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Anna Haag and her Secret Diary of the Second World War

A Democratic German Feminist’s Response to the Catastrophe of National Socialism


Edward Timms

How was it possible for a well-educated nation to support a regime that made it a crime to think for yourself? This was the key question for the Stuttgart-based author Anna Haag (1888–1982), the democratic feminist whose anti-Nazi diaries are analysed in this book. Like Victor Klemperer, she deconstructed German political propaganda day by day, giving her critique a gendered focus by challenging the ethos of masculinity that sustained the Nazi regime. This pioneering study interprets her diaries, secretly written in twenty notebooks now preserved at the Stuttgart City Archive, as a fascinating source for the study of everyday life in the Third Reich. The opening sections sketch the paradigms that shaped Haag’s creativity, analysing the impact of the First World War and the feminist and pacifist commitments that influenced her literary and journalistic writings. Extensive quotations from the diaries are provided, with English translations, to illustrate her responses to the cataclysms that followed the rise of Hitler, from the military conquests and Jewish deportations to the devastation of strategic bombing. The book concludes with a chapter that traces the links between Haag’s critique of military tyranny and her contribution to post-war reconstruction.
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Series index


Women in German Literature

Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, University of Oxford Series Editor

Women in German Literature is a series of monographs and rigorously edited essay collections focusing on the work of women writers and the representation of women in literature from the Middle Ages to the present day. The series contributes to efforts to broaden the German canon by publishing pioneering studies of work by women as well as cutting-edge assessments of relatively well-known women writers. This includes studies of the participation of women in German intellectual life and in the struggle for rights. The other major concern of the series is the representation of women in literature and media. Studies on this topic offer fresh perspectives on canonical texts and writers and analyse existing tropes that are often still dominant in German cultural life today.

1 Helga S. Madland, Marianne Ehrmann: Reason and Emotion in Her Life and Works. 340 pp. 1998. US-ISBN 0-8204-3929-0

2 Ludmila Kaloyanova-Slavova, Übergangsgeschöpfe: Gabriele Reuter, Hedwig Dohm, Helene Böhlau und Franziska von Reventlow. 200 pp. 1998. US-ISBN 0-8204-3962-2

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