Journal Article

Relegating Nazism to the Past

Raphael Gross

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 25, issue 2, pages 219-238
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266355406075715
Relegating Nazism to the Past

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This article builds on a research thesis that confronting moral feelings is essential to an understanding of the catastrophic political success of Nazism in Germany and the way Germany developed after its defeat in 1945. This research into a ‘moral history’ of Nazi Germany and its postwar echoes is carried out through an interdisciplinary approach that, in essence, combines historical with philosophical analysis. In the immediate postwar period, Germany continued to be stamped by discussions centred on moral guilt arising from its Nazi past and from the Holocaust in particular. The article analyses the different ways this guilt was discussed in 1945 and how these discussions echoed what can be described as a form of Nazi morality. The article uses three main sources to explore these issues: first, the writings and interrogations with the Nazi lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, Hans Frank; second, the memoirs of Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge; and third, the essay The Question of German Guilt by Karl Jaspers.

Keywords: Nazism and postwar Germany; History of Ethics; German History; Karl Jaspers; Traudl Junge; Hans Frank

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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