Assessing Morgenthau's Theory on Political Change (Modernization) and Psychological Transference:

  • 2013

Assessing Morgenthau's Theory on Political Change (Modernization) and Psychological Transference:

New World Orders and the State's Exercise of Power in Nazi Germany
Author:
Marlene Houngbedji
Abstract:

In Politics Among Nations, Hans Morgenthau offers an understanding of political change by arguing that the power of the state feeds on itself through a process of psychological transference that makes it the most exalted object of loyalty. This approach found several developments in contemporary history, the most obvious of which are found in Nazi Germany (1934-1944).

This is therefore an in-depth analysis of the process by which a civilization as advanced as the German citizenry reverted to institutionalized barbarism and support of a war of expansion in the name of allegiance to country. History characterized Nazi Germany as authoritarian, yet how could a government that was incontestably for the people by the people be an autocracy? As Morgenthau himself once stated, if one defines democracy in terms of government by the consent of the people, Hitler governed with the "passionate and enthusiastic consent of the overwhelming majority of the people." What Morgenthau's theory of modernization fails to specifically address, however, is the nature of the political system that results from psychological transference: is it always a Leviathan-like autocracy or does it always take the form of a legitimate democracy?