never de-Nazified. In this light, a more encompassing concept than ‘Nazi psychoanalysis’ is called for that Rickels terms ‘greater psychoanalysis’ (xviii) that recontextualizes Freud’s studies of the relations between psychosis, melancholia and group psychology with the long history of war neuroses to psychological warfare from World War I through World War II. More broadly still, ‘greater psychoanalysis’ retraces the processes of ‘technologization,’ or, since the 18th century at least, the recurring fantasies that the machine could once and for all overcome our problems with mortality. The axes of technologization here run from Freud’s writings on fetishism, discovered in the symptomatizing body of the war neurotic, through during WWII to ‘the air-raid sheltering of the populace in a group-therapeutic mode and the intrapsychic wiring of the pilot to his machine’ (xviii), to late-war and postwar cybernetics.
Technologized science, or for Rickels more precisely ‘science fiction’ (of which Nazi Germany was an earthly realization), holds both open and shut a fetishized future; i.e., progress is limitless and everything is capable of a ‘final solution’; on the other hand, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Such a double bind has produced ‘aberrations of mourning’ (the title of Rickels’ 1988 book), notably the splitting or doubling of the self within a borderline zone lying across neurosis and psychosis, a melancholy sense of lack that can only be overcome by the flight-fright provided by gadgets (literal flight as in airpower, or symbolic flight as in movies, television and all the other media). Unpacking these aberrations of mourning, to which Rickels has devoted his earlier books, is completed by this ‘final installment of my trilogy on “Unmourning”‘ (xviii)–the three volumes of Nazi Psychoanalysis–which Rickels claims, by addressing the continuities mentioned above, ‘for the first time can be brought be into real-time proximity with the live or dead issues that currently occupy the media grounds for our existence’ (xix).
It should be clear from these remarks, then, that what Rickels is proposing is not lacking in ambition. But neither was Freud’s work. By these standards, Rickels’ cinqueology surely ranks with such major applications of the lessons of psychoanalysis as the ‘psychiatry of politics’ of Harold Lasswell, (whose influence Rickels acknowledges in Vol. 1 on pp. 122-3, 274-5), Marcuse’s idea of ‘repressive desublimation’ in Eros and Civilization or Norman O. Brown’s Life Against Death, to list a few personal favorites. Rickels’ work falls into the continuum of attempts to apply Freud’s ideas to, variously, a psychopathology of politics (as in the work of Harold Lasswell), or an emancipatory social theory (as per the Frankfurt School). More broadly of the study of the development of psychic forms in response to the extreme historical situations of a century so exterminatory that barely in its teens had led Freud to postulate the existence of the death instinct. Put slightly differently, this is to raise once more the still open question of how Freud’s thought has influenced the human sciences. Yannis Gabriel, for one, has argued that such influence has been more limited than not, in part because the ‘neglect of Freud’s work has been compounded by the institutionalization of psychoanalysis as a closed discipline appended to psychiatry’ (1983: 2). He goes on to note, nodding to Foucault, that
it is precisely through the concept of the unconscious that psychoanalysis places itself in the same theoretical space as the other human sciences. . . .Without this concept, most contemporary human sciences would lack foundations, for in their effort to unveil ‘ideologies,’ ‘social norms,’ ‘linguistic structures’ and ‘psychological needs’ they are constantly pursuing that implicit knowledge within which human actions unfolds, and yet which does not form part of consciousness.’
Without getting sidetracked into discussions of the ‘foundations’ of the human sciences, this is precisely the terrain that Rickels is working, less however from the preoccupations of social theory than from what could be termed a psychoanalysis–or perhaps more accurately a media-analysis–of the novel forms of psychic adaptation that have come to constitute ‘the media grounds for our existence'(xix). In this sense, the thinker whom Rickels most resembles, in more ways than one, is Marshall McLuhan. If this is meant on one level as a major compliment, it also flags stylistic aspects to understanding Rickels (puns, probes, and so on) that similarly made McLuhan’s acceptance by the academy mainly one of resistance. On the other hand, judging by the evolution of his style and passing remarks (see, for instance, his ‘Achtung’ preface to the three Volumes), Rickels is savvy enough to the ways of the academy (from backstabbing jealousies to the purloining of ideas) not to mind overly much. Still, Nazi Psychoanalysis as well as his earlier books were all published by university presses, and thus are aimed, however reluctantly, at an academic readership.Which will range from the methodologically picky to those of us who can still appreciate a stunning work of scholarship, regardless of its unorthodoxy.
