Anna Freud

Anna Freud

Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays Freud, was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary on 3rd December 1895. It seems that Sigmund Freud was disappointed in having another daughter and in a letter to his friend, Wilhelm Fliess, he wrote: “If it had been a son I should have sent you the news by telegram. But it is a little girl… you get the news later.” (1)

Martha had a difficut pregnancy and unlike the other children, Mathilde, Martin, Oliver, Ernst and Sophie, Anna was not breast-fed. Matha's sister, Minna Bernays, moved in to help. Freud referred to them as the "two mothers". According to Janet Sayers, she "was less attached to them than to other maternal figures" such as her nursemaid, Josefine Cihlarz. (2)

Anna did had a good relationship with her father who was always kind to her. She later told the story of an incident that took place in her early childhood: "All the family went off in a boat and left me at home, either because the boat was full or I was ‘too little'. This time I did not complain and my father, who was watching the scene, praised me and comforted me. That made me so happy that nothing else mattered." (3)

Anna was educated at a private elementary school. This was followed by going to the Salka Goldman Cottage Lyceum. Anna was an excellent student but "was precocious in her ability to learn and understand, and had excellent results in all her subjects". However, Freud was unwilling to send her to the Gymnasium where she would be prepared for university. "Much of her learning was stimulated at home, where she seems to have thrived in the intellectual atmosphere surrounding her father with his highly gifted friends... Anna, whose interest in psychoanalysis was evident at the age of fourteen when her father introduced her to its complexities, and who subsequently was allowed to listen to the clinical papers and discussions held every Wednesday evening." (4)

Anna Freud and Sigmund Freud

Anna had difficulties getting along with her siblings, specifically with her sister Sophie Freud who represented a threat in the struggle for the affection of their father. She was described as "a somewhat troubled youngster who complained to her father in candid letters how all sorts of unreasonable thoughts and feelings plagued her". She was sent to a health farm in an attempt to get her to gain weight. It has been suggested by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl may have been suffering from depression which caused eating disorders. (5)

After working in a daycare centre for working-class children and visited England in the summer of 1914. Before she left, Freud warned her against the attentions of Ernest Jones who was looking after her in London. "I know from the best sources that Dr. Jones has serious intentions of seeking your hand." He added that she should "discourage any courting yet avoid all personal offence." (6)

Freud also wrote to the 35 year-old Jones, explaining that he should not make any sexual advances towards his daughter. "She is the most gifted and accomplished of my children, and a valuable character besides, full of interest for learning, seeing sights and getting to understand the world... She does not claim to be treated as a woman, being still far away from sexual longings and rather refusing man. There is an outspoken understanding between me and her that she should not consider marriage or the preliminaries before she gets 2 or 3 years older. I don't think she will break this treaty." (7)

Peter Gay has argued that "this treaty" was an agreement to "postpone thinking seriously about men". Freud had told others that Anna was emotionally younger than her age. "Yet to claim that Anna, a fully grown young woman, lacked any sexual feelings was to sound like a conventional bourgeois who had never read Freud. One might take this to be part of Freud's hint that for Jones to put his hands on Anna would be equivalent to child abuse... Freud's denial of his daughter's sexuality is transparently out of character; it reads like the surfacing of a wish that his little girl remain a little girl - his little girl." (8)

Anna Freud obediently followed her father's instructions, but she did become close to Loe Kann, Jones's attractive mistress, who was a morphine addict who had been analyzed by Sigmund Freud, two years earlier. It has been claimed that Anna found Kann more attractive than Jones. (9) On the outbreak of war, she returned to Vienna accompanied by the Austrian ambassador. (10)

Anna Freud in her study.
Anna Freud in her study.

