Issue 2/2016

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts

  • Thomas Wolf: The Beginnings of the Bundesnachrichtendienst. Gehlen’s Organisation - Process, Legend and Burden.
  • Paul Fröhlich and Alexander Kranz: Generals Going Astray? Ludwig Ritter von Radlmeier, Adolf von Schell and the Third Reich Armaments Bureaucracy Between Military Tradition and the “New State”.
  • Max Plassmann: “Any Occurring Hardships Are Exclusively on Account of the SS”. On the Activities of the Reichsumsiedlungsgesellschaft in occupied Poland.
  • Jacob S. Eder: Liberal Factional Infighting: Hildegard Hamm-Brücher in the Discourse on Liberalism During the Early Federal Republic.
  • William Glenn Gray: Weapons from Germany? The German Parliament, Military Aid and Weapons Exports, 1961 to 1975.

Abstracts

Thomas Wolf, The Beginnings of the Bundesnachrichtendienst. Gehlen’s Organisation - Process, Legend and Burden

 

The prevalent founding myth of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (the West German Federal Intelligence Service, abbreviated BND) about its beginnings as “Organisation Gehlen” has nothing in common with its actual historical development. A few months after the end of the Second World War, a heterogeneous intelligence service of soon hundreds of operatives developed under the leadership of Abwehr officer Hermann Baun. It was financed lavishly by the US Army, but did not generate many successes. At first, Reinhard Gehlen hardly had any influence, but soon succeeded in his leadership struggle with Baun due to his absolute conformity with the USA. The highly unstructured organisation with its dysfunctional operations was continued under his willy-nilly leadership. Through targeted myth formation and under political pressure, Gehlen succeeded in making uncontrolled growth the structural principle of the nascent BND. The Federal Government, parliamentarians and the general public eagerly took up his ideas. In this way, the BND was able to mostly avoid the usual administrative control measures. This also explains, why Gehlen’s organisation took on persons with a sometimes highly incriminating Nazi past.

 


Paul Fröhlich and Alexander Kranz, Generals Going Astray? Ludwig Ritter von Radlmeier, Adolf von Schell and the Third Reich Armaments Bureaucracy Between Military Tradition and the “New State”

 

Recent research on the nature of the “Third Reich” does not merely reduce Nazi power structures to an inefficient chaos. Rather, it attests that the polycratic Nazi state was capable of reaching a high degree of mobilization on the basis of competition, personalization and informality in politics and communication. In this context, the integration of the Wehrmacht has scarcely entered into current discussions. The position and function of the military leadership has been widely perceived as passive and their output limited to the belligerent domain. The article investigates the example of two generals, Ludwig Ritter von Radlmaier and Adolf von Schell, who had already emerged as central players in the organization and mobilization of the Armored Corps during the armament of the Reichswehr. They perfectly exemplify that informal practices were adapted in the Wehrmacht. The limits of regular military order were exceeded and the perceived integrity of the officer corps was partially suspended. The army armaments bureaucracy did not react uniformly to the dynamic practices of the Nazi system, instead evolving into a heterogeneous construct of their own initiatives.

 


Max Plassmann, “Any Occurring Hardships Are Exclusively on Account of the SS”. On the Activities of the Reichsumsiedlungsgesellschaft in occupied Poland

 

Based on previously unknown sources, the article focuses on the Reichsumsiedlungsgesellschaft (Reich Resettlement Corporation, abbreviated RUGES) in Poland and in Ukraine during the Second World War. Like in the Reich since 1935, its duty there was to seize land for Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS military training areas. Since 1940, 200 000 to 400 000 Poles and Ukrainians were dispossessed and forcibly relocated for this reason. The Reichsumsiedlungsgesellschaft often passed on the pressure to establish the required training areas as quickly as possible to the population, since the various German institutions could most easily reach agreements at the expense of the locals. Even if RUGES was not a key player in the overall picture of Nazi crimes, its activities cannot be separated from their overall context. However, after 1945 its personnel developed a relief strategy, according to which all crimes were attributed to others, while they were themselves almost part of the opposition by taking sides with the dispossessed population.

 


Jacob S. Eder, Liberal Factional Infighting: Hildegard Hamm-Brücher in the Discourse on Liberalism During the Early Federal Republic

 

Until the 1960s, factional infighting between the left-liberal and national liberal forces, particularly in the state parties, split the FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei, or Free Democratic Party). The case of North Rhine-Westphalia is, for example, well explored. The development of organised liberalism in post-war Bavaria is, however, relatively unknown. Here too, “Liberals” on the one hand and “Nationals”, who wanted to take the FDP on a right-wing course, on the other (among the latter many former National Socialists) struggled for predominance in the party. During the 1950s, Hildegard Hamm-Brücher stood out as one of the most prominent representatives of the left-liberal wing and thus received attention from the general public and the press even from beyond the borders of Bavaria. The article is not only dedicated to an analysis of her politics, but is also devoted to the question, how the public discourse negotiated expectations regarding the future of liberalism as well as future forms of shaping policy by focusing on the politican Hamm-Brücher. The article investigates, how she was able to assert herself despite not having much support in the party at first, and why she became a symbol for liberal politics throughout the whole Federal Republic. Special attention is given to the dissemination of policy in the media and the construction of the image of a modern politician.

 


William Glenn Gray, Weapons from Germany? The German Parliament, Military Aid and Weapons Exports, 1961 to 1975

 

To the authors of West Germany’s Basic Law, the moral imperative was clear: Germans must refrain from stoking wars of aggression, whether in Europe or overseas. During the 1960s, however, the Federal Republic emerged as an arms merchant and supplier of military aid on a global scale. This article examines efforts by the Bundestag to block the export of weapons to non-Western or non-democratic regimes. It shows that successive German cabinets eluded tight parliamentary constraints, choosing instead to adopt administrative principles that sounded severe but proved to be quite elastic in practice. When confronted in the mid-1970s with high unemployment, Helmut Schmidt’s cabinet actively courted customers in the Third World ­– though adverse publicity and pressure from SPD party organizations kept government ambitions in check. Decades later, however, the lax administrative system for granting export permits has been exploited by Angela Merkel’s government, resulting in a steep surge in German arms exports.

 


 




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