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What made early 20th-century Vienna such an incubator for various intellectual activities?

What made early 20th-century Vienna such an incubator for various intellectual activities?

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There are almost too many examples to cite(the Austrian school of economics, Sigmund Freud, modernist figures in culture, Joseph Schumpeter, etc.). Here's a quote from Wikipedia's Vienna entry:

From the late 19th century to 1938, the city remained a centre of high culture and modernism. A world capital of music, the city played host to composers such as Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler and Richard Strauss. The city's cultural contributions in the first half of the 20th century included, among many, the Vienna Secession movement, psychoanalysis, the Second Viennese School, the architecture of Adolf Loos and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. In 1913, Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin all lived within a few miles of each other in central Vienna, with some of them being regulars at the same coffeehouses.

My question is this: What stood out about Vienna that made it such a hotspot in so many different ways?

I would not put Hitler, Trotsky and Stalin under the title "incubator of intellectual activities".

That said, it is indeed true that intellectual activities flourished in the beginning of 20s century in the Austro-Hungarian empire. (Budapest, Prague and Lemberg (now Lviv) also qualify for the surge of intellectual activities at the same time).

Your citation omits mathematics and exact sciences: Boltzmann worked in Viena, for example, and also E. Mach. There was a famous school of Logic, Vienna Circle. The so-called "Hungarian miracle" happened at the same time in Budapest. Suddenly it became a nursery of some of the future most famous physicists and mathematicians of 20s century. (Mathematicians from Hungary: John von Neumann, Riesz brothers, Polya, Szego, Fejer, Lanczos, Erdos, Turan; physicists Wigner, Teller and Szilard.)

There was also a revival of all kinds of intellectual activities in the East of the Empire, Galicia and Bukowina (modern Western Ukraine). Franz Kafka and Karel Capek lived and worked in Prague.

All this leaves no doubt that the late Austro-Hungarian empire had some very favorable climate for intellectual activities. One can only speculate what where the exact conditions which produced this climate. This was a good example of what can be called "enlightened monarchy".

I want to emphasize only one aspect of this empire: diversity and tolerance. I hope other aspects will be analysed in other answers. Most kinds of national, ethnic and religious discrimination were abolished. Earlier, in 19s century it transformed from Austrian Empire to Austro-Hungarian empire. Gradually many other "minorities" got equal rights (and representation). Unlike in Russian empire, for example discrimination of Jews was abolished: many positions in science opened to the Jews. Jews even became eligible for nobility titles (von Neumanns, for example).

Ukrainians were always complaining about Russian oppression, Polish oppression, but I have never heard or read them complaining about Austrian oppression. (I lived in the former Austrian part of Ukraine in my childhood, when some older people still remembered "Austrian times"). In the Russian empire, Ukrainian language was prohibited. Declared "non-existent". In Austro-Hungary, they published Ukrainian books and had a chair in Ukrainian history (in Lemberg/Lwow/Lviv University).

By the way, Germany of that time was also a very tolerant state, and this shows in the extraordinary intellectual achievements in all areas. But Germany was much less diverse in its population.

It is true, that the empire fell as a result of the world war and of the motion for independence of various nations. But it was not really so bad as some national independence propagandists tried to claim. In most of those new independent nations, the conditions for minorities became much worse than they were in the Empire. For example, most Hungarian mathematicians and physicists listed above had to leave in 1930s, and made their careers in the West.

Part of these careers was creation of nuclear (Szillard) and thermonuclear (Teller from Budapest and Ulam from Lwow) bombs, to mention the things best known to the general pubic.

Perhaps the most important answer is that Vienna had been, until 1918, the capital of the highly cosmopolitan Austro-Hungarian Empire, consisting of a score of nationalities, and people of a myriad of backgrounds.

It was also a city with a profound depth of history and culture - art, music, literature etc -, It had been the home of the Habsburg monarchy for centuries, with Austria the largest and most important state in the Holy Roman Empire. Over all the centuries of its being, I believe there was only one Emperor of the HRE who was not a Habsburg.

In a slightly similar sense London is today a place where 300 different languages are spoken, a reflection of Britain's imperial past - and where a depth of history ensures the continuation of a vibrant intellectual and artistic culture. Paris has similar claims.

Sorry, can't seem to edit the above or put paragraphs. Briefly, Vienna gained external economies of scope and scale in creative fields because the opportunity cost for creative types was lower because of the greatly diminished size of the state and opportunities in the professions. Property prices were depreciated and services- restaurants etc- were cheap in dollar terms. Vienna's 'febrile' intellectual culture of the pre War period- itself a reflection of rapid economic growth accompanied by radically increased internecine political conflict- was adaptive for Modernism whereas Berlin's intellectual mise en scene was not. The North Germans had turned pedagogy into a heavy industry- with philology and phenomenology and Annales type Historiography preponderating- and weren't really able to get back on track under much diminished financial circumstances. The Viennese had always been less freighted and thus could be more elastic in their response to economic decline. Other newly independent countries, by contrast, had plenty of 'jobs for the boys' and were doing well in the Twenties. Thus, Vienna's falling on hard times and the fact that its intellectual inheritance was insubstantial meant that people could be more daring more especially because there was no realistic prospect of getting a well paid professorship. One other point- sexual competition in Vienna (e.g. Bruno Betthelheim who had to take a PhD in Aesthetics to get his girl to marry him) involved intellectual or artistic merit- perhaps reflecting people's instinctive understanding that they might have to emigrate and their brains would be the only fungible asset they could take with them. To many- e.g. Robert Musil- Vienna's post War fate had been foreshadowed in the last years of the Hapsburgs. An impoverished hedonism was forced to nourish itself on an astringent intellectual diet- a good thing on balance because it broke down the traditional wall between 'Town and Gown'. A man might train to be a cabinet maker, as Spinoza was a lens grinder, while devoting himself to Logic and Epistemology.

The Viennese were considered decadent and frivolous, not great intellectuals prior to the the Fist War. Economically, the Empire was doing well, especially in new knowledge based industries, and the noveau riche created a market for Modernism, of a somewhat febrile type.

After the War, Vienna had a bloated tertiary sector with a tiny economic hinterland.This meant that its artists and thinkers reoriented themselves to export markets- primarily America- thus spreading the myth of a Viennese intellectual culture which never actually existed.

One final point, German was an important language for scholars a hundred years ago. Indeed, you couldn't get an Econ PhD from Harvard without knowing German prior to 1960. Vienna presented the Anglo Saxons German scholarship oppositional to that of Berlin.

Logical positivism and logical empiricism

A first generation of 20th-century Viennese positivists began its activities, strongly influenced by Mach, around 1907. Notable among them were a physicist, Philipp Frank, mathematicians Hans Hahn and Richard von Mises, and an economist and sociologist, Otto Neurath. This small group was also active during the 1920s in the Vienna Circle of logical positivists, a seminal discussion group of gifted scientists and philosophers that met regularly in Vienna, and in the related Berlin Society for Empirical Philosophy.

These two schools of thought, destined to develop into an almost worldwide and controversial movement, were built on the empiricism of Hume, on the positivism of Comte, and on the philosophy of science of Mach. Equally important influences came from several eminent figures who were at the same time scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers—G.F. Bernhard Riemann, the author of a non-Euclidean geometry Hermann von Helmholtz, a pioneer in a broad range of scientific studies Heinrich Hertz, the first to produce electromagnetic waves in his laboratory Ludwig Boltzmann, a researcher in statistical mechanics Henri Poincaré, equally eminent in mathematics and philosophy of science and David Hilbert, distinguished for his formalizing of mathematics. Most significant, however, was the impact of Einstein, as well as that of the three great mathematical logicians of the late-19th and early-20th centuries—the groundbreaking Gottlob Frege and the authors of the monumental Principia Mathematica (1910–13), Russell and Alfred North Whitehead.

1. Late and Middle 19th Century: Showcasing the Achievements of the Industrial Revolution

By the mid-19th century, the British Industrial Revolution had achieved world-shaking accomplishments after 100 years of development. In 1851, as part of its effort to exhibit its prowess, Britain decided to hold The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. In the name of her country and through diplomatic means, Queen Victoria invited over ten European and American nations to take part in the exhibition, which lasted for 140 days. Interesting activities were conducted during the exhibition, such as the appraisal of exhibits, arts and crafts works, and so on, but no trading activities took place. This became the framework of subsequent World Expos organized by various countries. That particular World Expo—The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations—was held in Hyde Park, located in downtown London. The exhibition hall was made of cast-iron frame components and glass, earning itself the name of the Crystal Palace.

The World Expo displayed the achievements of the British Industrial Revolution, as well as the advanced industrial exhibits of the various participating nations. They included items such as a 630-ton high-power steam engine, a locomotive, a high-speed steamship, a steam pressure engine, a crane, advanced steel-making techniques, as well as large tunnel and bridge models. During the 140-day exhibition, over 6.3 million people visited the expo.

The London World Expo represented a significant transition from simple commodity exchange to the exchange of new production technologies and new life concepts, and therefore it is regarded as the first World Expo in the modern sense. From then on, Western countries began to show great interest in the World Expo for its significant role in displaying industrial advances and promoting the exchange of technology, trade, and culture.

In 1853, the second World Expo was held in New York, U.S.A., during which the young United States of America exhibited its achievements to the world for the first time. At the 1855 Paris World Expo, concrete, aluminum, and rubber products were exhibited for the first time. At the 1862 London World Expo, new industrial products, including textile machines, printing presses, and trains, were showcased. And during the 1862 Vienna World Expo, the new power unit—the electric motor—was presented to the world for the first time.

The World Expos held during the 19th century were manifestations of an extraordinary “age of invention,” extensively presenting the latest achievements of industrial civilization during that period.

What made early 20th-century Vienna such an incubator for various intellectual activities? - History


The archive at the Arnold Schönberg Center houses one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of materials on the life and work of one composer. Throughout the almost 60 years of his artistic life, the greater part of the documentation concerning Schönberg’s oeuvre remained in his possession after his death, his heirs devoted themselves to keeping his estate intact/in private hands. The available holdings provide a unique overview of Schönberg’s work, thought and life.

Due to donations and purchases before and after Schönberg’s death, as well as bequeathed letters and other correspondence, much material has not come down to us through his estate and is strewn over the world in museums, archives and private collections many of these items are available as copies or scans. Schönberg’s paintings in his estate owned by his heirs, the documentation in the possession of the publisher Universal Edition and other important items have now found their permanent home at the Center.

Occasionally, autographs are added to the collection by way of acquisition and donation the Center’s library is aiming at completeness with regard to documentation on publications about Schönberg in all languages. Complementing the holdings are writings on the Vienna School, Schönberg’s contemporaries and the intellectual and cultural history of the 20th century, all relating to the collection’s central purpose. Furthermore, a wide-ranging compilation of sound recordings comprehensively preserves performances of the composer’s works ranging from 1922 to the present day, while the video collection features concerts, interviews and other documentary material.

The Center’s library is open at all times during hours of operation. Appointments are necessary for viewing archival material (see the usage instructions).

The Arnold Schönberg Center is striving to locate all sources that pertain to the work of Arnold Schönberg. If you are in possession of Schönberg-related material not included in our source catalogs, or have information regarding its whereabouts, we would be grateful if you contacted us.

Our archivists will be happy to assist you.


The Arnold Schönberg Center’s holdings consist of the composer’s estate, which forms the archive’s core inventory, as well as various special collections. A large number of databases, most of which already digitally linked, are available for research.

The works and sources catalog documents all sources directly connected with Schönberg’s musical oeuvre, including manuscripts, personal copies, score parts and text sources, taking into account those from the estate, other collections and archives about 8,000 pages are already digitized and accessible via the database.

The text database comprises all writings from Schönberg’s estate and links them completely to digitized material and, in many cases, transcriptions. Special catalogs provide an overview of annotated books and periodicals from the estate.

The letters database contains all of Schönberg’s correspondence known at present the Correspondence Estate at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is already linked to digitized versions, with letters in the Schönberg Center archive being successively augmented.

The image archive has been structured as a comprehensive aggregate database to bring the archive’s diverse holdings into alignment. Currently, this includes photographs (mostly taken during Schönberg’s lifetime), teaching materials (particularly from his private tutoring in the U.S.A.), address cards filed until the 1940s, concert programs from his estate, personal documents (attestations, credentials, residence registrations, etc.), materials concerning the Society for private performances, as well as paintings and other artistic works.

The press archive contains all such items in his estate, with links to digitized versions as well as a constantly updated catalog of acquired items concerning Schönberg up to his death in 1951.

Apart from the estate, the special collections contain the most comprehensive holdings of documents relating to Schönberg: copies of documents from other institutions and original documents on loan, as well as donations or those gained at auctions. Digitized versions are allocated to the appropriate holdings catalogs inventory lists provide an overview of the collections.

The library comprises over 10,000 items on Schönberg and his milieu apart from the library catalog, there are special lists of editions of scores and musical material from the estate and other items from Schönberg's library.

The discography consists of commercial recordings of Schönberg’s music made until 2009. Audio streams of selected historical recordings as well as voice recordings are available. The video collection is documented in a separate catalog.

For more information, please contact: archiveschoenberg.

Regulations for Use

The aim of the Arnold Schönberg Center Foundation is to make Schönberg’s legacy accessible and available for critical studies and research by scholars, composers, musicians and the general public.

