About the book
Through the last century, Catholic fraternity alumni have served as German chancellors, presidents, federal ministers, state executives, and leading voices in Germany’s parliament. They have played leading roles in the Catholic press, in Catholic youth groups, in Catholic civic associations, and in the German Catholic hierarchy. After World War II, Catholic fraternity alumni played founding roles in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), the two parties that led West Germany’s transition from its catastrophic defeat (“zero hour”) to the economic miracle (1949–1969). This book considers the ideas that many of these Catholic leaders encountered as college students or as active alumni in their fraternities in the fifteen years before Adolf Hitler came to power.
“Any student or scholar of twentieth-century German Catholicism will have to read this book. It is part of a new wave of scholarship in the field that effectively disproves the social scientists’ insistence that religion no longer played a social or political role in the twentieth century. In addition, Jeremy Stephen Roethler’s work is a model of clarity and insight that ties his work on Catholic fraternities to larger questions of culture, religion, and politics. He ties the specifics of his archival study to important intellectual trends. Roethler’s work is especially important because it creates a foundation of understanding for the Catholic genesis of Germany’s postwar Christian Democratic leaders.”
Martin Menke, Professor of History,Rivier University, Nashua, New Hampshire
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