During the First World War Anna Freud began attending her father's lectures. She now decided she wanted to work in this field and had read all of her father's books on the subject. Years later she admitted she would sit outside her father's library and "listen to his discussions with visitors... that was very useful". (11)


In the 1918 the International Psychoanalytical Congress in Budapest it was ruled that personal analysis a condition of becoming an psychoanalyst. That autumn she agreed to be psychoanalyzed by her father. it has been argued by people such as Melanie Klein that it was wrong to do this. "She felt that children needed privacy from their parents, and that the power of the parent in the child's mind should not be increased even further by intrusive attempts to interpret the child's deepest and guiltiest secrets." (12)

Anna reported details of her dreams to her father: "Most of the time now something bad happens in my dreams, about killing, shooting or dying." She dreampt, over and over, that she was going blind, which terrified her. It has been argued that "all these dreams invite interpretations involving her passionate feelings for her father". (13) On another occasion she reported that she had "recently I dreamt that you are a king and I a princess, that people want to separate us by means of political intrigues. It was not pleasant and very agitating." (14)

Anna Freud's first "patients" were her nephews, her sister Sophie's orphaned little boys, Ernstl and Heinele. She concentrated on six-year-old, Ernstl. She got him to tell her stories, and in return informed Ernstl about sex and death. "These informative confidential conversations enabled her to analyze the little boy's fear of the dark." In 1922 she wrote a paper on her first venture into "these tentative child analyses". (15)

Anna later admitted that her work was part of her rivalry with his mother and Minna for her father. It was a profession that her mother had dismissed as "a form of pornography". She attempted to obstruct her daughter's career by objecting to her working as a psychotherapist in the family home. (16) Anna complained that "so far as psychoanalysis was concerned, my mother never co-operated." (17)

In February 1923, Freud discovered "a leukoplastic growth on my jaw and palate." A leukoplastic is a growth associated with heavy smoking, and Freud, fearing that his doctor might order him to give up his addiction, initially kept his discovery a secret from everyone. Eventually he went to see a specialist and he had the growth removed. He told his friend, Ernest Jones, "smoking is accused as the etiology of this tissue-rebellion". (18)

On 7th April, Dr. Felix Deutsch, advised Freud to stop smoking and to have the growth removed. Something went wrong on the operating table and Freud bled heavily both during and after the procedure. Anna Freud was with her father and reported that "he was weak from loss of blood, half-drugged with medicines and in great pain." He eventually recovered and told Lou Andreas-Salomé "that I can speak, chew, and work again; indeed, even smoking is permitted - in a certain moderate, cautious, so-to-speak petty-bourgeois way." (19)

Freud had to have thirty further operations to fight off the encroaching cancer. This included having the whole of his upper jaw and palate on the right side were removed and a kind of gigantic denture fitted to isolate his mouth from his nasal cavity. "Freud endured all this with the stoic acceptance of life's vicissitudes which was one of his most admirable qualities." (20)

Freud suffered from several health problems. According to his friend Ernest Jones, Freud complained about having "a tired heart, with palpitation and other cardiac symptoms". He wrote to Jones that soon after sixty-fifth birthday, "I quite suddenly took a step into real old age. Since then the thought of death has not left me, and sometimes I have the impression that seven of my internal organs are fighting to have the honour of bringing my life to an end." (21)

Freud's poor health persuaded Anna she could never leave the family home. It was her, rather than her mother, who accompanying her father on his many visits to Berlin for medical treatment over the next decade. She also re-entered analysis with him. This was the source of Freud's important essays on female sexuality, beginning with his highly controversial Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes, which she read to that year's International Psychoanalytic Congress in Berlin in October, 1922. (22)

Freud argued: "She acknowledges the fact of her castration, and with it, too, the superiority of the male and her own inferiority; but she rebels against this unwelcome state of affairs. From this divided attitude three lines of development open up. The first leads to a general revulsion from sexuality. The little girl, frightened by the comparison with boys, grows dissatisfied with her clitoris, and gives up her phallic activity and with it her sexuality in general as well as a good part of her masculinity in other fields. The second line leads her to cling with defiant self-assertiveness to her threatened masculinity. To an incredibly late age she clings to the hope of getting a penis some time. That hope becomes her life's aim; and the phantasy of being a man in spite of everything often persists as a formative factor over long periods." (23)

He went on to state that the "girl's penis envy" is converted into a "wish for a child; and with that purpose in view she takes her father as a love object". In a sense Freud colluded with this desire in Anna. Although he complained, "I cannot free her from me, and nobody is helping me with it" he made sure she was dependent on him. (24) Freud also encouraged Anna to break-off her relationship with Hans Lampl and gave her a dog whom the two pampered like a child, much to Anna's mother's annoyance. (25)