Reading Rickels is ‘a trip’, which means sometimes even a bad trip, but the overall effect is mind-blowing (to keep our metaphorical ducks in a row). Rickels’ ‘chapters’ are less conventionally that than entries on a dizzying array of topics ranging from one page to several. Needless to add, this makes tidy reviewing difficult. The three volumes as a result form a kind of loop that can be read in pretty much any way one likes; each can be read serially, or dipped into, or read across each other. Since the loop effect is meant, as I take it, to replicate the psychotic looping in which we are culturally entrapped, the three volumes are hard to separate thematically, but, very crudely, one could say that Volume One deals primarily with the trilogy’s central argument of how we became psychotic; Volume Two shows how this occurred through the harnessing of the sensorium to flight; and Volume Three with how all our current lifestyle choices were first molded by the Nazis. For reasons of space, I’ll mainly be referring to the first volume; as a consequence, I’m no doubt taking certain liberties both in paraphrasing and reorganizing Rickels for the sake of easier access–hopefully without stomping in jackboots on his ideas.
Professor Freud meets Professor McLuhan
Let’s return to the idea of ‘technologization’ encountered above. The risk here, of course, is to awaken the monster of reductionism–as McLuhan was accused of being a ‘technological determinist,’ or Freud a ‘sexual or biological determinist.’ Instead, the primary (primal?) issue concerns the modifications brought about by the surrounding society’s ever increasing reliance upon productive (and later reproductive) technologies of the industrialization of primary production processes in its relations to the human senses, sensorium, psychic organization, or ‘sensurround’, as Rickels terms it (I: 76). This is a long story of the fear of human capabilities being replaced by machines that goes back at least to Aristotle and Plato. To make it a lot shorter, let’s stipulate that by the late 19th century, that fear had grown so exponentially and in so many differing domains that it had assumed real and figurative dimensions. As concerns the ‘real’, always already a problematic category in a post-revolutionary epoch, whole new bodies of knowledge such as sociology, political economy and eventually psychoanalysis had sprung up with solutions on how to manage the abstract spread of the uncanny. The Germans, no dummies, quickly labeled these ‘Jewish sciences.’ At the level of the figurative, from the Golem to Frankenstein to the Vampyr, new fields of literature and art–broadly, science fiction–had sprung up to fool around with phenomena that now also included the manifestation of symptoms, such as diseases of the nerves, ‘American nervousness’, and so forth. The automatization of the sensory apparatus would in due course extend from the work-place to the hospitals and also to initially working-class sites of enjoyment like the music hall to the new-fangled machines that animated human motion, distant places, and soon enough emotions (laughter, desire, humiliation). In a word, the ‘fear of the machine,’ expanded widely enough, is also the love of the machine and the desire to be part of the machine. Thus, philosophers (Bergson famously, and a Jew of course) came to liken the operations of consciousness to the cinematograph, as part of a constellation of doublings reducing the gap between how humans tick like machines and machines themselves, especially the specific machines of the new mass media. As Virilio and others came to remark, ‘the story of the film [i]s the anticipation of, or preparation for (. . .the psychologization of), total war’ (Rickels I: 67).
