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"Völkisch" Writers and National Socialism

A Study of Right-Wing Political Culture in Germany, 1890–1960


Guy Tourlamain

This book provides a view of literary life under the Nazis, highlighting the ambiguities, rivalries and conflicts that determined the cultural climate of that period and beyond. Focusing on a group of writers – in particular, Hans Grimm, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Wilhelm Schäfer, Emil Strauß, Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen and Rudolf Binding – it examines the continuities in völkisch-nationalist thought in Germany from c. 1890 into the post-war period and the ways in which völkisch-nationalists identified themselves in opposition to four successive German regimes: the Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and the Federal Republic. Although their work predated Hitler’s National Socialist movement, their contribution to preparing the cultural climate for the rise of Nazism ensured them continued prominence in the Third Reich. Those who survived into the post-war era continued to represent the völkisch-nationalist worldview in the West German public sphere, opposing both the Soviet and liberal-democratic models for Germany’s future. While not uncontroversial, they were able to achieve significant publishing success, suggesting that a demand existed for their works among the German public, stimulating debate about the nature of the recent past and its effect on Germany’s cultural and political identity and position in the world.
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Chapter 1: ‘Wegbereiter’ for the Nazis? Völkisch-Nationalist Writers in Germany, 1870–1933

← 22 | 23 → CHAPTER 1

‘Wegbereiter’ for the Nazis? Völkisch-Nationalist Writers in Germany, 1870–1933

The identifiable characteristics of völkisch-nationalist ideology were responses to changes in Germany between 1870 and 1914. The Kaiserreich saw the rapid growth of industrial capitalism and dramatic urbanisation, leading to social upheaval that appeared to threaten traditional ways of life. Between 1890 and 1913, the population grew from 49.4 million to 66.9 million, making it the second largest in Europe after Russia. In the three decades after 1866, 2.9 million Germans emigrated in response to economic challenges at home. During the boom years after 1893, however, the flood of emigrants decreased. Instead, large numbers migrated from rural areas to the expanding industrial cities within Germany. Between 1870 and 1910, the number of cities with populations over 100,000 rose from 8 to 48. By 1914, one fifth of the population lived in the cities.1 While the state’s structures continued to defend the historic privileges of the landowners, the growth of capital and industry led to a diminished economic role for agriculture. The growing bourgeoisie increasingly demanded equality with the aristocratic classes. At the same time, the new challenge of organised labour emerged, following the abolition of the Anti-Socialist Law in 1890 and the resulting growth of the Social Democratic Party, which emphasised class conflict and demanded radical reform.2 Völkisch-nationalism emerged as an extreme, but nonetheless increasingly widely accepted, integrative ideological programme for a bourgeoisie that felt it ← 23 | 24 → was sandwiched between the powerful landed interests on the one hand, and organised labour on the other.

Völkisch writers played a central role in the codification and dissemination of völkisch-nationalism, making literature fundamental in the fight against the evils of the contemporary world. Their works reflected the atmosphere of change and the tension between progress and tradition. While they privileged the countryside over the growing cities, which they saw as responsible for the degeneration of the German Volk as a result of bad living conditions and immoral behaviour,3 they did not reject industrialism outright. Nonetheless industry was rarely presented as central to the ideal society.4 From its emergence as a primarily bourgeois response to conditions in the Kaiserreich, völkisch-nationalism increasingly sought to gain the support of the entire German nation. This corresponded to its ideological emphasis on a social order in which race rather than class was the defining category. While there was general acceptance of certain core elements, völkisch-nationalism remained broad. By the outbreak of the First World War its underlying characteristics were identifiable in a large number of social and political positions. These featured a common recognition of the degeneration of modern life and opposition to socialism, Bolshevism, international capitalism, and not infrequently the Jews. A shared utopian vision of a Volksgemeinschaft, a socially, politically and spiritually united community of the German Volk, defined by blood, and an assertion of an eternal, absolute and organic truth accompanied a rejection of the aesthetic modernism observable in the artistic avant-garde of the early twentieth century. This, with its international characteristics, seemed to threaten the process of cultural unification. Many völkisch-nationalists also supported German colonial ambitions. As a rule, too, they disapproved of parliamentary systems, advocating instead a form of government based on ← 24 | 25 → the so-called Führerprinzip, according to which a leader would emerge out of the Volk, recognisable through the great deeds he (the Führer was always referred to in the masculine) had performed.

The large number of organisations, some very short-lived, that came under the völkisch umbrella during these years is testament to the disunited and inconsistent nature of the phenomenon. Rather than a political movement, völkisch-nationalism is therefore best understood as a mode of thought based on an understanding of society based on the German race. Its incoherent manifestations were already evident even to those involved in völkisch-nationalist activities before the First World War.5 Overall, the goal of völkisch-nationalism was the renewal and rebirth of Germany. It developed and matured in the Kaiserreich, when the nationalist right moved from co-operation with the government to representing nationalist opposition to Wilhelmine politics. This prepared it, to an extent, for the challenges it faced after 1918, when völkisch-nationalists identified themselves in opposition to the Weimar Republic. Even then, however, they failed to achieve the unity that many viewed as essential for success.

The ‘Jewish Question’

The relationship between the völkisch ideology and German anti-Semitism in the late nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries was close but complicated. While some völkisch-nationalists expressed an extreme, targeted antipathy towards the Jews in particular, for others the question of race as a whole was more important. In their attitudes towards the Jews, völkisch-nationalists owed much to the development of German anti-Semitism during the nineteenth century, when it underwent a transformation from religious anti-Semitism to racial anti-Semitism. This change accompanied the debate concerning the assimilation of the Jews, which also ← 25 | 26 → exposed the depth to which anti-Jewish sentiment had penetrated German society. While liberal opinion tended to favour assimilation in the belief that Jewish characteristics were not biological, but lay instead in the Jewish tradition, racial anti-Semites emphasised biological differences between Germans and Jews. Jewishness was in the blood, thereby eliminating any hope of assimilation through the adoption of German customs and the Christian religion.6

In his novel Soll und Haben, first published in 1855 and reprinted 27 times in the following 23 years, Gustav Freytag demonstrated the degree to which stereotypes of Jews prevailed in German culture. With one exception the Jewish characters in this novel were unattractive, money-oriented figures. They also spoke grammatically incorrect German, suggesting that it was not their native tongue and setting them apart from the Germans.7 These stereotypes had their roots in older views of Jewishness.8 It was frequently alleged that Jews predominated in certain trades and professions, largely in non-productive spheres, and that in artistic life their abilities lay in interpretation rather than creation. Following the emancipation of the Jews in Prussia in 1869 many abandoned Jewish orthodoxy. Between 1889 and 1910 there were 12,375 Jewish conversions to Protestant Christianity in Germany, and this figure does not take into account those Jews who were assimilated before this date.9

Freytag’s novel allowed for the possibility of Jewish assimilation to German culture in the figure of Bernhard, whose concern for high culture reflected the civilised character ascribed to Germans.10 In an essay published ← 26 | 27 → in the Viennese Neue Freie Presse on 21st May 1893, moreover, Freytag spoke out directly against racial anti-Semitism’s denial of the possibility of assimilation. Writing for the celebration of Pentecost, Freytag reminded his readers that the Apostles had themselves been Jews. He went on to criticise the racial anti-Semites,

for they scour the family trees of Christians back to some distant past and declare conversion to Christianity and the assimilation of baptised Jews into Christian family life to be dishonest and a blemish on the offspring of such mixed marriages. This view holds both a lack of German convictions and an inclination towards usurious business dealings to be indelible characteristics of Jewish descent, which continue to have an effect in later generations, even under totally different circumstances, and when they have converted to Christianity.11

Racial anti-Semites did indeed express reservations regarding assimilation. In spite of his initial support for Freytag’s view in its favour, Heinrich von Treitschke, Professor of History in Berlin, increasingly expressed concern that should it fail, it would breed a bastard German-Jewish culture. Treitschke’s belief in assimilation of the Jews as a realistic solution to the ‘Jewish question’ waned towards the end of the nineteenth century. His emphasis on the Jew as an alien was famously expressed in a series of articles published in the Preußische Jahrbücher between 1879 and 1881.12 The first, Unsere Aussichten, unleashed the Berliner Antisemitismusstreit, in which Treitschke was vigourously opposed by his colleague at the university in Berlin, Theodor Mommsen. Drawing widespread attention through his publications, as well as his lectures, Treitschke helped make anti-Semitism the subject of respectable, intellectual debate.13

← 27 | 28 → The importance of race for anti-Semites in Germany was most unambiguously articulated by Wilhelm Marr, credited with inventing the term ‘anti-Semitism’. In his book, Der Sieg des Judentums über das Germanentum (1879),14 he presented a socio-cultural history of the development of Jewish hegemony in the world. He moved the fight against Judaism from the religious to the racial field, thereby removing anti-Semitism from the charge of religious prejudice and aligning it with social-Darwinist theories.15 In 1880 he summed up his position: ‘There must be no question here of parading religious prejudices when it is a question of race and when the difference lies in the “blood”.’16 Marr opened the way for the association of anti-Semitism with racial discussions of morals and culture that were central to völkisch-nationalist discourses by the end of the nineteenth century.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Richard Wagner’s son-in-law, also provides an example of the far-reaching impact of anti-Semitic writers in the late nineteenth century.17 His most influential work, Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (1899) was characterised by irrational anti-Semitic polemics and Chamberlain’s passion for culture and the ideal of self-cultivation.18 The work presented the history of mankind as a struggle ← 28 | 29 → between the good, embodied in the German race, and the bad, represented by the Jews. The influence of Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts went beyond nationalist organisations, attracting widespread attention in the press. On 30th April 1902, the Frankfurter Zeitung was forced to admit reluctantly that it ‘has caused more of a ferment than any other appearance in the book market in recent years’.19 Three editions appeared in its first year and a cheap, popular edition, published in 1906, sold more than 10,000 copies in the first ten days. By 1915, total editions exceeded 100,000 copies and the book had been translated into English, Czech, and French.20 It appears to have been read with enthusiasm by the Bildungsbürgertum in general, and even by Wilhelm II, who sent Chamberlain a note of appreciation in which he declared that the book had ‘brought order to my confused thoughts and light into my darkness, and pointed out the paths that will lead to the salvation of the German nation and thereby of mankind itself.’21 He instructed that every Prussian school should have a copy in its library and recommended it as reading for army officers.22

Adolf Bartels and Anti-Semitic Literary Criticism

The success of Chamberlain’s work is one example of the widespread acceptance of anti-Semitic views in ‘polite’ society. From the early 1880s, discussions of the ‘Jewish question’ moved away from a focus on assimilation towards racial discourses in which the Jews were perceived not only as a foreign race, but a threatening ‘counter race’. A desire for ‘racial purity’ drove the anti-Semitic discourse of the final decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth to new extremes. Likewise, ← 29 | 30 → anti-Semitism influenced the development of völkisch-nationalism in these years as the two increasingly converged.23

At the turn of the century Adolf Bartels, an outspoken anti-Semite and literary critic, was instrumental in popularising the racial anti-Semitism of men like Marr and Chamberlain. He remained prominent until his death in 1945. He published several novels and plays, but was best known for his literary criticism. As a literary critic Bartels was a man of his time. Fifty years earlier literary criticism was still bound to the universities.24 After 1871, however, a change occurred in the literary sphere. Rapid industrialisation and the changes it brought to the German economy were accompanied by an explosion in the number of publishers, journals and newspapers responding to an increase in the size of the reading public and a corresponding growth in the demand for reading material. Books, journals and newspapers were no longer produced for an educated minority, but became commodities with a large market.25 Literary criticism gained a new readership among the middle classes.26 Literary critics increasingly expressed views that went beyond the works themselves, dealing with social and political issues. Bartels was one of the most extreme. In the 1890s his work appeared in two journals, the political articles in Die Grenzboten and the literary in Ferdinand Avenarius’ Der Kunstwart. In total he wrote over 300 articles for the latter until September 1906, after which his views became too extreme for even the conservative Avenarius. In these articles he popularised his favourite authors, including Friedrich Hebbel, Otto Ludwig and Wilhelm Raabe. He also began to define the problems he saw in German literature. Both ← 30 | 31 → he and Avenarius used a metaphor of sickness when referring to the developments they saw in German culture at the turn of the twentieth century. Bartels labelled it ‘modernitis’.27

As a literary critic, Bartels popularised ‘race’ as a critical category, an approach first introduced by Paul de Lagarde and Julius Langbehn in the second half of the nineteenth century.28 His most significant work was his Geschichte der deutschen Literatur, first published in 1901, and reappearing in a number of revised editions until 1945.29 Here he tried to cover the complete corpus of German literature. Half the work, however, is devoted to the nineteenth century. It combined his literary theories with his Geschichtsbild, which was firmly anti-modern. Bartels was the enemy of liberalism and Judaism, two of the forces of degeneration he saw and fought in society. He divided German literature into that written by Jews and that written by non-Jews and ignored criticisms that he was nationalistic. Nationalism was, in fact, something he deliberately cultivated and took very seriously.30

The Geschichte der deutschen Literatur was extremely successful, third and fourth editions being published by the Eduard Avenarius Verlag within two years of its appearance. His publisher also commissioned a third volume, the Handbuch zur Geschichte der deutschen Literatur, which was sold as a companion to the first two volumes.31 In addition a single volume Geschichte der deutschen Literatur sold almost 30,000 copies between 1919 and 1924. Bartels constantly revised this edition during the Weimar Republic until it was little more than a list of works divided into two categories: those that ← 31 | 32 → supported the rebirth of the German people and those that, according to Bartels, were in league with the forces of liberalism and world Judaism.32

Bartels also used his reputation as a literary critic to contribute to anti-Semitic campaigns in Germany in the early twentieth century, not least his battle against the positive legacy of Heinrich Heine. On repeated occasions in the 1890s, and again in 1906, völkisch-nationalists mobilised to prevent the erection of a memorial to Heine, a Jew, in various German cities. In 1906, Bartels led the successful struggle against the unveiling of a statue in front of the city hall in Hamburg to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Heine’s death. On 1st July, his 375-page book, Heine: Auch ein Denkmal, appeared, setting out his case against the poet.33 Bartels’ complaint was that Heine was a Jew who claimed, or his supporters both during his lifetime and after his death claimed for him, a place in the ranks of the great German poets. He wrote:

[…] he [Heine] is not a German lyricist; he is, as one must emphasize again and again, a Jew writing in German, who cannot de facto mean as much to us as even a smaller German talent whose poetry grows out of his life and being and, moreover, out of the German Volk. […] Therefore the one-sided eroticist Heine cannot, by a long chalk, be to us what Hebbel and Mörike are.34

Bartels did not consider language sufficient to make a poet a member of the Volk. His racism was based on a theory of blood rather than culture.