Freud admitted that women would be hostile to his concept of penis envy. "It is to be anticipated that men analysts with feminist views, as well as our women analysts, will disagree with what I have said here. They will hardly fail to object that such notions spring from the 'masculinity complex' of the male and are designed to justify on theoretical grounds his innate inclination to disparage and suppress women... The opponents of those who argue in this way will on their side think it quite natural that the female sex should refuse to accept a view which appears to contradict their eagerly coveted equality with men. The use of analysis as a weapon of controversy can clearly lead to no decision." (26)

Freud told his friend, Max Eitingon, that "Anna had a comprehensive thirst for friendships with women, after the English Loe (Kann), the Hungarian Kata (Levy), and your Mirra (Eitingon) have been carried off from her... She is, by the way, to my joy blooming and cheerful... only I could wish that she would soon find reason to exchange her attachment to her old father for a more durable one." (27)

Sigmund Freud also encouraged his daughter to develop a close friendship with Lou Andreas-Salomé. Anna claimed that her new friend gave her help with her paper on beating fantasies in "a strange and occult way". (28) Freud wrote to Andreas-Salomé expressing his gratitude stating that had for years wanted to know her better. "If she is to amount to something - I hope she has some good aptitudes to start with - she needs influence and associations that will satisfy high demands. Inhibited through me on the male side, she has so far had a good deal of bad luck with her women friends. She has developed slowly, is younger than her years not only in looks... Sometimes I urgently wish her a good man, sometimes I shrink from the loss." (29)

Freud told Andreas-Salomé that "Anna gives me enough worries: how she will bear the lonely life" after my death and doubted "whether I can drive her libido from the hiding place into which it has crawled." Freud speculated that Anna might find someone after his death but added that "she has an extraordinary gift for being unhappy and yet probably not enough talent to let herself be stimulated to triumphant production by such unhappiness." (30)

In 1925 Anna Freud met Dorothy Burlingham, the daughter of artist Louis Comfort Tiffany and the granddaughter of Charles Lewis Tiffany, and therefore the heiress to the Tiffany jewellery fortune. In the autumn of that year all of Dorothy's children were in therapy with her: "I think sometimes that I want not only to make them healthy but also, at the same time, to have them, or at least something of them, for myself... Towards the mother of the children it is not very different with me." (31)

Freud wrote to his nephew, Samuel Freud, that Anna was doing well in her chosen career: "Anna, we may well be proud of her. She has become a paedagogic analyst, is treating naughty American children, earning a lot of money of which she disposes in a very generous way helping various poor people... Anna has won a good name by literary work and commands the respect of her co-workers. Yet she has passed her 30th birthday, does not seem inclined to get married and who can say if her momentary interests will render her happy in years to come when she has to face life without her father?" (32)

Anna Freud with her father in 1920.
Anna Freud with her father in 1928.

Anna Freud also treated Adelaide Sweetzer, the six-year-old daughter of Arthur Sweetzer, the unofficial US ambassador to the League of Nations, because of her "parents' worries about her apparent intellectual backwardness and emotional withdrawal". Adelaide told Anna that she had "a devil in me" and asked if it could "be taken out?" Anna used her father's method of dream interpretation to treat her patients. Anna also supplemented her father's technique by analysing children's daydreams. (33)

In 1928 she published Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis, where she ridiculed the theories of Melanie Klein concerning her theories of child's play as symbolic of sexual fantasies: "If the child overturns a lamppost or a toy figure, she (Melanie Klein) interprets this action, e.g. as an aggressive impulse against the father; a deliberate collision between two cars as evidence of the child having observed sexual intercourse between the parents… But the child who upsets a toy lamppost may have witnessed some such incident in the street the day before; the car collision may be reproducing a similar happening." (34)

Adolf Hitler

Austria, like the rest of Europe, suffered greatly during the Great Depression. In 1932, almost 470,000 people, nearly 22 per cent of Austria's labour force, were out of work. By the following year unemployment reached an unprecedented peak with 580,000, or 27 per cent. Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss governed under emergency powers and assumed dictatorial powers. This included banning all political parties and closing down the Austrian parliament.