Enter Freud, on the slope between his first and second system. The first system had split conscious and unconscious. As the second system is prefigured in essays like ‘On “the Uncanny”‘ and ‘On Narcissism,’ the doubling of the ego or split body with the unbounded self-love of primary narcissism reaches ‘the next stage of narcissism that’s no longer body based but now recircuited and recruited for. . .long-distance relations of control’ (Rickels I: 64-5). ‘Because your death wish cannot be accepted or brought into focus in close-up, it gets projected in long shot. That is, you have to share it with the goner; the long-distance haunting that keeps you two in touch is the death wish victim’s time-share in your omnipotence’ (65). As Hanns Sachs noted in 1933, the Aristotelian view of technology as (potentially dangerous) playthings had with time transformed into a modern, Faustian version of technological expansion and intervention. ‘Ask any psychotic who’s hallucinating influencing machines,’ Rickels remarks, and you’ll find that ‘the technological relation switches on as a kind of emergency projection in the face of the uncanniness of body-based narcissism’ (65). In the Schreber case, according to Freud, the psychotic who breaks from reality to escape trauma’s total mobilization of repression
must make it from stage one narcissism (wipeout of the ego and end of the world) to stage two, the sadomasochistic coupling of ego slave and its mastery. The psychotic creates a new delusional world in the place of the one that was lost. In thus giving stage two shelter to the narcissistic destiny of his libido, the psychotic . . . externalizes the psychic apparatus in order to bring in the new world. . . . In the new order that Schreber calls ‘soul murder,’ the psychotic has a stage two future in the auto-technologization of self-observation,’ the self-healing that is the techno-delusional order ( I:66).
In the real world, two intertwined sets of events would confirm the new ‘techno-delusional order.’ The first was the First World War and in particular Freud’s work with the war neuroses; in Rickels’ words, ‘Freud’s discovery of the psychotic war economy. . . doubles (internalizes and technologizes) the ego’s rapport with the other’ (I: 74), the ‘transference neuroses of peace’ (Freud), contrasted with the war or more generally traumatic neuroses.
War neurosis showed Freud the way shell shock detonated down the dotted line of predisposition to neurosis or psychosis. . .. War neurosis diversified the holdings of psychoanalysis by dividing or doubling the libido theory between the drive toward the outside and the drive inward. Only psychoanalysis won the war, a corridor war among the different departments of psychological intervention that would one and all have to accommodate themselves to the trend the military first set. (69-70) Under the influence and the treatment and theorization of the war neurosis, which was shooting up Freud’s science into the mainline of military and psychological establishments, psychological warfare keeps right up there with psychoanalysis between the wars in Germany. In other words: group psychology is total war is psychological warfare. It’s the collapse, war economy style, of one crisis or survival onto another one. (74, emphases in orginal)
The second event, indeed the very machinery that keeps the psych(ot)ic war economy shored up, was the invention of the cinema, specifically the German cinema of the interwar years from Fritz Lang to Leni Riefenstahl, and not only because Lang, Carl Meyer, and Hitler too were war neurotics, but more importantly because the ‘psychoanalytic inside view of where the trauma of war goes’ had already superceded any merely external or thematic connection between war and the media.
The Frankfurt School’s California interlude
Let’s fast forward a bit, and grant Rickels his concept of greater psychoanalysis. We can thus imagine the development of psychoanalysis as a kind of transcontinental shifting of the techtonic plates of ‘civilized morality’ producing a volcano here (as in Nazi psychoanalysis) or a new continent there. As Freud apocryphally said, approaching the Manhattan skyline by boat on his 1913 trip to America, ‘They don’t know it yet, but we are bringing them the plague.’ As Rickels notes, ‘Freud’s influence was so unstoppable’ (I: 13) that we can envisage at least two parallel courses of the development of psychoanalysis, a German one, and an American one (leaving aside other patterns elsewhere). The problem here, of course, and as Rickels discusses at greater length in his extraordinary 1991 The Case of California, is that the lines between the two get rather blurred, to the extent that thanks to the Nazi ethnic cleansing of the professions so many German-Jewish analysts end up in the U.S., not to mention the Thomas Manns, Brechts, Adornos and Horkheimers and the rest that eventually wend their way like moths towards the bright lights of Hollywood.