Bartels’ work aroused both positive and negative reactions. Among those who responded favourably was Ludwig Lorenz, who published a study of Bartels’ works in 1908. Lorenz defended the anti-Semitic character of the Geschichte der deutschen Literatur, suggesting that it served to highlight the weaknesses in German literature in the early twentieth century. He defended Bartels’ campaign against Heine:

I believe the influence of Jewish writers, who can basically never be completely German, is today actually too great and damaging in various ways. […] If a spirited ← 32 | 33 → campaigner has become angry about the state of literature today, I find it very understandable. Incidentally I would like to point out that Bartels is just as hard on Richard Voß, Bierbaum, Hartleben and others as he is on Jewish talents. In any case it is not permissible to reject his aesthetic judgements on account of his anti-Semitism. Even Jews, if they reflect carefully, have to recognise this.35

Like other apologists for Bartels, Lorenz saw his subject’s self-imposed role as a national fighter as a strength; the importance of his literary works lay in their representation of their author’s love for his homeland, an example to all Germans.36

The second significant achievement of Bartels’ career was the establishment of the National Theatre Festival for German Youth and its parent organisation, the German Schillerbund. His crusade to bring school children from across Germany to Weimar to see productions of German classics began in 1905, and was combined with his desire to create a national theatre in Germany. In a pamphlet published the same year, entitled Das Weimarische Hoftheater als Nationalbühne für die deutsche Jugend: Eine Denkschrift,37 he argued that from the mid-nineteenth century German theatres had relied too heavily on foreign dramatists to provide them with their repertoire, allowing the non-German Geist to gain a hold. Bartels called for the renewal of the German theatre through the foundation of a German national theatre and the staging of festivals for school pupils, which would ensure that the seed of the German Geist was planted in the next generation.38 The timely opening of a new theatre in Weimar in 1908 presented Bartels with an opportunity to bring his plans to fruition. This was further helped by the appointment of Carl von Schirach, one of his strongest supporters and the father of Baldur, the future leader of the Hitler Youth, as its managing director.39

← 33 | 34 → The German Schillerbund was founded at the first Nationalbühnentag on 30th September 1906 with 60 members, largely writers, artists and teachers. The following year an Anruf was issued calling for support for the theatre festival.40 With the influential support of several prominent literary figures behind it, it was possible to stage the first festival from 6th to 24th July 1909. Two thousand students were given the opportunity to see Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell, Lessing’s Minna von Barnhelm, Kleist’s Prinz von Homburg and Goethe’s Egmont. The first festival was such a success that it subsequently became a biennial fixture in the German cultural calendar. Thereafter, however, the Schillerbund distanced itself from its creator, removing Bartels from its governing body in 1913. He finally resigned altogether in 1915.41

The City versus the Country

While many völkisch-nationalists were anti-Semites, anti-Semitism was not the defining characteristic of völkisch-nationalism. Instead it was a consequential element of a general racist ideology. As Puschner points out, as the nineteenth century drew to a close a number of völkisch-nationalists were increasingly concerned that their ideology should not be identified as purely anti-Semitic.42 While this does not detract from their ideological debt to anti-Semitism, their primary concern was to promote an emphasis on the rebirth of the German Volk. The goal of the Volksgemeinschaft dominated their programme. In an article in the pan-German journal Das zwanzigste Jahrhundert in 1893 Friedrich Lienhard argued that the ‘Jewish question’ would solve itself if the prerequisites for a healthy life for the German Volk were met. He therefore wrote that anti-Semitism was not a social, moral or even religious question; ← 34 | 35 → it was ‘not a question in its own right,’ but instead ‘a negative part of a positive programme. And this positive programme is: Renewal of German culture in the German Geist and out of our German nature! This principled emphasis of Germanness is not chauvinism; it is a new principle.’43 Lienhard advocated cleansing the German Volk of damaging foreign influences, which included liberalism, social democracy, French culture, and cosmopolitanism. These were to be replaced with a return to traditional German culture.44

Both Lienhard and Bartels were also among the founders of the Heimatkunstbewegung, a movement concerned with the literature and art depicting the life of provincial Germans in non-urban settings, and with the customs, traditions and history of the regions.45 It provided a channel for the expression of racial views that did not directly engage with the ‘Jewish question’. Many of its representatives passively accepted the anti-Semitic views of writers like Bartels, but did not make them the centre of their world view. Bartels’ contribution to the Heimatkunstbewegung included a collection of novels about his Schleswig-Holstein homeland. Among them was his volume of childhood memories, Kinderland, and the 500-page novel, Die Dithmarscher, chronicling three generations of a Dithmarschen family between 1500 and 1559, and focusing on the ultimately unsuccessful struggle for independence waged by the Dithmarscher against the Danes and Holsteiner in the sixteenth century.46 It presents their cause as a heroic fight of the Volk against those forces that found their ultimate victory in the liberal culture of the industrial state.47

Concentrated in particular in border regions, the Heimatkunstbewegung promoted provincial life and traditions as the foundations of German society. It was inextricably linked to the völkisch movement and a precursor ← 35 | 36 → to the Blut und Boden literature promoted by the Nazis thirty years later. Kay Dohnke points out that völkisch literature developed beyond the provincial focus of the Heimatkunstbewegung, nationalist perspectives superseding local patriotism; nonetheless the roots of both movements were too multiple and can be traced too far back to make a simple progression from Heimat to völkisch movement convincing.48 A largely middle class phenomenon, the Heimatkunstbewegung was at once an assertion of local patriotism and an expression of nationalist sentiment. It was a conscious celebration of regional differences within the national whole; ‘Germanness’ was embedded in the history and customs of Germany’s many regions, whence it derived its strength.49 The Heimatkunstbewegung therefore shared many of the characteristics identified by Celia Applegate as belonging to the wider Heimat movement that also emerged in Germany at this time. Applegate asserts, however, that in promoting regional identities, the historical unions, walking clubs, Heimat museums and other organisations that contributed to the Heimat movement were not necessarily engaging in a political or social discourse, but at most in a community-building exercise.50 The Heimatkunstbewegung, however, took the sentiments of regional romanticism and used them as the basis for a nationalist discourse based on the relationship of the Volk with its native landscape.51 This idea later influenced a number of leading Nazis, most notably Walter Darré.52 It was therefore inextricably linked to the völkisch ideology, which identified the ← 36 | 37 → German Volk as the descendent of the Germanic tribes, each rooted in a different region. The migration of these tribes led to a mixing of their blood, and the creation of the German Volk. Regional identification, epitomised by identification with the native landscape, was a sign of relating to the Germanic tribes of old, and demonstrated a deep feeling for the ancient roots of the modern Volk.

The Austrian literary historian Josef Nadler adopted these ideas as the basis for his literary theories, focusing his work on a version of the history of the German tribes adapted from the work of his teacher, August Sauer, Professor of German in Prague. Sauer approached every text as a product of a particular tribe, from which a writer inherited his or her most primitive cultural influences.53 Nadler adopted a more sophisticated argument that suggested that the tribe was one important element among a range of influences on a writer. According to Nadler, the individual belonged to the family, which in turn belonged to a tribe, which, under the right circumstances, belonged to a racially defined state.54 The development of the literature of the different tribes was, moreover, dependent on their native landscapes. The literature of the Saxons was, for example, informed by the River Elbe and wide northern vistas, making them the guardians of the Nordic myths and sagas; the Franconians, with the Rhine running through their country, were the tribe of German poetry.55 With his history of German literature, the first volume of which was published in 1912 as the Literaturgeschichte der deutschen Stämme und Landschaften, Nadler felt he had given German literary scholars a new national direction. Through the historical development of the tribes to form the German Volk, he tied ← 37 | 38 → the Volk firmly to the land. As a result, true German literature, formed by the relationship of the writer to his or her tribal landscape, and representing the völkisch spirit, expressed a very deep relationship with the ancient roots of the German people.

The Heimatkunstbewegung was also part of the reaction against urbanisation in the Kaiserreich. Its attitude towards capitalism was marked by the experience of 1873, when Germany’s industry and financial markets were hit by a crisis from which the middle class only slowly recovered.56 The migration of people to the cities coupled with falling educational standards, were also seen by concerned völkisch commentators as promoting social democracy. The sinking birth rate in the cities was viewed in eugenic terms, presenting the danger of racial degeneration and an increase in deformity, especially among the poor. Industrialisation had lured many people away from the land with the promise of easy earnings and greater freedom. Morally the removal of large numbers of people from their natural habitats was seen not only to spur materialism, and wild behaviour, but also to prevent the growth of any feeling of belonging. The long-term result would be a Volk torn from its roots. The city was therefore seen as the fundamental antithesis to the integral relationship between the Volk and its landscape, against which Heimat writers propagated an idyllic vision of country life and the peasant as the bedrock of German society.57

Heimat literature, including works produced by advocates of the Heimatkunstbewegung, offered city dwellers a temporary escape from their environment and a connection to a set of local customs and history older than the cities in which they lived. Against modern society, it sought to provide an antidote to the alienation of its inhabitants.58 The rejection of urban society and the idealisation of rural life in Heimat and ← 38 | 39 → völkisch literature referred back to nineteenth century village tales,59 and formed a representational basis for the interlocked ideologies of the Heimatkunstbewegung and the völkisch movement. Journals like Der Türmer (1898), Heimat (1900), Die Rheinlande (1900), as well as Die Gesellschaft provided a forum for the pastoral image of rural life.60

The works of the Heimatkunstbewegung reflected the paradoxical nature of völkisch-nationalism as whole. It was a bourgeois protest against bourgeois society, providing both an explanation of and an answer to a sense of crisis in German society. The Heimatkunstbewegung presented the völkisch-nationalist vision of rural life as the antidote to capitalist materialism, the rise of Social-Democracy, and the misery of the industrial cities. Numerous organisations were also established to enable city dwellers to live out the romantic idealism it provided. The Wandervogel, for example, was founded in Berlin to provide young people with the opportunity to hike in the German countryside, thereby obtaining the necessary relationship with their native landscape.61 The popularity of such organisations served to endorse further the idea of Heimat in the völkisch-nationalist imagination as the negation of everything encompassed by the term ‘Berlin’. Materialism was confronted with idealism in an attempt to raise German cultural life to a higher spiritual level.

Condemning the cold rationalism of the naturalist realism they opposed as the product of the Enlightenment, völkisch-nationalists drew a distinction between proof and instinct. The latter was represented in their literature by the peasant hero, a man of deeds not words, whose knowledge was based on life not books. Examples of such heroes include Harm Wulf in Hermann Löns’ Der Wehrwolf and Jörn Uhl in Gustav Frenssen’s work of that name.62 These protagonists were shown them in tune with their native lands, from which they drew strength in the face of ← 39 | 40 → the difficulties presented by the modern world.63 Rootedness and belonging are the necessary foundations for life in these novels, and are to be found in the native community in its landscape. As such these ideas were easily combined with völkisch-nationalist definitions of the Volksgemeinschaft. This belonging was not materialist, but had a metaphysical quality; the spiritual, moral and physical health of the German Volk were intrinsically connected.

Gustav Frenssen

As Adolf Bartels was one of the founders of the Heimatkunstbewegung, so Gustav Frenssen was one of its most successful representatives. The best-selling author in Germany in the years 1905 and 1906, Frenssen, like Bartels, contributed to making völkisch-nationalist ideas part of mainstream literary culture in Germany between 1900 and 1914. In 1913, the total copies printed of his colonial novel, Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest, numbered around 180,000, while in 1916 Jörn Uhl reached close to 240,000. Frenssen began his career as a pastor in Schleswig-Holstein. Three volumes of his sermons were published between 1899 and 1902 and by 1928 a total of 97,000 copies had been printed.64 During his years as a pastor, Frenssen not only developed his social and theological thought, but also began to develop an interest in biological and racist literature. In his memoirs, the Grübeleien, he described his desire to improve the health of human nature and society.65 The huge success of Jörn Uhl in 1901 enabled Frenssen to leave his career in the church in order to devote his energies to writing. During ← 40 | 41 → the years that followed he wrote one of his few dramas, Das Heimatsfest, and the novel Hilligenlei.66 Hilligenlei was concerned with the anger of the bourgeois youth, and the possibility of a better, more völkisch religion. Frenssen challenged bourgeois morality, particularly regarding sexuality, and promoted behaviour based on biological-racial considerations. Overall, he adopted a strongly chauvinist and racist version of the völkisch ideology, which also included criticism of institutional Christianity.67 A pure, German belief system was needed that would, he argued, reunite nature and religion.