On 30th January, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Germany's chancellor and over the next few months he banned opposition political parties, free speech, independent cultural organisations and universities and the rule of law. Anti-Semitism became government policy and German Jews, including the psychologists, Erich Fromm, Max Eitingon and Ernst Simmel, left the country. Two of Freud's sons, Oliver and Ernst, who had settled in Germany, also decided they had to move. Freud wrote to his nephew in Manchester that "life in Germany has become impossible." (35)

However, Anna and Sigmund remained in Vienna. In February, 1933, socialists and communists in Austria attempted to bring down the Dollfuss dictatorship by calling a general strike. Freud had little sympathy for the strikers as "their success would have been very short-lived and brought about military invasion of the country. Besides they were Bolshevists and I expect no salvation from Communism. So we could not give our sympathy to either side of the combatants." (36) He told his son, "With the dictatorship of the proletariat, which was the goal of the so-called leaders, one cannot live either." (37)

As a Jew, Freud thought he was safe in Austria. In April, 1933 he wrote: "We are passing over to a dictatorship of the Right, which means the suppression of social democracy. That will not be a pretty state of affairs and will not be pleasant for us Jews, but we all think that special laws against Jews are out of the question in Austria because of the clauses in our peace treaty which expressly guarantee the rights of minorities... Legal persecution of the Jews here would lead to immediate action on the part of the League of Nations... In such ways we buoy ourselves up in relative security. I am in any event determined not to move." (38)

On 10th May, 1933, the Nazi Party arranged the burning of thousands of "degenerate literary works" were burnt in German cities. This included books by people such as Sigmund Freud, Rosa Luxemburg, August Bebel, Eduard Bernstein, Heinrich Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Helen Keller, H.G. Wells, Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, Otto Dix, Victor Hugo, Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Hans Eisler, Ernst Toller, Albert Einstein, D.H. Lawrence, John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, Karl Kautsky, Thomas Heine, Arnold Zweig, Ludwig Renn, Rainer Maria Rilke, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, George Grosz, Maxim Gorky and Isaac Babel. (39)

The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence

Anna Freud's most important book was The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence. Published in May 1936 as an eightieth birthday present for her father. According to Janet Sayers, the author of Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991): "It enormously expanded Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex division of id, ego, and superego, and his account of the defences caused by anxiety. It also culminated in one of the first and most influential psychoanalytic accounts of adolescence, the groundwork of which lay in the book's early chapters on the ego's defences against the id and superego." (40)

Anna Freud's work caused her to come into conflict with Melanie Klein, who developed a loyal group of followers. Sigmund Freud defended his daughter ferociously. "Anna Freud drew on her own clinical experience, but relied on her father's writings as the principal and authoritive source of her theoretical insights. She was posscessive of her father, sensitive to any views that might even hint at criticism of his work, jealous of others - siblings, patients, friends - who might cut into her prerogatives... The two had become, and they were to remain, intellectually and emotionally inseparable." (41)

This book and other of Anna's publications, has been criticised for being too sympathetic to Freud's original theories: "Anna Freud… devoted her life to protecting her father's legacy... In her theoretical work there would be little criticism of him, and she would make what is still the finest contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding of passivity." (42) According to Louis Breger, the author of Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision (2000): "Anna Freud's publications contain few original ideas and are, for the most part, a slavish application of her father's theories." (43)

In February 1937, Anna Freud with the help of a small group of women, opened the Jackson day nursery for toddlers whose mothers, faced with their husband's unemployment, had to go to work. "As well as having a charitable aim, the nursery also provided an opportunity for direct infant observation, thereby enabling Anna and her colleagues to go beyond her father's account of infant development solely through its reconstruction via adult analysis... Given free choice of food, she pointed out, the Jackson children were clearly able to schedule and balance what they ate for themselves without their pleasure in eating being deadened by an externally imposed regime." (44)

Moves to London

On 12th March, 1938, Adolf Hitler announced Anschluss (the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany). Freud believed that the powerful Catholic Church would protect the Jewish community. This did not happen and as the German playwright Carl Zuckmayer, pointed out: "The underworld had opened its gates and let loose its lowest, most revolting, most impure spirits. The city was transformed into a nightmare painting by Hieronymus Bosch... and the air filled with an incessant, savage, hysterical screeching from male and female throats... resembling distorted grimaces: some in anxiety, others in deceit, still others in wild, hate-filled triumph." (45)