Admission to the Archive and Library is free. For a nominal fee to offset expenses, the ASC offers the user the most up-to-date conveniences in the areas of communication, data processing and reproductions.

Hours of admission: Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. The Archive and Library of the ASC are closed on legal holidays.

Materials of the collection are to be used only on the premises of the ASC. There is no lending policy.

Interested persons with more extensive research projects are requested to give advance notice of the beginning date and duration of their visit and to submit a short abstract of their research goals.

Each user of the Archive and Library must identify himself by means of registration in the Users’ Book and presentation of an official document (passport etc.), from which the page with photo ID will be copied for purposes of identification.

Before entrance to the areas of the Archive and Library, coats, umbrellas and bags are to be left in the lockers provided.

As a rule, archival materials will be presented in the form of copies, microfilms and microfiche. In exceptional cases, original documents from the Arnold Schönberg legacy (hereafter "originals") can be viewed, but only on the condition of advance application, upon signing of a user request form, and then exclusively in the specially designated "Manuscript Viewing Room" of the ASC.

The archivist of the ASC may deny permission to view originals or other archival materials of the ASC, depending on their state of preservation. The number of originals or other archival materials of the ASC to be presented to the user is left to the discretion of the archivist.

While working with originals in the Manuscript Viewing Room, the user may have at his disposal only paper, pencil and notebook. Fountain pens, felt-tip or fiber-tip pens and other writing implements leaving indelible marks are prohibited in this room. An archivist of the ASC will be in charge.

The user understands that he is under the constant surveillance of cameras in the Library and Manuscript Viewing Room.

Originals must be handled with care and consideration. While working with originals, the user is obliged at all times to wear the protective gloves provided by the ASC.

Documents are to be left in the order in which they are found, even if this order is incorrect. Observations concerning incomplete or false information with regard to attribution or order will be welcomed.

The user is responsible for damages he may inflict upon materials from the Archive or Library of the ASC during his visit. In case of damage, he must bear the cost of replacement (books, articles etc.) or restoration.

Where legally admissible, reproductions of materials from the Archive and Library will be carried out exclusively by the archivist. The user agrees to use such copies only for his own research, or for purposes agreed upon in writing by the ASC, and neither to give them to nor permit their use by a third party. Self-contained partial collections of the ASC cannot be filmed or copied in their entirety.

For the publication of scholarly findings based upon the Arnold Schönberg legacy, the Foundation is to be cited as repository. The Library of the ASC is likewise to be presented a complimentary copy of the publication.

Documents from the Arnold Schönberg legacy may not be reproduced without written permission from the ASC. The user is obliged not to infringe upon the rights (in particular those concerning copyright and privacy) of the ASC, or of third parties that may be associated with the ASC. The ASC is not held accountable should the user violate these rights.

The ASC expressly binds the user of the Archive and Library to all rights of ownership and their application. Where appropriate, Users’ Regulations will be made available to users of the Archive and Library of the ASC and in turn will be acknowledged by them.

These Regulations for Use are subject to change without notice.

Approved by the board of directors of the Arnold Schönberg Center Foundation, Vienna, 16 March 1998

History of the archive

Arnold Schönberg’s legacy remained in the possession of his heirs after his death in 1951 and was administered by his widow Gertrud Schönberg until 1967. In the 70s, Schönberg’s heirs decided to make the collection available to the Arnold Schoenberg Institute of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where a modern archive was established along with a concert hall and an exhibition hall. That archive was open to the public until 1997. Leonard Stein, who had studied with Schönberg, was the director of the Institute. During its 25-year history, the Institute was consulted by thousands of researchers, artists, students and music-lovers. Between 1975 and 1993 the “Friends of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute” organized numerous activities at the Institute.

Towards the end of this period, the University of Southern California felt it could no longer fulfill the condition of Schönberg’s heirs that the Institute and archive be limited exclusively to research and studies about Arnold Schönberg, triggering off a legal battle between them and the University in 1996. Many cities, universities and private people were interested in giving the orphaned collection a new home: New York, Vienna, Berlin, Den Haag, Basel, Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Arizona and even in Los Angeles, the Getty Center and the University of California.

Vienna, as the city that Schönberg was born in and the birthplace and namesake of the Viennese School, was chosen: in early 1997, the Arnold Schönberg Center Privatstiftung was founded by the City of Vienna together with the Internationale Schönberg Gesellschaft. The purposes of the Foundation include establishing the Arnold Schönberg Archives (legacy) in Vienna, its maintenance and preservation, the education of the public with regard to Schönberg's interdisciplinary artistic influence, as well as teaching and publicizing Schönberg's contributions to music and other achievements. The purposes of the Foundation shall be achieved by making the Schönberg legacy accessible and available for scholarly study and research by scholars, composers, musicians, and the general public regularly organizing exhibitions, concerts, and other events holding symposia and conferences devoted to the life and work of Arnold Schönberg exhibiting paintings and drawings by Arnold Schönberg which have been made available to the Foundation by their owners as a long-term loan.

After the collection had been moved from Los Angeles and the Schönberg Center had been opened in March 1998, the archive was made available to researchers, composers, musicians and the general public. The collection contains approximately 8,000 pages of musical manuscripts, 12,000 pages of text manuscripts, 3,500 historical photos as well as personal documents, diaries, concert programmes, his entire library (music, books and recordings) and a replica of Schönberg’s study in Los Angeles. Almost all of the original manuscripts and other Schönbergiana that are not a part of the collection are nevertheless available in copies or on microfilm at the Center. The Center’s reference library also offers visitors one of the most complete collections of literature concerning the (Second) Viennese School in the world.

In March 1997, as one of its founders, the International Schönberg Society deeds Arnold Schönberg’s residence in Mödling (1918-1925) to the newly founded Arnold Schönberg Center Private Foundation. The house, which is a living monument for the intellectual activity of Schönberg’s Viennese circle, contains a museum (open to the public since September 1999).

You can find more detailed information on the Arnold Schönberg Center’s history in the article: Therese Muxeneder, Ethik des Bewahrens (PDF)

What made early 20th-century Vienna such an incubator for various intellectual activities? - History

We use plagiarism program:

February 17th, 2019



The history of autism is very complicated. It has changed hugely in recent years. This is what the paper is about. In the past, there have been many errors in the history of autism which this paper elucidates. Recent scholarship has brought to light a much more accurate and truthful history of autism. This paper focuses mostly on the pre and early history of autism in the 20th century.
There are unanswered questions about whether Kanner knew about Ssucharewa’s (1926), paper on schizoid personality disorder/schizoid psychopaths which was published in German in 1932. Ssucharewa described what Kanner called, “infantile autism” in 1926 and 1932. Could Kanner whom most professionals believe originated autism have known about Hans Asperger’s paper, a later description of autism, which he called autistic psychopathy published in 1938 before the Second World War? Could Hans Asperger have known about Ssucharewa’s paper, published in German in 1932 having been published in Russian in 1926? These are critical questions in relation to the precedence in the discovery of autism. Final proof is not available.

First decade of the 20 th Century:

In Heller’s disease, (1908), the patients regressed during the third or fourth year, became restless, angry, whined, showed anxiety, showed loss of acquired functions, which in a few months, led to mutism and dementia. Speech became impoverished and words became unclear. Some of these may have had autism.
Kanner (1937) pointed out that, “dementia infantilis or Heller’s disease is an illness sui generis”. Kanner was incorrect about this. It is on the neurodevelopmental spectrum. The same can be said about autism. Kanner also emphasised that autism was, “sui generis”. Indeed, these conditions are not specific but are part of broader neurodevelopmental spectrums. Indeed, they are the opposite of sui generis.

Second decade of the 20 th Century:

Bleuler, (1911), goes on to state, “even in those cases where autism is not obvious at first glance, it can be seen that the patients always went their own way and did not allow anybody to approach them”. This is typical of autism.
Bleuler (1911), points out that, “autism is almost the same thing that Freud calls autoeroticism”. Bleuler says that they, “limit as far as possible, their contact with the outside world. They cut themselves off.

Third decade of the 20 th Century:

In 1924, Tramer wrote a paper on one-sidedly talented and gifted imbeciles (Lyons, 2018). Lyons, (2018) states that the cases described, “might warrant a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder”. Interestingly, this is before the Sukhareva (1926) paper. Tramer (1924), describes one patient specialising in painting cats. This patient reminds me of Louis Wain, (Fitzgerald, 2002), who also had autism. Tramer, (1934) stated that cats, “were his companions from early childhood”. “He had an extraordinary memory, possibly photographic, and his pictures of cats were very sought after. His drawing is described as compulsive, his whole life force, his whole primitive will power was focused on drawing”.
Many of the cases described by Tramer (1924) possessed, “very idiosyncratic language”. Many of them focused on drawings. One, “produced amazing drawings of trains, houses, towns from memory and did his drawings with amazing speed”. Some of them spent time in psychiatric hospitals. Some of them painted completely original works, while others engaged mainly in, “producing copies”. Another child had, “difficulty sitting still in school, had his own fixed ideas, worked with great intensity, was idiosyncratic, oppositional/contradictory. He had very good memory, both auditory and visual and great talent for drawing. Also had many various special interests, including plants, shells, house animals, lamps, clocks etc. He was very interested in mathematics which kept him awake at night”. He had, “calendar, calculating skills”, (Tramer, 1926). Another, “ignored the corrections made by his teachers, had monotonous voice. His strength was in mathematics and he used his own methods to find solutions and was unable to do it in writing as instructed by his teacher”. He had idiosyncratic ways of solving maths problems”. He has, “an excellent memory”. He liked, “order, he appeared stiff and monotonous, is generally extremely calm, however if challenged, he becomes violent, only then to revert back to his cold calmness”, (Tramer, 1924).
Another, “enjoyed torturing animals has a sadistic component suffers from constant, almost daily mood changes, has temper tantrums, throws himself to the ground, pulls his hair out. He is extraordinarily musical, has absolute pitch and great memory”. Today, this would be described as criminal autistic psychopathy, (Fitzgerald, 2010). Another produces, “astonishing technical/architectural drawings without having had previous training. He insists that his drawings are the product of his own imagination and not copies”, (Tramer, 1926).
The same could be said of so-called dementia praecocissima by De Sanchez Sanctis (1925). Some of these children would overlap with so-called Heller’s disease. Again, you have regression around the fourth year, with catatonic symptoms, stereotypical outbursts of anger, echolalia and emotional blunting.
In terms of classic descriptions of autism, the story begins in 1926 when Ssucharewa, a Russian psychiatrist wrote her paper on schizoid psychopaths in children. This is a paper and contains the best descriptions of high functioning autism, surpassing Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger. She starts out with a discussion of schizoid personality disorders of childhood, which would now be called high functioning autism. She mentions this by an, “artificial construct”, if one were to believe Bumke, (1924). In actual fact, Bumke was wrong to describe it as an artificial concept. Ssucharewa, (1926), discusses the relationship between schizoid personality and schizoid in a very modern sense, which is still an issue to this day. She points out that, “clinical research into the prepsychotic personality of people with schizophrenia, has shown this to be similar to the picture of schizoid personality disorder”.
She goes on to describe classic case histories of high functioning autism which she calls schizoid personality. These case histories have family histories which are very commonly found in autism today. Some of the issues in the family histories include, “outbursts of anger pathologically suspicious”, obsessional states”, “poor adaptive capacities”, “anxiously passive, afraid of empty rooms”. Other features in the family histories of these patients were, “odd thought processes”, schizophrenia, eccentric and irritable. Also included in the family histories are comments like, “extremely shy, only sociable within a small intimate circle, colourless personality, with heightened suggestibility and poor adaptive capacities”, dominating, quarrelsome, suspicious and miserly, intelligent, obstinate, quarrelsome, egocentric, children preferring adult company, dominating and despotic, eccentric, played alone and thought up his own games, mathematically gifted, stubborn, clumsy. These features in the family histories of the patients with high functioning autism/schizoid personality that she describes would be part of a broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders the typical kind of family histories we see in our patients with autism today. We are very familiar in our histories today of persons with autism having family histories of persons with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism etc.
In terms of etiology of the schizoid conditions she mentions, “inborn abnormality of certain brain regions, (cerebellum, basal ganglia, frontal lobes)”, even though this was written in 1926.
The case histories show evidence of meeting some of the criteria for autism spectrum disorder DSM 5 (APA 2013). Children were, “shy, easily frightened and suspicious… shunned the company of other children”. She describes one having, “unusual interest in death”, and death anxiety is very common in children with autism today, who are able to speak and tell us about it. Things that she described include repetitive language, restless sleep, being very good at music, having concentration problems, basically today these would be described as attention deficit disorder DSM 5 (APA 2013). Motor descriptions were described by her in detail and she described motor movements as being, “clumsy and awkward”, “gait clumsy and awkward”, being avid readers, having, “droopy and lax joints”.
The social relationship difficulties she described would be typical of autism. She described wandering aimlessly. She also described, “playing the joker, and becoming the butt of peers”. She describes talking and behaving like an adult. She describes one patient as being nick-named, “the talking machine”. She describes the hypersensitivity of the children to any criticism. She describes their preservation of sameness, and their intense persistence in activity. She describes their heightened suggestibility and their clowning and their impulsive odd behaviour. She describes the children reared in orphanages who came out with a very similar phenotype to the one that she has described and which we are very familiar now from the psychological studies of children in orphanages, (Rutter. 1998). She describes no intellectual decline as compared to schizophrenia.
Some of the language problems she described include talking incessantly, rhyming, endless questioning, monotonous tone of voice. She describes talking like an adult. She describes attraction to abstract ideas, to philosophy.