A year after Hilligenlei, Frenssen published the novel Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest and 100,000 copies of each novel had been printed by November in their respective years of publication. Both demonstrate the themes running through Frenssen’s ideological thinking at this time, themes that continued to influence his work. Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest, Frenssen’s contribution to colonial literature, dealt with the campaign to put down the Herero Uprising in German Southwest Africa between 1904 and 1907. Here, Frenssen demonstrated his concern for Germany’s position in the world alongside the other great powers. Racial relationships are also considered in the book.68 The words of the Oberleutnant in the final pages reflect Frenssen’s own social-Darwinist views:

‘These blacks have deserved death before God and humanity, not because they have murdered two hundred farmers and risen up against us, but because they have built no houses and dug no wells.’ […] ‘What we sang in the service the day before yesterday: “We come to pray before God the just”, I understand as follows: God gave us victory because we are nobler and strive harder. That does not say much in relation to this black people; we must ensure that we become the best and the most watchful of all peoples on Earth. The world belongs to the industrious, the brightest. That is God’s justice.’69

← 41 | 42 → One thousand copies of the work were distributed by the Central Office of the Navy League, Germany’s largest nationalist organisation, as propaganda for the nationalist, colonial cause in the 1907 Reichstag elections. The Navy League’s propaganda efforts were undertaken in close coordination with Chancellor Bülow’s office, which also informally provided the funds for this undertaking.70 Frenssen’s work was, therefore, not only widely received by the German public at large, but also by the political establishment. The appeal of his novels lay in the fact that he addressed themes current to his readership. His position at the heart of German literary life demonstrates his place in the mainstream of the early twentieth century. This was due to the successful combination of völkisch mysticism and more straightforward political nationalism, which did not threaten the establishment, in which he had many friends. Frenssen’s nationalism, his support for German colonialism, his call for a more Germanic Christianity and a return to values based in the Volk and nature all found a resonance not only among völkisch-nationalist reformers, but also among the German bourgeoisie.71

The breadth of his correspondence also attests to his wide appeal. He exchanged letters with Hermann Hesse and other liberal writers, as well as with nationalists like Börries von Munchhausen.72 Around the time when he was writing Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest, Frenssen was also in contact with Hans Grimm, who was living in South Africa. Through Grimm, Frenssen accessed experience of Germany’s colonies. Grimm’s son, Wernt, later remembered visits to Frenssen’s home in Blankenese with his parents during the First World War, when he was a small child.73 The contacts between the ← 42 | 43 → two writers occurred on a level of personal friendship that extended to their families. Frenssen also encouraged Grimm in his early literary endeavours, complimenting him on his amusing style in a postcard in 1914,74 presumably after having read one of his two works published in 1913: Südafrikanische Novellen or Afrikafahrt-West. Ein Reisebuch und Einführungsbuch.75 Given Frenssen’s proven interest in African affairs and his personal friendship with Grimm, it is likely he was acquainted with these works.

The personal nature of such acquaintanceships contributed to the creation of strong networks among writers of a völkisch-nationalist persuasion. These survived periods in which they found themselves faced first with the challenges of the Weimar Republic and then with the attempts of Goebbels and the Nazi regime to break down these networks and replace them with their own. Nonetheless, not all the contacts between völkisch-nationalist writers were cordial. Frenssen was also acquainted with Adolf Bartels. The latter was born a year before Frenssen and their attendance at the Gymnasium in Meldorf, Schleswig-Holstein, overlapped between 1877 and 1879. From the beginning of his literary career, Frenssen received negative criticism from Bartels. On the appearance of Frenssen’s second novel, Die drei Getreuen, Bartels reviewed his work in the Literarisches Centralblatt, in which he described it as typical of trivial literature written for women.76 Frenssen, dissatisfied with Bartels’ judgement, wrote him a long letter on 28th November 1898, in which he defended his writing in a long discussion of the worth of the Schriftsteller opposed to that of the Dichter.77 Frenssen identified himself in the tradition of the Dichter, aligning ← 43 | 44 → himself with names in German literature such as Goethe and Keller rather than fellow Heimatkünstler like Lienhard and Bartels.78 Nevertheless, he suggests that the name of Schriftsteller would be satisfactory to him if it was also applied to Gustav Freytag, Peter Rosegger and Charles Dickens. The debate about the definition and relative worth of Dichter versus Schriftsteller was one that would continue throughout the first half of the twentieth century, particularly in völkisch literary circles.79 The animosity between Frenssen and Bartels, who had much in common, both ideologically and biographically, did not abate in the course of their later careers.

Gustav Frenssen’s völkisch-nationalist worldview was rooted in his relationship with his Schleswig-Holstein Heimat and his religious views, which increasingly tended towards the brand of völkisch mysticism he demonstrated in Hilligenlei. His concept of the Volk was bound up with social-Darwinism, and in particular the idea of the survival of the fittest, as he demonstrated in Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest. Before the First World War, he differentiated between different Völker, but for most of his career he did not nurture a particularly negative view of the Jews, in contrast with Adolf Bartels. For Frenssen a racist worldview did not automatically mean anti-Semitism; racial differences also existed between the Germans and the Anglo-Saxons, the Turks, the Romanians and so on. Indeed, Crystall suggests that Frenssen consciously rejected the anti-Semitic sentiments that existed in the church circles from which he came. Furthermore, during the First World War, he made several positive comparisons between the Germans and the Jews in his propagandistic journalism for the German cause.80 At this stage, therefore, for Frenssen the Jews were a separate race, ← 44 | 45 → but not necessarily inferior. From about 1927, however, with the publication of the second volume of his Grübeleien, a change can be observed in his attitudes. From this point, Crystall argues, in years of diminishing success, Frenssen increasingly demonstrated the overtly negative attitude towards the Jews that was to characterise his position in old age after 1933. Influenced by his publisher, Müller-Grote, he blamed his lack of success in the 1920s on the unhealthy impact of Jewish internationalism on German culture.81

Völkisch Organisations and the Printed Word

The term völkisch was first applied in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century to denote a reform movement in which ethnicity was the decisive category.82 Nevertheless, as we have seen, völkisch ideas were already evident in the second half of the nineteenth century.83 Like-minded men of a völkisch persuasion formed groups dedicated to the propagation and dissemination of their Weltanschauung. The organisations that emerged provided their members with access to discussion and active involvement in politics. Moreover, organisations often had members in common, creating an intricate web of groups that between them covered a broad spectrum of patriotic interests. As Roger Chickering has argued, these links opened up any organisation, even choral societies, to politicisation.84 With memberships exceeding those of the political parties, nationalist groups represented an enormously influential form of political mobilisation, particularly among middle-class Germans. According to Eley, they increasingly represented an extra-parliamentary alternative to established political parties in the ← 45 | 46 → Reichstag. He suggests that from the start they resulted from dissatisfaction with the formal government of the Kaiserreich.85

While they were not necessarily founded on völkisch-nationalist principles, a number of right-wing organisations increasingly came to represent völkisch views, contributing to their dissemination as well as reflecting their acceptance in mainstream German culture and politics. Chickering’s study of the Alldeutscher Verband shows how this organisation’s ideology developed in a völkisch direction prior to the First World War. Among the most significant organisations to emerge in the final decade of the nineteenth century, it was founded in 1890 and reached its highest point with about 23,000 members around 1900. While it was not the largest nationalist movement of the time, it was one of the most active. Its chairman from 1893 until 1908 was Ernst Hasse, professor of statistics in Leipzig and a member of the Reichstag. Hasse’s successor in 1908 was Heinrich Claß, under whose leadership the organisation gained a clearly anti-Semitic character.

The Alldeutscher Verband did not start life with an overtly racial ideological programme. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, its leaders had adopted a clearly völkisch agenda. This conclusion is drawn by Puschner in the light of the organisation’s identification of itself, ‘as the purest embodiment of the nationalist cause, standing above the political parties and their conflicts, the supreme co-ordinator of individual nationalist campaigns.’86 Chickering also demonstrates the centrality of a völkisch world-view to the Alldeutscher Verband, which viewed its responsibilities and actions as fundamental for ensuring that the definition and defence of the national interest remained in the hands of the Volk itself.87 Operating beyond the formal, political institutions in Germany, it drew its strength from its membership in a network of local branches, an example of völkisch political activity that drew authority from the people rather than from political systems or institutions.

← 46 | 47 → The programme of the Alldeutscher Verband was founded on an expansionist and social-Darwinist ideology that emphasised the superiority of the German Volk. Wilhelmine colonial and naval policies were too mild for Hasse and Claß, who campaigned for the implementation of radical imperial policies. A strong German empire was proposed as an answer to the emigration of Germans from the Reich. The situation of the Auslandsdeutsche was also a major concern for the members of the Alldeutscher Verband, which increasingly led its members to advocate the territorial expansion of Germany within Europe as well as Africa.88 In addition, the Verband’s opposition to the German government’s policy of neutrality during the Boer War gained it enormous attention and an upsurge in membership at the beginning of the twentieth century. Not only were fifty new chapters added to the existing 157 as a result of its rallies, but over 200,000 Marks were raised in the six months following the announcement of a ‘Boer Collection’ in October 1899. By 1902 half a million Marks had been raised, which were used for charitable purposes in support of the Boers, underlining the anti-British attitudes of the League.89

Domestically the Alldeutscher Verband also demanded stronger measures against the enemies of the Reich.90 These included Jews, liberals, Social Democrats, and Germany’s neighbours on all sides.91 While its influence declined somewhat as a result of Chancellor von Bülow’s efforts to discredit it after 1900, a reaction to its efforts to upset the balance of his diplomacy towards Austria and Britain, the Alldeutscher Verband remained a significant extra-governmental force up to the First World War.92 Its contacts with the conservative parties, the national-liberals, and the industrial, agrarian and middle-class interest groups intensified.93 In 1912 Heinrich Claß’ book, Wenn ich Kaiser wär’, was ← 47 | 48 → published under the pseudonym Daniel Frymann.94 In this work Claß outlined a range of perceived political and social problems and suggested far-reaching reforms designed to ensure political, social and racial health for Germany. Typically völkisch in its approach, it also addressed aesthetic questions, art being the fundamental expression of the German Volk. By 1914, the book had been through five editions, approximately 25,000 copies, and received positive reviews in the conservative and national-liberal press.95 Although the Alldeutscher Verband did not officially adopt an anti-Semitic programme until after the First World War, from the turn of the century, influenced by Claß, many members embraced racial anti-Semitism as a way of galvanising sinking morale in the organisation. This brought the organisation into contact with other anti-Semitic activists and its journal, the Alldeutsche Blätter, became an organ for anti-Semitic discussion.96

During the Kaiserreich, the Alldeutscher Verband also developed close ties with a slightly different patriotic organisation: Friedrich Lange’s Deutschbund. Founded in 1894, the Deutschbund was intentionally elitist, with about 800 members by 1900. Its constitution stated that ‘The main aim of the Deutschbund lies not in words, and not solely in convictions, but in the application of both through work.’97 This echoed the völkisch emphasis on action over intellectual pursuits. Nevertheless, paradoxically, the written word became a significant weapon in the struggle to disseminate this anti-intellectual ideology. The Deutschbund was anti-Semitic and sought to promote the German Geist and identity through ‘comprehensive educational and propagandistic work’ in the broadest circles of the German Volk.98 It also promoted racial research and worked ← 48 | 49 → towards a universal application of racial policies in Germany’s political, social and cultural life.99 As well as producing its own newsletter, the Deutschbundblätter, it maintained close links with the völkisch-nationalist Deutsche Zeitung. It was thus able to spread its ideology beyond its small number of members.100

The Alldeutscher Verband and the Deutschbund were two of many patriotic, nationalist and völkisch organisations that emerged in Germany in the late nineteenth century. Overlapping membership strengthened the ties between them. For example, the publisher Julius F. Lehmann was a prominent member of the Munich branch of the Alldeutscher Verband, and at the same time he was an active member of the Navy League. He and others like him provided a voice for the Alldeutscher Verband in the latter, larger and less extreme organisation. Overall, the relations between the two organisations were not clear-cut. In the Alldeutscher Verband under Claß, there was never a clear decision on whether the Navy League should be regarded as a rival, or whether they should seek to use their influence in it to move it in their direction.101 In spite of such frictions, however, the landscape of nationalist organisations provided ample opportunity for völkisch-nationalism to gain a hold. A complex network of contacts, acquaintanceships and friendships emerged that increased völkisch-nationalist influence in many areas of German life.

During the First World War völkisch-nationalist groups and organisations prepared for Germany’s victory. The unintended effect of their activities was to prepare them for the challenges of defeat. The war became more than a straightforward territorial conflict; Germany was engaged in a racial struggle against a diametrically opposite Weltanschauung, in the form of the Jewish-dominated capitalism of Great Britain.102 Following Germany’s defeat there was considerable concern among völkisch-nationalists regarding ← 49 | 50 → Germany’s future course.103 The Alldeutscher Verband turned to Heinrich Claß’ book Wenn ich Kaiser wär for its post-war programme.104 The priority of its leaders during the revolutionary upheavals of 1918/19 was to hold the organisation together in order to assert their völkisch values in the face of revolution and an unwanted republic. Writing to the organisation’s Judenausschuß on 25th November 1918, the anti-Semitic campaigner, journalist and writer, Alfred Roth recalled his original hope that war would bring the rebirth of the German Volk. He expressed disbelief regarding Germany’s defeat, before asserting the role of the völkisch movement as a carrier of ‘German’ values at a time when they were threatened more than ever. Roth called on the existing groups and organisations to pool their resources to deal with the so-called ‘Jewish question’. Only together, he asserted, would they thwart the Jewish threat, the strength of which was proved by the outcome of the war.105

At a conference in Bamberg in February 1919, the Alldeutscher Verband drew up a declaration against the Weimar Republic. This was the first comprehensive völkisch-nationalist programme to address Germany’s situation following defeat and, on 28th August 1919, it was institutionalised in a new set of statutes.106 These declared the intention of the organisation to promote the united action of the entire German Volk. More specifically, it set out to rescue the German Volk and the German Reich from the threat posed by the ‘collapse’ of November 1918. This would be achieved through: 1) the moral strengthening of all social classes, reawakening the characteristics of German heroes of old; 2) the restoration of a strong Kaiser; 3) the reinstitution of strong armed forces; 4) the re-conquering of the territories ‘stolen’ from Germany after the war; 5) the inclusion of Austria in the German Reich; 6) the provision of protection and help for Germans ← 50 | 51 → living beyond the borders of the Reich; 7) the formation and expansion of all areas in the lives of the Volk, state, and individual according to völkisch principles; 8) planned racial development of the German Volk through selective breeding and the promotion of particularly gifted Germans; 9) opposition to all forces that obstructed the development of or damaged the German Volk, in particular racial miscegenation and Jewish dominance of the political, economic and cultural spheres.107