Journalists from Britain and America were shocked by the immediate persecution of Jews in Austria. "SA men dragged an elderly Jewish worker and his wife through the applauding crowd. Tears rolled down the cheeks of the old woman, and while she stared ahead and virtually looked through her tormentors, I could see how the old man, whose arm she held, tried to stroke her hand." A man who had been living in Berlin "expressed some astonishment at the speed with which anti-Semitism was being introduced here, which he said was going to make the plight of the Vienna Jews far worse than it was in Germany, where the change had come with a certain gradualness". (46)

During the spring of 1938, it was reported that some 500 Austrian Jews chose to kill themselves to avoid humiliation, unbearable anxiety, or deportation to concentration camps. In March the authorities felt compelled to issue a denial of the "rumours of thousands of suicides since the Nazi accession to power." The press release added that "from March 12 to March 22 ninety-six persons committed suicide in Vienna of whom only fifty were directly connected with the change in the political situation in Austria." (47)

Ernest Jones flew to Vienna in an effort to persuade Sigmund Freud and his family to move to England. At first he said he was too old to travel. He also commented that "he could not leave his native land; it would be like a soldier deserting his post". Eventually he agreed and Jones returned to London on 20th March, to have talks with friends in the government, including Sir Samuel Hoare, the home secretary, and Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr, lord privy seal.

On 22nd March, 1938, Anna Freud was told that she had to appear at Gestapo headquarters in Vienna. Max Schur, Freud's personal doctor, was supplied with a sufficient amount of the poison veronal. Schur later recalled: "I stayed with Freud (while she was with the Gestapo)... The hours were endless. It was the only time I ever saw Freud deeply worried. He paced the floor, smoking incessantly. I tried to reassure him as well as I could." During the interrogation, she managed to persuade them the International Psychoanalytic Association was an unpolitical organisation and she was released. (48)

This incident convinced Freud that his family should move to London. One of the conditions for being granted an exit visa was that he sign a document that ran as follows, "I Prof. Freud, hereby confirm that after the Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich I have been treated by the German authorities and particularly the Gestapo with all the respect and consideration due to my scientific reputation, that I could live and work in full freedom, that I could continue to pursue my activities in every way I desired, that I found full support from all concerned in this respect, and that I have not the slightest reason for any complaint." It was later claimed Freud agreed to sign the document but asked if he might be allowed to add a sentence, which was: "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone". (49)

The Gestapo agreed that he could go to England as long as all his debts were paid. Marie Bonaparte agreed to do this and on 4th June the Freud party left on the Orient Express. On 6th June the Freuds crossed over to England by the night boat. On their arrival, Anna Freud told the Manchester Guardian that "in Vienna we were among the very few Jews who were treated decently. It is not true that we were confined to our home. My father never went out for weeks, but that was on account of his health. The general treatment of the Jews has been abominable, but not so in case of my father. He has been an exception." (50)

Death of Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud's health remained poor. A biopsy performed on 28th February, 1939, showed that the cancer had returned but it was so far back in the mouth an operation was considered to be impossible. In a letter to Arnold Zweig he complained that since his last operation "I have been suffering from pains in the jaw which are growing stronger slowly but steadily, so that I cannot get through my daily chores and my nights without a hot-water bottle and sizable doses of aspirin." (51)

Max Schur, Freud's personal doctor, had been treating him since March 1929. The main source of conflict between the two men was Freud's refusual to give up his beloved, necessary cigars. At their first meeting Freud asked him to "promise... when the time comes, you won't let them torment me unnecessarily." Schur agreed and the two men shook hands on it." (52)

On 21st September, as Schur was sitting by his bedside, Freud took his hand and said to him: "Schur, you remember our contract not to leave me in the lurch when the time had come. Now it is nothing but torture and makes no sense." When he replied that he had not forgotten, he said "I thank you" and added "Talk it over with Anna, and if she thinks it's right, then make an end of it." Anna Freud wanted "to postpone the fatal moment, but Schur insisted that to keep Freud going was pointless". He pointed out that Freud wanted to keep control of his life to the end. (53)

