Show Less
Restricted access

Germany’s Catholic Fraternities and the Weimar Republic


Jeremy Stephen Roethler

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



For ease of explanation, I use the term “fraternity” in this study to describe a variety of student organizations, believing it would be the term most familiar to a reader in the English language. In the German language, the terminology is more complicated. Up to the early 1800s, the terms “Corps” or “Landsmannschaften” were used to describe student organizations that were roughly equivalent to contemporary American college fraternities in structure, practice and ritual. In 1818, the Deutsche Burschenschaft (DB) officially formed. From this point forward, the word “Burschenschaft” could be used to describe any fraternity hailing from the nationalist tradition inaugurated by the DB. Other fraternities used the title of “Bund,” such as the Akademischer Turnbund or the Allgemeiner Deutscher Burschenbund. Others used the term “Verbindung,” as in, the Verband der akademischen Sport-Verbindungen. All fraternal organizations maintained individual university chapters known by any of the following: “Korporation,” “Burschenschaft,” “Verbindung,” “Verein” or “Bund.” The older Corps did not use any of these titles, but used the abbreviated appellation “SC” (Senioren-Convent) at the end of their names, as in, the “Kösener SC.” Unlike American fraternity chapters (consistently identified by Greek letters), Germany’s individual fraternity chapters typically have their own unique names, such as “Alamannia,” “Cimbria” or “Danubia” (often, but not always in reference to the Latin names for ancient Germanic tribes). Through much of their history, the Corps and the nationalist-oriented Burschenschaften, ← xi | xii →Verbindungen and Bünde generally endorsed the duel, and starting in 1919, agreed...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.