Determined to make good its intention to become the ‘stormtroop of völkisch thought’, the Alldeutscher Verband also remained eager to maintain its previous emphasis on foreign policy. At the Bamberg Conference, it therefore formed a separate organisation that would concentrate on domestic politics, with the declared intention of fighting the liberal democracy of the Weimar Republic, and in particular leading the anti-Semitic struggle.108 The founders of the Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutz-Bund (DVSTB) included Alfred Roth, Theodor Fritsch of the Reichshammerbund, Prof. Paul Langhans of the Deutschbund, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Werner of the Deutschvölkische Partei and Adolf Bartels.109 They agreed that the degeneration of patriotic feeling and the corruption of German culture had led to Germany’s defeat and subsequent political breakdown, a view also suggested by Moeller van den Bruck in his 1922 work, Das Dritte Reich.110 This corruption, according to the DVSTB, was the result of Jewish influence, which had to be combatted for the reconstruction of Germany to be successful.111

← 51 | 52 → The DVSTB embarked on a large-scale propaganda campaign, producing 7.6 million flyers, 4.8 million leaflets and 7.9 million badges in 1920 alone.112 It also organised conferences, demonstrations, public festivals, and marches, as well as producing more substantial works of literature. DVSTB propaganda had two purposes: it was designed to educate the organisation’s members and to reach out to the public. Able to draw on the experience and backing of its Alldeutsch parent, the DVSTB operated effectively from the start. Following its amalgamation with the Deutschvölkischer Bund in the autumn of 1919, it also published a weekly newspaper, the Deutschvölkische Blätter, which became the organisation’s official publication, sent to all its members. In spite of its wide distribution, however, this paper failed to abandon its provincial character, and never gained the standing its editors hoped for.113

The DVSTB also published countless anti-Semitic brochures, tracts and books, ranging from pamphlets to more substantial works of a pseudo-academic nature. The former could be ordered in bulk for mass distribution.114 It also republished the anti-Semitic forgeries of the Talmud as well as the nineteenth-century Schulchan Aruch and supported the publication, by the Sleipner-Verlag in Hamburg, of the first new post-war edition of the standard anti-Semitic work, the Handbuch zur Judenfrage.115 The leaders of the DVSTB also contributed to the anti-Semitic canon themselves. Alfred Roth, under the pseudonym Otto Armin, was particularly prolific, producing works like Die Juden im Heere and Die Juden in den Kriegs-Gesellschaften.116 In addition, the Hammer-Schläge series, published by the ← 52 | 53 → DSVTB between 1919 and 1921 and largely written by DSVTB regulars like Alfred Roth and Adolf Bartels, dealt with current affairs.117 With a print run of 10,000 each, Lohalm estimates that each title reached more than 20,000 people.118 The organisation also endorsed a wide selection of more substantial anti-Semitic works, regularly reviewing new publications in the Deutschvölkische Blätter. They covered the usual range of anti-Semitic subjects: pseudo-scientific and semi-religious examinations of the Jewish race, discussions of cultural matters and debates about the ‘success’ and influence of the Jews. Both works of fiction and non-fiction were promoted.119

The Alldeutscher Verband was not the only organisation to recognise the importance of the printed word. The Deutschnationaler Handlungsgehilfen-Verband (DHV), a union established in 1893 to champion the interests of the 2 million white-collar workers and clerks in the face of the growth of the Social Democratic Party, likewise promoted völkisch-nationalist literature. The DHV was based in Hamburg. By 1914, it had over 100,000 members across Germany and internationally.120 Like the DVSTB, its activities were twofold: it engaged in educating its members, and sought to spread its anti-Marxist, anti-egalitarian, and nationalist message more widely. The DHV charter excluded Jews. Its leaders encouraged members to blame their problems on the decline of German values resulting from the un-German capitalist system, introduced, they believed, by liberals, Marxists and Jews. In 1924, Hans Bechly, the DHV’s director from 1909 to 1933, declared: ‘We, the representatives of spiritual work in the German Volk, have the exalted task of forging the future of a new Germany. We have to play a spiritual leadership role for the working classes of the German Volk, and must remain constantly aware of this responsibility resting on our shoulders.’121

← 53 | 54 → The DHV programme embraced ideological, cultural and political affairs. As well as acquiring several publishing, printing and book distribution concerns, in 1893 its founders Friedrich Raab and Johannes Irwahn, both members of the anti-Semitic German Social Party, also set up a small printing house, which expanded to become the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt (HAVA). Predominantly publishing anti-Semitic journals, this enterprise was initially independent of the DHV. It was nonetheless quickly contracted to print DHV materials, and soon became dependent on the trade union. By the end of the Weimar Republic, the HAVA had become one of Germany’s leading völkisch-nationalist publishing houses, alongside the J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, the Diederichs-Verlag, and the HAVA’s sister firm, the Langen-Müller Verlag.

During the First World War, the DHV actively disseminated nationalist literature. Its bookshop, established in 1904, concentrated on distributing völkisch works to soldiers in the field, and in 1916 a book club, the Deutsche Hausbücherei,122 was founded to ensure the distribution of German literature after the war. Its first board of directors, responsible not only for the club’s business but also for selecting the works in its yearly lists, consisted of Hans Bechly, Albert Zimmermann, Max Habermann and Eugen Clauß from the DHV, as well as Adolf Bartels, Wilhelm Stapel, Johann Wilhelm Kinau (Gorch Fock), Richard Döring, Hans Clay, Christian Krauß, all prominent in the völkisch literary world.123

In November 1931 an article appeared in Herdefeuer, the Hausbücherei’s magazine, recounting the club’s history. It was, it declared, founded ‘at a time when we still firmly believed in the victory of German arms,’ in order to ensure that when that moment came Germany would be freed of ‘spiritual confusion’. The same article went on to emphasise the importance of German literature:

for the German being exists in the German soul and this reveals itself in the work of German writers and thinkers! What German writers and thinkers, statesmen ← 54 | 55 → and leaders of the Volk have experienced, thought and written, what they have left behind for their Volk, their insights into the past and teachings for the future, are expressions of the German soul that flow out of our Volkstum. […] If the danger of foreign infiltration and adulteration of our literature already existed before the War, a strengthened storm of foreign influences were inevitably going to set in after the War, even a victory […]. It was necessary to fight this by selecting the best from the rich selection of good books of lasting value and the flood of new publications.124

The book club sought to make selected works accessible to a wide public, providing the völkisch education the DHV deemed necessary. The membership of the union provided a market for this enterprise, facilitating the production of inexpensive books for mass consumption. It was Germany’s first significant nationalist book club. The first publications of the Deutsche Hausbücherei appeared in 1916/17 and consisted of 17 titles; by 1933 the list included 119 books.125 In order to make the Deutsche Hausbücherei accessible to all members of the German Volk, the monthly subscription was set at 2RM. For this each member received 8 books a year and 6 copies of Herdefeuer, which claimed to take a critical stand on all areas of intellectual and cultural life and any significant new works of German literature.126

Advertisements for the Deutsche Hausbücherei exploited the changing social situation in Germany. Pamphlets such as Wille und Weg der deutschen Hausbücherei served a dual purpose. Stating that ‘Germans can only be helped by Germans,’ the book club stood against the subversion of German culture, customs and beliefs identified in the works of modern writers, which were the products of foreign influence. It recognised the need for pure, healthy German literature and free German writers as incorruptible mediators of German culture and spokespeople for the German Volksseele. It also stressed the need to promote those German writers and poets linked to their native soil and to free them from a book market dominated by big businesses. Finally, it echoed the earlier sentiments of Adolf Bartels in his campaign against the memorial to Heinrich Heine, declaring: ‘Not every ← 55 | 56 → book written in German is a German book: not every writer writing in German is a German writer.’127

Völkisch book clubs were aimed at the semi-educated lower middle classes, which was also the constituency in which the NSDAP was initially most at home.128 The suppliers saw them as a method of disseminating the German Geist and the völkisch ideology. For the consumers, ownership of books reflected social status, since they were identified with the respectable, educated bourgeoisie. Stark suggests that with the Deutsche Hausbücherei the DHV deliberately targeted white-collar workers who felt increasingly threatened by technical changes, greater rationalisation and concentration in industry, and feared sinking into the proletariat.129 It is likely that this was true for many members of the book club. Nonetheless, their number only became very significant between 1927 and 1929, years in which the Republic appeared to be consolidating itself, providing the financial stability needed for white collar workers to buy books.130

The history of the Deutsche Hausbücherei is illustrative of the strategies employed by völkisch-nationalists. Alongside the DHV’s other publishing and book-selling enterprises, it emerged as one of several weapons in which ← 56 | 57 → the union invested in order to disseminate völkisch-nationalist ideas.131 Following Germany’s defeat in 1918, it increasingly allied itself with neo-conservative and nationalist parties in the Weimar Republic, among them the NSDAP. In 1919 it also forged closer links with the League of Christian Unions and a new federation of public sector workers through the formation of the German Trade Union Federation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund: DGB). While cooperation between the unions was based on common interest rather than shared ideology, this nonetheless provided further opportunities to reach a wide public.132 Concerned about its lack of influence in the Reichstag it also became increasingly involved in the political processes of the Republic, encouraging its members to support the DVP or DNVP in the elections in 1920.133 In the longer term it also consciously developed its influence over the German publishing industry in order to broaden its educational activities.

The Emergence of the Langen-Müller Verlag

As the DHV grew in importance and influence, it expanded its ownership of subsidiary organisations that were useful to its cause. It changed the face of the publishing industry in the Weimar Republic. As Stark notes, völkisch-nationalism was ‘bound up with the internal history of the publishing industry in a way which other movements were not. […] it was supported primarily by publicists and writers, rather than by organised political parties or institutions, and was thus more dependent than other movements on the printed word.’134 Publishers performed an important function in mediating ← 57 | 58 → ideas in German society. Their role in the diffusion of völkisch-nationalist ideas was pivotal, and they often balanced economic demands with a völkisch-nationalist corporate ideology of their own.135 This last was sometimes the result of the convictions of the founders of publishing houses, as in the cases of the Eugen Diederichs Verlag in Jena, the J.F. Lehmann Verlag in Munich, and the DHV’s Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt in Hamburg.136 In 1932, the DHV expanded its influence over völkisch-nationalist publishing by bringing together the Georg-Müller Verlag and the Albert-Langen Verlag, two well-established publishing concerns in Munich that had fallen on hard times, to create the Langen-Müller Verlag (LMV). This established a right-wing publisher in southern Germany that produced serious literature to rival more politically liberal firms in Berlin and elsewhere.

Albert Langen had founded his publishing house in 1893 and achieved considerable success in the first decade of the twentieth century, not least as the publisher of the liberal, satirical journal Simplicissimus. During the Weimar Republic, however, the Albert-Langen Verlag (ALV) increasingly promoted nationalist-leaning writers, among them new talent like Paul Alverdes, Karl Benno von Mechow and Hans Grimm.137 The history of the Georg-Müller Verlag (GMV) followed a similar course following its establishment in 1903. Under Müller, the house was characterised by an eclectic range of publications, and in particular the translations of the major classics in world literature. Before the First World War, it also produced the works of Franz Wedekind and August Strindberg, and published the early works of Robert Musil, Alfred Döblin, Lion Feuchtwanger, Leonhard Frank, Heinrich Mann, ← 58 | 59 → Alfred Neumann and Jakob Wassermann.138 From the outset it targeted an educated readership. Following the founder’s death in 1917, however, the Ullstein Verlag bought the rights to the classic works, and subsequently the Georg-Müller Verlag’s bloom faded. Like the Albert-Langen Verlag, during the Weimar Republic it increasingly turned to nationalist literature, taking on the works of writers like Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer and Paul Ernst.139

Kolbenheyer was particularly important in the development of the Georg-Müller Verlag and its eventual amalgamation with the Albert-Langen Verlag. Born in 1878 in Budapest, he had already gained some attention for his historical novels before the First World War.140 Between 1917 and 1926 he produced the work for which he was best-known before 1945, the Paracelsus Trilogie.141 Looking back into Germany’s history, his work identified the awakening of the German völkisch consciousness in the German mystics, a process that was fulfilled by the Reformation, in which the German Geist finally separated itself from Mediterranean thought and asserted its individual nature and character. He drew on the ideas of older völkisch thinkers to link his belief in a metaphysically defined Volk with the nationalist struggle of the 1920s.142 He was also a member of the selection committee for the Deutsche Hausbücherei, represented the völkisch right in the new Literature Section of the Prussian Academy of Arts, and was an early member of the Nazis’ cultural organisation, the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur. During his career, he was awarded no less than twelve literature prizes.143

← 59 | 60 → Kolbenheyer’s involvement in the DHV’s acquisition of the GMV demonstrates the influence of the firm’s writers over its development in the Weimar Republic and Third Reich. In the years following the First World War the GMV struggled financially. Even after the inflation of the 1920s had been brought under control, the failure of its directors to innovate in the face of changes in its readership led to its sale to the conservative Scherl newspaper empire in 1927. A year later, with debts of around two million Marks, another sale, this time to the Ullstein firm, appeared imminent. Kolbenheyer was, however, determined to prevent the loss of a major nationalist publisher to the liberal camp. Demonstrating the successful functioning of völkisch-nationalist networks, he appealed to Wilhelm Stapel, the editor of the HAVA journal Deutsches Volkstum, for help in orchestrating its takeover by the DHV. In February 1928 the DHV bought the failing publishing house for 700,000 Marks.144

For Kolbenheyer, at stake in these years was not simply the existence of the firm but a secure ideological foundation that would provide the institutional stability he desired for his work. In his eyes, this was intrinsic to the national interest, affecting him and also important fellow GMV writers, not least Wilhelm Schäfer and Paul Ernst. While Hugenburg’s Scherl concern provided both financial security and nationalist values, Kolbenheyer suggested that it lacked the literary intuition and expertise needed for the production of serious works of German literature. Thus, writing after 1945, he reflected the distaste of many völkisch writers towards the idea of becoming assets of a large, commercial concern. He desired a publishing house that combined influence over the book market with sensitivity to German nationalist culture. This ideal was achieved following the DHV’s acquisition and amalgamation of the Müller and Langen houses, leaving an institution that operated relatively autonomously of its owners, under strong influence of the writers themselves.145