She goes on at great length looking at the relationship between autism and schizophrenia which we still haven’t sorted out today and the comments that she made about that relationship, and are still being debated today, (Fitzgerald, 2012).
In 1941, Bradley purchased probably the only book on Kanner’s subject childhood schizophrenia in America. It is very likely that Kanner read it since it was the only book published in America on his topic, in that particular year. This book contains references to Sukhareva, (Ssucharewa). This is a critical piece of information on the origins of autism.
Leo Kanner does quote this second publication in 1932 in his article in 1949 (Kanner, 1949). He quotes it again in his text book “Child Psychiatry”, (Kanner, 1972). The big question which is unresolved is whether he was aware of the Russian paper, published in 1926. This would have antedated his meetings with Frankl, who gave him the autistic profile from his clinic in Vienna where he worked with Hans Asperger. It is likely he did read it because he was a linguist and knew the literature in extraordinary detail and that he did read it in the 1930s. The latest he could have read it would have been 1941, when it was in Bradley’s book. In addition to this, he spoke German, and could have read the 1932 paper. He was massively well read in the German literature and spoke German. In this paper, Ssucharewa, (1926) does also use the word, “autistic reactions”. Ssucharewa (1926) also uses the phrase, “an autistic attitude”. She also has a very good discussion on the boundaries between psychiatric conditions and between, “sick and healthy people”, which is very modern sounding. This paper (1926/1932) should be on the essential reading list of every psychiatrist in training.
Manouilenko and Bejerot (2015), pointed out that Sukhareva (1959) replaced the term, “schizoid psychopathy”, with, “autistic (pathological avoidant) psychopathy”. Clearly, she was influenced by Hans Asperger in the change of name, but the names are simply synonyms. Of course, Frankl, Weiss and Zak taught Hans Asperger about autistic psychopathy. Manouilenko et al, (2015), pointed out that, “Asperger, (1944), specifically stated that his aim was to report on a personality disorder already manifest in childhood, which to his knowledge had not yet been described”. This is remarkably similar to Kanner’s description of autism, making the same claim that it had not yet been described. It is very puzzling to know why Asperger hadn’t referenced Sukhareva since it was in the German literature which he was very familiar with. Most of the people that he quoted of course in his article in 1944 had Nazi leanings or were members of the Nazi party. In addition, Russia was at war with Germany at this time, which might explain his reluctance to reference a Russian. The Gestapo, if they read his papers, wouldn’t have appreciated a Russian citation. Asperger was held in the highest regard by the Gestapo during the Second World War and this has been documented many times (Sheefer, 2018).
What is extraordinary is that Gerhard Bosch’s book published in 1962 in German makes no reference to Sukhareva, when she had published in German. Possibly this gives us a warning about how easily publications can be missed, even if they’re in the person’s own language. This book, by Bosch, was re-published in 1970.
Georg Frankl started working in the Heilpedagogical clinic in 1927 and Silberman (2015) states that, “Frankl became Asperger’s chief diagnostician”. Indeed, it’s quite different from this. It was Frankl who basically mentored and taught Asperger about child psychiatry and about autism. Frankl taught Asperger when he arrived at the Heilpadogik Clinic and later taught Kanner when he went to work with him in the United States.
In 1928, Sister Viktorine Zak, who was the chief nurse in the Heilpedagogical Clinic, in an article described the method that led to the diagnosis of autism. Sheefer, (2018) in translation noted that Zak, “urged caregivers to recognise uniqueness of all children through evaluation of their “characters”, because, “the personality shows itself in small things”, and, “staff should focus on minute observations and, “minute diagnosis”, and, “to experience the child’s thought processes empathically”. This is how autism came to be discovered. The 1928 (Zak) article was published in The International Council of Nurses (Sheefer, 2018).
Further relevant comments in the literature include Gruhle (1929) who describes an, “extreme feeling of loneliness” and, “inability of the patients to adjust themselves emotionally to their surroundings or to project themselves into the emotional lives of others”, (Bosch, 1970).
Binder, (1930) notes that in persons with schizoid autism there was a tendency, “to cling to self”, and to “shrivel up”.

Asperger arrived in the clinic in 1932. He was very inexperienced and really a trainee, (Sheefer, 2018). It was shortly after graduation.
Because Asperger was a, “good Natural Socialist”, he was appointed director of the clinic in 1934. This was over Frankl, who was Jewish, (Sheefer, 2018).

Psychosis, 1937:

Kanner, (1937) described a classic case of autism as major psychosis over ten years after Sukhareva described the classic profile. Kanner was mistaken here with his psychosis diagnosis when he described the child who was, “throwing his hands about”, in a peculiar fashion, very fretful as a baby, always crying, severe temper tantrums, throwing knives and scissors at his sister. He twitched his shoulders with a crowd and had other tics. He was inattentive, restless and preoccupied in school. He failed in the third and fifth grades. It took him a great deal of time to put his clothes on in the morning. He required a great deal of independent support, despite being intelligent. He had feeding problems and would dawdle over his meals. He was scared by the reflection of the street lights on the ceiling. He was a reclusive youngster who preferred to play alone. He liked to read, “deep books”. He had major narrow interests. He was very irritable. Kanner’s book was published in 1937 and clearly, he knew nothing about autism at that time. One assumes that he wrote it during 1935/1936 for publication in 1937. His introduction to autism was going to come from Frankl and Weiss who came from Aspergers’ department in Vienna to work with Kanner just after this time. Frankl arrived in 1938 to Kanner’s clinic.
In 1935, Anni Weiss published a paper in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry on, “qualitative intelligence testing as a means of diagnosis in the examination of psychopathic children”. Kanner had his textbook of child psychiatry written at this time. At that time, autism would have been included under the label, “psychopathic” in Vienna. She describes a classic autism case which Kanner didn’t reference in 1943. Kanner tended to avoid any references to precedents before his 1943 paper. The case she describes is a classic case of autism and of course, Weiss did also work with Kanner before the Second World War. This child was strange and one-sided in his behaviour. He had huge social interactional skills deficits. Weiss (1935) describes his, “extreme nervousness and his queer and helpless behaviour in his intercourse with other children”. He was, “afraid of children”. He was afraid of, “loud noises”, and was, “very clumsy and helpless”. Disturbances of routine upset him. Children called him, “the fool”. His grandmother, who was looking after him, thought that he was clever. Of course, his huge problem was his autistic social interactional skills difficulties. His, “muscular system (was) weak”. He, “held himself badly, his arms dangling and his head generally hanging forward. His movements were awkward and without vigour”. He had, “a monotonous way of speaking”. He lacked the ability for, “self-preservation and self-defence”, (Weiss, 1935). There is no reference to this paper (Weiss, 1935) in Kanner’s (1973) collected papers on Childhood Psychosis or in his 1943 paper.
In 1935, Joseph Michaels published an important paper in relation to the history of autism. It was published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, one of the journals that Kanner published in (Kanner, 1949). It was called The Heilpedagogical Station of the Children’s Clinic at the University of Vienna. What was particularly interesting about that paper is that Hans Asperger who was there in a very minor role at the clinic at that time, so minor that he wasn’t even mentioned. He was a trainee. The only two people mentioned in relation to the work there at that time was Anni Weiss and Georg Frankl. Sheefer (2018), makes a very important comment on that paper in relation to the word, “autistic”. She states that, “Michaels also suggested the staff’s casual and shared use of the term, “autistic”. He, (Michaels, 1935), described their concept of, “artistic children”. Assuming, “artistic”, is an English mistranslation of, “autistic” since art is nowhere near his reference – Michael describes how, “artistic children may require special personal guidance”, because they have difficulties joining the, “group”, as frequently their attention and feelings are elsewhere”. I believe Sheefer is correct and it’s impossible to believe that Leo Kanner never read this paper, since it was on one of his regular journals, where he published. Sheffer describes, “in 1934, Frankl describes those who, when, “surrounded in a group of children”, do not sense the atmosphere and so cannot adapt”. This is classic autism. Sheefer points out that, “Frankl believed this was due to the youth’s “poor understanding of the emotional content of the spoken word”. (Translation Sheffer 2018).
In 1937, Frankl (Sheefer, 2018, page 56), noted that, “the youth’s detachment and disobedience did not represent their true emotions behind their, “mask-like faces” – which could, “frequently lead to severe misunderstandings”. According to Sheefer (2018), Frankl listed several conditions that might lead to milder social idiosyncrasies and that, “he distinguished the children he was describing from those he saw as much more impaired, who had, “extreme autism”, (Autismus emphasis in the original), and were, “autistically locked”. It’s very clear where Asperger would have got his training in autism and it was from Frankl, Weiss and Zak and his ideas on autistic psychopathy when he gave his lecture in 1938. Shortly after both of those publications, Leo Kanner had Weiss and Frankl working for him and training him in “Autismus”.
Desperet (1938), described children who showed, “unsociability, withdrawal, a tendency to dreaming, fearfulness of new affective context, irritability, sometimes hyperactivity or aggressiveness, a tendency to live in their own world”, which she called schizophrenia.
Georg Frankl arrived in Kanner’s clinic in 1938 and evaluated one of the first patients that Kanner used in his 1943 paper in that year. I assume this is what Kanner means by 1938 in his 1943 paper. Georg Frankl was a senior psychiatrist in the Heilpedagogical Station of the Children’s Clinic in 1932 when Hans Asperger arrived and was a rather minor figure there, really little more than a psychiatric resident in psychiatry. Asperger, because of his commitment to national socialism and not being a Jew was promoted as director of the clinic over Georg Frankl in 1934. This was Asperger’s first major benefit from national socialism and was the beginning of the slippery slope for him, which led to the referral of patients for euthanasia, (Sheefer, 2018).

Fourth decade of the 20 th Century:

Bender and Schilder’s (1940), description of impulsions: a specific disorder of behaviour of children were describing autism spectrum disorder before Kanner. They describe these children as, “preoccupied with certain activities such as continuously looking at and handling an object, counting and talking about numbers, turning door knobs, drawing specific objects or excessive walking … hoarding, stubbornly fighting any interference with poor adjustments at school, (Kanner, 1972).
Kretschmer (1942), points out that, “the characteristics chiefly responsible for the development of autism are to be found in the area of temperament. For him, autism was, “a schizoid type of temperament”, and he describes two types (1) where there is, “a painful contraction into oneself”, while the other is an, “inactive and contemplative dream life, type”. For Kretschmer, “the patient is cramped and numb at the same time”.
In 1942, Frankl sent Kanner his paper on children with problems with affective contact, a key event in the understanding of the origins of autism. This was mentioned in a letter by Kanner, (Robinson, 2016). Kanner sent this letter to the publisher of the Journal Nervous Child which Kanner was editing. Kanner stated that he had received a paper from Georg Frankl (1942), about children with affective contact problems and that he was going to write a paper on the same topic himself and this became the 1943 paper. Of course, Frankl had trained Kanner on autism from 1938 to 1943 and indeed, some of Frankl’s cases are documented by Kanner in his 1943 paper. There needs to be no more mystery about the year 1938 which was the year that Frankl arrived to work with Kanner in Baltimore or where Kanner got his idea of autism from.
There is wide knowledge about Kanner’s 1943 paper. It was only since Van Krevelen (1962, 1971), and Lorna Wing, (1981), brought Asperger’s 1944 paper to the attention of the English-speaking world. Indeed, one of Van Krevelen’s papers was published in Kanner’s journal, the Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, as it was called at that time. This shows that Kanner knew of Asperger’s 1944 paper because he was the editor of the journal.
In the fourth edition of Kanner’s (1972) textbook on child psychiatry, he quotes over twelve hundred authors from all over the world. One thing is certain he was a linguist and was vastly knowledgeable about the literature on child psychiatry and because he spoke many languages, more knowledgeable about the literature in child psychiatry than any other child psychiatrist at the time, or possibly since. Frankl and Weiss are absent from this vast author list as are their papers. Silberman (2015), has elaborated on these historical issues in his book, “Neurotribes”. This paper here extends historical knowledge beyond “Neurotribes” and provides further historical information.

Conflicts of interests
Author declares no conflict of interests.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). DSM 5, Washington: APA.

Asperger, H. (1938). Das Psychish Abnormale Kind Wiener. Klinische Wochenszeitschrift 51, 13, 13-14.

Asperger, H. (1944). Die Autischen Psychopathen in Kinsalter Archive Psychiatrie und Nervenkraakheiten 117, 76-136.

Bender, L., Schilder, P. (1940). Impulsions: A specific disorder of behaviour of children. Arch Neurol Psychiat 44: 1990/108.

Bosch, G. (1970). Infantile Autism. New York: Springer/Verlag.

Bradley, C. (1941). Schizophrenia in Childhood. New York: Macmillan.

Bumke, O. (1924). Explaining Dementia Praecox. Klinische Wochenschrift 3: 437-440.

De Sanctis, S. (1925). Neuropsichiatria Infantale Roma, Stock 623-661.

