The Heidelberg Myth: The Nazification and Denazification of a German University

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2002 - Education - 329 pages
0 Reviews

In the first work to examine both nazification and denazification of a major German university, Steven Remy offers a sobering account of the German academic community from 1933 to 1957. Deeply researched in university archives, newly opened denazification records, occupation reports, and contemporary publications, The Heidelberg Myth starkly details how extensively the university's professors were engaged with National Socialism and how effectively they frustrated postwar efforts to ascertain the truth.

Many scholars directly justified or implemented Nazi policies, forming a crucial element in the social consensus supporting Hitler and willingly embracing the Nazis' "German spirit," a concept encompassing aggressive nationalism, anti-Semitism, and the rejection of objectivity in scholarship. In elaborate postwar self-defense narratives, they portrayed themselves as unpolitical and uncorrupted by Nazism. This "Heidelberg myth" provided justification for widespread resistance to denazification and the restoration of compromised scholars to their positions, and set the remarkably long-lasting consensus that German academic culture had remained untainted by Nazi ideology.

The Heidelberg Myth is a valuable contribution to German social, intellectual, and political history, as well as to works on collective memory in societies emerging from dictatorship.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Embracing National Socialism
12
The German Spirit in Scholarship
50
The National Socialist University at War
85
Constructing the Myth
116
The Limits of Denazification
146
Whitewashing the Ivory Tower
177
A Culture of Forgetting
218
Complicities and Silences
234
The Structure of the German University
247
Dissertations Supervised by Paul Schmitthenner 19321941
249
Archival Sources
253
Notes
255
Index
323
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 1 - ... intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.") By 1945 Klemperer would not and could not be as generous as he might have been in 1936.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

Steven P. Remy is Associate Professor of History, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Bibliographic information