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Title: Consensus in conflict : the making of a common intellectual culture in Germany, c. 1920-1950
Author: Unger, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 7774
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This study analyses intellectual continuities in bourgeois periodicals from Weimar to the early post-war period. Whereas publication bans and censorship in Nazi Germany have been researched in depth, my work focuses on journals that were continuously published from the 1920s to the 1940s and 50s. It seeks to analyse the compatibility of National Socialism with a whole range of worldviews and mind sets, which allowed educated Germans to fit in equally well in the Third Reich and the democratic systems by which it was preceded and followed whilst retaining a strongly intact sense of having 'not been a Nazi'. By examining intellectual overlaps in a variety of liberal, conservative, nationalist, Social Democratic, and Christian journals, this work revises our understanding of how Nazism was anchored in the intellectual culture of the Weimar Republic. It follows discussions of widespread catchwords, such as 'masses' and 'elites', 'progress' and 'decline', 'Sachlichkeit' and 'Romanticism' in order to identify common patterns of thought, which united a wide range of both supporters and opponents of the Nazi movement. While historians have traditionally described the 1920s and early 1930s as a period ridden by political clashes, my work thus reveals a hidden intellectual convergence underlying Germany's open and violent conflicts. Based on these observations, my dissertation then engages with different and often contradictory interpretations of Nazi ideology within the supposedly 'unified' framework of Nazi dictatorship after 1933. This study argues that middlebrow intellectuals of different political backgrounds, such as high school teachers or civil servants, often lived in the illusion of still pursuing their own ideals rather than simply conforming to the demands of the regime. Accordingly, the political integration of the educated middle classes required far less 'conversion', 'unification' and 'Gleichschaltung' from above than previously thought. Hence, instead of relying on these classical historiographical categories, this work sheds light on the mechanisms by which a plurality of 'Nazisms' was embedded in much older, deeper, and continuous traditions of German intellectual culture.
Supervisor: Stargardt, Nicholas ; O'Rourke, Kevin Sponsor: Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation) ; Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available