Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 53 (2005), 1

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Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 53 (2005), 1
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München 2005: Oldenbourg Verlag
Jahresabo: € 52,80



Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte
Redaktion Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Leonrodstraße 46b, 80636 München,
Jaroschka, Gabriele



Hubert Wolf , The Roman inquisition and the "temporal errors" - the initiatives of the Vatican against racism and nationalism.

Based on sources that have only been accessible since February 2003, this essay shows that the Roman Curia took a close look at National Socialist ideology in the years between 1934 and 1937. In the centre of this examination, there was Hitler's "Mein Kampf". Interestingly, the initiator of the project was Alois Hudal, who also suggested putting Rosenberg's Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts on the index. The Holy See asked German Jesuits to draw up a syllabus of sentences that were to be condemned; most of these sentences went back to things Hitler had uttered. Yet, this solemn syllabus against racism, which was almost completed, never appeared in print; several times the matter was postponed to some unspecific date. Nevertheless, some important elements of the syllabus have become publicly known, both in the eight statements of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities published in 1938, and in the papal encyclica "Mit brennender Sorge" of 1937.

Rüdiger Hachtmann, Chaos and inefficiency in the "Deutsche Arbeitsfront" (DAF). A report evaluating the situation in 1936.

In 1936, Karl Eicke compiled a unique report of more than 1000 pages about the so called "Deutsche Arbeitsfront", DAF. Eicke, who had joined the NSDAP in 1931, displayed extraordinary analytic depth, and he found remarkably critical words when he evaluated the largest mass organisation of the National Socialist system. The report of this experienced management consultant helps us to gain a deep and precise insight into the DAF, and, consequently, into the policies that the National Socialists pursued in the social sector and on the labour market. Central passages of this document are now presented in this journal for the first time. This source can help us to understand, in a very general sense, how the National Socialist Dictatorship came into being and how it functioned.

Annette Hinz-Wessels, Petra Fuchs, Gerrit Hohendorf, Maike Rotzoll, The bureaucratic conducting of mass murder. Euthanasia in the Third Reich in the mirror of new documents.

Our knowledge about how the National Socialists planned and carried out the murder of thousands of sick people in 1940/41 - "T 4", as the action was code-named - , are founded essentially on the evidence of witnesses and on the statements of the people responsible that were given in the course of criminal investigations after the war. Since more than 30 000 medical records of the 70 000 psychiatric patients killed by gas were discovered in a special archive of the former Ministry for State Security of the GDR, new source material for reconstructing the crimes of euthanasia has been available. Apparently, the intern "T4"-documents now discovered were forgotten when the GDR purged its files in 1989. They yield new insights into the bureaucratic process of the murders, and they document, in very plain language, the administrative steps that were necessary to record the patients, to keep the murders a secret, and to exploit them economically. The documents found show that the term of "administrative murder" that was coined by Hannah Arendt does not only apply to the extermination of the European Jews, but also to the murder of psychiatric patients and mentally disabled people. It was no less systematic.

Patrick Bernhard, Conscientious objection by postcard. A failed reform project of the socialist-liberal coalition.

The so-called "postcard amendment" proposed by the socialist-liberal coalition in 1977 intended to replace the quasi-judicial check that conscientious objectors had had to undergo up to then by a simple declaration. A reform of the fundamental right to refuse military service, which had been introduced in 1949, had become necessary due to the social change that had been in the offing since the 1960s and that had been considerably intensified by the 1968 movement, leading to a strong increase in the number of conscientious objectors. Yet, the reform plan was highly debated. The argument went to the roots of the constitution and had to be decided by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Walter Scheel. He adjudged in favour of the opposition and refused to sign the coalition's bill. The definite end of the reform came in April 1978 when Germany's Federal Constitutional Court declared the project unconstitutional in a controversial debated court judgement. The fact that the reform failed because of such considerable conservative forces contradicts other theses, for instance the one of Ulrich Herbert, who holds the view that a "fundamental liberalisation" of the Federal Republic of Germany was the only prominent feature of these years.


Gerhard Ringshausen, The declarative value of paraphs and the scope of military opposition. Annotations to Johannes Hürter: On the way to military opposition.

To Johannes Hürter paraphs by Henning von Tresckow and Rudolf-Christoph Frhr. von Gersdorff tagged to reports concerning the mass murders of Jews committed in the operational area of the Central German Army Group (Heeresgruppe Mitte) indicate that those subsequent members of the military opposition knew the extent of the murders and are in some respects jointly responsible for them. In contrast, however, one also has to consider the sequence of operations within a military command authority suchlike on the one hand, as well as previous experiences these officers made with the Holocaust. By using an approach like this quite different conclusions can be drawn.

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