Hitler and the Germans

Hitler and the Germans

Hitler and the Germans

Hitler and the Germans

Synopsis

Between 1933 & 1938, Eric Voegelin published four books that expressly stated his opposition to the increasingly powerful Hitler regime. As a result, he was forced to leave his homeland in 1938. Twenty years later, he returned to Germany as a professor of political science at Ludwig-Maximilian University. Voegelin's homecoming allowed him the opportunity to voice once again his opinions on the Nazi regime & its aftermath. In 1964 at the University of Munich, Voegelin gave a series of memorable lectures on what he considered "the central German experiential problem" of his time: Adolf Hitler's rise to power, the reasons for it, & its consequences for post-Nazi Germany. For Voegelin, these questions demanded a scrutiny of the mentality of individual Germans & of the order of German society during & after the Nazi period. Hitler & the Germans, published here for the first time, offers Voegelin's most extensive & detailed critique of the Hitler era. Voegelin interprets this era in terms of the basic diagnostic tools provided by the philosophy of Plato & Aristotle, Judeo-Christian culture, & contemporary German-language writers like Heimito von Doderer, Karl Kraus, Thomas Mann, & Robert Musil. His inquiry uncovers a historiography that was substantially unhistoric: a German Evangelical Church that misinterpreted the Gospel, a German Catholic Church that denied universal humanity, & a legal process enmeshed in criminal homicide. Hitler & the Germans provides a profound alternative approach to the topic of the individual German's entanglement in the Hitler regime & its continuing implications. This comprehensive reading of the Nazi period has yet to be matched.

Excerpt

Ladies and Gentlemen, In an introduction to political science, you can take the easy way. You can simply summarize well-known general principles, nicely set out as in a textbook, but this would really not be right. Because what is important for you, living in this country today, is how these general principles should be applied to the concrete political events you're familiar with. That application is what this introduction is about.

In an introduction to politics, you must also base your investigation on the political experiences and knowledge you have in daily life, in order to ascend from there to the theoretical problematic. The point of departure is topically and historically a matter of chance. There is in itself no scientific reason why we should begin with the German political experience, which is in fact yours. From the viewpoint of science we could just as well begin with the Chinese or the Indonesian experience.

So, a lecture course of this kind cannot be systematically constructed. Rather, we must start with specific political experiences, then analyze these and extrapolate from them to such an extent that we arrive at the scientific problems. That is to say, we find those categories of a rational interpretation of politics you must have a command of in order to be able to judge the political events you come across every day in your reading of the newspapers, in conversation, and so on. Consequently there will arise a continuous . . .

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