SINCE 1933, when a completely drugged and trial-conditioned human wreck confessed to having started the Reichstag fire in Berlin, Dr. Joost A. M. Meerloo has studied the methods by which systematic mental pressure brings people to abject submission, and by which totalitarians imprint their subjective “truth” on their victims’ minds. The first two and one-half years of World War II, Dr. Meerloo spent under the pressure of Nazi-occupied Holland, witnessing at firsthand the Nazi methods of mental torture .on more than one occasion. During this time he was able to use his psychiatric and psychoanalytic knowledge to treat some of the victims. Then, after personal experiences with enforced interrogation, he escaped from a Nazi prison and certain death to England, where he was able, as Chief of the Psychological Department of the Netherlands Forces, to observe and study coercive methods officially.
In this capacity he had to investigate not only traitors and collaborators, but also those members of the Resistance who had gone through the utmost of mental pressure. Later, as High Commissioner for Welfare, he came in closer contact with those who had gone through physical and mental torture. After the war, he came to the United States, where his war experiences would not permit him to concentrate solely on his psychiatric practice, but compelled him to go beyond purely medical aspects to the social aspects of the problem.
As more and more cases of thought control, brainwashing, and mental coercion were disclosed – Cardinal Mindszenty, Colonel Schwable, Robert Vogeler, and others – his interest grew. It was Dr. Meerloo who coined the word menticide, the killing of the spirit, for this peculiar crime. His knowledge of these totalitarian procedures has been officially acknowledged; he served as an expert witness in the case of Colonel Schwable, the Marine Corps officer who, after months of subjection to physical and mental torture following his capture in Korea, was made to confess to having taken part in germ warfare. It is Dr. Meerloo’s position that through pressure on the weak points in men’s makeup, totalitarian methods can turn anyone into a “traitor.”
And in The Rape of the Mind he goes far beyond the direct military implications of mental torture to describing how our own culture unobtrusively shows symptoms of pressurizing people’s minds. He presents a systematic analysis of the methods of brainwashing and mental torture and coercion, and shows how totalitarian strategy, with its use of mass psychology, leads to systematized “rape of the mind.” He describes the new age of cold war with its mental terror, verbocracy, and semantic fog, the use of fear as a tool of mass submission and the problem of treason and loyalty, so loaded with dangerous confusion.
The Rape of the Mind is written for the interested layman, not only for experts and scientists. Contents: Part One: The Techniques of Individual Submission. 1. You Too Would Confess. 2. Pavlov’s Students as Circus Tamers. 3. Medication into Submission. 4. Why Do They Yield? The Psychodynamics of False Confession. Part Two: The Techniques of Mass Submission. 5. The Cold War against the Mind. 6. Totalitaria and its Dictatorship. 7. The Intrusion by Totalitarian Thinking. 8. Trial by Trial. 9. Fear as a Tool of Terror. Part Three: Unobtrusive Coercion. 10. The Child is Father to the Man. 11. Mental Contagion and Mass Delusion. 12. Technology Invades Our Minds. 13. Intrusion by the Administrative Mind. 14. The Turncoat in Each of Us. Part Four: In Search of Defenses. 15. Training Against Mental Torture. 16. Education for Discipline or Higher Morale. 17. From Old to New Courage. 18. Freedom — Our Mental Backbone