The influence of war on the human psyche
According to the Dictionary of the Polish Language, war is an organized armed struggle between states, peoples or religious or social groups with different purposes, for example, the seizure of foreign territory, or the destruction of the opponent. It leads to fights between people, causes persecution, and also injures their psyche.
In my work I would like to deal with this last aspect in particular – the influence of war on the human psyche. Symptoms of mental disorders in humans, who survived the war, doctors called post-traumatic stress disorder – or PTSD (z ang. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Neurologists identified these disorders as a reduction in the volume of a fragment of the forebrain, responsible mainly for memory – hippocampus. Sleep disturbances are mentioned as the most frequent symptoms, difficulty concentrating, irritability, outbursts of anger and anger, and the feeling of reliving a terrible event.
The events of the Second World War are one of the most tragic moments in the life of humanity in the 20th century. During it, people met with unprecedented brutality, indifference to suffering, created by the ideologies of the fighting countries (nazism and communism). War degrades the human psyche, because under its influence the process of animality takes place, that is, the loss of higher feelings. Arguments supporting the validity of this thesis are presented by the authors of the World War II prose, and by later reviewers of this most tragic conflict in the history of the world.
It's easy to see, that both writers and poets were not directly involved in the struggle (Miron Białoszewski, Tadeusz Borowski, Gustaw-Herling Grudziński) as well as engaged in conspiratorial struggle (Kazimierz Moczarski), they stayed by the action of the war, tragic images, horrific experiences permanently mutilated. However, we cannot forget about the influence of ideology on the psyche of the torturers. Before they were infected with Nazism or Communism, they were normal people. German soldiers through the influence of Hitler and the Nazism he promoted, they became blind executors of cruel orders, they have lost the importance of superior values, just like Jurgen Stroop or Professor Spanner. War therefore leads to mental degeneration in both the persecuted and the persecutors.
The impact of war on the human psyche can be effectively presented by comparing the two heroes, who fought against each other during the Second World War. They are Miron Białoszewski, young, twenty-something-year-old writer, for whom Warsaw has always been a family home and who survived the Warsaw Uprising, and Jurgen Stroop, brutal in his actions, relentless SS general, which is the protagonist of the book by Kazimierz Moczarski entitled: "Conversations with Kat".
Jurgen Stroop was born in a small town, received a basic education. Father – From his childhood, the policeman instilled in him respect for authority and the duty of obedience. He grew up in a poor family, faithful to the Germanic tradition.
The history of Stroop's military service is a typical example of a career for obedience to the Nazi terror apparatus. As a volunteer, he took part in the First World War, where his superiors judged him with euphoria as a human being, which was characterized by the cult of war (he talked to himself often: "War is a selective biological and psychological treatment necessary for every nation"), he was attracted by the uniform and military weapons, orders, badges; he was comfortable with the barracks life and military regulations. After World War I, Jurgen Stroop joined the NSDAP and owes his later position in the party ranks to this event.
Thanks to his ruthlessness and full devotion to the Fuhrer and Himmler, from an ordinary postal clerk, became one of the most brutal German SS generals. He was directly involved in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, during which he condemned to death near 71 thousands of Jewish people. We should ask ourselves why from being a mere official, Stroop, has turned into a murderer and torturer of large format. What happened to his psyche and what influenced him like this, that he had abandoned all moral norms, he rejected faith, he rejected human love, and instead he gave the victims the death of their loved ones and indescribable suffering? The answer to this question is directly related to ideology, which Stroop soaked up in his youth. After all, he had seen the horror of the First World War, he also saw the defeat of great Germany, which he proudly represented. He could not come to terms with the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, therefore at that time he was open to any ideas of regaining power by Germany. The Nazi ideology fit the requirements perfectly, that Stroop put in front of him.