Von Meinecke zu Beard? : die nach 1933 in die USA emigrierten deutschen Neuhistoriker / by Peter Th. Walther
- Variant Title
- From Meinecke to Beard?
Includes bibliographical references (p. 374-406)
- External Link
Electronic version from ProQuest
The thesis treats the careers of those modern German historians who fled Nazi Germany and discusses their personal and intellectual biographies, the institutional framework relating to their careers, and the development of their historical studies. The refugee historians fall into three categories. Friedrich Meinecke's students were the more numerous, most methodologically original, and eventually most influential, i.e. Felix Gilbert, Hajo Holborn, Hans Rosenberg, Gerhard Masur, and Dietrich Gerhard. Alfred Vagts and Wolfgang Hallgarten shared common political and historical interests with the circle and constitute the second category. The older generation--Hedwig Hintze, Arthur Rosenberg, Hans Rothfels (a Meinecke student), and Veit Valentin--constitutes the third category. The political and intellectual climate of the historical establishment during the Weimar Republic is reviewed. Special attention is devoted to analyzing competing historiographical trends. Many of the future refugee historians were fascinated by the possibilities of incorporating structures borrowed from the social sciences. Chapter two deals with the social background and academic training of the "Meinecke circle" prior to Hitler's seizure of power. Those with a Jewish family background did not anticipate that this factor would present any obstacle to their academic careers. In contrast to the prevalent trend amongst young German academicians, they were pro-Republicans. As a result of the racial laws enacted after 1933 most of these historians were gradually forced to resign. Only Vagts, Valentin, and Holborn lost their positions for political reasons. Rothfels who unsuccessfully applied for the status of "Honorary Aryan" serves as the most extreme example of one who tried to appease the Nazi regime. These historians tried to reestablish their academic careers in various European countries. Financial support came from academic assistance councils. Deprived of any stable existence, they reluctantly looked to the United States as a last resort. After establishing themselves in the United States, they could utilize their training in Geistesgeschichte and at the same time pursue their long standing interest in social science oriented historiography. Involuntary exile from Germany led them to a professional situation where they had the option of combining the historicist world of Friedrich Meinecke with the social scientific approach represented by Charles Beard.
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