Hitler and the Germans

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University of Missouri Press, Feb 1, 2003 - History - 296 pages
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Between 1933 and 1938, Eric Voegelin published four books that brought him into increasingly open opposition to the Hitler regime in Germany. As a result, he was forced to leave Austria in 1938, narrowly escaping arrest by the Gestapo as he fled to Switzerland and later to the United States. Twenty years later, he was invited to return to Germany as director of the new Institute of Political Science at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich.

In 1964, 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, and its consequences for post-Nazi Germany. For Voegelin, these issues demanded a scrutiny of the mentality of individual Germans and of the order of German society during and after the Nazi period. Hitler and the Germans offers Voegelin's most extensive and detailed critique of the Hitler era.

While most of the lectures deal with what Voegelin called Germany's "descent into the depths" of the moral and spiritual abyss of Nazism and its aftermath, they also point toward a restoration of order. His lecture "The Greatness of Max Weber" shows how Weber, while affected by the culture within which Hitler came to power, had already gone beyond it through his anguished recovery of the experience of transcendence.

Hitler and the Germans provides a profound alternative approach to the topic of the individual German's entanglement in the Hitler regime and its continuing implications. This comprehensive critique of the Nazi period has yet to be matched.

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About the Author Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the most original and influential philosophers of our time. Born in Cologne, Germany, he studied at the University of Vienna, where he became a professor of political science in the Faculty of Law. In 1938, he and his wife, fleeing Hitler, immigrated to the United States. They became American citizens in 1944. Voegelin spent much of his career at Louisiana State University, the University of Munich, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During his lifetime he published many books and more than one hundred articles.   About the Editors  Detlev Clemens is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science, Friedrich-Alexander University at Erlangen-Nuremberg. He is the author of Herr Hitler in Germany: Wahrnehmungen und Deutungen des Nationalsozialismus in Groβritannien, 1920-1939. Brendan Purcell is Lecturer in Philosophy at University College in Dublin. He is the author of The Drama of Humanity: Towards a Philosophy of Humanity in History.

 

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