Freud on war and violence

From disillusionment to hope, back and forth

  • David Pavón Cuéllar
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, War, Violence, Culture, History


This article analyses Sigmund Freud’s reflections on war and violence, especially in his two main works on this issue: Thoughts for the Time of War and Death (1915) and Why War? (1932). After presenting these two essays and placing them in their historical contexts, I briefly review what authors have written about them in recent years. I then attempt to contribute something new to the discussion by examining four of Freud’s propositions: his justification for disillusionment caused by war; his suspicion about peoples and states; his denunciation of the primitivism and hypocrisy of human beings; and his determination to maintain hope in culture and history. I consider these key points of Freud’s essays separately, showing their importance for Freud’s social theory and for his critique of modernity and civilisation in general.


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How to Cite
Pavón Cuéllar, D. (2022). Freud on war and violence: From disillusionment to hope, back and forth. Psychotherapy & Politics International, 20(4), 1-9.