Issue 2/2014

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts:

  • Jenny Pleinen/Lutz Raphael: Contemporary Historians in the Archives of the Social Sciences. Potential Insights and Increased Relevance for the Discipline.
  • Hajime Konno: The Liberal and Conservative Interpretations of German Politics at the Imperial University of Tokyo, 1905-1933. Sakuzo Yoshino and Shinkichi Uesugi in Comparison.
  • Hans Schafranek: Nazi Feme Murders in Styria.
  • Sven Feyer: Otto Meyer: MAN Board Member During the Third Reich.
  • Thorsten Holzhauser: “Never with the PDS”? The SPD Position Towards the Successor Party of the SED Between Strategies of Exclusion and Integration (1990-1998).

Abstracts

Jenny Pleinen/Lutz Raphael: Contemporary Historians in the Archives of the Social Sciences. Potential Insights and Increased Relevance for the Discipline

 

The article discusses the methodical and theoretical challenges which contemporary history faces when dealing with data and interpretations derived from the contemporary social sciences. It calls for combining a critical historicisation of analyses generated by the social sciences with a methodically reflected use of the underlying data. Examples for such possibilities for a social history of the Federal Republic of Germany since the 1970s include theories and data on changing societal values, the use of public statistics for migration history and the analysis of research results of industrial sociology and the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP).

 


Hajime Konno: The Liberal and Conservative Interpretations of German Politics at the Imperial University of Tokyo, 1905-1933. Sakuzo Yoshino and Shinkichi Uesugi in Comparison

 

Germany was the most influential model for modern Japanese politics since the forced opening of the country. The article illustrates this by way of the example of Sakuzo Yoshino (1878-1933) and Shinkichi Uesugi (1878-1929), two professors at the Imperial University of Tokyo who were simultaneously important commentators on public affairs. Both had studied in Heidelberg, but perceived German politics in very different ways: while Yoshino decidedly rejected the German Sonderweg and was positively disposed towards Anglo-Saxon democracy, Uesugi defended the political role of the Japanese Emperor precisely because of his German experiences. The article tries to find explanations as to why and how Yoshino and Uesugi reached such diametrically opposed views.

 


Hans Schafranek: Nazi Feme Murders in Styria

 

Following the suppression of the Nazi Party in Austria (19 June 1933), a massive wave of terrorist attacks by the illegal National Socialists arose, culminating in the failed coup attempt against and murder of Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß on 25 July 1934. After the failed coup, the Austrian Nazi Party was mostly “decoupled” from the German party; a continuation of the openly terrorist course was also not in the interest of German foreign policy. While the number of serious politically motivated offences sank significantly, the “liquidation” of “traitors” within the illegal Nazi movement gained in considerably importance. Almost half of all homicides committed by National Socialists after 1934 have to be classified as “Feme Murders”, well prepared contract killings executed by small-sized SA or SS terror squads. Intermediary SA or SS authorities were usually pulling the strings, with the knowledge and assent of the respective Nazi Gauleitung. German Nazi bodies were not involved in the preparation of these Feme Murders, but certainly assisted the getaway of the perpetrators, who received asylum in the German Reich.                                                                                                                           

 


Sven Feyer: Otto Meyer: MAN Board Member During the Third Reich

 

Otto Meyer became a member of executive board of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN) in 1926, where after only a couple of years he became its head. After the National Socialists took power in Germany, the conservative business leader understood it as his duty to support the intense efforts of German rearmament. MAN’s production of engines for submarines and manufacturing of modern tanks turned it into an essential part of Germany’s war economy. On the other hand Meyer faced hostility from the National Socialists due to his Jewish wife, who emigrated to Switzerland early on. Nevertheless he led MAN not only until the end of the Nazi regime but moreover successfully throughout the difficult post-war reconstruction period. The example of Otto Meyer clearly demonstrates the continuity of Germany’s economic elite from the Weimar to the Federal Republic. Moreover he is a manifestation of the dichotomy of conservative self-conception between dedication to one’s duty to the company and fatherland on the one hand and the rejection of National Socialism on the other. 

 


Thorsten Holzhauser:  “Never with the PDS”? The SPD Position Towards the Successor Party of the SED Between Strategies of Exclusion and Integration (1990-1998)

 

One of the pivotal questions in German politics of the 1990s, especially for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), was how to deal with the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). After the fall of communism in East Germany, Social Democrats proclaimed a so-called “democratic consensus” against the “SED successor party”. However, already in 1994, some party officials started to rethink their strategy of exclusion and opened up their party to left-wing cooperation which resulted in the first SPD/PDS state government in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 1998. This article analyses the controversial debate inside the SPD leadership and the reasons for its failure to arrange a consensus on this matter. It shows that the primary division concerning this question was not between eastern and western party officials. Instead, there were somewhat deeper internal divisions of a political and cultural nature between those Social Democrats who followed an anti-communist tradition and those who did not. Thus, the PDS question fuelled a long-standing debate about demarcation and cooperation inside the German left which continues to this day.

 


 



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