Current Issue 2/2019

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts

  • Florian Greiner: Secular Death? The Churches and the End of Life in the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • Benjamin Ziemann: Martin Niemöller as a Völkisch-Nationalist Student Politician in Münster, 1919–1923.
  • Marcus Klein: Walther Rauff and the Chilean Military Dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. A Transnational Investigation of a Persistent Rumour.
  • Mathias Häußler: A British Sonderweg? A Research Report on the Role of Great Britain in European Integration since 1945 - free access until the publication of the new issue
  • Jürgen Brautmeier: How Albert Speer Escaped the Gallows. On the Genesis of the Survival Strategy of the Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production in May 1945.

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Abstracts

Florian Greiner, Secular Death? The Churches and the End of Life in the Federal Republic of Germany


According to a common, but empirically insufficiently proven assumption of thanatological research, death and dying underwent a drastic secularisation during the Modern Era, which led to a loss of transitional rites, many people’s sense of security (hitherto derived from concepts of an afterlife) and human closeness. The article asks for the actual role of the churches and the Christian faith for the redefinition of the end of life after 1945, between terminal care and euthanasia. The overarching thesis is that church representatives continued to successfully assert an expertise in this field after losing competence as guidance experts in many other parts of life. They took the opportunity to heighten the public visibility of religion and emphasise its meaning by focusing on the new social problems related to the end of life.

 


Benjamin Ziemann, Martin Niemöller as a Völkisch-Nationalist Student Politician in Münster, 1919–1923

 

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), one of the central protagonists of the Confessing Church during the Nazi Regime, studied Protestant theology at Münster University between 1919 and 1923. During this time, he was active in eight extreme right-wing and racially antisemitic political parties and organisations, most importantly the student group of the Deutschnationale Volkspartei (German National People’s Party) – acting as chairman from spring 1920 until the end of the winter semester of 1920/21 – and of the Deutsch-Völkische Schutz- und Trutzbund (German Völkisch Protection and Defiance Federation). The article traces Niemöller’s restless activities in these groups, which included paramilitary activities in Organisation Escherich, and analyses militant anti-Bolshevism and völkisch-nationalist antisemitism as the common bond for Niemöller’s engagement in the extreme right-wing student milieu.

 


Marcus Klein, Walther Rauff and the Chilean Military Dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. A Transnational Investigation of a Persistent Rumour

 

Soon after the overthrow of the democratic government of Salvador Allende (1970–1973) by the Chilean armed forces under the leadership of Augusto Pinochet, there were reports that the notorious Nazi war criminal Walther Rauff was participating in the severe human rights violations of the dictatorship (1973–1990). The national secret service, the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), was repeatedly referred to in this regard. While hard evidence for such activities has never been produced, the tenacious accusations currently still persist. Marcus Klein follows up on the origins of these allegations, charts their distribution, and analyses the importance this rumour wielded in the transnational debate about with the military regime, especially during the 1970s.

 


Mathias Häußler, A British Sonderweg? A Research Report on the Role of Great Britain in European Integration since 1945

 

The Brexit Referendum of 23 June 2016 has moved the hitherto mostly unnoticed research literature on Britain’s role in European integration since 1945 into the spotlight of historical interest. The present research report deals with the question as to what is the underlying reason for the United Kingdom’s differing positions with regards to European policy in comparison to other states of the European Communities, especially France and Germany. Can one speak of a form of British exceptionalism in this context? In doing so, the pertinent critical historical studies are connected with conceptual developments in European Integration history. The result reveals the particular strengths of contemporary history in systematically historicising hardened patterns of interpretation and questioning the embedding of the individual strand into the wider context.

 


Jürgen Brautmeier, How Albert Speer Escaped the Gallows. On the Genesis of the Survival Strategy of the Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production in May 1945

 

Right after the end of the Second World War, Albert Speer was in the focus of various Western intelligence services. He had already developed a defence strategy for his first Allied interrogations, which later was to save him from the gallows in Nuremberg. A hitherto overlooked protocol of 1 June 1945 in a file in the British National Archives proves how he was still modifying and streamlining individual elements of his subsequent narratives. The file not only delivers deep insights into the early phase of the development of his strategy, but also indications as to the expectations of the Foreign Office regarding his demeanour and effect in the expected war crimes trial.

 


 




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