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Hitler & Jung

[1]947 words

Translated by Alex Kurtagic

C. G. Jung Speaking, by Professor William McGuire, has recently been translated into Spanish and published by Trotta, with the title Encuentros con Jung. Reproduced there is Jung’s account of the time he saw Hitler and Mussolini, together, addressing a mass audience.

While Mussolini was an ordinary man—“a human being”, so to say, even a charming one— Hitler was not, “lacking individuality, confused with his nation’s collective soul, and possessed by its Collective Unconscious.” And Jung would add: “Not even by the Collective Unconscious of a single nation, but that of an entire race, the Aryan race. And it is for this reason that the listeners, even those without knowledge of German, would, if Aryans, be gripped and hypnotised by his words; because he represents them all—he speaks for all of them. And if he does it shouting, it is because an entire nation, an entire race, is expressing itself through him.”[1] Thus, Hitler is the incarnation of the Aryan God Wotan. Hitler is possessed by him; he is no longer a human being. And Jung even compares him to prophet Mohammed, and to what the latter was and still is for the Islamic world.

I don’t believe Professor Jung would have read Kubizek’s book, The Young Hitler I Knew, the most important ever written about the German Führer, and which enlightens us like no other in confirming Jung’s assessments, recounting the extraordinary scene that took place one night in Kubizek and Hitler’s youth, having these two friends attended a rendition of Richard Wagner’s Rienzi in Linz. So great was the impression on Hitler caused by this opera (in which he sensed his future drama), that he walked with his friend in total silence in the evening gloom, down the streets and into the woods, in the mountains. And Kubizek relates that, once there, Hitler grabbed his hand and spoke, as if in a trance, with a voice that did not belong to him, listening to himself with astonishment. He spoke about Germany, about Germans, and about what he would do for that nation: a total revolution. And these declarations were made by an Austrian boy no older than sixteen, a complete nobody. Kubizek reveals that many years later, when Adolf Hitler was already Germany’s Führer, Kubizek reminded him of that extraordinary scene from that distant night in their youth. And Hitler said to him, “Yes, I’ve never forgotten it; because that’s where it all began . . .”

And Jung expanded on that experience, stating: “You know things that you yourself don’t know that you know and which I don’t know that I know either . . .”

Without a doubt, during the 1930s Jung was intrigued by the National Socialist phenomenon, what with its overwhelming force, threatening to extend itself globally. And he accepted the presidency of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, coming to replace Göring’s brother[2]. Moreover, his break with Freud had already occurred, and he would go on to develop his theory of the “Collective Unconscious,” handing over a formidable weapon to Nazism—one which the latter never used, owing to Hitlerism’s distrust towards anything that came from psychoanalysis and its terminology.

There is no doubt that the end of the war was a catastrophe for Jung, who feared his whole body of work would be destroyed, since it linked him to Hitlerism, even if in a “philosophical” fashion; and also because of its concept of the archetype, with its references to Wotan or Vishnu, so that Adolf Hitler, possessed by Wotan, became an avatar, “occupied” in this manner by an external divinity—one that was extraterrestrial, as would be said today. At the end of his days, Jung, for the first time, reveals in his preface to my book The Visits of the Queen of Sheba that the archetype is a superconscious Entity; that is, a God, and not a “representation of instincts,” as it was defined until then by his disciples.

Fearing the destruction of his entire life’s work, and his being linked to Hitler or Hitlerism, Jung suffered three heart attacks at the end of the war. Previously, he had advised the British and American Secret Services to “prolong the war; because Hitler was possessed by Wotan, God of the hurricane and of the storm (Blitzkrieg)—and a storm cannot last long; it gradually exhausts itself, self-destructing . . .”

In any case, the attitude of Jung, a Swiss, was diametrically opposite to that of Heidegger, a German, who stood firm as a supporter of Nazism until the end, without a thought as to what might happen to his life’s work.

And Heidegger would remind Ezra Pound: “Make strong old dreams, lest this our world lose heart . . . !”


1. Serrano quotes from the Spanish edition of McGuire’s book, so this is my translation back into English of a text that was already itself a translation. The wording in McGuire’s original English text will inevitably differ. If somebody owns the book and can locate the relevant segment, please email me.

2. Serrano is referring to Professor Mathias Göring, who was Hermann’s first cousin (“primo hermano” in Spanish, which literally means “brother cousin,” and which might explain Serrano’s misrecollection). In 1933, Jung accepted the presidency of the General Medical Society for Psychotherapy, and went on to re-organize the society, making it into an international body, the International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. Under the new regime, Professor Göring headed the German General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. Jung saw this as a means of preventing German political currents from dominating the society, which was dominated by German and had many Jewish members, while allowing German psychotherapy to continue its development in the context of Germany’s “spiritual isolation.”