A Democratic German Feminist’s Response to the Catastrophe of National Socialism
Chapter 5: The People’s War: Diarists, Demagogues, Spin-Doctors, Popular Broadcasters and Secret Listeners
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The People’s War: Diarists, Demagogues, Spin-Doctors, Popular Broadcasters and Secret Listeners
On 10 May 1940 the phoney war abruptly ended as the Wehrmacht thrust deep into Belgium and the Netherlands. It must have been the assault on those neutral countries that prompted Anna Haag to draft the first entry featured in her diary typescript. Placed directly under the title ‘From My War Diary. By Anna Haag’, this reads: ‘11 May 1940: Whatever was the point of a Mozart, a Beethoven, a Goethe living and creating their works if we today can think of nothing other than killing and destroying?’1 This forms an effective motto for the historically specific entries that follow, documenting the betrayal of German humanism by a criminal regime. But the motto seems to derive from loose-leaf jottings that have not survived, for in the first of Anna’s handwritten diary notebooks in the Stuttgart archive the opening entry is dated 12 August 1940 and begins: ‘So Sigrid does not want to go to Baltimore with her child. Does not want to leave her husband behind. That’s what Cousin Pauline has written from Baltimore. That’s what I myself thought, anyway. What fate awaits the poor children!’ She has heard via Pauline that on 29 June Rudolf was still interned in England.2 ← 83 | 84 →
Clearly, the impulse to begin this diary was prompted by Anna’s concern for her children living abroad. They were able to exchange letters...
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