That said, the Americans did have, early on, a nativist take of their own on greater psychoanalysis, such as G. Stanley Hall’s discovery avant la lettre of the character formation later to be termed ‘the teenager.’ More to the point for our purposes here is the quasi-pathological obsession with the power of media propaganda that would take hold with the American entry into the First World War, and give rise in the 1920s to the work of Harold Lasswell, the study of public opinion, the inventors of public relations (among these was Freud’s cousin), and more broadly of what Lasswell came to term the ‘policy sciences,’ or the American version of ‘sykewar,’ to which we will return below.
What the Frankfurters uncover in California from their up-close study of the American ‘culture industry’ is that it operates as, in Adorno’s words, ‘psychoanalysis in reverse’ (cited in Rickels 1991: 1). Now this corresponds pretty exactly to what they had already concluded about the Nazis, and what the American sykewarriors (here again, but now on the other side of the Atlantic, the mainlining of psychoanalysis into military veins) by 1941 would discover about National Socialism–‘that National Socialism is psychoanalysis in reverse’ (I: 275). As Rickels puts it, that ‘All propaganda packs a reversal, a double psychologization, that is, a psychologization and a sociologization. . . . It’s brought to us not via politics but via metaphysics, anthropology–in a word, psychology’ (275).
The mistake the Frankfurters–and neo-Freudians–make, Rickels argues, is that of folding the internal relations between sociology and psychology into ‘a totally socialized or sociologized world’ (275). In its remake of Freud’s science, by replacing the drives with character traits (e.g., Adorno’s authoritarian personality), the Frankfurt School ‘loses the lead in critique of the mass-media consumerist society that Freudian psychoanalysis. . .had comprehended right down to the component parts (of identification, projection and destrudo)’ (278).
The lesson, however, was not lost on the American sykewarriors in their learning from the errors of Nazi mobilization of psychic apparatuses and media technologies. Propaganda, as Lasswell put it, ‘is an instrument of total policy. . .[whose] aim is to economize the material cost of power’ (quoted in I: 276). With uncanny prescience, Lasswell went on to redefine American psychological warfare as ‘the destruction of the enemy’s will to resist, and with a minimum annihilation of fighting capacity. . . We are looking at the conduct of war in the perspective of psychology when we are seeking to widen the gap between. . .physical destruction. . .and the magnitude of the impact upon the enemy’s intention to resist.’ As Rickels adds, ‘The discovery of the limit alongside a savings in expenditure of destruction in the course of war sets a limit to victory and thus to warfare. It creates the conditions for a media war as total. . .‘ (277, emphasis added).
Sykewar/ Psywar/Psy Fi
Early on in Volume One, Rickels quotes from a 1946 essay by Ernst Simmel from a collection he edited on anti-semitism, in which Simmel remarks that ‘Anti-Semitism is the psychological robot bomb of the Nazis.’ Simmel also draws attention to the 1941 bibliographical compilation German Psychological Warfare that detailed with ‘scholarliness and. . .attention to minute detail. . .[how] the knowledge of dynamic psychology is employed in organizing for destruction, for clouding and disintegrating the collective and the individual human mind’ such that ‘the fundamental principles laid down by men like Freud. . .could by skillful misapplication be used. . .to create hate and destruction’ (cited I: 46-7).
Ladislas Farago’s–the same who would later write the bestselling 1974 Aftermath: Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich— 1941 annotated bibliography is one of the (many) treasures uncovered by Rickels. It was produced for the Committee for National Morale, whose secretary was Gregory Bateson, and whose board of trustees included George Gallup and other leading researchers in public opinion and propaganda. Farago’s 1941 book’s prefatory material notes that ‘one of the truly important features of the present war. . .[derives from] the Germans’ skillful use of psychology in revitalizing military strategy. . .to fit the changed requirements of total war’ (1941, rpt. 1972: vii). It goes on to urge ‘Americans [to]. . .have no qualms about adopting some of the best features of German military psychology’ (ix). As psychologist Kimball Young adds in his preface, this study reveals ‘how Nazi aggressive ideology has been converted with the help of psychology into a dynamic military system’ (xv) whose theoretical bases ‘are something awesome, strange, almost other-worldly’–need one say uncanny? Kimball goes on to wonder whether faced with German psychological warfare ‘we are up against something which cannot be successfully combated’ (xxi). He then takes solace in the vast superiority of American culture ‘backed up by tremendous technical skill and industrial capacity [that]. . .support our psychological strength’ (xxi).
