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March 1919


Arch NeurPsych. 1919;1(3):380-382. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1919.02180030108010

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This book represents a revision of an earlier paper published in the Psychiatric Bulletin. What differentiates it from other studies on war neuroses is MacCurdy's attempt to trace the development of, and the forces at work in, these neuroses from the psychological point of view; and he does it very cleverly and convincingly. According to MacCurdy the fundamental reason for the breakdown is as follows: There is normally in every one a deep primitive instinct toward brutality repressed by forces belonging to the instinct of gregariousness or the social instinct. In war a premium is put on blood thirstiness, hence here the primitive instinct finds an outlet which on account of the duty involved also satisfies the social instinct. This is what we call a sublimation. This sublimation is more difficult to maintain in the present trench warfare than formerly, because there is no compensation by the excitement of more

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