Schur injected Freud with three centigrams of morphine - the normal dose for sedation was two centigrams - and Freud sank into a peaceful sleep. Schur repeated the injection later that day and administered a final one the next day. Freud lapsed into a como from which he did not wake. Sigmund Freud died at three in the morning on 23rd September, 1939. (54)

Conflict in the British Psycho-Analytical Society

Edward Glover, the scientific secretary of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, found himself increasingly opposed to the innovations and influence of Melanie Klein. For several years he tried to oust the Kleinians as a group within the Society. (55) The problem increased with Klein's supporters who arrived in England from Austria and Germany, fleeing from Adolf Hitler. This included people such as Hanna Segal, Paula Heimann, Herbert Rosenfeld, Nelly Wollfheim and Eva Rosenfeld. She also had the support of British members such as Susan Sutherland Isaacs, Joan Riviere, John Rickman, Donald Winnicott and Clifford M. Scott. (56)

However, Ernest Jones, protected Melanie Klein from Glover. Klein wrote to Jones thanking him for his help. "You have created the movement in England and carried it through innumerable difficulties and hardships to its present position... Now, I want to thank you for your personal friendship, and for your help and encouragement in what is of infinitely greater importance to us both than personal feelings - namely our work. I shall never forget that it was you who brought me to England and made it possible for me to carry out, and develop, my work in spite of all opposition." (57)

Edward Glover
Edward Glover

Anna Freud joined with Glover in the attacks on Klein arguing at a meeting of the British Psycho-Analytical Society Training Committee meeting that "Mrs. Klein's work is not psycho-analysis but a substitution for it. The reason she gave for this opinion was that Mrs. Klein's work differs so greatly in theoretical conclusions and in practice from what they know to be psychoanalysis... Dr. Glover said that her work may either turn out to be a development of psycho-analysis or a deviation from it... Regarding the body of knowledge which should be taught to candidates, he said that controversial contributions should be excluded, referring to Mrs. Klein's work." (58)

Melanie Klein's daughter, Melitta Schmideberg, was also highly critical of the Kleinian group. At one meeting, on 13th May 1942: "Melitta's shrill accusations, based on innuendo and gossip, had been distressing and embarrassing; but Glover's thundering rhetoric in leveling the gravest of charges against the Kleinian group left everyone at the meeting shaken. Glover essentially accused one group of trying to insinuate its way into power through the training of candidates; and if the situation were allowed to continue, within a very few years the British Society would be entirely dominated by the Kleinians." Melanie Klein commented that her supporters were made to look like "a forbidden sect doing some harmful work, which should be prevented from spreading." (59)

Ernest Jones condemned the behaviour of Schmideberg and Glover and that Klein had good cause to bring a libel action against them. Anna Freud agreed and Klein reported to Susan Sutherland Isaac that: "She (Anna) is inclined to regard Melitta's attacks more in the way of a naughty child, and certainly underrates the disruptive effect on the Society which was - and here she is quite right - only so bad because the Society did not know how to deal with it." (60)

Glover argued that "in the six years up to 1940 every training analyst appointed (5 in all) was an adherent of Mrs. Klein". Sylvia Payne carried out research into these claims and wrote to Klein about what she found: "I have studied Glover's speech. He says that there are 8 or 9 of your adherents among training analysts. The following are the actual names. Klein, Riviere, Rickman, Isaacs, Winnicott, Scott (control of child analysis and lectures). To these names he must be adding Wilson and Sheehan-Dare (they accepted many Kleinian ideas, but refused to be described as adherents of anyone). I propose to say that his figures are open to argument." (61)

In 1941 Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham established two nurseries in Hampstead and Dunmow for children from London's badly bombed and impoverished East End. She recorded the way the children responded to the Blitz. This included the comment that the older children became more aggressive and this undermined "their only recently internalized controls against it". Anna Freud argued that more than anything it was the mother's presence or absence that shaped the children's response to war. "If the mother was calm, so was the child. The reverse happened if she were distraught." (62)

Edward Glover was outraged by a January 1944 suggestion that the teaching of the organization should cover Klein's controversial ideas. He now resigned, complaining that the Society was hopelessly "women ridden". (63) In a letter to Sylvia Payne he explained his decision: "I have now simply exercised the privilege of withdrawing from the Society (a) because its general tendency and training has become unscientific and (b) because it is becoming less and less Freudian and has therefore lapsed from its original aims." (64)

