Re-education and Reorientation in Occupied Germany 1945 to 1955. The Importance of Völkisch Ideologies for the Allies, the German States, and the Federal Government.
In recent years, research has made considerable progress in understanding völkisch ideology as it evolved over the centuries. While the völkisch movements and ideologies of the 19th century, the interwar years and the period of National Socialism are now well researched, one area has so far been in the shadows: the immediate postwar period.
Already during the war, there were various considerations on the Allied side as to how the German population could be democratized following Nazism’s impending collapse. These included the work of Kurt Lewin, the German Educational Reconstruction Committee, the denazification procedures, the Spruchkammern, the Amerika-Häuser, but also, in part, reconstruction programs such as the Marshall Plan, discussions about the creation and enforcement of Article 131 of the Basic Law, and much more.
Among the chief drivers of post-war German re-education was Ernst Cramer (1913-2010). Born in Augsburg, he escaped Nazi persecution after spending several weeks in a concentration camp and went to the U.S., while his parents and younger brother were murdered in Sobibor. From 1945, he was one of the press officers of the U.S. military government and played a major role in the reestablishment of German newspapers. He later made a career at Axel Springer Verlag, where he served as Springer’s closest confidant for many years. Cramer, whose estate includes many hundreds of volumes of files, personifies the practical side of re-education.
Like him, other protagonists tried to get the völkisch out of people's heads, too, with various measures on many levels. These protagonists included state actors on the Allied side, but also non-governmental organizations. Likewise, they included German municipalities, the states, and the federal government.
The goal of the conference is to better understand the importance that völkisch ideology and other ideological currents had for these actors to successfully implement their re-education policies.
0900h Greeting by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Dr. Michael Borchard
0910h Welcome and introduction: Prof. Dr. Dirk Rupnow
0930h Panel I: The preparations of the re-education until 09.05.1945, cultural property protection and reparation. Followed by discussion. Moderation: Prof. Dr. Lynn Rother
1100h Coffee break
1130h Panel II: Carrot and Stick: The Re-education Programs as Part of an Overall Concept: German Educational Reconstruction Committee, Spruchkammern, Marschallplan. Followed by discussion. Moderation: Prof. Dr. Bernd-A. Rusinek
1320h Lunch Break
1420h Panel III The Parts of the Whole: The work of Ernst Cramer, Matthias Walden and the post-war press as part of re-education. Moderation: PD Dr. Matthias Oppermann
1600h Coffee break
1630h Final discussion with guests: The re-education, Ernst Cramer and the Germans. Moderation: Sven-Felix Kellerhoff (Die WELT).
1745h End of the event / Drinks.
The international, interdisciplinary conference will take place on 26.11.2021 and is aimed at scholars of German studies, law, history, social sciences and political science, as well as experts from the political establishment. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes.
The conference is organized by Geschichte und Zukunft e.V. (www.ge-zu.org) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The venue is the Academy of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Tiergartenstraße 35, 10785 Berlin.
The costs of travel to and from the event, meals during the conference program and, if necessary, overnight accommodation will be covered by the organizers. On the previous day, the 4th annual conference of Geschichte und Zukunft e.V., postponed due to the pandemic, will take place, covering the topic "Von völkischem Aufbruch zu mörderischer Politik. The Völkisch Origins of National Socialist Ideology". For a limited number of speakers, overnight accommodations to enable attendance at the 4th Annual Conference will also be covered.
Interested parties please submit abstracts of 300 words along with a short CV (10 lines) by 07/01/2021.
The papers of the speakers are to be published in the annual volume (2022) of the new series "Politik - Ideologie - Wissenschaft" by Verlag Walter de Gruyter, edited by Dirk Rupnow et al.
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