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Emigration and the Foundation of West Germany, 1933-1963

  • Author(s): Strote, Noah Benezra
  • Advisor(s): Jay, Martin
  • et al.

This dissertation traces the development of German national life from the disintegration of the Weimar Republic in 1933 to the end of the foundational period of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1963. Charting the alliances between previously hostile groups formed in emigration in response to National Socialism, I offer a way of understanding the ideological strength of reconstruction and nation-building after Hitler. The study covers four principal areas of activity: law and politics, humanistic culture, higher education, and religion. It takes as representative case studies the careers of young Weimar-era leaders who fled the Nazi regime in the 1930s and returned to help build the infrastructure of the Federal Republic after 1945. Extensive use is made of their personal papers and other archival material from the institutions with which they were affiliated. Examining the legal, cultural, intellectual, and theological response to the failure of Germany's first democracy, I challenge arguments that have privileged economic success as the driving cause of postwar democratization in West Germany. Instead, the dissertation points to the indispensability of social and ideological reconciliation as preconditions for development.

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