Thoughts for the Times on War and Death

Translation

[War] strips us of the later accretions of civilization, and lays bare the primal man in each of us. It compels us once more to be heroes who cannot believe in their own death; it stamps strangers as enemies, whose death is to be brought about or desired; it tells us to disregard the death of those we love.

Sigmund Freud, 1915

Curator's Comments

The war years brought death to the center of Freud's thinking and his personal life. In his bleak outlook, Freud understood war to be a resurgence of the violent past that humankind was incapable of leaving behind.

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