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The professionalisation of psychology in Nazi Germany

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  • "Professionalisierung der deutschen Psychologie im Nationalsozialismus"

  • "It has been widely believed that the discipline of psychology in Germany was attacked, or even ceased to exist, under National Socialism. Indeed, faced with political persecution and anti-Semitism, many of the leading minds of the field were forced to emigrate. Yet in The Professionalization of Psychology in Nazi Germany, Ulfried Geuter shows that, rather than disappearing, German psychology rapidly grew into a fully developed profession during the Third Reich. How was this possible? Geuter places his answer in the larger context of German military and economic history. He makes it clear that the rising demands of a modern industrial nation gearing up for war afforded psychology a unique opportunity in Nazi Germany: to transform itself from a marginal academic discipline into a state-recognized and -sanctioned profession. More than any other institution or industry, the Wehrmacht, seeking psychological expertise for its officer and personnel selection program, provided a ready market through which the professionalization of psychology was realized. Whereas in 1930 only thirty professional psychologists worked in public organizations, a decade later the Wehrmacht alone filled around 250 professional positions and employed 450 psychologists. In turn, such demand for professional expertise led to increasing support for academic departments, to faculty collaborating with the army, and to the expansion and standardization of training programs. This process of professionalization culminated in 1941 with the creation of a state examination, or Diplom, a professional psychology degree (which remained largely unchanged until the early 1960s). Although the Wehrmacht's demand for psychological services dropped along with the fortunes of the Nazi regime, the institutional and professional base that psychology had firmly carved for itself was here to stay, and academic psychology continued to train "diploma psychologists" for the duration of the war and into the postwar era. Ultimately, Geuter shows how the professional history of German psychology - its emphasis on characterology and its fraternization with the military establishment - displayed diacritical flashes of German history itself. Yet the relevance of this book goes far beyond the history of German psychology. Its conclusion - that psychology in Germany grew through its alliance with the interests of the army, the industry, and the ruling regime - points toward the larger picture behind the particulars: the tangled relations among science, professional expertise, and state power in modern society. Based on previously unknown and restricted archival material and extensive interviews with participating psychologists of the era, The Professionalization of Psychology in Nazi Germany was universally hailed as a benchmark work in history of psychology upon its publication in Germany. Now, translated by Richard Holmes, it is finally available to the English-speaking world."

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  • "Die Professionalisierung der deutschen Psychologie im Nationalsozialismus"
  • "The professionalisation of psychology in Nazi Germany"@en
  • "Die Professionalisierung der deutschen Psycologie im Nationalsozialismus"
  • "The professionalization of psychology in Nazi Germany"@en
  • "The professionalization of psychology in Nazi Germany"