My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
Doctor of Philosophy

I TRAVELLED to Kiel having decided to take "Newspapers" as the subject of my thesis for my doctor's degree. Nowadays there is nothing especially revolutionary about that. Institutes of journalism exist in connection with several German colleges.

But it was different then. Wilhelm Hasbach, Professor-in- Ordinary and of Political Economy at the University of Kiel, had no use whatever for newspapers. My first interview with him was not exactly encouraging.

Hasbach was a big man with reddish hair, steel-blue eyes that could flash like lightning from behind his glasses, and a pepperand-salt beard. He was forty-nine years old and was reputed to be a hypochondriacal eccentric.

"Why did you come to Kiel?" he asked aggressively when I had introduced myself. "I suppose you think it will be easier to take your doctor's degree here?"

I said that Kiel was, so to speak my own university--besides, my brother had passed his M.D. here. He appeared completely uninterested.

"Not counting political economy," he said grimly, "I have only had doctors of social philosophy in my university. You are the third." (The first was Südekum, afterwards a member of the Reichstag, the second was von Rostock Asmus who became a Syndic of the Chamber of Commerce*--I could not have been in better company).

"What subject had you thought of for your thesis?" was Hasbach's next--and decisive--question. I cleared my throat and said:

"Well, sir, I am interested in journalism. The subject I had in mind was 'The Economic Significance of Newspapers.'"

The suggestion did not find favour with Hasbach. "Newspapers?" he said, frowning. "Rubbish! That's not the kind of subject for anyone taking a doctor's degree. I believe after all that you have come here in the hope you'll find it an easy job!"

I began to feel anxious. "No, I didn't," I said. "If you know

____________________
*
Handelskammersyndikus.

-81-

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