Kolbenheyer’s post-1945 account suggests that the advantage of the DHV lay in the fact that, although it already possessed publishing and ← 60 | 61 → printing interests, not least the HAVA, its main business was to represent its members professionally. Therefore, while its publishing activities were ideologically and commercially important to its directors, they were not the focus of its work. At the same time, its members provided a ready-made readership, and the works of a number of GMV and ALV authors were introduced to the Hausbücherei following the acquisition of the two firms.146 In addition, the success of Wilhelm Stapel’s literary periodical, Deutsches Volkstum, in educated, intellectual circles and among academic youth was also testament to the potential for a literary publishing house within the DHV. According to Kolbenheyer, Stapel’s publication was not only feared by those circles, ‘which set out to determine the cultural-political development of the German Volk following the defeat in the First World War,’147 but was also decisive in persuading the sober-minded businessmen of the DHV that further commercial ventures in literary publishing might be worthwhile.148

Thus, the acquisition of the two publishing houses combined, in Kolbenheyer’s eyes, commercial and ideological considerations in a manner that exemplified the healthy organisation of such enterprises in an ideal völkisch-national order, based on social estates rather than classes or party political programmes. Seizing an opportunity to distance himself from the Nazi regime after 1945, in his memoirs Kolbenheyer also emphasised the connections of the DHV director Habermann with the Centre Party Chancellor, Heinrich Brüning, as well as the former’s later death as a member of the resistance. Haberman, Kolbenheyer recalled, was the moving spirit in the decision of the DHV to purchase the Müller and Langen houses and their subsequent amalgamation in order ‘to create a literary centre in the south of the Reich that would stand up to the literary firms of Berlin […].’149

The established reputation and lack of formal political allegiance of the GMV offered the DHV a clean slate on which to develop its goals. Under its ownership, from 1928 the avant-garde writers appearing under ← 61 | 62 → the GMV imprint decreased in favour of those whose works demonstrated a strong tendency towards völkisch and Heimat themes.150 In the years that followed further authors, including Hans Franck, Friedrich Griese, Will Vesper, Richard Euringer and Heinz Steguweit, were transferred from the HAVA to the Munich firm as the latter became the flagship for the DHV’s literary activities while the former concentrated more on factual works, particularly in the areas of law and economics.151

Making internal restructuring of the firm a condition for his continued association with it, Kolbenheyer was also instrumental in the appointment in September 1930 of Gustav Pezold, the owner of the Ossiander’sche bookshop in Tübingen, as the director of the Georg-Müller Verlag.152 A former submarine captain with proven right-wing and anti-Semitic credentials, Pezold was given almost complete autonomy.153 His vision corresponded closely to that of writers who gave the firm its character in these years. His aim was to construct a nationalist publishing house that would counterbalance liberal and Jewish firms like the S. Fischer Verlag in Frankfurt am Main and the Ullstein and Mosse publishing empires in Berlin.154

Kolbenheyer highlighted this as a motivating factor in his memoirs. He linked the Jewish backgrounds of the proprietors of the liberal firms to the dangers he believed they presented to German literature, suggesting that the strategic organisation of these firms, aided by their dominance over the press as well as book publishing, was designed and executed with considerable skill to support their degenerate cultural politics:

What one could call ‘literature’ and not just reading matter had largely fallen into intellectual and almost certainly material dependency on the Jews in Germany, to say nothing of Austria. […] They [the liberal publishing houses] knew how to excite the ← 62 | 63 → German reader, to entertain him without being heavy handed, to flatter his intellect, and tease his senses, they were readily available for intellectuals; their circulation was very wide. Important artists and scholars found support from them and knew what to do to secure their favour. They provided literary renown and determined what this meant, what could be designated ‘literature’; such was the undisputed presumtuousness of these publishing corporations. They maintained and were guided by both unwritten and written ‘black lists’ of authors, on whom the Old-Testament bann was placed: ‘He shall not be named!’155

For Kolbenheyer, the GMV under Pezold provided an opportunity to counteract these negative trends.156 It served to reverse the relative neglect he felt his own work suffered in the public sphere in the 1920s, in his view evidence of a deliberate attempt to silence him. This can be taken with a pinch of salt given his position in a number of significant organisations, including the Literature Section of the Prussian Academy of Arts.157 Elsewhere in his memoirs, moreover, Kolbenheyer suggested that his novels and stories had found a steady readership in the Weimar years. In addition, he maintained that success as a dramatist had forced him into the public spotlight, making him threatening to the left-liberal Jewish camp and highlighting his need for a secure publishing house base.158

In spite of significant financial subsidies from the DHV, Pezold quickly concluded that the firm would only be able to achieve its goals with the further acquisition of the ALV, which enjoyed a greater reputation and, more importantly, a more prestigious list of authors. Again, Kolbenheyer claimed a significant role for himself in bringing the second firm to the DHV. He was connected to ALV as well as the GMV in the 1920s: while his fiction was based in the GMV, in 1923 he had published Die Bauhütte, a theoretical work in which he outlined his biological social philosophy, with the ALV. He was, therefore, already acquainted with its two directors, Reinhold Geheeb and Korfiz Holm. In Kolbenheyer’s eyes, the two men ← 63 | 64 → brought to what became the Langen-Müller Verlag (LMV) the literary knowledge and skills needed to complement Pezold’s business instincts.159

Encouraged by Kolbenheyer and Stapel, therefore, in May 1931 the DHV acquired the ALV for 500,000 Marks. In March 1932, the two were merged to create the LMV. Pezold, able to draw on the extensive catalogues of both houses and with about 200 new titles each year, was now able to compete with the major liberal firms, establishing a centre for nationalist literature.160 Under Pezold, the Langen-Müller Verlag was largely autonomous in relation to its DHV owners, which further recommended the new firm to völkisch writers, later providing a context in the Third Reich, with mixed consequences, in which they sought to assert their right and obligation to regulate the German literary sphere themselves as the leading members of the creative estate.

The amalgamation of the two firms attracted considerable public attention. When the secretary of the GMV, Karl Krause, committed suicide shortly before the deal was finalised, the liberal Berliner Tageblatt suggested that his death was due to his unhappiness with the firm’s new direction. It also asserted that the publishing house had sought to influence the ideological stance of its authors, misusing DHV money that would have been better spent helping union members severely affected by the depression.161

In response, the DHV asserted that its ideological programme demanded that the union concern itself not only with the material wellbeing of its members, of which there were 337,144 in 1931,162 but also with ensuring that they were equipped to participate in the intellectual life of their Volk.163 Writing in the DHV’s journal, the Deutsche Handels-Wacht, Wilhelm Stapel also clearly delineated the ideological lines that divided the German publishing industry. In building up the strength of its publishing ← 64 | 65 → concerns, he argued, the DHV did not need to hide its clear intention to develop an intellectual power. He continued:

It is generally well-known what sort of ‘German Literature’ is nurtured by the Berliner Tageblatt: Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Klaus Mann, Ernst Gläser, Remarque, Lion Feuchtwanger, Stefan Zweig, Artur Schnitzler, Jakob Wassermann, Werfel, Toller etc. To what extent have we established a dictatorship over this literature? We are happy to leave to the B.T. the German literature about which it cares most. If, on the other hand, we espouse German literature that has partly been ignored by the B.T., partly grudgingly recognised, and, using techniques designed to debase it, invidiously torn apart – to what extent is that a dictatorship? The B.T. appears to know in its heart that its ‘German literature’ is not actually the real German literature. But in that case the circles surrounding the B.T. should have put their energies into serving true German literature sooner. Nonetheless, they have done nothing against the danger that the publishing rights of the most noble Scandinavian and German authors threatened to become a bankrupt’s assets, from which any trader in literature could select those which appeared to promise the best returns for their business. Not the B.T., but the D.H.V. has rescued these writers from this situation. To us they were worthy of admiration and we responded to the duty their work laid upon us.164

The DHV thus positioned itself as the rescuer of German literature from the domination of the liberal publishing industry of the Weimar Republic, allegedly motivated only by profit.

Hans Grimm and the Problem of Space

Following the amalgamation of the Georg-Müller and Albert-Langen firms, Pezold needed to establish the new company both economically and ideologically in order to serve the political goals of the DHV. To do this, he drew on the existing reputations of the two houses and the support ← 65 | 66 → of several prominent authors already on their books. The goodwill of the book trade was also necessary. In 1934 Pezold chose to build in particular on the success of Hans Grimm’s Volk ohne Raum, first published in 1926 by the Albert-Langen Verlag.165 He resolved to publish a cheap edition of the novel, which had already sold 60,000 copies in an expensive two-volume edition. As a wave of so-called Volksausgaben began to appear on the book market, most notably Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, published by the S. Fischer Verlag, a cheap edition of Volk ohne Raum was likely to receive a warm welcome.166

The peace of 1918/19 not only saw the loss of German territories in Europe, but also the end of German ambitions to found an empire elsewhere. Volk ohne Raum was the most (in)famous völkisch-nationalist work to tackle the issue of Germany as a world power, presenting her problems in terms of space and proposing colonial expansion as the solution.167 For Grimm, Germany’s problems in the 1920s were the outcome of centuries of misrule and the inability of Germans to recognise their own plight. Germany had missed the chance to expand in previous centuries. Grimm blamed this on the division of the German people, encouraged by other nations. He also maintained a fundamental belief in the superiority of the ‘white race’.

Hans Grimm was born in Wiesbaden in 1875 to upper-middle class parents. On leaving school in 1896, he went to London to train in business. A year later he departed for South Africa, where he remained for thirteen years. In Africa, he became convinced that Germany needed to expand her colonies in order to remain a great power. He also witnessed the Boer War and the German colonial campaigns, which profoundly influenced his writing and politics. His first work, the play Die Grobbelaars was published in Berlin in 1907, but gained little attention.168 On his return ← 66 | 67 → to Germany in 1910 he went to study politics, first in Munich and then at the Kolonialinstitut in Hamburg. In 1913 he published Südafrikanische Novellen and Afrika-West. Ein Reisebuch und ein Einführungsbuch. These were followed in 1916 by Der Gang durch den Sand, which includes an account of South Africa’s invasion of German Southwest Africa in 1914.169

From the beginning of his writing career, Grimm saw himself as a political writer. During the First World War he served briefly in the German artillery in Europe before he was moved to the Auslandsabteilung of the Oberste Heeresleitung. This office, funded by the Foreign Ministry, gathered intellectuals with expert knowledge of foreign countries together to examine the writings and letters of prisoners of war, and produce propaganda. Grimm was employed to write African stories that propagated the colonial ambitions of the German Reich. The result was the strongly nationalistic and anti-French Der Ölsucher von Duala, which documented alleged French atrocities during the conquest of Togoland.170

The Auslandsabteilung of the Oberste Heeresleitung was particularly significant in the development of völkisch-nationalist literary networks, forging networks that served the nationalist literary sphere during the Weimar Republic. Grimm’s colleagues during this period included Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. Waldemar Bonsels and Friedrich Gundolf, professor of literature in Heidelberg, were also engaged by the bureau. After the War, Münchhausen and Grimm both became members of the Juniklub, an elitist organisation founded in 1919 and dominated by Moeller van den Bruck. For a relatively small organisation, the Juniklub disseminated its anti-republican message widely, thanks largely to its members’ prolific production of articles for right-wing cultural journals.171 In their activities in the Juniklub, Grimm and ← 67 | 68 → Münchhausen put themselves forward as members of the nationalist literary elite, striving for an authoritarian system of government in accordance with ideas propagated by völkisch theorists before the war. In the early 1920s, they also made the acquaintance of Friedrich Lienhard, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Wilhelm Schäfer, and Hans Friedrich Blunck, all of whom later played a significant role in the development of völkisch literary circles in the Third Reich.

The alienation of a people severed from their native soil was one of the fundamental concerns underlying völkisch ideology. Rapid population growth, combined with simultaneous industrialisation and urbanisation, continued to shape German consciousness into the 1920s and 1930s. Grimm’s ongoing concern with this subject struck a chord. Volk ohne Raum is set partly in Germany and partly in Africa and tells the story of the German, Cornelius Friebott, between 1887 and 1925. The book is divided into four parts, each narrating sections of the hero’s life, and at the same time presenting specific political arguments. It demonstrates the perceived degeneration of German society and explores possible solutions, before settling on colonial expansion as the answer. In so doing, it also tracks the history of Germany’s attempts to found a colonial empire in Africa, representing a lament for the German colonies lost during and after the war, developing themes that had occupied völkisch-nationalists before 1914 and restating their relevance for the post-war period. Grimm’s approach to writing novels like Volk ohne Raum, which combined narrative fiction with the historical and political events of Germany’s recent history, can be seen in his later correspondence with Gustav Pezold regarding a second epic work on German-British relations, on which he worked in the 1930s and during the Second World War. Grimm first decided which events his heroes were to be involved in and then contrived ways to weave them into the life stories of his characters.172 Thus his readers were presented with novels that entertained with stories of adventure and at the same time ‘educated’ them in questions of politics and history.

← 68 | 69 → In common with fellow völkisch commentators, Grimm identified the forced migration of Germans to industrial cities as a cause of degeneration in Germany. Part One of Volk ohne Raum, entitled Heimat und Enge, demonstrated his belief that lack of space lay at the root of Germany’s problems. The son of parents whose fortunes deteriorate in the early chapters of the story, Cornelius Friebott grows up in the Weser valley, where Grimm made his home from 1913. To supplement the living from his parents’ insufficient smallholding, he trains as a carpenter. Failing to find work in his village, he tries various ways to earn money. A stint in the German navy and manual labour as a stone-cutter contribute to the formation of his early worldview, before he ends up working in a factory in Bochum. Grimm thus created an opportunity to portray the misery of Germany’s industrial cities, and the alienation of the people cut off from the soil of their homes and the freedom offered by rural life rooted in traditions developed over generations. These linked the individual to the Volk through a shared past, present and future. A lack of land in Germany, however, made a return to this life at home impossible. Grimm therefore proposed colonial expansion to provide more land for the growing population, as it had for the British. Only as free men and women on German soil could the German Volk be great.173

Grimm also brought his hero into contact with Social Democracy. He thus addressed what he viewed as the failure of this ideology to provide solutions for the problems of the Weimar Republic. This, he suggested, was because it did not take the German völkisch identity into account. Friebott’s involvement with Social Democracy, which was banned in Germany between 1878 and 1890, ends in a prison sentence. Following his release he decides to leave Germany and try his luck in Africa. Part two, Fremder Raum und Irregang, describes Friebott’s experiences in the British-ruled South African colonies. During this time, he learns that he will never find freedom in a land ruled by another Volk. After the Boer War, he lands in German South-West Africa, in time for the Herero Uprising. As the title of part three, Deutscher Raum suggests, he is on home territory here, in a land ruled by Germans for Germans. The vision of a German living and farming ← 69 | 70 → German soil grows and matures in Friebott’s mind as the story unfolds, finding its fruition in a brief interlude of peace and prosperity before the colony is lost to the British. Following World War One, Friebott returns to Germany and in part four, Volk ohne Raum, he becomes an itinerant preacher of völkisch-nationalist colonialism, spreading Grimm’s message of Volk ohne Raum across Germany, much as Grimm’s writing was intended to do, and finally dying as a martyr to the cause.

