***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/ *****
Richard Koenigsberg speaks on the Psychology of War and Genocide at the
Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the
University of Pennsylvania
Tuesday Seminar Series, January 13, 2004, 12:00 Noon
Dying and Killing for Nations: The Psychology of War and Genocide
Is war driven by motives such as conquest, territorial expansion, or the
defense of boundaries, as is commonly supposed? Does war really have any
rational purpose? Historians’ standard accounts of World War II state
that Hitler planned to create a master race, and attribute Germany’s
invasions to his goal of world domination. But careful study of
Hitler’s speeches and writings shows that both the war and the Holocaust
were prompted by his deeper wish for the annihilation of himself, his
nation and the German people.
In his declaration of war, Hitler asked his people to do
their duty—to be willing to “lay down their lives” for their country.
Those who were unwilling to demonstrate their loyalty to the nation,
Hitler said, would “perish.” Hitler insisted that in the Second World
War, no one would be exempt from the obligation to sacrifice their lives
in the name of the sanctification of Germany.
The logic of genocide grew out of the logic of war. Hitler declared that
he didn’t mind sending his own troops into war “without regret for the
shedding of valuable German blood.” If German soldiers were obligated to
sacrifice their lives for the nation, Hitler reasoned, why should
Jews—mortal enemies of the German people—be spared?
Through the vehicle of the death camps that the Nazis created, Hitler
was trying to tell us something about the meaning of war. The soldier’s
death—dying for one’s country—frequently is viewed as noble and
beautiful. The Holocaust portrays submission to the nation state in
another guise, placing before our eyes the abject, degrading fate of a
body that has been given over to, taken over by the state. The Holocaust
depicts sacrificial death stripped of words such as “honor” and
The SOLOMON ASCH CENTER is an academic institution within the University
of Pennsylvania created to advance research, education, and
policy-relevant study in ethnic group conflict and political violence.
The Mission of the Center is to sustain and enhance the efforts of
social scientists to identify the origins, trajectory, and impact of
violent intergroup struggles.
RICHARD KOENIGSBERG, Ph.D., is the Director of the Library of Social
Science. He is the author of several books, including Hitler’s
Ideology, The Psychoanalysis of Racism, Revolution, and Nationalism, and
Symbiosis and Separation. He lectures extensively on the psychology of
culture and history.
For further information on this lecture, please contact the Library of
Social Science at [log in to unmask], or call
Library of Social Science, 92-30 56th Ave. Suite 3-E, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph. D., Director. Telephone: 718-393-1081
Jay H. Bernstein, Ph. D., Executive Director. Telephone: 718-393-1104
Mei Ha Chan, Associate Director. Telephone: 718-393-1075
Website for LIBRARY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE:
Website for the KOENIGSBERG LECTURES ON THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CULTURE AND
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.