, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 440–450 | Cite as

A Psychological Inquiry into Totalitarianism: Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom

  • Avihu ZakaiEmail author


Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom (1941) charts the growth and decline of freedom and selfawareness in the West from the Middle Ages to modern times, when people sought refuge from insecurity and responsibility in totalitarian movements, such as Nazism and Fascism. In contrast to the thesis that Escape from Freedom is evidence of “The Americanization of a European Intellectual,” Fromm wrote it because freedom, or the lack of it, was an acute problem in Nazi Germany, not America. His language and concepts were formed and fused during the crucial ideological and intellectual struggles of a specific, wretched moment in German history, the rise and triumph of Nazism; hence, he waged a Kulturkampf against Nazi barbarism to save Western humanist civilization.


Psychology Totaliterian Fascism Nazism Kulturkampf 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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