GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW: Volume XXXI, Number 2 (May 2008)
    When the Sonderweg Debate Left Us

    Helmut Walser Smith
    Vanderbilt University

    Criticism of the Sonderweg thesis, while enabling historiographic innovation, weakened our sense of the continuities of German history. This occurred because no tenable continuity thesis was put in its place and because the continuity thesis eventually offered—not to 1933 but to Auschwitz—ill accounted for fundamental aspects of the Third Reich’s catastrophic violence. A Consequence of this anti-Sonderweg consensus is not a foreshortened sense of German history as such, but of a German history that helps explain twentieth-century horrors.
    The Documentary Critique in Recent German Postcolonial Literature

    Daniel P. Reynolds
    Grinnell College

    Why do German novels about the colonial era reproduce so many of the historical records upon which they base their fictions? By foregrounding historical documentation—letters, official records, maps, photographs—narratives by Uwe Timm, Gerhard Seyfried, and Giselher W. Hoffmann become, in a sense, stories about documents. By assigning the historical document such a conspicuous role, these authors variously emphasize both its construction and its reception over time. The story of historical documentation becomes a means for writers to question, intentionally or otherwise, the role of ‘the document’ in constructing a truthful representation of a traumatic past.
    Returning Refugee Political Scientists and America’s Democratization Program
    in Germany after the Second World War

    Marjorie Lamberti
    Middlebury College

    During the Allied occupation of West Germany, the introduction of political science as a discipline in the universities became an objective of American Military Government officials who were critical of the traditional monopoly of legal training for entrance to the higher ranks of the German civil service. They became missionaries for the study of politics as an empirical and applied science and secured the collaboration of refugee political scientists who returned to Germany as “visiting experts.” After the Holocaust, the decision to return to their native land did not come easily. Why did refugee political scientists become personally invested in this effort?
    Moving Images and the Policing of Political Action in the Early Weimar Period

    Sara F. Hall
    University of Illinois at Chicago

    After World War I German police journals published a variety of articles exploring how film could support institutional reform and the reestablishment of legitimate authority. In one compelling example from 1921, the conservative Wilhelm von Ledebur proposed that the movie camera could compensate for weaknesses caused by enforced disarmament. Reading Ledebur’s article alongside newsreel footage and censorship documentation related to some of the most violent uprisings of the period reveals how German cultural and legal authorities hoped to control the moving image in order to reinforce the policing gaze as the locus of both social and political power.
    Restoring a German Career, 1945–1950:
    The Ambiguity of Being Hans Globke

    Daniel E. Rogers
    University of South Alabama

    Hans Globke, for 10 years Konrad Adenauer’s Staatssekretär and one of the most controversial figures in the early history of the Federal Republic, struggled to restore his civil service career after 1945. He crafted an ambiguous image of himself during the Third Reich as both effective bureaucrat and daring resister by admitting only minor misjudgments, gathering statements of support from opponents of Hitler, and characterizing his co-authorship of a commentary on the Nuremberg race laws as an effort to lessen their impact. He had thus positioned himself to survive the ensuing attacks on his Nazi-era past.
    Valorous Masculinities and Patriotism in the Texts of
    Early Nineteenth-Century German Women Writers

    Karin Baumgartner
    University of Utah

    The Napoleonic Wars fundamentally challenged German ideas of what it meant to be a man. For the first time, women participated in these debates and publicly declared that a new type of man was needed, one who was more martial, more patriotic, and more courageous—a man who was more like the French. Read as political documents, the texts by Helmina von Chézy, Amalie von Helvig, Christine Westphalen, Caroline de la Motte Fouqué, and Karoline Pichler reveal how these women attempted to contribute to the shaping of the emerging, yet mostly imagined, German nation and the discussion of citizenship.
    Aus Müll Gold gesponnen: Kurt Schwitters’ Merzkunst und die Inflation

    Christoph Zeller
    Vanderbilt University

    Kurt Schwitters’ Merzkunst transforms found materials into artistic collages. Besides wood, thread, and wire, he demands, “shoes and fake hair, also ice skates […] hell machines, a metal fish and a funnel […]” (Merz, 1920) are equivalent elements of an artwork. Cut from “Kommerz,” Schwitters’ Merzkunst asserts a multi-layered definition of the term “value,” referring specifically to the spheres of economy and philosophy. In his notion of “equivalence” Schwitters’ art theory draws similarly on the “philosophy of values” and the phenomenon of hyperinflation, a major socio-historic factor shortly after World War I.
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