During the 1960s there was a sustained attack on psychiatric legitimacy. Thomas S. Szasz was the most vituperative and best-known critic, but he was by no means alone. Individuals and groups from both extremes of the political spectrum were united in their belief that psychiatry was not a legitimate medical specialty, but one that was devoted to protecting its authority as well as enforcing societal norms associated with an unjust society. The attack on psychiatry, of course, did not occur in a vacuum; numerous social and intellectual currents played major roles. To comprehend such attacks and their consequences requires an understanding of the larger societal context as well as the changes that transformed psychiatry in the post–World War II years. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.