The Academy for German Law, 1933-1944 / by Dennis LeRoy Anderson.
The nature and role of law in the Third Reich is a theme that has been the subject of many studies and much controversy. Historians and lawyers have roundly debated such issues as the ideological content of Nazi legal theory, the relationship between theory and practice, the continuity between Nazi concepts of law and German legal traditions, and the character of the German legal establishment. This work, essentially an institutional "biography" of the Academy for German Law, examines these issues from the vantage point of those seriously interested in the "Nazification" of German law, while it fills a gap in the existing literature on the topic. The Academy for German Law, founded in 1933 by Hans Frank, the leading lawyer of the Nazi movement, was a non-official organization designed to provide substantive and technical assistance on legal matters to the German government, to participate in the process of comprehensive legal reform in line with Nazi ideology, and to promote the Nazi experiment in the realm of law both internally and externally. Its membership consisted of a broad cross section of the German legal establishment, Nazi and non-Nazi, including many famous individuals. Its work was accomplished largely through a number of topical committees, backed by an extensive research staff, and through meetings and publications. The purpose, membership and scope of the organization provide a unique base from which to assess the issues noted above. The political leadership of the Third Reich used the Academy for German Law principally as a propaganda tool, a usage that frustrated both the ideological commitment and the personal ambition of Frank. The vicissitudes in the Academy's efforts and fortunes reflected the course of the Third Reich's development and the differing conceptions among the Nazi establishment as to the appropriate place of law in Nazi Germany. The results of the committee work revealed much continuity with the past in terms of substantive legal issues under consideration, exposed the possibilities and limitations for the penetration of Nazi ideology into the German legal framework, and portrayed the difficulties involved in systematically trying to supplant a complex legal tradition.
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 16:28:00
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