Glover attempted to persuade Anna Freud to leave the British Psycho-Analytical Society. Phyllis Grosskurth argued that "Glover lacked psychological insight and an understanding of the strength of Anna Freud's inflexibility. She would not allow herself, Freud's daughter, to be pushed out of the Society and branded as a schismatic. She sometimes said that she stayed in because she was grateful to Jones for bringing her family to England, but it is possible that she also felt that she could work things to her own advantage if she played her cards right." (65)

Negotiations continued for two years before an agreement was reached. On 5th November, 1946, a scheme of training was arranged which incorporated both the ideas of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein. (66) "It is disturbing to accept that highly intelligent, well-educated people could succumb to the hysteria that swept through the British Society for some years. But one must realize that all human beings, even psychoanalysts, are subject to the same pressures; when engulfed in groups, they exhibit envy, anger, and competitiveness, whether the group be a trade union or a synod of bishops. The fact that the British Society did not split is, in the view of many members, evidence both of British hypocrisy and of British determination to compromise." (67)

Anna Freud died on 9th October 1982.

Primary Sources

(1) Sigmund Freud, letter to Ernest Jones (22nd July, 1914)

She (Anna Freud) is the most gifted and accomplished of my children, and a valuable character besides, full of interest for learning, seeing sights and getting to understand the world... She does not claim to be treated as a woman, being still far awaqy from sexual longings and rather refusing man. There is an outspoken understanding between me and her that she should not consider marriage or the preliminaries before she gets 2 or 3 years older. I don't think she will break this treaty.

(2) Anna Freud, Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis (1928)

If the child overturns a lamppost or a toy figure, she (Melanie Klein) interprets this action, e.g. as an aggressive impulse against the father; a deliberate collision between two cars as evidence of the child having observed sexual intercourse between the parents… But the child who upsets a toy lamppost may have witnessed some such incident in the street the day before; the car collision may be reproducing a similar happening.

(3) Clifford Yorke, Anna Freud : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

Anna Freud's school career stood her in good stead for her pioneering work in child psychoanalysis. Melanie Klein, in Berlin, had already started to work in the field before moving to England in 1927 to join the British Psycho-Analytical Society at the invitation of the president, Ernest Jones. In England she became extremely influential, and though both leaders in child analysis employed a play technique with their younger patients, Klein, unlike Anna Freud, regarded this as the equivalent of free association in adults. This difference and others that became greatly intensified by the early 1930s led her to become a lifelong opponent of Anna Freud's psychoanalytic views and techniques. Exchange visits between the two capitals were arranged in an effort to resolve the differences, without appreciable success.

Anna Freud's clinical approach to children, her intellectual appeal and clarity of expression, together with her personal charm, quickly attracted a large following, and her seminars with other Viennese analysts were joined by colleagues from Prague and Budapest. Her work with pathological states of all kinds was balanced by her studies of normative development. She applied her findings to the practice of education, gave lectures on the subject to parents and teachers, and later set up with her friend and colleague Dorothy Burlingham (1891–1979) the Jackson Nurseries, for the physical and psychological care of the poorest children in Vienna. This paved the way for her future interest in paediatrics and the psychological concomitants and sequelae of physical illness in children. Her work with adults catalysed her wish to know more about adult psychiatry, and she regularly attended ward rounds at the university's psychiatric clinic, headed by the Nobel prizewinner Julius Wagner von Jauregg. She continued to publish papers, and her first book, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence, was published in English in 1937, following the German edition of 1936, which she presented to her father on his eightieth birthday. It remains a major work. It distinguishes, for the first time, between instinctual drive derivatives (already recognized), and defences against painful affects (feelings and emotions), which she had freshly discovered and described.

(4) Quotes by Anna Freud (1922-1980)

(i) “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”

(ii) “Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.”

(iii) “My different personalities leave me in peace now.”

(iv) “Why do we go around acting as though everything was friendship and reliability when basically everything everywhere is full of sudden hate and ugliness?”

(v) “It is only when parental feelings are ineffective or too ambivalent or when the mother's emotions are temporarily engaged elsewhere that children feel lost.”

