CFP: Paranoid Fantasy & Enemy Creation: Hitler, Goebbels, and World War (edited collection)

Library of Social Science, Publishers is seeking submissions for an edited collection: 

Paranoid Fantasy & Enemy Creation: Hitler, Goebbels, and World War

World War II and the Final Solution

Declaring war on the United States on December 11, 1941, Hitler stated that it was the “eternal Jew” that stood behind Roosevelt. In April 1942, Hitler declared that a brain trust made up of Jews had driven Roosevelt into war, against America’s better interests. The influence of the Jew, Hitler claimed, explained what at first seemed incomprehensible: the alliance between Western democracies—Jewish capitalism—and the Soviet Union.

In November 1941, Goebbels stated that “every Jew is our enemy, whether he scrapes out a parasitic existence in Berlin or Hamburg, or blows the trumpets of war in New York or Washington.” Goebbels declared in June 1943 that Jews were behind Roosevelt, behind Churchill and, hidden in the Kremlin, the “real bearers of Bolshevism.” The “international Jew”—building bridges between the United States, Great Britain and Soviet Union—was the “mortar” that held the coalition together.

On this rhetoric, the Nazis generated a World War that killed over 50 million people. A fantasy or ideology with no foundation in reality generated monumentally destructive historical events.

After the Second World War, two lines of research evolved: one focusing on the conventional narrative of warfare, the other on an extraordinary event that came to be called the Holocaust. Jeffrey Herf documents that Hitler and Goebbels did not consider the Final Solution and World War II distinct events. Rather, the Nazis conceived of war and genocide as fronts of one apocalyptic battle: a struggle to remove Jews from the face of the earth. As the Nazis implemented the Final Solution, they simultaneously waged a “war of annihilation” in the Soviet Union in order to “exterminate” Jewish Bolsheviks.

A standard text used by mental health professionals to classify mental disorders—The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)—defines delusion as a “belief held with great conviction in spite of having little empirical support.” An individual may be diagnosed as deluded or paranoid when he holds firmly to a belief that is “utterly unwarranted by the evidence.” However, the DSM introduces a caveat: a belief cannot be considered paranoid if it is “ordinarily accepted by other members of a person’s culture or subculture.” By definition—according to psychiatric diagnosis—Hitler, Goebbels and other Nazis were not paranoid.

Nonetheless, Daniel Goldhagen states that upon reading anti-Semitic texts, one would be hard-pressed to conclude that they were anything but the product of the “collective scribes of an insane asylum.” Based on extensive research on mass murder, Johan van der Dennen observes that though it is hard to imagine that normal people embrace ideas equivalent to the delusional systems of the insane, historical evidence suggests that entire societies have been persuaded to accept the most “absurd calumnies about minority groups.” Psychiatrist Anthony Storr states that the portrayal of various groups as enemies emanates from a fantasy comparable to “paranoid delusions found in psychotic subjects.”

Despite their paranoid belief system, Hitler and Goebbels were not psychotic. Looking beyond their world, it becomes evident that many elements of Nazis ideology (e.g., the identification of a single class of people as the source of evil in the world) are quite common or ordinary. Indeed, paranoid logic is a central dimension of many political ideologies.

The Continuing Influence of Paranoia in Enemy Creation

This volume seeks contributions on how ideologies of enmity can be constructed on ideas and fantasies with little or no foundation in reality. How can we understand the fact that delusive systems of belief frequently are embraced within societies—giving rise to systematic forms of violence and destruction to which we give names like war, genocide and terrorism?

This anthology will explore the dynamics of enemy creation: how fantasies construct reality. How does belief in the power of an omnipotent enemy generate political ideology—and history?

Questions to consider include but are not limited to:

  • The symbolic meaning of the Jew
  • Metaphors of biology and disease in Nazi ideology
  • The relationship between war and genocide
  • The enemy as a force that destroys one’s nation
  • The enemy as heretic or non-believer
  • How paranoid ideas take hold within society
  • Methods employed by leaders to convey their ideas
  • Metaphors of the enemy
  • The significance of “rescue fantasies” in political ideology
  • The enemy within one’s body
  • Political ideology and binary systems of thought
  • What one seeks to “kill off” in killing enemies

We would especially like to include in this volume:

  • Case studies of enemy creation.
  • Papers employing discourse or metaphor analysis: How does rhetoric embody the idea of the enemy?
  • The relationship between the psyche and ideology: How do fantasies support cultural ideas?
  • The relationship between psyche and history: How do fantasies and ideologies give rise to societal institutions and historical actions?
The Anthology will consist of twelve papers, each of approximately 3,000 words in length.

Editor, Richard A. Koenigsberg,
Library of Social Science

Submission Guidelines:

Abstracts should be 300-400 words, and should identify the theoretical grounding for the essay or piece. Please also include a brief biography (100 words).

Deadline for abstracts:

May 14, 2012

Send abstracts to:

Notification of acceptance: 

June 11, 2012

Accepted papers will be due:

October 15, 2012

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