the war mentality an address to statesmen
Embed Size (px)
THE WAR MENTALITY
AN ADDRESS TO STATESMEN
WHAT follows is the text of a letter sent by350 psychiatrists and psychologists to "all thestatesmen of the world." It is issued from Haarlem
by Dr. J. Roorda, hon. secretary of the committeefor war prophylaxis of the Netherlands MedicalAssociation. The names reproduced belcw are thoseof signatories in the British Isles z
TO THE STATESMEN
SIR,-We psychiatrists, whose duty it is to investi-gate the normal and diseased mind, and to serve
mankind with our knowledge, feel impelled to addressa serious word to you in our quality of physicians.It seems to us that there is in the world a mentalitywhich entails grave dangers to mankind, leading, asit may, to an evident war-psychosis.War means that all destructive forces are set loose
by mankind against itself. War means the annihila-tion of mankind by technical science. As in all
things human, psychological factors play a veryimportant part in the complicated problem of war.If war is to be prevented the nations and their leadersmust understand their own attitude towards war.By self-knowledge a world calamity may be prevented.Therefore we draw your attention to the following:I. There is a seeming contradiction between the
conscious individual aversion to war and the collective
preparedness to wage war. This is explained by thefact that the behaviour, the feelings, the thoughts ofan independent individual are quite different fromthose of a man who forms part of a collective whole.Civilised twentieth century man still possesses strong,fierce, and destructive instincts, which have not beensublimated, or only partly so, and which break looseas soon as the community to which he belongs feelsitself threatened by danger. The unconscious desireto give rein to the primitive instinct not only withoutpunishment but even with reward, furthers in a greatmeasure the preparedness for war. It should berealised that the fighting-instinct, if well directed,gives energy for much that is good and beautiful.But the same instinct may create chaos if it breaksloose from all restraint, making use of the greatestdiscoveries of the human intellect.
2. It is appalling to see how little the peoples arealive to reality. The popular ideas of war as they findexpression in full-dress uniforms, military display,&c., are no longer in keeping with the realities ofwar itself. The apathy, with regard to the actionsand intrigues of the international traffic in arms issurprising to anyone who realises the dangers intowhich this traffic threatens to lead them. It shouldbe realised that it is foolish to suffer certain groupsof persons to derive personal profit from the death ofmillions of men. We come to you with the urgentadvice to arouse the nations to the realisation of factand the sense of collective self-preservation, thesepowerful instincts being the strongest allies for theelimination of war. The heightening of the moraland religious sense in your people tends to thesame end.
3. From the utterances of well-known statesmenit has repeatedly been evident that many of themhave conceptions of war that are identical with thoseof the average man. Arguments such as " War is the
Supreme Court of Appeal " and " War is the necessaryoutcome of Darwin’s theory" are erroneous and
dangerous, in view of the realities of modern warfare.They camouflage a primitive craving for power andare meant to stimulate the preparedness for war
among the speaker’s countrymen. The suggestiveforce of speeches made by leading statesmen isenormous and may be dangerous. The warlikespirit, so easily aroused by the cry that the countryis in danger, is not to be bridled, as was evident in1914. Peoples, as well as individuals, under theinfluence of suggestions like these, may becomeneurotic. They may be carried away by hallucina-tions and delusions, thus involving themselves inadventures perilous to their own and other nations’safety.We psychiatrists declare that our science is suffi-
ciently advanced for us to distinguish between real,pretended, and unconscious motives, even in states-men. The desire to disguise national militarism bycontinual talk about peace will not protect politicalleaders from the judgment of history. The secret
promoters of militarism are responsible for theboundless misery which a new war is sure to bring.
International organisation is now sufficientlyadvanced to enable statesmen to prevent war byconcerted action. Protestation of peace and thedesire for peace, however sincere, do not guaranteethe self-denying spirit necessary for the maintenanceof peace, even at the cost of national sacrifice. If anystatesmen should think that the apparatus to ensurepeace is, as yet, insufficiently organised, we advisethem to devote to this purpose as much energy andas much money as is now being expended on thearmaments of the various countries.We cannot close without expressing our admiration
of those statesmen who show by their actions thattheir culture and morality are so far advanced thatthey can lead peoples to a strong organisation ofpeace. In our opinion they alone are truly qualifiedto act as the leaders of nations.
We have the honour to be, Sir,Your obedient servants,
ADAM, G. H.ARCHDALE, M. A.ASHBY, W. R.ATKIN, I.BARHAM, G. F.BAUGH, L. D. H.BOLTON, J. SHAW.BROWN, W.CALDICOTT, C. H.CANNON, A. T.CASSON, ELISABETH.CRICHTON-MILLER, H.CROW, NORA A.DAVIES-JONES, C. W. S.EWEN, J. H.FINIEFS, L. A.FISHER, J. J.FOX, J. T. FRANKLIN, MARJORIE E.GARROD, MARJORIE.GEMMELL, D. T.GLAISTER, J. N.GRAVES, KATHLEEN A. H.GRAVES, T. C.HAMILTON, J. G.HARDCASTLE, D. N.HILLS, H. W.HORTON, W. W.KIMBER, W. J. T.LADELL, R. G. M.LEWIS, J. B. S.LOWENFELD, MARGARET.
MACAULAY, D. I. O.MCCOWAN, M. L. M.MCCOWAN, P. K.MARTIN, F. R.MENZIES, W. F.MILLER, E.MOLONY, C. B.MORAN, P.NICOLE, J. E.NORMAN, H. J.ODLUM, DORIS M.O’FLAHERTY, C.PATERSON, A. S.PERK, D.PHILLIPS, N. R.READ, C. STANFORD.RICKMAN, J.ROBERTSON, G. D.RUDOLF, G. DE M.RUTHERFORD, H. R. C.SCORESBY-JACKSON,
MARGARET.SHAW, W. S. JAGOE.SKOTTOWE, I.STRÖM-OLSEN, R.STUNGO, E.WATERHOUSE, A. T.WATSON, H. F.WHITE, E. BARTON.WHITWELL, J. R.WILKINSON, H. B.WRIGHT, M. B.