War and Revolutions: Trauma and Violence from a Socio-Psychological Approach*

Ferenc Erős (1946–2020†)
Janus Pannonius University of Pécs

Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 4  (2022):733–763 DOI 10.38145/2022.4.733

World War I, which broke out more than 100 years ago, placed not only a tremendous material and physical burden on the citizens of the participating countries, military and civilians alike, but also a psychological one. The study of the psychological consequences of the war has been pushed somewhat into the background in comparison to the historical and political analyses, though the uses of psychology—and broadly speaking, of the so-called “psy” disciplines, i.e., psychiatry, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, social psychology, psychotechnics, criminology, pedagogy, etc.—were a crucial part of the history of this war. However, a history of the “psy” disciplines would not be complete without some discussion of the fact that World War I and World War II (and subsequent conflicts) played a fundamental role in the development of these sciences. Arguably, World War led to the emergence—as a kind of “experimental laboratory”—of practices and methods of the application of violence, trauma management, intimidation, terror, manipulation, and propaganda which draw on (and contribute to) insights from these disciplines, not to mention new approaches to the management of subjectivity and the manipulation of sentiments, which proved effective both in times of war and peace.

Keywords: trauma, violence, socio-psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, psycho­therapy, World War I

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