Associate 1999-00

Karl-Heinz Schoeps

Germanic Languages & Literatures

Nazi Writers in Germany after 1945

German literature written between 1933 and 1945 outside the Third Reich (exile literature) and, recently, also literature within the Third Reich has received a good deal of attention, but virtually nothing is known about writings of Nazi authors after 1945. While conducting research on his book Literatur im Dritten Reich 1933-45 (1992), Professor Schoeps discovered that the end of the Third Reich in May 1945 by no means terminated the literary careers of those writers who actively supported the Nazi cause, not even the most ardent ones.

Professor Schoeps will begin with 1945 and explore the continued writings of those authors who had lent their pens to the Nazi cause. Questions to be explored include the following: What kind of works did they write? To what extent did these writers see the error of their ways? How did they adapt to the new political realities in Germany? To what extent were they able to air their views and influence public opinion? Histories of post-war German literature have, by and large, ignored these writers because they do not fit into the concept of a "new beginning" after a point zero in 1945. A detailed study of the post-1945 writings of Nazi authors will demonstrate that German literary history after 1945, especially the chapters covering the first twenty years, will have to be re-written. Such a study will also show that there is an unbroken right-wing tradition from the Weimar Republic through the Third Reich into post-war Germany and the new Federal Republic after unification in 1990.