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The Tragic Success of European Psychoanalysis: "The Budapest School"

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By the end of World War I the Hungarian Psychoanalytic movement was strong and deeply integrated into the cultural life of Budapest. The paper discusses how Budapest lost its growing eminence as a center of European psychoanalysis because of the political-social changes in Hungary in the year 1918–1920. The author examines the two waves of Hungarian emigration between the world wars, the first in the early twenties to the Weimar Republic, and then in the thirties, to the United States and Australia. These moves of important Hungarian psychoanalysts, account both for the destruction of the Budapest School and at the same time for its influence in other countries. The author highlights the outstanding role of the American Psychoanalytic Association in setting up the “Emergency Committee on Relief and Immigration” and thereby saving the lifes of many European colleagues. America was open to European psychoanalysis and in return immigrants facilitated the development of modern psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. The influence of Vienna, Budapest and Berlin can be traced in the contemporary psychoanalytic culture in the United States.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 1998

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