Mental health, citizenship, and the memory of World War II in the Netherlands (1945-85)

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Abstract

After World War II, Dutch psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals articulated ideals of democratic citizenship. Framed in terms of self-development, citizenship took on a broad meaning, not just in terms of political rights and obligations, but also in the context of material, social, psychological and moral conditions that individuals should meet in order to develop themselves and be able to act according to those rights and obligations in a responsible way. In the post-war period of reconstruction (1945-65), as well as between 1965 and 1985, the link between mental health and ideals of citizenship was coloured by the public memory of World War II and the German occupation, albeit in completely different, even opposite ways. The memory of the war, and especially the public consideration of its victims, changed drastically in the mid-1960s, and the mental health sector played a crucial role in bringing this change about. The widespread attention to the mental effects of the war that surfaced in the late 1960s after a period of 20 years of public silence should be seen against the backdrop of the combination of democratization and the emancipation of emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-34
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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