The German Mind

The German Mind

The German Mind

The German Mind

Excerpt

The fundamental problem in any view of German history is that of explaining National Socialism. The most elementary explanations see in it an expression of momentary madness or a reflection of an indelible national quality. Both notions reflect the revulsion following the collapse of National Socialism and the revelations of its inhumanity, but actually they offer no rational interpretation.

An historical explanation involves the question of how National Socialism is to be reconcided with the achievements of the German mind not only in earlier centuries but particularly in our time. The Germans have laid the intellectual foundations of a new view of man and the universe, as is indicated by the names of Einstein and Planck, of Freud and Max Weber, of Nietzsche, Jaspers, and Heidegger. Consideration of the general problem of the cultural role of the Germans can provide a more satisfactory interpretation of National Socialism.

The historical interpretations of the last decade differ not only as to time-span envisaged but also with respect to the logic of history. A brief consideration of these interpretations may serve as . . .

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