(vi) “How one can live without being able to judge oneself, criticize what one has accomplished, and still enjoy what one does, is unimaginable to me.”

(vii) “I am glad that I do not have any children.”

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First World War

Russian Revolution

Nazi Germany


(1) Sigmund Freud, letter to Wilhelm Fliess (4th December, 1895)

(2) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 146

(3) M. Piers (editor), Anna Freud Remembered Recollections of Her Friends and Colleagues (1983) page 5

(4) Clifford Yorke, Anna Freud : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(5) Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Anna Freud: A Biography (1988) page 59

(6) Sigmund Freud, letter to Anna Freud (17th July, 1914)

(7) Sigmund Freud, letter to Ernest Jones (22nd July, 1914)

(8) Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time (1989) page 434

(9) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 146

(10) Stephen Wilson, Sigmund Freud (1997) page 79

(11) Anna Freud, interviewed by Joseph Goldstein (2nd October, 1975)

(12) Julia Segal, Melanie Klein (1992) page 11

(13) Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time (1989) page 439

(14) Anna Freud, letter to Sigmund Freud (6th April, 1915)

(15) Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time (1989) page 434

(16) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 150

(17) Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Anna Freud: A Biography (1988) page 30

(18) Sigmund Freud, letter to Ernest Jones (25th April, 1923)

(19) Sigmund Freud, letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé (10th May, 1923)

(20) Nick Rennison, Freud and Psychoanalysis (2001) page 24

(21) Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1961) page 540

(22) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) pages 150-151

(23) Sigmund Freud, Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes (1925)

(24) Sigmund Freud, letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé (10th May, 1925)

(25) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 151

(26) Sigmund Freud, Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes (1925)

(27) Sigmund Freud, letter to Max Eitingon (11th November, 1921)

(28) Anna Freud, letter to Sigmund Freud (30th April, 1922)

(29) Sigmund Freud, letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé (3rd July, 1922)

(30) Sigmund Freud, letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé (10th May, 1925)

(31) Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Anna Freud: A Biography (1988) page 133

(32) Sigmund Freud, letter to Samuel Freud (19th December, 1925)

(33) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 151

(34) Anna Freud, Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis (1928) pages 37-38

(35) Sigmund Freud, letter to Samuel Freud (31st July, 1933)

(36) Sigmund Freud, letter to Hilda Doolittle (27th October, 1933)

(37) Sigmund Freud, letter to Ernst Freud (20th February, 1934)

(38) Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1961) page 617

(39) Peter Hoffmann, The History of German Resistance (1977) page 15

(40) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 161

(41) Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time (1989) pages 441-442

(42) Adam Phillips, On Flirtation (1994) page 88

(43) Louis Breger, Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision (2000) page 431

(44) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 166

(45) Carl Zuckmayer, Part of Myself: Portrait of an Epoch (1970) page 71

(46) New York Times (16th March, 1938)

(47) New York Times (24th March, 1938)

(48) Max Schur, Freud: Living and Dying (1972) page 498

(49) Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1961) page 642

(50) The Manchester Guardian (7th June, 1938)

(51) Sigmund Freud, letter to Arnold Zweig (20th February, 1939)

(52) Max Schur, Freud: Living and Dying (1972) page 408

(53) Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time (1989) page 651

(54) Max Schur, Freud: Living and Dying (1972) pages 526-529

(55) Richard Appignanesi, Introducing Melanie Klein (2006) pages 116-7

(56) Phyllis Grosskurth, Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work (1986) page 241-2

(57) Melanie Klein, letter to Ernest Jones (11th March 1939)

(58) Minutes of the British Psycho-Analytical Society Training Committee (24th April, 1940)

(59) Phyllis Grosskurth, Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work (1986) page 301

(60) Melanie Klein, letter to Susan Sutherland Isaac (2nd May, 1942)

(61) Sylvia Payne, letter to Melanie Klein (24th May, 1942)

(62) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 168

(63) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 243

(64) Edward Glover, letter to Sylvia Payne (1st February, 1944)

(65) Phyllis Grosskurth, Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work (1986) page 351

(66) Janet Sayers, Mothers of Psychoanalysis (1991) page 244

(67) Phyllis Grosskurth, Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work (1986) page 362