Desperet, J.L. (1938). Schizophrenia in children. Psychiatric Quarterly, 12, 2, 366-371.

Fitzgerald, M. (2002). Louis Wain and Aspergers Syndrome. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 19, 3, 101.

What made early 20th-century Vienna such an incubator for various intellectual activities? - History

Die Rolle wissenschaftlicher Expertinnen und Experten in der Corona-Krise ist wiederholt kritisiert worden, insbesondere von geisteswissenschaftlicher Seite. Ein Hauptvorwurf, der auch an die Adresse der Nationalen Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina gerichtet ist, lautet, wissenschaftliche Experten seien anmaßend, wenn sie als politische Berater mit ihrer wissenschaftlichen Kompetenz und mit Sachzwängen argumentieren. Die Brisanz des Arguments wird noch durch die Behauptung zugespitzt, der wissenschaftliche Experte benötige für seine politische Beraterrolle besondere persönliche Qualitäten, für die ihm die Wissenschaft kein Rüstzeug liefere. Diese Mystifizierung der Figur des Experten dient dann als Rechtfertigung eines vorgefassten, tiefsitzenden Skeptizismus gegenüber naturwissenschaftlichem Spezialistentum und Expertise. Ein Rückblick in die Geschichte entzieht dieser Mystifizierung die empirische Grundlage. Die Geschichte zeigt: Experten oder „Sachverständige“ zeichnen sich vor allem durch praktisch relevantes, empirisches Wissen aus, das im technischen Umgang mit „Sachen“, Experimente eingeschlossen, erworben wurde diese Sachkompetenz war meist der ausschlaggebende Faktor für ihre Beratertätigkeit. In der anschließenden Diskussion des Begriffs Sachzwang argumentiere ich gegen die weit verbreitete Ansicht, Sachzwänge seien technokratische Totschlagargumente. Das Argumentieren mit Sachzwängen legt nur offen, welche Konsequenzen und Handlungsoptionen sich aus vorhandenem Sachwissen ergeben, es impliziert jedoch keine Normen und damit auch keine Vorabentscheidung über Handlungsziele.

The role of experts in the recent corona crisis has often been criticized, especially by scholars from the humanities. A major objection is that experts claim their political advice is based on scientific knowledge and that related constraints are presumptuous. The objection—addressed also to the German National Academy of Science—is accompanied by the argument that the advisory role of scientific experts presupposes certain personal qualities of the expert that cannot be acquired in the scientific community. This mystification of the figure of expert then serves as justification for preconceived general skepticism toward scientific expertise. The historical part of this paper shows that experts have long been recognized as persons with outstanding empirical knowledge acquired in technical activities, including experimentation their role as political advisors is based primarily on the fact that this kind of knowledge is recognized as practically useful knowledge. The historical figure thus does not lend itself to mystifying definitions. The historical part is complemented by a discussion of the concept of natural and technical constraints of actions (Sachzwänge). I argue that this kind of knowledge neither implies norms nor goals of action. Hence it always leaves open different possibilities of action.

Turning everyday ordinary happenings into struggling moments for existence—from breathing to socializing—is how the Covid-19 pandemic will mark history. What we ask here is not how the ordinary becomes abnormal but how it becomes political and diplomatic. We argue that the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which is measured through virologic and epidemiological models, overlaps with feverous diplomatic and political activities taking place among big geopolitical powers. Yet, this is not new in history of health. The first encounters between diplomats and health professionals were elicited by the social and economic challenges caused, on a global scale, by the cholera epidemics of the nineteenth century. Indeed, health sciences and diplomacy have been historically co-produced. Such a historical perspective on science and health diplomacy facilitates our understanding of international institutions such as the World Health Organization as highly political and diplomatic endeavors. The Diplomatic Studies of Science, a new interdisciplinary research field underpinned by a historical perspective on science diplomacy, sheds light on the multiple factors contributing to the worsening of the global COVID-19 crisis we are facing nowadays.

The Tacuinum sanitatis is a genre of illuminated medical texts from the Late Middle Ages that contains an intriguing and surprising combination of theoretical knowledge and lavish, detailed, and colorful images. By exploring a specific manuscript of this genre, and by comparing it with related practical medical texts and genres, this study wishes to better understand the different aspects of this text and explain this combination. The Late Middle Ages are traditionally thought of as a time of stagnation in the history of science and particularly in the history of medicine. However, in recent decades historians have observed the long-term intellectual and social evolutions of the Middle Ages and have demonstrated the ways in which these changes formed the grounds for the great achievements of the sixteenth century. These evolutions include the translations and dissemination of Greek and Arab knowledge traditions in the Latin West, the establishment of universities, the formation of a medical market and the medicalization of society, and the formation of new audiences for practical and theoretical medical texts. The arts were also heavily influenced by the rise of naturalism and natural study from direct observation, for example. This study demonstrates how a singular text can be linked to major historical evolutions and how a text of this sort can function as a historical source, shedding light on the major intellectual and artistic shift between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

In developed symbolic algebra, from Viète onward, the handling of several algebraic unknowns was routine. Before Luca Pacioli, on the other hand, the simultaneous manipulation of three algebraic unknowns was absent from European algebra and the use of two unknowns so rare that it has rarely been observed and never analyzed. The present paper analyzes the three occurrences of two algebraic unknowns in Fibonacci’s writings the gradual unfolding of the idea in Antonio de’ Mazzinghi’s Fioretti the distorted use in an anonymous Florentine algebra from ca 1400 and finally the regular appearance in the treatises of Benedetto da Firenze. It asks which of these appearances of the technique can be counted as independent rediscoveries of an idea present since long in Sanskrit and Arabic mathematics, and raises the question why the technique once it had been discovered was not cultivated – pointing to the line diagrams used by Fibonacci as a technique that was as efficient as rhetorical algebra handling two unknowns and much less cumbersome, at least until symbolic algebra developed, and as long as the most demanding problems with which algebra was confronted remained the traditional recreational challenges.

This work offers an introduction to the history of scientific thought in the region between Iran and the Atlantic from the beginnings of the Bronze Age until 1900 CE—a “science” that can be understood more or less as a German Wissenschaft: a coherent body of knowledge carried by a socially organized group or profession. It thus deals with the social and human as well as medical and natural sciences and, in earlier times, even such topics as astrology and exorcism. It discusses eight periods or knowledge cultures: Ancient Mesopotamia – classical Antiquity – Islamic Middle Ages – Latin Middle Ages – Western Europe 1400–1600 – 17th century – 18th century – 19th century. For each period, a general description of scientific thought is offered, embedded within its social context, together with a number of shorter or longer commented extracts from original works in English translation.

The purpose of this manual is to provide an overview of one of the methods used to classify the books included in the “Sphaera database”: http://db.sphaera.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/resource/Start. A method used in libraries to catalogue an inventory of early modern printed texts has been slightly adapted for this purpose. The approach is based specifically on the process outlined in the EDIT16 database: http://edit16.iccu.sbn.it/web_iccu/ihome.htm.

The idea of gravitational collapse can be traced back to the first solution of Einstein’s equations, but in these early stages, compelling evidence to support this idea was lacking. Furthermore, there were many theoretical gaps underlying the conviction that a star could not contract beyond its critical radius. The philosophical views of the early 20th century, especially those of Sir Arthur S. Eddington, imposed equilibrium as an almost unquestionable condition on theoretical models describing stars. This paper is a historical and epistemological account of the theoretical defiance of this equilibrium hypothesis, with a novel reassessment of J.R. Oppenheimer’s work on astrophysics.

This paper presents six cases in ancient Greek cultures of knowledge, which make it possible to posit a connection between certain modes of presentation and institutional context. Among the texts looked at are the Hippocratic Epidemics, Aristotelian discourse, Hellenistic mechanics, and theoretical mathematics. While historical reconstruction of the institutional contexts involved is impossible, each of the cases leaves room for observations concerning an interdependence of knowledge-presentation and ‘setting’, understood as standard social context of reception. The paper describes resulting modes (collective, epideictic, school mode, how-to mode, analytical, and esoteric modes) as responding to and possibly emerging from certain contexts, but also as registers that later became per se possible choices for science writers, each catering to specific functions within the transmission and presentation of knowledge. With respect to Greek science, it remains an open question, whether and how one can separate a style of reasoning from a mode of presentation, that is, separate epistemic from rhetorical structures.

In this paper, the importance of the cosmographical activities of the Vienna astronomical “school” for the reception of the Tractatus de Sphaera is analyzed. First, the biographies of two main representatives of the Vienna mathematical/astronomical circle are presented: the Austrian astronomers, mathematicians, and instrument makers Georg von Peuerbach (1423–1461) and his student Johannes Müller von Königsberg (Regiomontanus, 1436–1476). Their studies influenced the cosmographical teaching at the University of Vienna enormously for the next century and are relevant to understanding what followed therefore, the prosopographical introductions of these Vienna scholars have been included here, even if neither can be considered a real author of the Sphaera. Moreover, taking the examples of an impressive sixteenth-century miscellany (Austrian National Library, Cod. ser. nov. 4265, including the recently rediscovered cosmography by Sebastian Binderlius, compiled around 1518), the diversity of different cosmographical studies in the capital of the Habsburg Empire at the turning point between the Middle Ages and the early modern period is demonstrated.

Handwritten comments in the Vienna edition of De sphaera (1518) also show how big the influence of Sacrobosco’s work remained as a didactical tool at the universities in the first decades of the sixteenth century—and how cosmographical knowledge was transformed and structured in early modern Europe by the editors and readers of the Sphaera.

Four years prior to receiving the Nobel Prize, Albert Einstein pledged the prize money to his soon to be ex-wife Mileva to ensure her and their sons’ livelihood and to serve as an advance payment of the sons’ inheritance. With this money, Mileva Einstein bought three Zurich apartment houses in 1924 and in 1930. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, this investment plummeted in value. Thanks to Albert Einstein’s persistent financial efforts for over more than ten years, a small sum constituting the rest of the Nobel Prize capital was actually transferred to the sons, following Mileva’s death in 1948.

This paper discusses the origin of technical terminology in everyday language by outlining stages in a long-term history of technical terminology marked by increasing degrees of reflexivity. It uses the examples of spatial terminology in an ancient Chinese theoretical text, in Newtonian mechanics, and in relativity theory, and attempts to explain the increasing distance of the meanings of technical terms from their everyday counterparts by relating it to historical processes of knowledge integration.

María Sánchez Colina Angelo Baracca Carlos Cabal Mirabal Arbelio Pentón Madrigal Jürgen Renn Helge Wendt (2019)

The processes of long-term migration of physicians and scholars affect both the academic migrants and their receiving environments in often dramatic ways. On the one side, their encounter confronts two different knowledge traditions and personal values. On the other side, migrating scientists and academics are also confronted with foreign institutional, political, economic, and cultural frameworks when trying to establish their own ways of professional knowledge and cultural adjustments.

The twentieth century has been called the century of war and forced migration: it witnessed two devastating World Wars, which led to an exodus of physicians, scientists, and academics. Nazism and Fascism in the 1930s and 1940s, forced thousands of scientists and physicians away from their home institutions based in Central and Eastern Europe. “Did you ever go half way …” was a central question that all of them had to align with their personal consciousness, their family bonding, and the relationship to their academic peers. No one could leave without finding their individual answers to this existential question that lay at the bottom of their professional and scientific lives.

Following this general theme, the current special issue particularly reflects on the personal stories and institutional narratives of German-speaking scientists and physicians to North America since the 1930s, as a relevant case study from twentieth-century history of medicine and science. By drawing on diaries, questionnaires, institutional histories (including those of the Max Planck Society among others), novels, and personal estates, this special issue as a whole intends to emphasize the impact of forced migration from a North-American perspective by describing the general research topic showing how the personal lives of many of these individuals were intertwined with their careers and choices of scientific topics, projects, and personal destinies. Moreover, this special issue seeks to explore whether new historiographical approaches can provide a deeper understanding of the impact of European émigré psychiatrists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists on emerging fields of medicine and science, including community and geriatric medicine, developmental neuroscience, and psychiatric traumatology to which the individuals in the respective cohort have strongly contributed in their new host countries.

Matteo Valleriani Rifat-Sara Pearl Liron Ben Arzi (2017)

The resources used for teaching at medieval universities became increasingly enriched by pictorial material, particularly during the fourteenth century. This work explores the epistemic function of pictorial material—images of science—in the context of medieval and early modern medicine, alchemy, and anatomy. The historical context is defined by the expansion in the thirteenth century of the spatial horizons of Western culture and the consequent need for a cultural identity, first expressed through the assimilation of the local European calendric systems. The regulation of time is determined as the first cause of the diffusion of pictorial material as an epistemic means of transcending the boundaries of learned scholarly circles, thereby enabling a broader access to knowledge. Originally based on a seminar delivered at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at the University of Tel Aviv by Matteo Valleriani, this work is the result of a science history exhibition supported by curator Yifat-Sara Pearl, for which students collaborated with artist and designer Liron Ben Arzi to further develop their research activities.