For Grimm the German Heimat was where the German people lived independently, un-oppressed by foreign rulers. German soil could be anywhere, providing it was possessed, inhabited and cultivated by Germans. Colonial expansion, he argued, would not only provide space for Germans to establish themselves once more as a farming people, but also the necessary raw materials for German self-sufficiency, thus freeing the country from dependence on capitalist world markets. Like Frenssen, he justified colonialism on social-Darwinist grounds, arguing that a Volk that takes the territory of another is able to do so through its racial superiority and has therefore won the right to thrive at the expense of the weaker people. Building on the success of Volk ohne Raum, Grimm continued to campaign for the restoration of Germany’s colonies throughout the Weimar period and into the Third Reich. In 1929 he published Das deutsche Südwester-Buch and in 1934 a collection of seven stories, Lüderitzland.174

Ketelsen suggests that Grimm’s was not simply a nationalist message, in spite of the clear nationalism that characterised his works. He also suggests that Grimm’s interest in Africa was not based on his personal biography, but on his fascination with the contrast between the African landscape and the Oberwesertal.175 This point of view seems overstated. The question of Germany’s African colonies was not only one of enormous significance during Grimm’s formative years, but also one he experienced first hand. Grimm’s nationalism was formed by his years in Africa. Volk ohne Raum addressed concerns that had occupied ← 70 | 71 → nationalists before 1914. It dealt with all the major völkisch themes. As a Kolonialroman, it advocated a strong colonial policy to deal with the perceived problems of overpopulation and urbanisation, and to restore the German nation to its rightful place in the world. As a Heimatroman, it emphasised the importance for Germans of the connection between the Volk and the land and expressed Grimm’s concern about the deterioration of this relationship. Finally, it was infused with anti-socialism and profound anti-Semitism.

Grimm’s portrayal of the Jews was based on a strong conviction of racial difference. It depended to a large extent on older stereotypes of the Jews as untrustworthy businessmen. Describing the trading of Jewish diamond merchants in Lüderitzbucht, Grimm suggested that they were deceitful dealers. He implied that, in the pay of the English, they made use of the fact that they had been born either in Germany, or to German-born parents, or in Russia, where they spoke Yiddish. As a result, he argued, they could not only understand and be understood by the German community, but their familiarity with German culture gave them an advantage in trade, which they exploited to the full.176 By reinforcing the impression that they were concerned only with making money – ‘Where the Jew goes, money will be made’177 – he explicitly built on the myth of the Jewish foundations of world capitalism.

For Grimm, Jewish capitalism was also represented by the British in Africa. The link between the British and Jewish business was a common one in völkisch-nationalist literature. Grimm’s view of the British was ambiguous. On the one hand, he saw the British Empire as a positive example of the racial development of the Anglo-Saxons that should be emulated by the Germans; on the other, British capitalism was a sign of the degeneration of a Nordic race. Grimm admired the British for their imperial success, but at the same time, echoing Frenssen, he believed that the British were guilty of betraying the ‘white race’. Capitalism and the hunger for power and wealth had overcome the deeper values of the British Volk. By contrast those of the ← 71 | 72 → German Volk were upheld by German völkisch-nationalists.178 In Volk ohne Raum, Friebott finds two worlds, that of the solid German farmer in the shape of the Boers, and that of the profit-oriented businessman represented by the English. For völkisch-nationalists during the Weimar Republic, Germany was still engaged in the struggle between German virtue and the mammonism of capitalism.179 In this, Grimm’s work is another example of the continuity in völkisch-nationalism from the Kaiserreich to the Weimar Republic which provided an intellectual framework for his nationalism.

Following the publication of Volk ohne Raum in 1926, Grimm increasingly found himself on the cusp of literature and politics. Alongside his speeches, articles and political activities, his fictional work also addressed political issues more directly than that of many right-wing contemporaries, including Hermann Stehr, Emil Strauß, and Kolbenheyer.180 He apparently experienced no conflict between his artistic and political ambitions. Unlike other politically conscious writers of his generation, for example Döblin or Brecht, he saw no need to analyse how these two goals should be integrated.181 The opening sentence of Volk ohne Raum left the reader in no doubt about Grimm’s intention: ‘This German tale is, in my opinion, a political tale and therefore illustrates our German fate.’182

In spite of his ideological convictions, however, negotiations with Hans Grimm regarding a Volksausgabe of his epic proved less straightforward than Pezold hoped. Grimm demonstrated his businessman’s credentials when it was suggested the cheap edition should be sold for the unusually high price of 8.50 RM; Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks by ← 72 | 73 → comparison cost 2.85 RM. Of the 8.50 RM, Grimm was upset to discover that he was to receive royalties of only 60 pfennigs per copy. Grimm also expressed displeasure at the degree to which the Langen and Müller publishing houses had been merged, threatening to fall back on the unusual conditions of his contract with the ALV, which allowed him to withdraw all his books from the firm should it change hands.183 He also disliked the way in which Pezold and Stapel applied moral pressure to persuade him that a cheap edition of Volk ohne Raum was in the interest of the nationalist cause.

On 31st July 1931, Pezold visited Grimm in Lippoldsberg, where the latter continued to prove intransigent. Above all, he demanded the continued right to remove his works from the LMV in the event of changed ownership. He also reserved the right to publish any future works with other firms. As a concession, he was prepared to guarantee not to make use of these rights as long as Pezold was in charge. This would prove important in the future. Practically speaking, he won himself a privileged position. For the Volksausgabe, moreover, he received an assured royalty of 240,000 RM over a period of eight years, almost twice as much as Thomas Mann received for Buddenbrooks. In the end, he was granted royalties of 1 RM for each copy sold at 8.50 RM.184

Pezold believed that a cheap edition of Volk ohne Raum would satisfy an existing demand, even at the relatively high price he proposed. Moreover, the political goals of the project were important; success in winning the LMV a place as a leading publisher of nationalist literature would at least partially offset any losses incurred in the process.185 In order to achieve his dual goal, Pezold embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign. His efforts did not go unrewarded and four weeks after its appearance, on 16th November 1931, he was able to boast in a notice in the Börsenblatt that the first 50,000 copies had been sold.186 By December, only two months after ← 73 | 74 → its publication, the new edition had more than doubled the total sales of Volk ohne Raum since its initial publication in 1926. Pezold made it one of the most prominent völkisch-nationalist novels of the Weimar period and gave the LMV a clear identity, placing it securely on the map of right-wing, conservative publishing.

Kolbenheyer’s role in the DHV’s purchase and merger of the two publishing houses and Grimm’s unusual contractual agreement with the LMV are evidence of a unique relationship between the firm and its authors, based on a shared völkisch-nationalist belief in literature as both the bearer and the transmitter of the German Geist. Following the publication of the Volksausgabe of Volk ohne Raum, Grimm’s attitude towards the firm was based simply on its success in fulfilling the völkisch-nationalist task. Grimm thus attempted to bring other völkisch-nationalists and conservatives to the firm. Whilst in Berlin in the early 1930s, he made the acquaintance of Ernst Jünger and recommended that the LMV should publish Der Arbeiter.187 At the time, Jünger was already in negotiation with the Wilhelm-Korn-Verlag in Breslau. Grimm succeeded in winning him away from that firm, although Jünger finally published his book with the LMV’s sister firm, the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt. Grimm’s attempt to engage August Winnig for the LMV ended in the same result.188

Personal relations between the publishing house and its authors were also enhanced by the LMV’s location in Munich, a city that attracted many conservative and völkisch-nationalist writers in the 1920s and 1930s. Paul Alverdes, Georg Britting, Richard Billinger and Josef Magnus Wehner all lived in the city itself. Hanns Johst and Benno von Mechow lived in the surrounding area. Moreover, while Paul Ernst lived in Carinthia in Austria, Wilhelm Schäfer, Emil Strauß and Kolbenheyer all lived in southern Germany, the latter moving from Tübingen to Munich-Sölln in 1932. Kolbenheyer later claimed that he was motivated to move by the desire to contribute to remedying the ‘dreary cultural-political situation of German literature around ← 74 | 75 → 1931 and 1932.’189 In his history of the LMV Meyer suggests, however, that Kolbenheyer wanted to put himself in a position to exert a greater influence over the publishing house. In 1933, Ernst Wiechert also moved to Ambach, just outside Munich, once the books he published with the LMV had secured him a stable income that allowed him to live as a full-time writer.190 The publishing house thus became a central point for völkisch-nationalist and conservative literature not only ideologically, but also geographically, and played a significant role in strengthening and maintaining völkisch literary networks in the 1930s.

Völkisch-Nationalist Responses to the First World War

Before the outbreak of the First World War völkisch literature was securely rooted in mainstream literary life in Germany. The völkisch-nationalist ideology, articulated in völkisch literature, provided Germans with an historically rooted identity in the face of modern insecurity. In the years before 1914, the reality of the Kaiserreich nonetheless seemed increasingly far from the völkisch ideal of a unified Germany. Between 1871 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, völkisch-nationalists increasingly emphasised the importance of war as they grew impatient with the cultural and political stagnation they identified in contemporary society. Suffering was considered a prerequisite of creativity and the virtues of the struggle a way of cleansing the German Volk of its decadence. War offered men the chance to become heroes, freeing them from the routine and passive complacency of everyday life and making the Volk vital once more. Military service educated men to this end.191 War was viewed as a natural part of human ← 75 | 76 → existence, necessary for weeding out the weak and degenerate elements in the Volk, ensuring its biological and spiritual health. Völkisch-nationalists therefore greeted the outbreak of the First World War with enthusiasm, in the belief that the war would create the necessary conditions for the renewal of German society. The Kaiser’s words in August 1914, ‘I no longer know parties, I know only Germans’192 were received as a declaration of the dawning Volksgemeinschaft, or national community of the German people.193 For the first time in the history of Germany as a unified state its population was apparently united by a common purpose, which inspired a feeling of spiritual unity that, according to völkisch commentators, had been missing since 1871. It also gave further impetus to the anti-western position of many völkisch-nationalists, who conceived their ideal of the German Volksgemeinschaft in opposition to the materialist capitalism of the Anglo-Saxon world.

Arthur Moeller van den Bruck has been recognised as a leading figure of the ‘conservative revolution’ in the Weimar Republic, alongside the brothers Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger and Oswald Spengler.194 Yet Fritz Stern identifies him instead as ‘the last and in some ways the most admirable of the Germanic critics,’ emerging in the decade before the outbreak of the First World War. Stern asserts that: ‘… in him [Moeller van den Bruck] we can understand that the conservative revolution was not a spontaneous or reactionary opposition to Versailles or to the Weimar Republic, but was the reformulation under more favorable conditions of a nineteenth century ideology.’195 This is evident in Moeller van den Bruck’s pre-war work, which provided the ideological foundations for his most ← 76 | 77 → famous work, Das Dritte Reich (1922). In Die moderne Literatur, published in 1902, Moeller already argued for the social and spiritual cleansing that war would provide: ‘Fighting is magnificent and more worthy of man than self-indulgence in smug comfort. Battle gives us, especially when it is of spirits and passions, our greatest kings and best heroes. … Eternal peace would be unsupportable – it would be a boredom, a yawning that would give us merely the philistine.’196 In short, he argued, the virtues of the struggle could ennoble the Volk.

The extent to which völkisch ideas informed Moeller’s work is revealed most clearly, however, in Die Deutschen, an eight-volume history of the Germans published between 1904 and 1910, in which he sought to glorify his Volk through biographical essays on its great figures.197 In the years leading up to the First World War, Moeller also published an examination of contemporary culture and its leading figures,198 and managed to sell the idea of a six-volume series to the Munich publisher Reinhard Piper, three volumes on the old Völker – in Moeller’s view Britain, France and Italy – and three on the new – Germany, America and Russia. The only work of the series ever published was that on Italy.199 His plans for the works nonetheless demonstrate ‘his celebrated distinction among old, young, and embryonic peoples.’200 Young peoples, he believed, could claim privileges in the course of realising a great future. Of those listed above, Germany was the only truly young Volk, being bold, energetic and capable of expansion. Germany therefore had a right to imperial power.201

← 77 | 78 → Moeller van den Bruck’s political views were based not on pragmatic assessments of actual situations, but on an aesthetic idealism that opposed the banality of the Kaiserreich and spoke directly to the concerns of völkisch-nationalists. Like them, Moeller van den Bruck was revolutionary before the First World War. He already called for the complete reorganisation of German society based on a vision of a community of the people and led by a leader who would emerge from the masses. Thus the Führerprinzip would be applied. Germany should also expand territorially, providing the German people with the space to realise their great fate.202 As it became apparent that the war was not going to yield an easy victory the metaphors of heroism and sacrifice that had characterised propaganda both in the trenches and on the home front gave way to an emphasis on the stoic endurance of the soldiers serving their Fatherland.203 This was also reflected in völkisch-nationalists’ responses to the conflict. In the end, however, their common experience was manifested not in the sunshine of victory but in the shadow of defeat. The lost war focused völkisch-nationalist attention on outward circumstances – the Versailles Treaty, the republican state – to a degree that had hitherto been impossible. In the post-war years idealism gave way to pragmatic, even extreme, action.

