The Hatred of Nations

In light of these presentations, I would like here to consider here one of the most searing of ethical problems—the problem of the hatred of nations.

A nation as a whole rages, hates, becomes ferocious and frenzied. Group hatred and group enmity, like individual hatred, are aspects of an unconscious but active drive for the homogeneous.

This unconquered impulse for the homogeneous lives in very many. It expresses itself within a single person through sadistic emotions against man and animal in the environment, at times touched by sorrow, at times tinged with glee. The hidden leaning toward the homogeneous seeks a substitute for the forbidden object and strives for transformation. A husband who has not overcome his impulse for the homogeneous is inordinately jealous, torments his wife, and often hates the imaginary rival; yet, fundamentally, he has just this very man in mind and thus displaces the emotion and the object with another emotion and another object.

The same process of abasement also goes on in the unconscious of a collective. A member of a nation appears to another nation as somewhat heteromorphous. With great inner relief, the stifling feeling of the secret but unobliterated penchant for the homogeneous, finds a substitute object in the representative of a foreign nation. Hatred for that which is of the same sex, yet heteromorphous, is a permuted, unsurmounted impulse for the homogeneous; instead of the other sex, another nation; and in place of the inclination, hatred. Thus the sadism of one nation against another nation is an unsurmounted, accumulated and equi-directed leaning toward the homogeneous among many individuals.

The metamorphosis of a homosexual tendency into a sadistic one is an abasement.

The sadism in the life of a nation-collective shows itself at its most conspicuous in militarism. War games, exercises in stabbing, striking, shooting, are legitimized satisfactions of the sadistic needs of the masses.

Residence in barracks at an age of strong sexual desires, communal living among juveniles, men who sleep in common, are confined together for months and years - this is a tribute to the same passion. In barracks the unconscious tendency also breaks out often into a conscious one and leads to acts of pederasty.

From the symbolism of dreams we know that a saber, a revolver, a rifle, a cannon are altogether obvious sexual symbols. Stabbing through, piercing through, shooting through, are symbolic acts. directed against men, however, they are symbolizations of homosexual activity. The sexual act is replaced by a sadistic one, exactly as it is also replaced in the private life of a single person in the case of an unconquered unconscious homosexual passion.

Nations have their emblems, which are intrinsically symbols of conscious and unconscious national characteristics. Collective sadism contains a collective emblem. Most nations have beasts of prey as national emblems. Lions with open jaws, eagles with spread-out claws, are the most beloved of symbols <

Corresponding to man’s unconscious bisexual nature, countless emblems show both heterosexual and homosexual symbols. Many emblems have a double face. The two-headed eagle, as well as the Janus-face are to be understood as signs of dual sexuality, or as an expression of dual emotion.

In the interest of common nationhood, the homosexual drive becomes dispaced, being directed against the racially foreign, and in times of peace this tendency is content, as stated with the barracks surrogate - and not always just as surrogate.

The developmental process led to the transformation from “love thy neighbour” to “hate the stranger” . But hate is the same attraction as love. When it is claimed that war and hostility between neighboring nations are exclusively economic in origin, then such an origin should be demonstrable in the reciprocal relationship between Turks and Armenians.

The Turk who attacks and stabs the effeminate Armenian, is reminiscent of the jealous man who murders his victim.

Things do not differ very much in the century-old enmity between Germans and the French. Here the wish to penetrate to the core of the foreign land and to avenge oneself, appears to be the sole motive. An actual contradiction of economic interests between Germany and France is hard to prove, yet the enmity exists.

The inclination for the homogeneous within the unconscious of the single individual, becomes a common channel and is directed toward the “similar but foreign” .

All writing, reading, and lecturing in the cause of peace has been fruitless up to now. Why? No matter how much the proclaimers for reconciliation between nations may preach, they will accomplish no more than the physician who advises a sufferer to leave his illness and get well, without having solved the riddle of feeling and conduct.