19 JANUARY 1934, Page 9

Hitlerism as a Sex Problem


if 7 MIS love that makes the world go round," says folk-wisdom, and the Viennese psychologists have added a modern rider to the effect that 'tis lack of it that spokes the wheels. Sexual inhibition and distortion are widely. recognized as a root-cause of individual vagaries. Even the possibility of sexual repression on a national scale, as in the England of 1850, is now acknowledged, and the important psycholo- gical effects thereof are being investigated. But a psycho-analytical interpretation of history and politics, which shoUld naturally follow from any acceptance of Freudianism, remains unwritten, save where such pioneers as Floyd Dell and John Langdon-Davies have begun to shed some little light.

Today, the mind of Germany seems especially to cry for such treatment, and a tentative analysis of that nation should be useful, not only for the immediate understanding of her problems, but also to show the general tendency of our modern industrial system.

The healthy norm, in this connexion, I take to be a satisfying and stimulating sex-life for the majority of a nation's citizens, leading in most cases to permanent monogamous marriage with the responsibility of family. The fulfilment of these conditions tends towards peace, stability, thrift, wide distribution of private property, and the flowering of culture which is only possible when primitive fears are allayed. Tolerance will be common, and bellicose sadism and religious or social fanaticism absent.

Now take the case of post-War Europe, and especially that of Germany. A four-years' habit of segregation,. into masculine armies on the one hand and feminine home-tenders on the other, had instilled a homosexual tendency which a few years' physical licence could hardly begin to mitigate. Several factors made the resumption of normal sexual relations in 1919 only apparent. The alleviatiOn of war-leaves had left a habit of regarding sex as an impermanent hunger demanding quick satis- faction. From abstinence men turned to promiscuity, notoriously. a neurotic state. In addition, unemploy- ment.and the terror of it made them less willing to con- template marriages which they might prove unable to support. The true goal of normalitylove-companion- ship and family—could never properly be reached.

In the German cities these tendencies were quickly exaggerated. The Teutons haVe always been given to military discipline, and discipline, being a standard_ product, is the recognized enemy of full heterosexuality, which is fundamentally individual. Admittedly there was a post-War reaction, but it was to irresponsible sexuality and "freedom" rather than towards the ,com- plete marriage ideal. The unofficial volunteer armies, the literary preoccupation with perversity, the notorious night clubs for men only, these straws showed how deep went the underground currents.

Finally mile the depression of 1931, which condemned, 6,000,000 to unemployment, and denied a quarter of the :adult population its birthright of marriage and, offspring. Men were sent apart into male, labour camps, and the "free" women, with their so shallow and incom- plete experience, went back to the homes of their parents: Sex starvation turned ugly and flamed into fanaticism, cruelty and bitterneSs. Distorted sex showed itself in Jew-baiting, persecution, ultra-puritanism, and in such treatment as that meted to the Communist Deputy Frau Janowski, which is only explicable in terms of homosexual sadism. More innocuously, these frustrations were in many cases sublimated into extreme patriotism, loyalty, and a certain disciplined idealism.

Such a psychological revolution threw up representative leaders—Hitler, in whose life there has been no other woman but his mother, and Goering the alleged drug- addict, of whom one of his personal henchmen has said : "The women all love him and he doesn't remember them for an hour." Here are two sexual abnormals—the one with a childhood fixation, the other with the arrested adolescence of a Casanova. Both are unable to conceive the normal ideal of full and equal heterosexual love and marriage, on which the stability and beauty of any cultured society ultimately depend. So Hitler, with his back-to-the home slogan, endeavours to transform all German women to the mother of his ideal ; while Goering, unfulfilled in private life, exercises a fanatical and compensatory blood-lust in public. It is necessary to add that these distorted mentalities, though unfor- tunate, are not in themselves blameworthy : the tragedy lies in the power wielded by such abnormals over other and average people.

New Germany, then, is man's creation : the inspiration and influence of woman as companion is wl o'ly lacking.

"Many thousands of the younger National-Socialists," says Ludwig Lewisohn, " arc in fact substituting love and loyalty towards male-comrades and leaders for the love of woman, who is limited to breeding and caring for the very young." Where woman is thus neglected, as during the Crusades, warriorship and the conqueror's courage will be exalted, while the things of the mind and spirit will be abased. Modern Germany is close to the state of Spartan Greece, where boys were segre- gated under soldier-teachers and grew up in a military male companionship, until at middle-age they should marry girl-wives solely to perpetuate their race. This was once an ideal, but it is no longer that of the truly adult man.

Yet it is still possible that the seeds of psychological convalescence lie buried in the situation. In Italy Mussolini early recognized the danger, and has attempted to enforce normality by mass-methods. Hitler, by removing women from industry, is giving to men new fields of employment and a greater certainty of livelihood.

With renewed opportunity and his direct encouragement, they are entering more easily into the permanent marriage- relationship. In the long run, human instincts, however warped in a single generation, should find fulfilment and stability therein. In twenty years the psychological sickness of Germany may have given way to new health The madness will theri be passed.