The exploration of Mesopotamian mathematics took its beginning together with thedecipherment of the cuneiform script around 1850. Until the 1920s, “mathematics in use” (number systems, metrology, tables and some practical calculations of areas) was the object of study – only very few texts dealing with more advanced matters were approached before 1929, and with quite limited results. That this situation changed was due to Otto Neugebauer – but even his first steps in 1927–28 were in the prevailing style of the epoch, so to speak “pre-Neugebauer”. They can be seen, however, to have pushed him toward the three initiatives which opened the “Neugebauer era” in 1929: The launching of Quellen und Studien, the organization of a seminar for the study of Babylonian mathematics, and the start of the work on the Mathematische Keilschrift-Texte. After a couple of years François Thureau-Dangin (since the late 1890s the leading figure in the exploration of basic mathematics) joined in. At first Thureau-Dangin supposed Neugebauer to take care of mathematical substance, and he himself to cover the philology of the matter. Very soon, however, both were engaged in substance as well as philology, working in competitive parallel until both stopped this work in 1937–38. Neugebauer then turned to astronomy, while Thureau-Dangin, apart from continuing with other Assyriological matters, undertook to draw the consequences of what was now known about Babylonian mathematics for the history of mathematics in general.

With only Apuleius and Augustine as partial exceptions, Latin Antiquity did not know Archimedes as a mathematician but only as an ingenious engineer and astronomer, serving his city and killed by fatal distraction when in the end it was taken by ruse. The Latin Middle Ages forgot even much of that, and when Archimedean mathematics was translated in the 12th and 13th centuries, almost no integration with the traditional image of the person took place. With the exception of Petrarca, who knew the civically useful engineer and the astrologer (!), fourteenth-century Humanists show no interest in Archimedes. In the 15th century, however, “higher artisans” with Humanist connections or education took interest in Archimedes the technician and started identifying with him. In mid-century, a new translation of most works from the Greek was made by Jacopo remonensis, and Regiomontanus and a few other mathematicians began resurrecting the image of the geometer, yet without emulating him in their own work. Giorgio Valla’s posthumous De expetendis et fugiendis rebus from 1501 marks a watershed. Valla drew knowledge of the person as well as his works from Proclus and Pappus, thus integrating the two. Over the century, a number of editions also appeared, the editio princeps in 1544, and mathematical work following in the footsteps of Archimedes was made by Maurolico, Commandino and others. The Northern Renaissance only discovered Archimedes in the 1530s, and for long only superficially. The first to express a (purely ideological) high appreciation is Ramus in 1569, and the first to make creative use of his mathematics was Viète in the 1590s.

Peter Fulde is not only one of Germany’s leading solid-state physicists but is prominent also due to his outstanding career, his general involvement in science, and the exceptional activities he undertook in organizing science in various circumstances. Fulde grew up in the eastern part of the country and went to the West as a student. He obtained his PhD in the United States and then returned to Germany to become full professor at the University of Frankfurt at the age of 32 and later director in various research institutes. He was a member of the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat), the board of the German Physical Society (DPG) and numerous other bodies. After the re-unification of Germany he returned to the East and built up the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden. Finally, after his retirement in 2007, he followed a call to South Korea to head a similar institute there and eventually helped to establish a Korean analogue of the German Max Planck Society. The interview presented here follows the steps of his life. It was conducted on the occasion of his 80th birthday in April of 2016 and is supplemented by a curriculum vitae and by two brief accounts of his physics research and of his role in Dresden and Korea in the context of the Max Planck Society.

Around 1801 Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau (1737–1816) designed his famous fumigating machine. The machine spread a controlled emission of a specific gas—described as an oxygenated acid—that was supposed to destroy the contagious miasmas in the air, objects, and bodies. During the 1804 outburst of the yellow fever, the Spanish Government ordered that the original design of Guyton’s fumigating machine be adapted to the Spanish market for extensive use in households. This was done against some criticism, as the nature of the contagion was avowedly unknown and the acid fumigation technology polemic. Nonetheless, the machine was pictured as crucial for the health of individuals and for society as a whole.

The essay looks at the fumigating machine as a way of exploring how scientific and political practices pervaded societies and, vice-versa, how ways of interpreting nature and politics became embedded in artifacts. It will show, first, how the machine served to spread the new French chemistry among Spaniards second, how it embodied a new relationship between the citizens and the state, and third, how this artefact was imported by the Spanish absolutist state, appropriated, and used for political propaganda. By focusing on a chemical artefact, it shows a historically complex and significant interweaving of theory, material culture, and politics.

Erich Kretschmann (1887–1973) was a German theoretical physicist whose work on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (1917) offered some interesting insights, but was also critical of Einstein’s semantics. Einstein responded in a paper in 1918 and agreed that Kretschmann’s criticism was valid. Kretschmann wrote his thesis under the supervision of Max Planck and obtained his doctorate in 1914. A psychiatric disease during his adolescence made him permanently unfit for military service and saved him from having to participate in the First World War. From 1920 he lectured in theoretical physics at the University of Königsberg. In 1926 he became an apl. professor, a position which he held until 1945. After his escape from Königsberg in January 1945 he found temporary accommodation at Rendsburg, Schleswig-Holstein. In 1946 he was appointed as a full professor of theoretical physics at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle.

History and development

Despite the problems encountered by the League of Nations in arbitrating conflict and ensuring international peace and security prior to World War II, the major Allied powers agreed during the war to establish a new global organization to help manage international affairs. This agreement was first articulated when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter in August 1941. The name United Nations was originally used to denote the countries allied against Germany, Italy, and Japan. On January 1, 1942, 26 countries signed the Declaration by United Nations, which set forth the war aims of the Allied powers.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union took the lead in designing the new organization and determining its decision-making structure and functions. Initially, the “Big Three” states and their respective leaders (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin) were hindered by disagreements on issues that foreshadowed the Cold War. The Soviet Union demanded individual membership and voting rights for its constituent republics, and Britain wanted assurances that its colonies would not be placed under UN control. There also was disagreement over the voting system to be adopted in the Security Council, an issue that became famous as the “veto problem.”

The first major step toward the formation of the United Nations was taken August 21–October 7, 1944, at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, a meeting of the diplomatic experts of the Big Three powers plus China (a group often designated the “Big Four”) held at Dumbarton Oaks, an estate in Washington, D.C. Although the four countries agreed on the general purpose, structure, and function of a new world organization, the conference ended amid continuing disagreement over membership and voting. At the Yalta Conference, a meeting of the Big Three in a Crimean resort city in February 1945, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin laid the basis for charter provisions delimiting the authority of the Security Council. Moreover, they reached a tentative accord on the number of Soviet republics to be granted independent memberships in the UN. Finally, the three leaders agreed that the new organization would include a trusteeship system to succeed the League of Nations mandate system.

The Dumbarton Oaks proposals, with modifications from the Yalta Conference, formed the basis of negotiations at the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), which convened in San Francisco on April 25, 1945, and produced the final Charter of the United Nations. The San Francisco conference was attended by representatives of 50 countries from all geographic areas of the world: 9 from Europe, 21 from the Americas, 7 from the Middle East, 2 from East Asia, and 3 from Africa, as well as 1 each from the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (in addition to the Soviet Union itself) and 5 from British Commonwealth countries. Poland, which was not present at the conference, was permitted to become an original member of the UN. Security Council veto power (among the permanent members) was affirmed, though any member of the General Assembly was able to raise issues for discussion. Other political issues resolved by compromise were the role of the organization in the promotion of economic and social welfare the status of colonial areas and the distribution of trusteeships the status of regional and defense arrangements and Great Power dominance versus the equality of states. The UN Charter was unanimously adopted and signed on June 26 and promulgated on October 24, 1945.


a form of the comic, in which the object described (and criticized) receives a ruthless, devastating reinterpretation that is resolved by laughter, open or concealed (&ldquomuffled&rdquo) a specific method of artistic reproduction of reality, in which images that evoke laughter and ridicule (the formal aspect of art) are used to reveal the distorted, absurd, internally unstable character of reality (the content aspect).

Unlike a straightforward exposé, artistic satire appears to have two plot lines: the comic development of events on the first level is predetermined by certain dramatic or tragic collisions in the &ldquosubtext,&rdquo in that which is implied. Humor and irony, other forms of the comic used in satirical works, also have two levels. However, in satire proper, both levels, the visible and the concealed, are usually treated negatively. In humor, they are treated positively, and in irony, a positive external theme is combined with a negative underlying one.

Satire is an essential weapon in the social struggle, but its perception as such at the appropriate time depends on historical, national, and social circumstances. The more popular and universal the ideal for which the satirist evokes negative laughter, the more vital the satire is, and the greater its revitalizing capacity. Satire is assigned the tremendous aesthetic task of arousing and activating our recollection of excellence (the good, the true, the beautiful), which is offended by baseness, stupidity, and vice. By relegating &ldquoeverything outdated to the kingdom of shadows&rdquo (M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin), by spiritually &ldquoshaming&rdquo the reader, and by purging those who laugh, satire defends the positive and the truly vital. J. C. F. von Schiller, the first to consider satire an aesthetic category, wrote the classic definition of the term: &ldquoIn satire, imperfect reality is juxtaposed to the ideal, the highest reality&rdquo (&ldquoO naivnoi i sentimental&rsquonoi poezii&rdquo [On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry], in Stat&rsquoi po estetike, Moscow-Leningrad, 1935, p. 344). However, the satirist&rsquos ideal is expressed through an &ldquoanti-ideal&rdquo&mdashthrough the flagrantly comical absence of the ideal in the target of the exposé.

Uncompromising judgments about the object of ridicule and open tendentiousness are characteristic of satire as a mode of expressing the author&rsquos individuality, which endeavors to establish an insurmountable barrier between the world and the object exposed. Moreover, the author strives, &ldquoby the force of subjective invention, lightning thoughts, and striking methods of interpretation, to break down everything that wants to become objective and acquire the solid look of reality&rdquo (Hegel, Estetika, vol. 2, Moscow, 1969, p. 312). The subjective slant of satire gives it the features of a negative romanticism.

In ancient Roman literature, satire was clearly recognized as an accusatory, ridiculing genre of lyric. Later, although satire preserved features of lyricism, it lost its strict generic definition and became a literary type that determined the specific characteristics of many genres, including the fable, epigram, burlesque, pamphlet, feuilleton, and satirical novel.

Satirists &ldquomodel&rdquo their object, creating an image with a high degree of artificiality that is achieved by the &ldquodirected distortion&rdquo of the real outlines of the phenomenon, using exaggeration, emphasis, hyperbole, and the grotesque. &ldquoExperimental&rdquo satire shapes a work on the basis of a fantastic assumption that permits an author to conduct a rationalistic investigation of the object. In this type of satire, the character is a personified logical concept (Organchik by Saltykov-Shchedrin), and the plot is a system of intellectual calculations translated into &ldquoartistic language&rdquo (Voltaire&rsquos Candide, Swift&rsquos Gulliver&rsquos Travels). A favorite figure in rationalistic satire is the observer-hero who mockingly &ldquocollects&rdquo evidence.

Another variety of satire ridicules an inadequate person, investigating the nature of evil on the psychological level (Salty-kov-Shchedrin&rsquos The Golovlev Family and Thackeray&rsquos Vanity Fair). In this case typification depends entirely on the accuracy and &ldquoplausibility&rdquo of external and characterizing details.

&rdquoPlausible implausibility&rdquo characterizes parodic, ironic satire, with its wealth of life-duplicating motifs: deliberate deceptions, games and theatrical situations, elements of compositional symmetry, and &ldquodoubles.&rdquo Parodic, ironic satire is often similar to humor (for example, in Dickens), as well as other varieties of satire.

The origin of satiric images in antiquity is associated with a period when art was syncretic and was a crystallization of popular games and religious activities. Satirical drama, the Attic comedy, and the parody of the heroic epic (the Battle of the Frogs and the Mice) developed out of folklore. The genre known as Menippean satire appeared later. Satire as a specific literary genre emerged in ancient Rome (Gaius Lucilius&rsquo exposés, Horace&rsquos moralistic satires, and Juvenal&rsquos civic satires). Customs were brilliantly ridiculed in Menippean novels, such as Petroni-us&rsquo Satyricon and Apuleius&rsquo The Golden Ass, as well as in the comedies of Plautus and Terence.

The development of the anecdote, the fabliau, the comic animal epos, and the vulgar farce is associated with the rise of the medieval cities. The Renaissance was marked by a satirical examination of the ideological precepts of the Middle Ages (the anonymous French political satire, La Satire Ménipée, and the second part of Erasmus&rsquo Praise of Folly). Satirical episodes embodying the multifaceted elements of the comic and promoting the downfall of ideas hostile to humanism are encountered in the greatest works of the period, including Boccaccio&rsquos Decameron, Rabelais&rsquos Gargantua and Pantagruel, Cervantes&rsquo Don Quixote, and Shakespeare&rsquos comedies.

Typical of classicism were the satirical comedy, with strictly delineated, stereotypical characters (Molière), and poetic genres, such as the satire, fable, maxim, and travesty. In the 17th and 18th centuries the comic picaresque novel became a stronger vehicle of the exposé. Among the most outstanding examples are the baroque novels of F. Quevedo y Villegas and H. J. C. von Grimmelshausen and Enlightenment novels by A. R. Lesage and T. Smollett. In their comedies, P. de Beaumarchais and R. B. Sheridan developed the social satire characteristic of Molière and Spanish comedies. The ideologists of the Enlightenment, including Diderot, Voltaire, Montesquieu, and especially Swift, created the classic models of satire, giving a philosophical interpretation to the fatal imperfection of the existing world.