The American reversal of German psychological warfare produced ‘sykewar’ that, in Daniel Lerner’s 1949 book from his dissertation, equates all 20th century total war to psychological warfare–and this would only intensify with the Cold War. Group psychology is total warfare is psychological warfare, as Rickels noted. ‘Psychological warfare,’ writes Lerner, ‘is the invention, and the destiny, of the twentieth century’ (1971 ed.: 8). The new feature of 20th century warfare was the extension of propaganda (i.e., of ‘psychology’) to non-combatants. Much depends here, of course, on how widely or narrowly ‘propaganda’ is to be understood. According to the military historian Gian Gentile (2001), the Americans early on came up with what he terms ‘the conceptual approach to strategic bombing,’ as opposed to the more vengeful British concept of ‘area bombing’; after all, the Brits wanted payback for London, Coventry and so on. The ‘conceptual’ approach can be defined as a very lofty view of enemy targets as consisting entirely of infrastructure (factories, power grids, communications systems and so forth), but no people. Therefore one can bomb ’em back to the Stone Age, in U.S. Airforce General Curtis Lemay’s Vietnam era quip, because, in effect, there’s nobody there, and even less so from 50,000 feet altitude–or pilotless cruise missiles and other drones updating the Nazi V1’s and V2’s. The American version of sykewar completes the automatization (dehumanization) of warfare that began with the repeating rifle of the Civil War, continued with the machine gun, tanks, and biochem warfare of World War I, and culminates in the MAD psychouts of the Cold War, the ‘closed systems’ or cybernetic approach to warfare that Paul Edwards analyzes so effectively in The Closed World (1996). In the ensuing loop, or until the current philosophers of the Revolution in Military Affairs prevail further, we just repeat ourselves in slight variations; thus today’s militarists rediscover Blitzkrieg; biochem warfare is back, but now also in the hands of terrorized and terroristic civilians, and ‘friendly fascism’ reigns correctly over our interpersonal relationships, ways of speaking, and personal habits.
Learning to Unmourn
But the return of all these repressed elements comes too perilously close to succumbing to our fetishization of gadgets by which we endlessly defer what’s bugging us by recourse to the ‘psychotic sublime’ (III: 138), and other Adornoesque sociologized fantasies of the totally administered world. All of which is tempting, to be sure, to our simpleminded ways of thinking, but would amount to misreading Rickels.
Among the other things that make human beings human (such as language) is that we grieve, repine, regret or try to mourn our many losses: our childhoods or their absence, our failed aspirations, the loves that got away, and all the other might-have-beens instead of the random cards dealt out by life. As Rickels noted in his 1988 Aberrations of Mourning, Freud had declared mourning the central riddle with which the psychologist must come to grips (1988: 2), and psychoanalytic hermeneutics ‘the only context available for consideration of the place of aberrant mourning’ (1). In a century as exterminatory as the 20th, the living-in-death, the survivors, were deprived not only from understanding the persecutions to which they were subjected, but also of the possibility of mourning their dead. (This, of course, continues in present-day and future wars in which nobody dies, or rather not the good guys except by accident.) Not only then does the corpse remain inside the mourning body, ‘though as a stranger, a living dead encrypted in a specific place in the ego’ (10). Adding to the problem of the de-cryption of mourning is the amplification of projection and incorporation–‘the interlocked structuring principle of every sensorium’ (18)–provided by the arrival on the scene of the technical media. ‘Between the living and mourned dead, we find an amalgam of telecommunications and canned and manufactured goods conserving itself as living dead. Within the endopsychic perspective which thus emerges with. . .psychoanalytic theory, we can begin to answer Adorno and Horkheimer’s call, in Dialectic of Enlightenment, for a “Theory of Ghosts” that would exorcise that phantomization and posthumanization of civilization’s future which . . . remains part of the culture industry’s program’ (21).
