Issue 3/2022

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Hans Günter Hockerts, Defiance of Death and Will to Live. The Leaflet Action of the Scholl Siblings on 18 February 1943


The leaflet action executed by Hans and Sophie Scholl at Munich University on 18 February 1943 has entered cultural memory: The image of leaflets falling down into the atrium is considered an icon of the history of German freedom. There is, however, also the accusation that the action was undertaken recklessly, causing the exposure and arrest of the whole resistance circle. For the first time the exact reconstruction proves that the siblings did not abandon all safeguards, but rather took precautions with an emergency plan. Using new sources, the article refutes the legend, that the siblings had acted spontaneously and rashly due to a warning of an imminent Gestapo hit.


Stefanie Middendorf, Administrative Simplification as Exceptional Practice? Executive Empowerment and Budgetary Policy, 1914/18 to 1945


The austere term administrative simplification is shaped by the notion, that the state should act with more focus and more decisively – a demand, which was repeatedly raised during the 20th century. In European times of crisis after the First World War, the “gospel of efficiency” (Ernst Fraenkel) was particularly influential in the field of budgetary policy. State finances were at the centre of contemporary debates about democracy and dictatorship and pointed to the prerequisites of an international order of the economy. By using the German experiences between 1914 and 1945, Stefanie Middendorf analyses how state budgetary planning developed into an aggregate state of ruling by exception, which exhibited transformative effect and let everyday practices of governing turn into driving forces of empowerment.


Wilfried Loth, The Incomplete Annexation. France and the Saar, 1943 to 1947


The founding of the Saarland in December 1947 was preceded by a protracted search process: How should France secure the output of the coal fields on the Saar without once again becoming the victim of a plebiscite by the Saar population? In December 1944, the economic department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed the annexation of an extended Saar-Territory combined with the expulsion of the entire population. The de Gaulle government operated on this basis, but in the summer of 1945 decided to only expel part of the population. The other inhabitants were to be integrated into the French nation by a “correctly understood policy of assimilation”. Only in the winter of 1946/47 did the development of public opinion on the Saar and the necessity to secure the support of the Socialist coalition partner vis-à-vis the western victorious powers lead to the limitation to economic integration.


Philipp Oswalt, Potsdam’s Garrison Church. A Rebuilding between the Nurturing of Military Tradition, a Protestant Culture of Remembrance and Right-Wing Extremism


The project of rebuilding Potsdam’s Garrison Church goes back to an initiative by German officer Max Klaar and the Traditionsgemeinschaft (Tradition Association) Potsdamer Glockenspiel, who presented the city of Potsdam with a reconstruction of the glockenspiel of the church in 1991 and subsequently advocated successfully for the rebuilding idea. After initial rejection, the Protestant Church has supported the project since 2000. Despite protest within the church, it was decided to go for an externally faithful and seamless reconstruction in view of the potential donors. In 2017 the foundation stone was laid for the replica of the church steeple. The project is now mostly paid for from federal funds and splits the society of the city of Potsdam to date.


René Smolarski, “For the German Resistance”. The Genesis of the Postal Stamp Memorial Set on the 20th Anniversary of the Assassination Attempt against Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944


The issuing of stamps is a protracted process influenced by many interests. Despite their value as sources for the history of everyday life and thought and as a barometer of what can be said, dealing with philatelic sources is still mostly a field for extramural research. In the present article, the complexity and political relevance of emitting stamps is demonstrated using the example of the genesis of the memorial set on the 20th anniversary of the Assassination Attempt against Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944. Examining this memorial set is particularly relevant because this anniversary marked changes in the West German conception of the resistance, as the disputes about the stamp memorial set clearly show.


Tobias Becker, Only Rock’n’Roll? Rock Music and the Cultures of Conservatism


Rock’n’Roll traditionally appears to exhibit a rebellious, subversive and progressive connotation. Such ascriptions however not only ignore sub-genres such as Rechtsrock (right-wing extremist rock), but also criticism, which from the onset accused Mainstream Rock of merely portraying and supporting the social status quo rather than questioning it. Is Rock’n’Roll therefore a conservative genre? What do terms such as conservative and progressive really mean, when they are applied to pop culture, music and specifically Rock’n’Roll? Which findings are used to support these attributions? The article investigates these questions along an abbreviated history of Rock from the 1950s to the 1980s in transnational perspective. The contribution shows that, inasmuch as Rock is rebellious at all, it can be directed against a mainstream culture which is perceived as conservative just as much as against one which is perceived as progressive.

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