The brilliant representatives of romantic irony, Byron, E. T. A. Hoffman, and H. Heine, typically perceived life in both a universally comic and a socially satirical light. With the development of critical realism, pure satire declined, but elements of satire penetrated all prose genres (Dickens and Thackeray). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries satire was refined in the creative work of M. Twain, A. France, H. G. Wells, K. Čapek, J. Ha&scaronek, G. K. Chesterton, B. Shaw, H. Mann, and B. Brecht, who preserve a belief in an objective ideal even as they expose the flaws of contemporary civilization, which is going through a crisis. By contrast, modernist satire, which elaborates the problem of human alienation in bourgeois and totalitarian society, is permeated with a feeling of despair or a sense of the absurd. Ionesco&rsquos works are representative of this trend. In the last 50 years satire has intruded into science fiction, as is evident in works by A. Huxley, I. Azimov, and K. Vonnegut.

Satirical exposés of social injustice or the power of the rich were typical of many ancient works of Oriental folklore, including the Thousand and One Nights, the Panchatantra, anecdotes about Nasreddin, and the parables of various peoples. Literary satire dates from antiquity (Dandin, Bhartrhari, and Haribha-dra Suri in Indian literature Wang Wei and P&rsquou Sung-ling in Chinese literature and Suzani, Gurgani, Ubeid, and Zakani in Persian literature). Many of the phenomena of Oriental satire correspond to European types of satire. For example, schematic allegories were typical of both Oriental and Western satire in the early period.

In Russian literature, the first clear example of satire is the satirical tale of the late 17th century. The satire of social exposé was developed by classical and Enlightenment writers, including A. D. Kantemir, A. P. Sumarokov, D. I. Fonvizin, N. I. No-vikov, and A. N. Radishchev. I. A. Krylov&rsquos fables, G. R. Der-zhavin&rsquos satirical poems, and V. T. Narezhnyi&rsquos novels were the artistic prelude to the flowering of satire in the 19th century. A. S. Griboedov created satirical types that became part of the language, representing eternal Russian characters. Gogol, who viewed the Russian social order satirically &ldquofrom one side&rdquo in The Inspector-General and Dead Souls, left a comic legacy rich in aesthetic tone and national in form. Saltykov-Shchedrin ruthlessly exposed social flaws &ldquofrom top to bottom,&rdquo from the point of view of revolutionary democracy (The Golovlev Family and The History of a Town, for example).

The prerevolutionary works of Gorky, including his satirical tales, and V. V. Mayakovsky, including his sarcastic &ldquohymns,&rdquo stand on the threshold of Soviet satire. In Soviet literature the satirical principle has been expressed in various genres, including political verse (V. Mayakovsky), short stories and novellas (M. Zoshchenko and A. Platonov), comedy (Mayakovsky&rsquos The Bedbug and The Bathhouse and E. Shvarts&rsquo &ldquoShadow&rdquo and &ldquoThe Naked King&rdquo), the novel (I. Ehrenburg, I. Il&rsquof and E. Petrov, and M. Bulgakov, as well as science fiction by the brothers A. Strugatskii and B. Strugatskii), and parody and epigrams (A. Arkhangel&rsquoskii). The development of Soviet satire was accompanied by sharp debates concerning its character and functions.

Satire in the dramatic arts reflects the development of satirical literature. The most significant satirical dramas become social events after their presentation in the theater. This is equally true of the comedies of Aristophanes, Molière, Beaumarchais, A. V. Sukhovo-Kobylin, and Mayakovsky. The motion-picture comedy, which developed in the early 1920&rsquos, is represented by entertaining works and by truly satirical ones, such as Chaplin&rsquos Modern Times and The Great Dictator and the Soviet films St. Jorgan&rsquos Day and Welcome.

In the representational arts the most highly developed satirical genre is the caricature (in the narrow sense), in which the text plays an important role. Satirical graphics also include book illustrations (P. M. Boklevskii&rsquos drawings for Dead Souls, illustrations by K. P. Rotov and the Kukryniksy for The Little Golden Calf). Satirical motifs also appear in painting (Goya&rsquos Saturn). However, in painting, satire usually takes the form of direct, humorless exposés (P. A. Fedotov&rsquos The Major&rsquos Courtship). Television, an art that possesses unlimited potential for reportage, has opened new possibilities for satire.

HIST103: World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras (1600–Present)

First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me in this course". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

Unit 1: Global Networks of Exchange in the 1600s

By the early 17th century, European merchants had established maritime trade networks across the Atlantic Ocean and eastward to India and China. These networks allowed them to acquire furs, tea, sugar, spices, and other luxury commodities that were in great demand throughout Europe. In the Americas, European settlers began using large numbers of enslaved Africans to grow labor-intensive crops such as sugarcane and tobacco for export to Europe. Portuguese, and later Dutch, merchants acquired many of these slaves from trade posts on the West African coast. Once the slaves had been sold in the Americas, merchants used the proceeds to acquire local commodities to sell in Europe. This circular trade pattern dominated the Atlantic economy until the 1800s. European nations closely guarded their trade networks against rival states. The Dutch East India Company, for example, possessed its own private army and navy, which it used to defend its trade links with India and Southeast Asia.

Global trade altered production and consumption patterns throughout the world and led to the rapid growth and development of England and the Netherlands at the expense of older colonial powers such as Spain and Portugal. In this unit, we will examine the growth of global trade networks in the 1600s and evaluate the political, social, and cultural impact of these networks on the peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.

Unit 2: Conflict and Empire in the 1600s and 1700s

Nations throughout the world experienced profound military and political transformations over the course of the 17th century. Gunpowder technology gradually made its way from Asia through the Middle East to Europe between the 1300s and the 1600s. By the beginning of the 17th century, Europeans were beginning to perfect cannon technology and experiment with handheld firearms. These new military technologies altered warfare across Europe and the Middle East, and they contributed to the development of powerful, centralized states. Nations such as France, Russia, and Japan also witnessed the emergence of absolutist forms of government. Powerful kings and emperors declared themselves to be agents of God and used the military and political power at their disposal to demand total obedience from the lesser nobility and the peasantry of their kingdoms.

In this unit, we will examine the development of absolutism in Europe and Asia and compare it with other forms of government. We will also look at the growing conflicts between European states over colonial possessions and resources throughout the world and explore how these conflicts altered the balance of European power in the 1600s and 1700s.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

Unit 3: Religious, Intellectual, and Political Revolutions in the 1600s–1800s

The 1600s and 1700s were a time of profound religious, intellectual, and political turmoil across the globe. In Europe, the Protestant Reformation, which challenged the religious and political power of the Catholic Church, led to the Thirty Years' War in the early 1600s. The Thirty Years' War devastated much of Central Europe and led to profound divisions between Catholic and Protestant political states. In Africa and Asia, Islam continued to spread southward and eastward through trade networks, population migrations, and the activities of missionaries.

The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Church's declining religious and political power led to a period of great intellectual fervor across Europe in the 1600s and 1700s. Known as the Enlightenment, this period witnessed the development of intellectual movements promoting reason, democracy, political freedom, and rational inquiry. Enlightenment thinkers questioned civil authorities and developed new ideas about the relationship between a nation's governments and its people. These ideas gave rise to a period of political revolutions intended to overthrow monarchical rule and to install democratically elected governments in the late 1700s. The French Revolution in 1789 followed the American Revolution in 1776 and encouraged other revolutions throughout the Americas and parts of Europe.

In this unit, we will examine the interaction between religious and political beliefs in the 1600s and 1700s and look at how these ideas reshaped political, economic, and social life throughout the world by the beginning of the 1800s. We will also look at how political revolutions in the Americas had a global impact on political institutions and reshaped networks of trade and commerce throughout the world.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.

Unit 4: Scientific and Industrial Revolutions of the 1600s and 1700s

The Scientific Revolution began in Europe in the 16th century, but had the greatest impact on Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Drawing on scientific ideas developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as Asian and Hindu-Arabic scientific and mathematical discoveries, researchers used the scientific method to develop the modern disciplines of astronomy, physics, biology, and chemistry. Discoveries by scientists challenged traditional beliefs about the nature of matter, the operation of the solar system, and the life processes of living organisms. In England, these new scientific ideas and discoveries contributed to a gradual, but profound, shift away from traditional means of agricultural and craft production to mechanical means for producing and transporting goods. The development of the steam engine in the 1700s, for example, provided an unlimited source of energy to power mechanical devices. Inventors soon developed primitive machines to spin yarn, weave textiles, and perform other basic tasks. While these early machines often produced low-quality manufactured products, they could produce much larger quantities of goods than skilled craftspeople in the same amount of time. Engineers soon developed other applications for steam power such as railroad locomotives and steamships. Over the course of the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution swept Great Britain, and the nation became a center for the industrial production of iron, textiles, and other manufactured goods. Factory towns expanded rapidly as peasants left farms for manufacturing jobs in the cities. England's growing industrial might made it the most wealthy and powerful nation on the face of the planet by the early 19th century. In this unit, we will examine the origins of the Scientific Revolution and evaluate its social and political impact on European society. We will also look at the social, political, economic, and technological impact of the Industrial Revolution in England and throughout the world. We will see how England, and later the United States, overtook other nations industrially, economically, and militarily, and we will explore the profound implications of this power shift.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

Unit 5: New Imperialism during the Long 19th Century

The French Revolution embroiled Europe in nearly two decades of military conflict. At the 1815 Treaty of Vienna, war weary European monarchies resolved to settle their political differences and jointly suppress further outbreaks of revolutionary violence. After 1815, Europe entered an era of relative peace and prosperity that lasted until World War I. Many historians refer to this period of time from the French Revolution to World War I as the "Long 19th Century".

During the Long 19th Century, England, France, Germany and other European states used their military and industrial strength to seize territories in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean and subjugate native peoples living in these territories. European leaders viewed overseas colonies as an important signifier of international power and competed with each other to control larger and larger territories across the globe. Colonies also provided natural resources for, and consumed manufactured goods produced by, imperial nations and served as locations for investment by powerful industrialists in each country. Imperialists viewed native people in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific as primitive and uncivilized and justified racial and ethnic oppression on the grounds that they were engaged in a "civilizing mission". These racist attitudes shaped how Europeans dealt with colonial populations throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In this unit, we will examine how European nations staked out claims to colonies throughout the world and imposed new technologies and economic systems on colonial possessions. We will also explore the consequences of colonization for European and colonial populations and evaluate the impact of colonial rebellions and anti-colonial movements during the 19th century.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

Unit 6: World War I

By the early 20th century, competition between European states over colonial resources began to affect the cohesion of the international community. A growing arms race between Great Britain and Germany also raised concerns about European stability. In response to these growing tensions, European nations began making secret military alliances for mutual protection in the event of war. Tensions finally came to a head in the summer of 1914, when Serbian terrorists assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. Germany and Austria-Hungary threatened to invade Serbia, but Russia elected to protect the small state. As a result, these nations declared war on each other and treaty alliances forced France and Great Britain to join the conflict. By its end in November of 1918, World War I had consumed over eight million lives and had become the most deadly and destructive conflict in world history.

In this unit, we will examine the origins of the war and study how and why it spread so rapidly throughout the world. We will also evaluate the role that European colonies and colonized peoples played in the conflict. Finally, we will take a look at how European states attempted to maintain their colonial possessions through post-war peace agreements and how colonized peoples began to directly challenge European rule.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

Unit 7: The Rise of Totalitarian States in the 20th Century

World War I devastated Europe economically, politically, and socially. Great Britain and France blamed Germany for the conflict and imposed severe economic penalties and military restrictions on the German state. In Russia, Communist revolutionaries seized control of the government in 1917 and began to consolidate power and impose Communist rule throughout Russia. They attempted to turn Russia from an agricultural state into a powerful industrial nation that could rival the industrial states of western Europe. In Asia, Japanese leaders viewed western colonial powers with envy and began expanding the Japanese military with the goal of eventually establishing colonies throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Following the war, liberal democratic governments came into power throughout much of western Europe. Under these regimes, women received the right to vote in many states and workers were permitted to unionize. In states like Germany and Italy, however, democratic governments were weak and ineffective. After the Great Depression destroyed the German and Italian economies in the early 1930s, voters looked for more powerful leaders to guide them through the difficult times. As a result, the Nazi Party gained power in Germany, while the Fascist Party peacefully assumed control in Italy. Nazi and Fascist leaders promised renewed prosperity as they began to rebuild military forces in order to challenge the colonial powers of Great Britain and France. Meanwhile, in Asia, Japanese military forces landed in eastern China and began occupying much of Manchuria.

In this unit, we will take a look at the rise of Communist, Fascist, and Totalitarian governments in Europe and Asia. We will evaluate how economic, social, and political factors allowed profoundly anti-democratic governments to assume power in Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan, and how these governments fundamentally reshaped life in these nations during the 1920s and 1930s.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

Unit 8: The Second World War and the New World Order

By the late 1930s, anti-democratic governments in Europe and Asia were beginning to threaten the security of surrounding states. Nazi Germany occupied parts of Czechoslovakia and Austria in 1938. Great Britain and France declined to challenge German actions, fearing that a firm stance against Germany might provoke a new European war. The following year, Germany invaded Poland and set in motion a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War II. In the Pacific, Japanese forces continued to expand their hold on China and the military prepared invasion plans for European colonies in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the United States chose to remain isolated from the growing conflict, as it had done during much of World War I.