Rickels has been thus decrypting and theorizing this now for 15 years. As he remarks towards the end of Volume Three of Nazi Psychoanalysis, which looks down ‘the double barrel of Nazi German investments in air power and TV’ (326), we find ourselves right back at the present-day, in the triumphant ‘group-sizing and lab-spacing of human subjects promoted by the total wars. . .that has been waged most effectively in the air, across the air-waves of our home set[s and]. . .our family-formatted receptions’ (326).
‘The end is now a given. . .a diagnosis that’s cureless but open to the deferral strategies of recovery’ (327). Or so we can always hope.
1 Neurotics, as Freud and Breuer famously observed, suffer from ‘reminiscences.’
2 As Berel Lang has observed, one of the profound ironies of the Allied victory over the Nazis was to further consecrate a view of language as merely technical and impersonal, a view of language that since the end of World War II had become increasingly naturalized and familiar, and was assumed ‘as native to political language and discourse, even for institutions professedly opposed. . .in intent from those of the Nazis’ (See Lang, 1990: 100).
3 Edited by Farago and originally published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, it was reprinted by the Arno Press in 1972.
4 The Revolution in Military Affairs (or RMA) is the philosophical rethink of US military strategy that was brought about by the end of the Cold War and the problems of ensuing budgetary cutbacks, with as a result an increased reliance on military technology, smaller use of troops, greater use of pilotless drones–in a word, of the revival of Blitzkreig with its attendant complications, most notably tremendous speed of attack and destructiveness with minimal troop loss, along with a signal lack of planning for the aftermath of “technowar” and the occupation of hostile countries. The recent war on Iraq is rich in lessons on the limitations and failures of the RMA. More sophisticated analysis of the RMA, which we can’t undertake here, would emphasize the centrality of control over time as the key strategic concept; thus on the one hand the heightened necessity to control the media’s coverage, not to mention the enemy’s communications infrastructure; on the other hand, the centrality of time relinks this doctrine with the problems of hysterical neuroses. See Ulman and Wade’s 1996, Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, which was in many ways the textbook for what some wits have called ‘Dubya Dubya Two’, but also Berkowitz, 2003, Price 2001, Scheler, 1999, Leonard 1998.
Berkowitz, B. (2003) The New Face of War: How World War Will be Fought in the 21st Century. Free Press.
Cocks, G. (1985) Psychotherapy in the Third Reich: The Göring Institute. New York: Oxford University Press.
Edwards, Paul N. (1996) The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Farago, L. (1974) Aftermath: Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Gabriel, Y. (1983) Freud and Society. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Gentile, G. P. (2001) How Effective Is Strategic Bombing? Lessons Learned From World War II To Kosovo. New York: New York University Press.
Goggin, J. E. & Goggin, E. B. (2001) Death of a ‘Jewish Science’: Psychoanalysis in the Third Reich. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.
Lang, B. (1990) Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Leonard, R. R. (1998) The Principles of War for the Information Age. Novato, CA: Presidio Press.
Lerner, D. (1949, rpt. 1971) Psychological Warfare Against Nazi Germany: The Sykewar Campaign, D-Day to VE-Day. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Lothane, Z. (2001) ‘The Deal With the Devil To “Save” Psychoanalysis in Nazi Germany’, Psychoanalytic Review, 88(2), April, 195-224.
Price, A. (2001) War in the Fourth Dimension: U.S. Electronic Warfare from the Vietnam War to the Present. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stockpole.
Rickels, L. A. (1988) Aberrations of Mourning: Writing on German Crypts. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Rickels, L. A. (2001) The Case of California. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Schleher, C. D. (1999) Electronic Warfare in the Information Age. Boston: Artech House.
Ulman, H. K. & Wade, J. P. et al. (1996) Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance. Washington: National Defense University Press.
Michael Dorland is Professor of Communication in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. A journalist in a previous life, he has written academically on film, the cultural industries, and on law, rhetoric and irony. He is currently working on the post-Holocaust mutations of communication in a book entitled Freud After Auschwitz.