Would a sociopath make a good soldier
Summary The patient files of 88 soldiers and 49 civilians diagnosed with “psychopathy” were examined who were treated between 1939 and 1945 in the University Psychiatric Clinic and Reserve Hospital III of the University Psychiatric Clinic Marburg. The aim was to record treatment differences between these two patient groups. Of further interest was the question of treatment differences within the soldiers' collective with regard to rank. In fact, not a single officer was to be found among the soldiers. Apparently the diagnosis of "psychopathy" was not made in officers, which gives rise to further speculation. Corresponding scientific and medical-historical work on the subject of military psychiatry gave the impetus for these theses and also raised the question of whether the soldiers were granted a shorter stay in the clinic in order to enable them to return to the troops quickly. Amazingly, this assumption was not confirmed, because the soldiers' median stay was 5 days longer than that of civilians. The increased use of “hard therapy methods” such as the so-called “Kaufmann cure”, electroconvulsive therapy, cardiazole and insulin shock on the part of the soldiers' collective was postulated. The improper use of the “Kaufmann cure” by soldiers was confirmed on the basis of individual cases. The other forms of therapy were also only used in individual cases - both by civilians and soldiers - but there is no evidence of improper use. In military psychiatry, the diagnosis of “psychopathy” had a special place. One knew about the "danger" that the psychopathic personalities represented in maintaining "male discipline" within the troops. At home, too, they were considered "dangerous elements", so that they repeatedly gave the military psychiatrists an incentive for discussion. As suspected, a high percentage of soldiers (70%) were admitted due to a violation of discipline. In addition, the diagnosis of “psychopathy” is difficult to objectify. Where are the boundaries between "normal" character traits and pathological behavior - circumstances of war and the military demanded their own standards and make this research work particularly exciting.
Summary Base of research were the health records of 88 soldiers and 49 civilians with the diagnosis “psychopathy”, who were treated in the university hospital for mental diseases in Marburg in the period between 1939 and 1945. It was aim to collect treatment differences between these two groups of patients. The question about treatment differences within the soldiers' collective with regard to the rank was of further interest. In fact there wasn't any officer found among the soldiers. Obviously, this diagnosis wasn't attributed to officers, which causes further speculations. Corresponding scientific and medicine historical papers about military psychiatry gave reason for these theses, and furthermore arose the question, whether a shorter stay in hospital was granted to the soldiers in order to accomplish a fast return to the troop. Amazingly, this assumption was not confirmed because the soldiers ’duration of stay was 5 days longer in the median than those of the civilians. The use of “hard therapy methods” like the so called “Kaufmann-cure”, the electrical cramp therapy, Cardiazol- and Insulin-shock in the group of soldiers, was postulated in large numbers. The misuse of the “Kaufmann-cure” was confirmed in isolated cases in the soldiers' collective. Likewise, the other therapies were used in single cases in both groups, however without a hint for an abusive application. In the military psychiatry, the diagnosis “psychopathy” had a special position. One knew about “the danger” caused by psychopathic personalities in the troop as well as at home, so that they were again and again major point for discussion between the military psychiatrists. As expected, a high number (70%) of soldiers was admitted into hospital, due to a discipline delinquency. Besides, the diagnosis "psychopathy" is difficult to be treated objectively. Where is the border between normal personality traits and pathological behavior? Circumstances of war and military demanded their own standards and make this dissertation especially exciting.
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