America entered the war in December of 1941, following a surprise Japanese attack on American military forces in Hawaii. American troops joined British and French forces and began to prepare for an invasion of Nazi occupied Europe. In the Pacific, American and allied forces eventually checked Japanese military expansion and began to go on the offensive. Like the First World War, World War II was a global war and critical battles were fought across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific.

In this unit, we will examine the global impact of the World War II and look at why the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as economic, political, and military superpowers following the conflict. We will also examine how the war reshaped political, economic, and social life in Europe and Asia and led to devastating new military technologies, such as the atomic bomb. Finally, we will discuss how Nazi anti-Semitic ideologies led to the Holocaust, in which six million Jews and other minorities were systematically murdered from 1939–1945.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

Unit 9: The Cold War and Decolonization

Following World War II, many nations throughout the world began to ally themselves with either the democratic United States or the Communist Soviet Union. The resulting Cold War created profound political and economic divisions across the globe and weakened western European colonial powers, such as Great Britain and France. New international political alignments and the waning power of European colonial powers encouraged the growth of independence movements in many European colonies. Decolonization across Africa and Asia led to the emergence of new independent states. These new nations provided a battlefield for the struggle between Capitalist and Communist political ideologies. Due to their military strength, the United States and the USSR could not challenge each other directly, out of fear of mutual annihilation, but they engaged in a series of indirect conflicts in many of the young, developing nations throughout Africa and Asia.

In this unit, we will examine how Cold War politics affected life across much of Europe, Africa, and Asia during the second half of the 20th century. We will also take a look at how the United States and the Soviet Union engaged developing nations economically, technologically, and militarily as each superpower tried to gain political and military advantages over the other. Finally, we will study how nations in Europe and Asia responded to the Cold War by creating new economic and political alliances, such as the European Union.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

Unit 10: Global Society in a Post-Cold War World

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 ended the bipolar military, political, and economic alignments that had structured life across the globe during the Cold War. The United States emerged as the sole remaining economic and military superpower, but the growing political and economic power of the European Union and industrial nations across East Asia gradually challenged this status by the beginning of the 21st century. In the post-Cold War world, developing nations across Africa, Asia, and the Americas struggled under a crushing burden of international debt, lack of economic development, internecine warfare, and the social impact of infectious diseases like AIDS and malaria. Now, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the global community faces profound challenges brought about by climate change, religious violence, and economic uncertainty.

In this unit, we will examine the political, economic, and social realignments that followed the end of the Cold War and look at the consequences of globalization in the developed and developing world. We will evaluate current economic, political, and social trends from the broader perspective of the past 400 years and address how the world community can meet the challenges ahead.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

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A Most Consequential Work

Mein Kampf is the autobiography and articulated worldview of one of the most consequential and visionary leaders in world history. It is also one of the most maligned and misrepresented texts of the 20th century. There have been so many obfuscations, deceptions, and outright falsehoods circulated about this work that one scarcely knows where to begin. Nonetheless, the time has come to set the story straight.

That Adolf Hitler would even have undertaken such a work is most fortunate. Being neither a formal academic nor a natural writer, and being fully preoccupied with pragmatic matters of party-building, he might never have begun such a major task&mdashwere it not for the luxury of a year-long jail term. In one of the many ironies of Hitler&rsquos life, it took just such an adverse event to prompt him to dictate his party&rsquos early history and his own life story. This would become Volume One of his two-part, 700-page magnum opus. It would have a dramatic effect on world history, and initiate a chain of events that has yet to fully play out. In this sense, Mein Kampf is as relevant today as when it was first written.

Display of Copies of Hitlers Mein Kampf - Documentation Center in Congress Hall - Nuremberg-Nurnberg - Germany
By Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the place to begin is with the rationale for the book. Why did Hitler write it at all? Clearly it was not a requirement many major politicians in history have come and gone without leaving a personal written record. Even his time in prison could have been spent communicating with party leaders, building support, soliciting allies, and so on. But he chose to spend much of his stay documenting the origins and growth of his new movement. And this was a boon to history as well as to understanding of the human spirit.

The work at hand seems to have served at least four purposes for its author. First, it is autobiographical. This aspect consumes most of the first two chapters, and is repeatedly woven into the remainder of Volume One. For those curious about the first 35 years of Hitler&rsquos life, this aspect is invaluable. It gives an accurate and relevant account of his upbringing, his education, and the early development of his worldview. Like any good autobiography, it provides an irreplaceable first-hand description of a life. But as well, it offers the usual temptation to cast events in a flattering light, to downplay shortcomings, or to bypass inconvenient episodes. On this count, Hitler fares well he provides an honest and open life story, devoid of known fabrications or omissions&mdashone that is essential for understanding his thinking and attitudes on social, economic, and political matters.

Second, Mein Kampf is a kind of history lesson on Europe around the turn of the 20th century. Hitler was a proximate observer&mdashand often first-hand witness&mdashto many of the major events of the time. He served in the trenches of World War One for more than four years, which was virtually the entire duration of the war. Serving on the &lsquolosing&rsquo side, he naturally gives a different interpretation of events than is commonly portrayed by historians of the victorious nations. But this fact should be welcomed by any impartial observer, and in itself makes the book worth reading. With rare exceptions&mdashsuch as Jünger&rsquos Storm of Steel&mdashno other non-fiction contemporary German source of this time is readily available in English. For those interested in the Great War and its immediate aftermath, this book is irreplaceable.

In its third aspect, the book serves to document the origins and basic features of Hitler&rsquos worldview. This, unsurprisingly, is the most distorted part of the book, in standard Western versions. Here we find the insights and trigger events that led a young man without formal higher education to develop a strikingly visionary, expansive, and forward-looking ideology. Hitler&rsquos primary concern, as we read, was the future and well-being of the German people&mdashall Germans, regardless of the political unit in which they lived. The German people, or Volk, were, he believed, a single ethnicity with unique and singular self-interests. They were&mdashindisputably&mdashresponsible for many of the greatest achievements in Western history. They were among the leading lights in music, literature, architecture, science, and technology. They were great warriors, and great nation-builders. They were, in large part, the driving force behind Western civilization itself. Hitler was justly proud of his heritage. Equally is he outraged at the indignities suffered by this great people in then-recent decades&mdashculminating in the disastrous humiliation of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. He seeks, above all, to remedy these injustices and restore the mantle of greatness to the German people. To do this, he needs to identify both their primary opponents and the defective political ideologies and structures that bind them. Then he undertakes to outline a new socio-political system that can carry them forward to a higher and rightful destiny.

Finally, in its fourth aspect, Mein Kampf is a kind of blueprint for action. It describes the evolution and aims of National Socialism and the NSDAP, or Nazi Party, in compelling detail. Hitler naturally wants his new movement to succeed in assuming power in Germany and in a future German Reich. But this is no theoretical analysis. Hitler is nothing if not pragmatic. He has concrete goals and specific means of achieving them. He has nothing but disdain for the geistige Waffen, the intellectual weapons, of the impotent intelligentsia. He demands results, and success.

Importantly, his analysis is, in large part, independent of context. It does not pertain only to Germans, or only to the circumstances of the mid-1920s. It is a broadly universal approach based on the conditions of the modern world, and on human nature. As such, Hitler&rsquos analysis of action is relevant and useful for many people today&mdashfor all those who might strive for national greatness in body and spirit.

This complex textual structure of Mein Kampf explains some of the complaints of modern-day critics who decry Hitler&rsquos lack of &lsquocoherence&rsquo or &lsquonarrative flow.&rsquo He has many objectives here, and in their implementation, many points overlap. Perhaps he should have written four books, not one. Perhaps. But Hitler was a doer, not a writer. We must accept this fact, take what we have, and do our best to understand it in an open and objective fashion. He was not striving for a best-selling novel. He wanted to document history and advance a movement, and to these ends he succeeded most admirably.

The history of OCD

The incidence of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis as it was once known, is a relatively common disorder and can be traced historically, cross-culturally and across a broad social spectrum and does not appear to restrict itself to any specific group of individuals. On the contrary, evidence shows numerous examples of OCD type symptoms in the lives of figures throughout the ages.

People experiencing problems with obsessions and compulsions (what we now call OCD) will have probably been around since people have been around. Finding early historical descriptions of OCD does exist, with some clear detailed likely cases dating back to the 14th century, some of which we will look at below.

Of course the name OCD did not come into being until the 20th century, but prior to that earlier references to symptoms we would now call Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder were surprisingly called scrupulosity .

Much of the earlier historical record of OCD descriptions are in the religious, rather than the medical literature, and what is clear from the cases we have found, is that from the in the 14th and 18th century, obsessional fears around religion were commonplace. So around this time, a new word for obsessions and compulsions came into usage, scrupulosity. Later in the seventeenth century, obsessions and compulsions were also described as symptoms of melancholy.

Scrupulosity is a modern-day psychological problem that echoes the traditional use of the term ‘scruples’ in a religious context, to mean obsessive concern with one’s own sins and compulsive performance of religious devotion, where in earlier centuries it encompassed all types of obsessions and compulsions. The term is actually derived from the Latin ‘scrupulum’, a sharp stone, implying a stabbing pain on the conscience. The use of the term dates back centuries, with several historical and religious figures suffering from doubts of sin, and expressing their obsessional suffering. Running through some of those historical and religious figures in chronological order.

There is evidence that Jean Charlier de Gerson (1363–1429), the French scholar, educator, reformer, and Chancellor of the University of Paris was concerned with scrupulosity. It’s suggested he warned against the negative effects of too much scrupulosity. The theologian John of Dambach, who influenced Gerson considerably, plainly stated that many high-ranking people had become afraid of making decisions because of excessive scruples.

The German theologian Johannes Nider (1380–1438) wrote what could have been scrupulosity in Consolation of a Timorous Conscience published in 1494 where he presented scrupulosity as a potentially lethal affliction which could generate the life-threatening sin of despair, in which he described a nun from Nuremberg named Kunegond who was in constant fear that her confession was insufficient. This inordinate fear that she had committed a mortal sin, compounded by excessive fasts, not only caused her confessors to be concerned for her sanity but actually delivered her to death’s door.

The Italian Dominican friar and Archbishop of Florence, Antoninus of Florence (1389–1459) described the “scrupulous conscience” as beset by indecision resulting from wild, baseless fears that one has not prayed or otherwise acted according to God’s wishes, which can be caused by either the devil or physical illness. Antoninus’s belief that scrupulosity sometimes had a physical cause, and not necessarily a satanic one, was one of the earliest documented realisations that maladies of thought and behaviour were illnesses necessitating “medicine or other physical remedies” as he put it. He recommended that those trying to escape religious compulsions receive God’s grace, study sacred Scripture, pray constantly, and put up a spirited resistance to the urge to pray or confess excessively. He also, cited approvingly the views of Jean Charlier de Gerson, a fourteenth-century theologian and scholar, that extreme scrupulosity is like a pack of “dogs who bark and snap at passers-by the best way to deal with them is to ignore them and treat them with contempt”— a fantastic early example and advice for dealing with unwanted obsessions!

St. Ignatius of Loyola Portrait by Peter Paul Rubens

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) the Spanish Basque priest, theologian and founder of the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) wrote “After I have trodden a cross formed by two straws, or after I have thought, said, or done some other thing, there comes to me from ‘without’ a thought that I have sinned, and on the other hand it seems to me that I have not sinned nevertheless I feel some uneasiness on the subject, inasmuch as I doubt and do not doubt. That is a real scruple and temptation which the enemy sets.”

That description captures the obsessional doubting he may have had. It’s also reported that he later noted “that devout people need to be sure that they have pleased God and that they have not sinned. If unable to convince themselves of this, they may perform acts of penance. If these, too, fail to allay their anxiety, then they will be tormented by doubts and preoccupied by rituals.”

Another to make possible early descriptions of OCD was the Church of England cleric Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667) who in 1660 wrote “of those persons who dare not eat for fear of gluttony when they are married they are afraid to do their duty, for fear it be secretly an indulgence to the flesh and yet they dare not omit it for fear they should be unjust.” He also referred to obsessional doubting when he wrote of “scruples”, he commented “is trouble where the trouble is over, a doubt when doubts are resolved.”

18th-century engraving of Richard Baxter, after a 17th-century portrait by John Riley published in 1763.

Richard Baxter (1615–1691) from Shropshire was a church leader, poet and theologian who wrote at length about melancholy and scrupulosity, “Some melancholy, conscientious persons are still accusing themselves, through mere scrupulosity questioning almost all they eat, or drink, or wear, or do, whether it be not too much or too pleasing. But it is a cheerful sobriety which God requireth, which neither pampereth the body, nor yet disableth or hindereth it from its duty and not an unprofitable, wrangling scrupulosity.” More than just writing about it, Baxter also gave ‘directions’ to those with ‘melancholy’ about their thoughts, and wrote at length about what he identified to be the melancholy and offered directions to help those with melancholy. Arguably one of the first self-help guides for people with OCD? Fascinatingly, his ‘directions’ were for the friends around them, he wrote “When this disease is gone very far. directions to the persons themselves are vain, because they have not reason I and free-will to practise them but it is their friends about I them that must have the directions. But because with the most of them, and at first there is some power of reason left, I give directions for the use of such”. We will take a closer look at Richard Baxter’s writings in a separate feature later in the summer.