Throughout the Weimar period, the First World War was the single most important influence on the development of völkisch literature. Its significance was both political and symbolic, giving writers the chance to tackle themes of völkisch-nationalist thought in a context that touched the lives of the entire population. In their works, images of German heroes survived in accounts of individual battles and campaigns. Countless books attempted to restore Germany’s lost pride by analysing significant battles to show German courage and military success.204 The memoirs of veterans ← 78 | 79 → were also popular in the post-war years, and the camaraderie of the trenches was glorified in novels and accounts of the front. The appearance in 1929 of Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel Im Westen nichts Neues205 unleashed a new wave of nationalist publications that countered his negative view of the War with glorified accounts of their authors’ own experiences based on pre-1914 nationalist ideas of war as the ultimate test of manhood and heroism. The writers’ direct involvement in the events they described lent credibility to their emphasis on the importance of deeds over words and gave their books added authority.206

Continuing the wartime struggle, the Freikorps campaigns in German border regions and the vigilante operations and political murders of extreme right-wing groups, like the Organisation Consul, provided further subject matter for writers determined to chronicle the ongoing völkisch struggle.207 These hastily formed bands of volunteers were initially formed to help protect Germany’s eastern borders, to defend German interests in the Baltic region and resist left-wing subversion within Germany. The Freikorps consisted largely of First World War veterans. The army had provided them with their raison d’être and it seemed natural to seek refuge from defeat in ← 79 | 80 → the comradeship that had developed in the trenches. Ernst von Salomon summed up their position at the beginning of Die Geächteten:

These, these weren’t workers, farmers, students, no these weren’t artisans, clerks, businessmen, officials, these were soldiers. Not men dressed up, following orders, not deployed; these were men who had obeyed the call, the secret call of blood, of spirit, volunteers, men who, one way or another, experienced a hard common cause and the things behind the things – and who found a homeland in the war. Homeland, Fatherland, Volk, Nation!208

In 1918, von Salomon asserted, they no longer knew what Germany meant.209 They were particularly susceptible to völkisch propaganda, and anti-Semitism, which provided them with an explanation for their problems and an enemy against which they could continue the struggle they had waged at the front.210 Völkisch ideology thus informed the further development of their nationalism in the Weimar Republic.211

Following the passage of a new army law in March 1921 the Freikorps were officially disbanded. Many groups, however, went underground.212 Anti-republican and völkisch writers on the right elevated the perpetrators of political crimes carried out in the name of Germany to heroes of the German Volk. Their participation in the war had won them the right to determine Germany’s future.213 Right-wing writers also propagated the ← 80 | 81 → Dolchstoßlegende, which contested the outcome of the war by suggesting that Germany had not been defeated militarily, and campaigned for the return of Germany’s lost territories and the reinstatement of her status as a great power, the latter in full recognition that this was likely to happen by force.

Alongside the glorification of German heroism in the First World War, the consequences of Germany’s defeat also provided inspiration for völkisch literature in the Weimar Republic. Opposition to the terms of the Versailles Treaty, the German revolution of 1918/19, and the French occupation of the industrial Ruhr region in 1923 were all subjects of discussion.214 In 1922 Wilhelm Schäfer, a 54 year-old writer and editor of Die Rheinlande, a significant journal of the Heimatkunstbewegung, located Germany at the centre of a ring of enemies: the country had been betrayed on all sides. Wilson, with his fourteen points, had declared that the war was with the Kaiser, not with Germany. Yet the Kaiser’s abdication, itself a betrayal of his Volk, had done nothing to soften the peace settlement with ← 81 | 82 → Germany; the fourteen points had achieved little; the League of Nations was trapped in its own bureaucracy; German troops had been betrayed by Communists and Jews; and the economy had collapsed. In short, Schäfer argued, ‘all that was corrupt and sly, mean, double-tongued and self-serving had been consecrated; all that was true and straightforward, noble, just and altruistic, had been abandoned.’215

Schäfer’s Dreizehn Bücher der deutschen Seele, he recalled in 1937, was written out of Germany’s hopelessness after the war, and called for a new start.216 In Schäfer’s post-war works, he linked the social and the national by viewing Germany’s defeat as the starting point for addressing social and cultural problems from a völkisch perspective. Schäfer demanded that Germany admit her war-guilt. He was not, however, referring, as the victorious Allies did, to her role in causing the war. Instead, he suggested that Germany, like all the belligerent nations, needed to acknowledge her guilt in prioritising the national economy and material gain over the nurture and promotion of the Volk. Seen from the German perspective in 1918, this guilt, shared equally between the nations in question, had caused the implosion of European civilisation. As a result, Schäfer, like Moeller van den Bruck in Das Dritte Reich, called for a new beginning that would redress the balance. The Weimar Republic, the product of Social Democracy and capitalist modernity, was the wrong answer.217

Schäfer’s attitude towards the Jews was ambiguous. In 1923, he outlined his views in a speech entitled Die deutsche Judenfrage.218 Here he praised the contribution made by German Jews to German culture. At the same time he highlighted a deep chasm between the German and the Jewish spirit. In this way, he was able to accept Jews as German citizens but not as members of the German Volk. Assimilation was not only impossible, but dangerous, leading to an adulteration of German culture. An even greater ← 82 | 83 → danger, however, were those Jews who espoused modernist culture, which sought to eradicate the differences between Völker altogether. Logically, therefore, he supported the efforts of the Zionists, who understood the differences between the Germans and the Jews. Schäfer’s concern was the maintenance of the cultural and racial purity of the individual Völker.219

Sontheimer observes that the Kriegserlebnis that had such a stark impact on the political culture of the Weimar Republic was far more homogeneous than the experiences that formed German collective memory of the Second World War.220 The First World War demonstrated the nature of industrial warfare for the first time and its impersonal and amoral quality provided all those involved with a common experience. On the German right, at least, this single, widely shared experience proved to be a unifying force for the previously disparate adherents to völkisch-nationalism. It provided them with a new context in which to understand their ideals of camaraderie and community, just as the consequences of the lost war left them with a new context in which to apply their ideology. Nonetheless, the fundamental characteristics of this ideology remained those made familiar by völkisch-nationalists during the Kaiserreich: a racial worldview based on the Volk defined by blood; a social-political ideology formed around the idea of the Volksgemeinschaft led by a Führer and consisting of all European Germans; a belief in Germany’s rightful position in the world as a great power. These were also the terms adopted by Hitler and the newly formed Nazi Party in the 1920s.

Völkisch Writers and the NSDAP

A number of commentators, and not only those on the extreme right with first-hand experience of Nazi literary life, have observed that the relationship between representatives of völkisch-nationalism and the Nazi Party was ← 83 | 84 → more complex than those seeking in völkisch activity the roots of National Socialism may have suggested.221 Once established as the Nazi Gauleiter in Berlin from 1926, Joseph Goebbels in particular went to considerable lengths to court prominent writers whose political position appeared to be in line with the Nazis’ own. This was partly due to the lack of first-class literary representatives in the NSDAP’s own ranks. It probably also reflects Goebbels’ self-image as an intellectual, based on his academic background and attempts to write fiction.222

Goebbels was already in regular contact with Hans Grimm before 1933,223 although Grimm’s consistent refusal to join the NSDAP, central to the defence of his position after 1945, was already evident in their early correspondence. It was clearly important to Goebbels to win the support of the author of Volk ohne Raum, one of the most successful ‘serious’ works to emerge from nationalist circles in the 1920s. Goebbels began to cultivate Grimm shortly after the publication of Volk ohne Raum and Goebbels’ own arrival in Berlin. He arranged for Grimm to meet Hitler in 1928 and, in 1931, for him to participate in a meeting of the Harzburg Front.224 On 15th February of the same year, he described Grimm in his diary:

Midday at table with Hans Grimm. A reticent, gentle Lower Saxon, tall, somewhat lumbering, but thereby of a calming goodness and an assured cleverness. He views politics very clearly. For him we are the best chance for Germany and therefore he supports us. But wholly without pathos or ranting. Full of contempt for the Literatentum, strongly against Jünger, very good and loyal towards Hitler. I immediately conquer ← 84 | 85 → his heart. He is moved when I speak of the duties that the German-conscious minds have towards us. That definitely touches his conscience. He then gives himself over completely to us. Civil courage! Bravo! We need lots like him. We part as friends, with the wish to meet again often. That is a prize! The author of ‘Volk ohne Raum’ stands under our flag.225

In his autobiographical work of 1954, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? Grimm’s accounts of his meetings with Goebbels and his experiences at the Harzburg Front also point to a positive, almost friendly relationship between the two men in these years. Grimm regularly met Goebbels socially between 1930 and 1932, a period in which he spent several winter months each year in Berlin, in order, as he later explained, to follow the political situation at first hand.226

Grimm’s post-1945 accounts were written as part of his effort to reinterpret the history of the Nazi phenomenon after the War. In particular, he took pains to demonstrate that National Socialism had started out idealistically.227 This interpretation reflected his experience of Nazism in its early years. He suggested that during their first conversation, Goebbels had not appeared completely secure in his opinion of Hitler. Grimm implied that he gained the confidence of the future Propaganda Minister, who appeared to welcome an opportunity to discuss his private doubts. He also suggested that at this stage, in private, Goebbels was far from narrow-minded, contrasting with Grimm’s later experience of the Propaganda Minister in 1938, when Goebbels reprimanded him for the annual literary meetings he held at his home in Lippoldsberg.228

Grimm’s descriptions of his contacts with Hitler were more mixed. After 1945, he distanced himself from personal sympathy for Hitler, but emphasised that there were no other options for Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Grimm described his first meeting with the Nazi leader, ← 85 | 86 → which occurred some time between 1928 and 1933 (the exact date is not clear in Grimm’s text), in Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? 229 The encounter took place in Munich, where Grimm had been invited to meet the editorial staff of the Völkischer Beobachter. Grimm’s description suggests that it was only a partial success. He argued that the Nazi leader had represented the European vanguard with his war against Bolshevism and for the future of the ‘white race’. But Grimm’s account of this first meeting also asserted the independent position Grimm maintained in relation to the NSDAP and emphasised the divergence of his political priorities, which were focused on Africa, from those of Hitler. Grimm made little impact when he embarked on a discussion of his main concern, the German residents of the former German South-West Africa, since 1919 governed by South Africa under a League of Nations mandate. Hitler was adamant that Germany must avoid confrontation with the English, as well as the Boers, Dutch and other ‘Germanic’ peoples. The Nazi leader quickly let the subject of Africa fall, turning instead to the problem of Versailles and the ‘Social Democratic’ world created since the First World War.230

Grimm recalled his irritation at the way Hitler had brushed aside the African question. He also noted that Hitler became increasingly excited as he spoke, moving uncomfortably close to Grimm, whose chair ended up against the wall. On the other hand, Grimm declared himself impressed by Hitler’s assertion that he was not the leader Germany was waiting for. This was typical of Grimm’s post-1945 strategy of adopting a critical stand towards Hitler’s person, whilst emphasising that he acted from motives for which Grimm had sympathy. His post-war reinterpretation of Hitler’s politics was designed to serve Grimm’s own political position in the post-war world, and will be discussed further in Chapter 5.

Grimm’s description of his second encounter with Hitler during the meeting of the Harzburg Front in October 1931 provides broader observations of the politics of the extreme right-wing groups seeking to form a national front. Again, writing after 1945, he sought to distance himself ← 86 | 87 → from the Nazis and at the same time apologise for them by presenting them as Germany’s only realistic option in the early 1930s:

I saw Hitler for the second time at the Harzburg Conference on 11th October 1931. An attempt was to be made to create a National Front out of the German-Nationals and National-Socialists and the Stahlhelm. I listened to the excessive speeches as an independent German. Those men present with whom I felt a bond all belonged to the German-Nationals and the Stahlhelm; nonetheless I understood Hitler’s bad temper. It was all too clear that this ‘front’ would not be able to solve any of the burning questions. The majority of those present looked back with reverence to the past, the upstart Hitler was of the opinion solutions would only be found by looking forward.231

This explains Grimm’s support for National Socialism in the early 1930s; he felt that the NSDAP would take action. An emphasis on deeds over words was well established on the völkisch right. Now, finally, they were embodied in the National Socialist movement, as Grimm demonstrated in a public appeal to the NSDAP published in the Berliner Börsenzeitung on 22nd September 1932. The text was co-signed by August Winnig, who had been the Social Democrat Oberpräsident of East Prussia between 1918 and 1920 before gaining a reputation as a publicist and moving increasingly towards the political right. It was published with the title Bitte an den Nationalsozialismus; in 1954, Grimm included it in Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? along with an open letter from Goebbels published in response in the Nazi organ Der Angriff on 24th September 1932.232 Grimm emphasised in his post-war account that the appeal was, with the exception of one short extract by Winnig, written by him; Goebbels’ response was also directed principally at Grimm.

