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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.
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Research for this project was conducted at the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart, and at the Institut für Hochschulkunde at Würzburg University, under the financial support of Rondeau Evans and Maclyn Burg, made available by my home institution of the University of Washington. I expresses my gratitude to my Doktormutter, Uta Poiger, my doctoral committee of Glennys Young, James Felak, John Toews, and Sarah Stein, and the scholars who have provided their kind guidance and input subsequently, including Martin Menke, Charles Gallagher, Michael Gross, Gerald Fogarty and Jeffrey Zalar, and the participants at recent conferences of the American Catholic Historical Association and the German Studies Association. I also thank the institutions that kept me employed, including the University of Washington (Seattle and Bothell campuses), Seattle University, Antioch University, Shoreline Community College, Concordia University-Texas, Texas Lutheran University, Schreiner University, Sul Ross State University-Rio Grande College and the University College of Texas State University. I am also grateful to the families Geiss and Porschitz, who graciously opened their homes to me in Germany. I also acknowledge two editors who read painstakingly and with a great deal of patience and forgiveness: my longtime friend, spiritual mentor and godfather of my children, Duane Weilnau, and my mother, Evelyn Dianne Bardoulas-Roethler. Finally, and most importantly, I express my gratitude and love to my wife, Karin Joy Hilker-Roethler.

← xiii | xiv →Grateful acknowledgement is hereby made to use the following materials:

CV Fraternity, coat of arms of “Aenania...

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