Issue 3/2016

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts

  • Andreas Wirsching: Hitler’s Authenticity. A Functionalist Interpretation.
  • Oliver Jens Schmitt: Who Were the Romanian Legionnaires? A Case Study on Fascist Cadres in the Countryside Surrounding Bucharest 1927 till 1941.
  • Hans Goldenbaum: National Socialism as Anti-Colonialism. German Propaganda Broadcasts for the Arab World.
  • Mario Daniels: Brain Drain, Global Economic Competition, and National Security: The Campaign of the West German Chemical Industry Against Knowledge Transfers to the United States During the 1950s.
  • Heiner Möllers: The 1984 Kießling Affair. On the Role of the Media in the Scandal about the Dismissal of General Dr. Günter Kießling.

Abstracts

Andreas Wirsching, Hitler’s Authenticity. A Functionalist Interpretation

 

The point of departure of this article is the concept of authenticity, which has increasingly gained importance for the construction of Bourgeois individual identity since the second half of the 19th century. The question regarding which elements of a personality can be seen as authentic, i.e. as real and credible, has also been raised about Adolf Hitler. It is thus an essential facet of the history of his ascent, which of his characteristics and biographical experiences he himself viewed or constructed as authentic and which were attributed to him as such by his environment. This encompasses aspects of Hitler's youth and his time in Vienna and Munich, as well as the question, when and under what conditions the foundations of his racist “world view” were laid. The article argues, that, in Hitler's case, a number of layers of authenticity have to be distinguished, whereby the wish to become an artist or architect plays a prominent role. His world view, which Hitler labels as authentic in “Mein Kampf”, is conversely a dimension which was added later. This emphasises the functional character of Hitler's political-ideological conditioning, which also influences the overall interpretation of the Nazi regime and the motivations of its perpetrators.

 


Oliver Jens Schmitt, Who Were the Romanian Legionnaires? A Case Study on Fascist Cadres in the Countryside Surrounding Bucharest 1927 till 1941

The social history of the Romanian “Legion of the Archangel Michael”, one of the most important fascist mass movements in interwar Europe, has yet to be studied in any great detail. This article discusses a sample of 1,500 legionary cadres in the rural Greater Bucharest area, where legionary mass mobilization began rather late in comparison to other regions of Romania, in the second half of the 1930s. A main finding of the analysis is a clear distinction between two generations of cadres: so-called village intellectuals (priests, teachers) led the first phase of mobilization during the movement stage (1927–1938); the regime stage (6 September 1940-21 January 1941) however was dominated by militant young peasants. Village intellectuals were gripped more strongly by Legionary mysticism and its transcendent message of collective national resurrection, while cadres of the short-lived National Legionary dictatorship strove for social revolution.

 


Hans Goldenbaum, National Socialism as Anti-Colonialism. German Propaganda Broadcasts for the Arab World

 

Contrary to what one would expect after recent debates, we still know very little about National Socialist impact and propaganda in the Near East. Based on hitherto unconsidered German and Israeli archival records, the article will attempt to give, for the first time, an overview of the origin, institutional background, structure and, particularly, content of Arabic propaganda broadcasts from Nazi Germany. News programs focused on the strength of the Reich and the weakness of its adversaries in the political, economic and military arena. At the same time, the broadcasts linked National Socialist policies with the situation in the Near and Middle East: The “long-suffering” and “oppressed” German nation, now embroiled in a struggle for sovereignty against the colonialist Western powers, addressed the colonized. On the whole, the propaganda discourse can be conceptualized as a specifically National Socialist “anti-colonialism” or “anti-imperialism” founded in antisemitism. Furthermore, the article expounds how the transmissions were received. The German broadcasts undoubtedly had a certain influence, but the information and explanations they offered had to compete with those issued by other international and regional broadcasts and print media. The reception process can be characterized as committed and active; diverse actors received, interpreted and appropriated the content within their own “horizon of expectations”, relating it to their issues. The key question remains how far the propaganda offered explanations for conflicts and experiences of crisis and promoted a semantic shift which contributed to antisemitic ideologisation and practice.

 


Mario Daniels, Brain Drain, Global Economic Competition, and National Security: The Campaign of the West German Chemical Industry Against Knowledge Transfers to the United States During the 1950s

 

Was the U.S. spying on German know-how? During the 1950s, the West German chemical industry became deeply concerned about the attempts of American companies and the U.S. military to hire German scientists and establish R & D facilities in Germany. In their estimation, such activities amounted to nothing less than a form of industrial espionage. Leading industry representatives claimed that the loss of knowledge posed a serious threat to West Germany’s economy at the very moment of the country’s return to world markets after World War II. Also a surprisingly large part of their rhetoric was dominated by fears that American knowledge acquisitions endangered German national security.

This article takes a closer look at the brain drain and the discourse surrounding industrial espionage during the 1950s within the context of a profound reassessment of the political significance of knowledge production and dissemination during the early Cold War on both sides of the Atlantic. It shows how and why the chemical industry’s vigorous countermeasures to fend off perceived threats of espionage failed to mobilize the support of the West German government. Moreover, it makes visible the many fault lines and points of tension that resulted from competing national economic and security interests within the Western Cold War alliance in its formative phase.

 


Heiner Möllers, The 1984 Kießling Affair. On the Role of the Media in the Scandal about the Dismissal of General Dr. Günter Kießling

 

The Kießling affair of 1984 is one of the most striking examples for the function of the media as the “fourth estate”: In this case the West German Federal Ministry of Defence and Minister Wörner completely lost control of events after the premature discharge of General Kießling, who was considered homosexual and thus in danger of being blackmailed, due to the strong echo in the media. The lack of influence of the minister on the media also resulted from his information policy, which was incapable of reacting to new developments due to its isolation from external influences and fixation on a single chain of reasoning. Thereby it was not even capable of convincingly countering the insistent media strategy of the dismissed general. Ultimately Wörner was redeemed by the intervention of Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl – and retained his office against all odds.

 


 




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