John Locke (1632–1704) was a philosopher and physician who was widely regarded as one of the most influential of enlightenment thinkers and in 1678 it’s reported that he drafted a letter on the subject of scrupulosity. In one of his letters he wrote, “I cannot imagine that God, who has compassion upon our weakness and knows how we are made, would put poor men, nay, the best of men, those that seek him with sincerity and truth, under almost an absolute necessity of sinning perpetually against him, which will almost inevitably follow if there be no latitude at all allowed as in the occurrences of our lives.”

John Moore (1646-1714), Bishop of Norwich and Bishop of Ely by Godfrey Kneller.

One of the first known public presentations of what we now call OCD happened in 1691 when John Moore (1646–1714), the bishop of Norwich (later Bishop of Ely) preached before Queen Mary II on “religious melancholy” describing good moral worshippers who are tormented by “naughty and sometimes blasphemous thoughts” despite all their efforts to stifle and suppress them. He describes the scrupulous as having a “fear, that what they do, is so defective and unfit to be presented unto God, that he will not accept it naughty, and sometimes blasphemous thoughts, start in their minds, while they are exercised in the worship of God, despite all their endeavours to stifle and suppress them, the more they struggle with them, the more they increase.” It’s also suggested that Moore had noted of those that were scrupulous were “mostly good people, for bad men rarely know anything of these kind of thoughts”. In addition to such insight about the characters of people affected, from the quote it’s clear that what Moore had succinctly identified that the compulsions people used to stop their blasphemous thoughts were in vain.

As mentioned earlier much of the historical record of OCD descriptions are in the religious, rather than the medical literature. At the time religion was very much a prominent feature of everyday life and with OCD often fixating on things that are important to a person, it’s not surprising that many early accounts are religious based. Historically, it was not unusual for someone with ailments to turn to their local religious figures, who would become very familiar with some health issues, including issues of the mind, like scrupulosity, because of their day-to-day dealings with their parishioners rather than physicians.

Exploring alternative methods to treat OCD is not unique to the present day, in some of the earlier writings there is discussion about how doctors used bloodletting (also called phlebotomy) to treat bad thoughts. This widely used technique of the age involved draining blood from the patient in an effort to adjust the bodily ‘humors’. Ancient origins believed certain human moods, emotions and behaviours were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids (called “humors”): blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm.

As time moved on, physicians of the 1700s and 1800s described more types of behaviours including washing, checking, obsessive fear of syphilis, aggressive and sexual obsessions, but fewer religious obsessions were reported than in earlier centuries.

Modern concepts of OCD began to evolve in the nineteenth century, when theories like faculty psychology, phrenology and mesmerism were popular and when ‘neurosis’ implied a neuropathological condition. Back then when physicians were struggling to understand the mentally ill, they were influenced by intellectual currents coursing through philosophy, physiology and political thought.

Obsessions, in which insight was preserved, were gradually distinguished from delusions, in which it was not. Compulsions were distinguished from impulsions which included various forms of paroxysmal, stereotyped and irresistible behaviour. Influential physicians disagreed about whether the source of OCD lay in disorders of the will, the emotions or the intellect.

In his 1838 psychiatric textbook, the famous French psychiatrist Jean Etienne Dominique Esquirol (1772–1840) described OCD as a form of monomania, or partial insanity. Monomania is a term used to describe psychiatric conditions where the focus of pathology is in one specific area of dysfunction but the rest of the personality and intellect remain intact. Esquirol wrote ‘Monomanic patients presumably can function normally in all other areas except the affected part’. Thus, Esquirol recognised that OCD patients were capable of functioning in many areas of life. Furthermore, he realised that OCD patients continued to have insight, unlike other monomanic conditions such as pure paranoia. Esquirol however could not settle on the issue of whether obsessions were a thinking disorder (disorder of the intellect) or a disorder of the volitional faculty, in other words inability to resist the “the involuntary, irresistible and instinctive activity.” The problem with the concept of volition is that it is not easily measurable it has philosophical connotations and also can easily be interpreted in a judgmental way.

French psychiatrists abandoned the concept of monomania in the 1850s. They attempted to understand obsessions and compulsions within various broad categories we now identify as conditions such as phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, hypochondriasis, manic behaviour and even some forms of epilepsy.

Another French psychiatrist, Henri Dagonet (1823–1902) considered compulsions to be a kind of impulsion and OCD a form of ‘folie impulsive’ (impulsive insanity). In this illness, violent, irresistible impulses overcame the will and manifested in obsessions or compulsions. He described the phenomenon as follows: “the more one tries to discard an idea, the more it becomes imposed upon the mind, the more one tries to get rid of an emotion or tendency, the more energetic it becomes.” Although Dagonet considered OCD as an impulse control disorder, he saw it as a disorder and failure of the will to control these impulses this concept is different from the irresistible impulses that occur under conditions of organic pathology, such as the epilepsies or damage to the frontal lobes.

Because excessive doubting was a common feature of the condition, and with this inability to tolerate doubt and uncertainty that often drives OCD, it was thought to be unofficially known as the ‘doubting disease’ for many years from a French translation years before, but that English translation may have been slightly confused from the original French meaning. Writing in 1850, the French psychiatrist, Jean-Pierre Falret (1794–1870) used the term folie du doute, which translates to ‘madness of doubt’, and in 1875 another French psychiatrist, Henri Le Grand du Saulle (1830–1886) published a book called La folie du doute avec délire du toucher, which translates to ‘The madness of doubt with delirium (delusions) of touch’. Of course it’s possible the French were calling OCD the doubting disease around that same time, but that’s the closet translation we could find from the period, but we will keep looking.

Just before we move on from Falret, it’s worth mentioning his commitment to drive change for the mentally ill. He was a fierce opponent of psychiatric reductionism which depriving patients with mental health problems of their rights. Falret fought against injustice by proposing a deeply humane approach respecting those with mental health problems. It’s said that in 1835 Falret visited asylums in England and Scotland and actively contributed to the preparation of the lunacy legislation of June 30, 1838 aimed to re-establish the civil rights of the mentally ill.

He was a indeed a true, and perhaps unique, advocate of the time for those with mental health problems and it’s suggested that he said “the mental patients could be cured and that providing them with their place in society and workplace would guarantee their safety”.

But Bénédict Augustin Morel (1809–1873), another French psychiatrist (although born in Vienna) placed OCD within the category, “delire emotif” (diseases of the emotions), which he believed originated from pathology affecting the autonomic nervous system. He felt that attempts to explain obsessions and compulsions as arising from a disorder of intellect did not account for the accompanying anxiety.

By the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, concepts of heredity and degeneration were taking hold in a number of institutions, partly as a result of the discovery of genetic principles by Gregor Mendel. The French psychiatrist Valentin Magnan (1835–1916) considered OCD a “folie des degeneres” (psychosis of degeneration), indicating cerebral pathology due to defective heredity. Since abulia, or the lack of will or initiative, is seen in neurological states (such as strokes), and a disorder or failure of will was seen as part of the obsessive clinical picture, the argument could be made that OCD is a degenerative disorder of the brain and (based on the family studies), of hereditary origin. This concept of neurodegeneration did little to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness in general, but to those already secretive and hypersensitive because of their obsessive and compulsive behaviours, this was an additional reason to hide their disease, and perhaps why into the end of the 20th century OCD was still considered ‘the secret illness’.

While the emotive and volitional views held sway in France, German psychiatry regarded OCD, along with paranoia, as a disorder of intellect (i.e., a disorder of thinking). In 1868, the German neurologist and psychiatrist Wilhelm Griesinger (1817–1868) published three cases of OCD, which he termed “Grubelnsucht,” a ruminatory or questioning illness (from the Old German, Grubelen, racking one’s brains).

In 1877, the German psychiatrist, Karl Friedrich Otto Westphal (1833–1890) ascribed obsessions to disordered intellectual function. His description of a “compelled idea” captures both the cognitive and compulsive aspects of the disorder. Westphal’s use of the term Zwangsvorstellung (compelled presentation or idea) gave rise to our current terminology, since the concept of “presentation” encompassed both mental experiences and actions. In fact, Westphal was the first to describe OCD as it became defined in the classification manuals, including integrity of intelligence, absence of effective causal pathology, inability to suppress the intrusive thoughts, and recognition of the bizarreness of the representations.

Pierre Janet (1859–1947), French psychologist

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the diagnostic category, neurasthenia (a term that was first used at least as early as 1829 to label a mechanical weakness of the nerves), engulfed OCD along with numerous other disorders, but as the twentieth century opened, both Pierre Janet (1859–1947) and Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) isolated OCD from neurasthenia.

In his highly regarded work, Les Obsessions et la Psychasthenie (Obsessions and Psychasthenia), the pioneering French psychologist Janet proposed that obsessions and compulsions arise in the third (deepest) stage of psychasthenic illness. Because the individual lacks sufficient psychological tension (a form of nervous energy) to complete higher level mental activities (those of will and directed attention), nervous energy is diverted into and activates more primitive psychological operations that include obsessions and compulsions.

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis, photographic portrait by Max Halberstadt, c. 1921.

Sigmund Freud, the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis, gradually evolved a conceptualisation of OCD that influenced and then drew upon his ideas of mental structure, mental energies, and defence mechanisms. In Freud’s view, the patient’s mind responded maladaptively to conflicts between unacceptable, unconscious sexual or aggressive id impulses and the demands of conscience and reality. He believed obsessive-compulsive behaviour is linked to unconscious conflicts manifested as symptoms of the illness. Conflict develops between the desires and subsequent actions of the conscious and unconscious minds. OCD sufferers, frequently “compelled” to carry out actions giving only temporary relief from anxiety, still “know” it is ridiculous or embarrassing to do so.

In 1895, the term obsessive neurosis “zwangsneurose” was first mentioned in Freud’s paper about “anxiety neurosis”, the term obsessive neurosis was still used by psychiatrists well into the 1990s. But that term zwangsneurose is where the name OCD originated, it was what Freud who called the obsessive and compulsive illness ‘Zwangsneurose’, echoing the coinage of Austro-German psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, who referred to ’irresistible thoughts’ as ‘Zwangsvorsfellungen’.

In the UK, Zwang, which would be translated usually to ‘forced’ was instead translated as ‘obsession’, but in the United Stated it was translated as ‘compulsion’, so Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder emerged as the eventual compromise at some time in the mid 20th century.

Interestingly, although today health professionals emphasise the dual nature of the illness, obsessive thoughts trigger anxiety, leading to a compulsive action, those earlier health professionals saw it as a single entity.

In his study, Further Remarks on the Neuro-psychoses of Defence Freud proposed a revolutionary theory for the existence of obsessional thinking in which he defined obsessive ideas as “transformed self-reproaches that have re-emerged from repression and that always relate to some sexual act that was performed with pleasure in childhood”. Freud developed a concept of obsessive neurosis that influenced and then drew on his ideas of mental structure, mental energies, and defence mechanisms. This concept included intellectualisation and isolation (warding off the effects) associated with the unacceptable ideas and impulses, undoing carrying out compulsions to neutralise the offending ideas and impulses and reaction formation (adopting character traits exactly opposite of the feared impulses).

A great proportion of Freud’s thinking about obsessive neurosis was formulated in 1909 with his famous description of the case of “The rat man” in which Freud described the psychoanalytical treatment of a 29-year old man who developed certain impulses (Zwangshandlung) against aggressive and sexual obsessions since his early childhood. Later in his life, the patient came across a senior military officer who conveyed a particularly sadistic method of punishment that involved confining rats and placing them in the victim’s anus. At this moment, Freud’s patient reportedly started obsessing that his dead father and a young lady he liked could have suffered this type of torture. Although the patient expressed horror as he mentioned it in his analysis, Freud interpreted it as one of “horror at pleasure of his own desires, of which he himself was unaware.” The precipitating cause of this man’s obsessions was never clearly identified by Freud or by the patient himself, but Freud correlated them to the patient’s ambivalent feelings (hate—love) about his father and his doubts concerning sexual orientation.

Freud’s theories about such matters continued to be fairly well-accepted up to the 1960 and 1970s. In the 1970s behavioural psychology and later cognitive psychology (both discussed more on the cause of OCD page) began to overcome the Freudian theory and other ideas still floating around at that time, to become the main models for understanding OCD that remain so to this day.

We can understand some of this history better by looking at case studies of well-known people that are thought to have been suffering with, what we call today, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Whilst we will never know for sure, there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest some or all of these people might have been affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Click each link to read more about the evidence for each individual’s possible diagnosis of OCD.

  • Martin Luther (1483–1546)
  • John Bunyan (1628–1688)
  • Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)
  • Charles Darwin (1809–1882)
  • Nikola Tesla (1856–1943)
  • Howard Hughes (1905–1976)
  • Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) * Insufficient and unproven evidence to suggest had OCD, but listed so we could bust this widely reported myth and link to OCD.

There are of course many well known living celebrities that have in recent years been reported to be suffering from the illness, or taken up the growing trend of claiming to be a ‘bit OCD’. Many of these claims cannot be verified with any degree of accuracy as to a diagnosis of clinical Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, however for interest we have listed some of those well-known, famous people (still living) here.

Watch the video: μεγάλες φούσκες...... στην Βιέννη Αυστρία (May 2022).


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