In spite of his sympathy for the NSDAP’s ‘German’ cause and his close acquaintance with Goebbels, Grimm strongly asserted his independence from party politics. His actions in the last years of the Weimar Republic were responses to the political culture of the republican system he rejected, not ← 87 | 88 → least the role of the German press. The Bitte an den Nationalsozialismus placed the NSDAP in the context of the German right-wing as a whole. It began with an endorsement of the Hitlerbewegung. By referring to the NSDAP as a ‘movement’, Grimm deliberately emphasised its significance beyond narrow party politics. In line with völkisch thinking, Grimm rejected the party structures of Weimar republicanism, promoting instead the central importance of the völkisch-nationalist cause. At the same time, Grimm’s discomfort with certain characteristics of the NSDAP, which Grimm viewed as a workers’ party, are evident in this text. Appealing to the Nazis to transcend the workers’ politics of Marxist socialism, he recognised and applauded the mass nature of the NSDAP as the most successful non-Marxist alternative for Germany’s workers, harnessing them to German nationalism. As a result, for Grimm the NSDAP had proved itself to be the most effective available bulwark against Bolshevism. Nonetheless, while Grimm recognised the pragmatic benefits of Nazi mass politics, he remained elitist and an undertone of discomfort with the nature of the NSDAP is evident both in this text and in his general attitude to the Nazis at this time.233 The appeal went on to assert the necessary völkisch basis for workers’ politics; the workers’ movement needed to be harnessed to the German project as a whole. This aimed at reconnecting the German Volk with its Reich, as opposed to the kleindeutsch state established by Bismarck. The integration of Volk and Reich was the real prize; a resort to class struggle represented a dangerous distraction from resistance to the statist framework that Grimm identified with the Weimar Republic. For Grimm and Winnig, therefore, the NSDAP was the strongest and most authentic movement serving the German cause.234

Goebbels responded in an open letter addressed to Grimm in the Nazi organ Der Angriff. He publicly validated Grimm’s understanding of his place as an independent, constructively critical commentator on National Socialism and presented the NSDAP in a light designed to appeal to those involved in the intellectual life of the nation. At the same time, Goebbels ← 88 | 89 → attacked the status quo in Germany in 1932, the political system and the liberal press, suggesting that the Nazis were victims of a campaign to discredit them.235 He expressed appreciation that Grimm recognised the NSDAP as having rescued Germany ‘from Communist dissolution and thereby from the complete extinction of the particular German intellectual and spiritual strengths, without which any form of resurrection was impossible’ – Goebbels quoted directly from the text of Grimm and Winnig.236 The special role Goebbels claimed for the NSDAP in German politics had been earned through its actions over the previous twelve years. Thus, rather than appealing to the Nazis, he challenged Grimm and Winnig to direct their complaint at those who refused to clear the field in order to allow the Nazis to complete their historic task. Goebbels emphasised the NSDAP’s character as a Volkspartei, which he understood in racial terms.237 Picking up on the comments by Grimm and Winnig on the subject of the German Reich, moreover, Goebbels moved the NSDAP away from older forms of nationalism and presented its credentials as a völkisch organisation: ‘For us the Reich is not an empty phantom. We see in it not only a national instance, but also, and even more so today, a social instance. The one is unthinkable without the other, and only when we succeed in making the two into one will the miracle happen, that Volk and Reich will be conjoined.’238

In spite of Goebbels’ response, in Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? Grimm noted that it did little to allay the unexpected outcry the Bitte an den Nationalsozialismus raised in some quarters, including some Nazi offices. In particular, Grimm was criticised by the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg and his allies. Attacks on Grimm were published in the press, linked to his alleged attendance at a dinner in the Gardekavallerie-Kasino in Berlin, at which 300 wealthy, prominent men had apparently been present. They ← 89 | 90 → criticised Grimm for having challenged the NSDAP in its representation of the struggling working classes whilst at the same time dining lavishly with industrialists, politicians and other members of the establishment.239 In a letter to Goebbels, Grimm denied having attended the dinner, and warned of potential damage to the ‘movement’ presented by such publicity on the part of the NSDAP. He argued that this sort of reporting was little more than a continuation of the lies and inventions of ‘Marxist’ journalists deplored by Goebbels himself: ‘The Jewish-Marxist journalists of my youth behaved in this way, as does the Jewish press against National Socialism, as did the enemy press against us during the World War: Lies and pious commentaries on their own lies.’240

Rudolf Hess took pains to repair any damage done between the Party and Grimm. At the same time, his short letter in November 1932 also appears to be an attempt to paper over any differences within the Party, particularly between Rosenberg and other leaders. These were already evident and would come to the fore more clearly in the course of the decade.241 Hess also sent Grimm a pamphlet he had written in which he too had addressed the accusation that the NSDAP was developing too far into a movement engaged in class struggle. In Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? Grimm wrote that he had been surprised to receive this letter; he did not know Hess personally at this stage.242 According to Hess himself, he had been present at Grimm’s first meeting with Hitler. In his response to Heß in 1932 Grimm claimed that he was personally indifferent to the attacks, and maintained that he had been concerned that the campaign against him (but notably, not the appeal itself) had increased confusion in a time of hopeful transition. His letter to Heß on 15th November 1932 thanked Heß for writing and stated:

← 90 | 91 → I am naturally aware that the Party and movement have different requirements. I am convinced that the success of Germany depends on the success of the ‘National-Socialist movement’ and I act accordingly. I fear that the greatest enemies of the movement are currently to be found among the self-important, doctrinaire and lifelong insolvents in the Party. The Party should come as a welcome counterforce for those of us outside, who seek nothing for ourselves. But welcome or unwelcome, we are bound by our consciences to serve the German cause, and are pleased by every upstanding German we meet.243

With this Grimm outlined his own understanding of his position vis à vis the NSDAP and set the agenda for his actions in the Third Reich.244 The fact that his position outside but in support of the Party, retaining a right to deliver constructive criticism, was more or less accepted by the Nazis at this early stage allowed Grimm to assume that it would continue to be acceptable when they were in government. Certainly, reflecting on his later dealings with a far less friendly Goebbels, he referred back to these years to support his position throughout the 1930s.245 The various responses Grimm received to the ‘Bitte an den Nationalsozialismus’ also indicate that the NSDAP cultural leadership was already divided before the Party came to power. These divisions became more evident as internal rivalries, in particular between Rosenberg and Goebbels, became more intense in the years that followed.

The differences between Grimm and the Nazis in the late 1920s rested more on a question of style than ideology. Grimm was not alone among völkisch-nationalists with his initial view of the NSDAP as a rabble-rousing mass movement that was incompatible with their elitist vision. In the Reichstag elections in 1930, for example, Grimm voted for the DNVP, whose ‘manly uprightness and great political ability and internal party ← 91 | 92 → freedom’ he admired.246 In the presidential election in the spring of 1932, however, he reserved his vote for Hitler.247 For Grimm, the NSDAP at this time represented freedom from party politics. In line with the emphasis of older völkisch thought, and with Hitler’s own rhetoric, he emphasised its character as a movement rather than a party and saw in it Germany’s only hope for deliverance from the degradation of the Weimar years. While Grimm was never a Party member, Goebbels was pleased to note once again in his diary: ‘The writer Hans Grimm openly endorses the Führer.’248 In 1932, Grimm himself characterised his political activities as follows:

I have tried to provide the new national movement with quiet assistance from the day of its inception, unasked and unregistered. I did so seriously after the 9th November 1923. I, the partyless, voted for the National Socialist Party, in spite of much that disturbed me, for the sake of the movement, which emerged around the Party and was supported by the Party as the bones support the body.249

In spite of Grimm’s early support for the Nazi Party, and his importance in Germany as one of the leading nationalist writers of his time, it is very unlikely that either Hitler or Goebbels took the time to read the 1,300 pages of Volk ohne Raum or any of his other works. Unlike those of other writers, including the Norwegian Knut Hamsun and, closer to home, Wilhelm Schäfer, Goebbels does not mention Grimm’s books in his diaries.250 The Nazis were less interested in Grimm’s ideas than in his public standing. Grimm, on the other hand, saw a weightier role for himself as an independent commentator and cultural activist for the German cause, a misunderstanding that would cause problems in the future.

← 92 | 93 → E.G. Kolbenheyer’s Speech to Students, 1932

Adherents to the völkisch ideology greeted the Nazi Machtergreifung in January 1933 with enthusiasm. In the early 1930s National Socialism appeared to present the only real chance to reorganise German society according to völkisch values and the establishment of the Third Reich marked a nationalist victory over the Weimar Republic. Hopes were further reinforced by Nazi rhetoric, which adopted many of the characteristics of the older völkisch-nationalist ideology. The Nazis proclaimed the establishment of a Volksgemeinschaft under the rule of the Führer and characterised by racial anti-Semitism. These terms had become familiar in German society at large as a result of the activities of völkisch-nationalists over the years.

In a speech delivered to student audiences at a number of German universities in 1932, Kolbenheyer discussed the role of literature in modern Germany, placing it in the broader context of his racial theories and demonstrating his concerns for Germany as the Weimar Republic limped through its final years. His speech provides a useful insight into his ideological position on the eve of the Nazi accession to power. Kolbenheyer responded to the question ‘Ist deutsche Kultur am Ende?’ which had been put to eight academics and writers by the Münchener Studentenschaft. Kolbenheyer’s response provided a völkisch perspective on the cultural pessimism that he felt was intrinsic in the question.251 It was a question that, he suggested, reflected the spiritual state of modern society. Moreover, the problems faced by German culture had serious implications not only for Germany, but also Europe and America. In short, the health of German cultural life was intrinsic to the survival of the ‘white race’.252

For Kolbenheyer and his völkisch colleagues, German literature had a fundamental role to play in ensuring the future of the German Volk. It is ← 93 | 94 → notable that already in 1932 Kolbenheyer emphasised the interconnectedness of the ‘white’ peoples, a theme that he returned to after 1945. It is also notable that Kolbenheyer shared Grimm’s view of international history over the previous two hundred years, which criticised Germany’s neighbours for holding back German development over several centuries.253 The Treaty of Versailles was only the latest instance in this campaign against the German Volk. In addition, like Grimm, Kolbenheyer also saw a threat in the growing populations encroaching on western Europe from Asia. This threat was exacerbated by Communist expansionism after 1917.

Kolbenheyer’s lecture was divided into two sections: the first discussed the biological function of the German Volk in the struggle to align the members of the ‘white race’ in a new structure that would create conditions for each of its constituent Völker to thrive, bringing their strengths to play for the benefit of the ‘white race’ as a whole. Having established this principle, the second part of his lecture addressed the specific role of literature in this process.254 Kolbenheyer claimed a scientific basis for his argument in line with the philosophy he outlined in his substantial work Die Bauhütte.255 Thus, the process of alignment or adaptation (Anpassung) of the various ‘white’ Völker was one of biological adaptation rather than cultural assimilation or alignment.

In illustrating his ideas, Kolbenheyer raised two central themes in right-wing thought in the Weimar Republic: the idea of the ‘decline’ (Untergang) of the Volk and that of Lebensraum, both also themes central to Nazi rhetoric. For Kolbenheyer ‘decline’ was a reality that demanded a response. He argued that the völkisch tendency to look back to history to find a spiritual orientation in response to the contemporary world was inadequate; biological analysis was required. Kolbenheyer demanded forward-looking approaches drawn not from history but from a ‘biological’ understanding of the contemporary world and, in particular, the Anpassungskampf in which ← 94 | 95 → the German Volk was involved. This needed, moreover, to be viewed in an ‘übervölkisch’ context, which recognised a difference between the idea of race and that of Volk.256

Kolbenheyer’s approach was thus a little different to that of völkisch colleagues, including the Nazis, for whom the Germanic, Nordic or Aryan Volk was simply identified in racial terms. By contrast, Kolbenheyer viewed individual European Völker as constituents of the ‘white race’. He emphasised the mutual dependence of the ‘white race’ and the German Volk. Kolbenheyer proposed that the Völker should develop closer relationships based on their shared biological identity. This would allow a combined response of the entire ‘white race’ to the problem of racial decline, without blurring the boundaries of the constituent Völker.257 Indeed, the possibility of an ‘übervölkisch’ reaction representing the ‘white race’ as a whole was created out of the dynamic tension between the different Völker, some ‘old’ and exhausted, others ‘young’ and still full of unused life. Here Kolbenheyer echoed Moeller van den Bruck’s idea of young and old nations. The First World War was, in Kolbenheyer’s analysis, only the latest instance in two thousand years of struggle as a result of this tension and intrinsic to the biological development of the ‘white race’.

According to Kolbenheyer, the struggle between the Völker had been accompanied by a lack of space or Lebensraum. One of the indications that this struggle was in its final phase, he suggested, was the fact that this feeling was stronger than ever before in the face of economic hardship and rising unemployment.258 Previously, the problem had been understood simply as a question of population density. For Kolbenheyer, however, it was not about the number of people living off a piece of land, but whether that land was sufficient both in size and fertility to support those people and their biological development.259 The technologically advanced state of the European Völker, demonstrated during the First World War, meant that ← 95 | 96 → Europe was now too small to support them. The mistake of the Versailles peace settlement was its failure to recognise the biological needs of the German Volk and its importance for the future of Europe as a whole. For Kolbenheyer, the Versailles Treaty was the latest expression of what he described as the Mediterranean spirit and its drive throughout history to contain the Nordic-Germanic spirit. The latter sought not hegemony and centralisation, but the free development of the entire ‘white race’. And it was in the quest to achieve this that Kolbenheyer saw the biological function of the German Volk, and therefore also the value of its literary creation.260

Kolbenheyer rejected aestheticism that judged art simply as art, but also distanced himself from a form of literature that simply served cultural or political ends. Polished form and style, though necessary, were not sufficient for the existence of a work of art; literature must serve as the mediation of the essence of the Volk. Similarly, literature that simply supported a Weltanschauung only served to validate an existing position and could not therefore be considered art. For Kolbenheyer,

Art should and must serve re-orderung and expansion. It is based therefore on the familiar and revered, in order to break through inurement and to bring about the new, which should possess a certain, calming form. Art that supports ethos is a creative agent that generates excitement creatively and through visual form. […] It sets the observer free only after an internal struggle. To bring about constructive struggle requires mastery of form. Where a lack of form is exalted or replaced by ethos there is no literary art.261

For Kolbenheyer Dichtkunst represented the deepest, most inalienable expression of the individual Völker.262 The literary arts of a people provided not only insight into its specific character, but also the method of protecting and developing it. Conversely, however, literature also opened a Volk to potential instability and contamination. Thus Kolbenheyer contrasted his perspective on literature with the intellectualising tendencies ← 96 | 97 → he identified in recent generations. Kolbenheyer’s criticism of the literary world of the Weimar Republic mirrored right-wing complaints about the liberal and left-wing press and publishing houses; it was not aimed at the German people as a whole, who were the victims not the perpetrators of this situation.263


The First World War did not substantially change völkisch ideology, but it had an enormous influence on völkisch actions in the Weimar Republic. It provided the völkisch movement with renewed momentum and a new focus. Throughout its history, the völkisch-nationalist landscape in Germany was always disparate and lacked clear categories. The same remained true for the Weimar Republic, during which völkisch-nationalists believed that they were continuing the fight that had been defined in 1914 according to an older völkisch understanding of Germany. Völkisch literature remained central to the dissemination of the völkisch message in the Weimar Republic, with book clubs and right-wing organisations directing a steady readership towards material that endorsed their world-view.

In the Weimar Republic, völkisch-nationalists engaged more directly in political activism than they had in the Kaiserreich. In a period of economic and political instability they offered both an explanation and a solution for the problems of the German people. In striving towards a complete revision of the German social structure, the völkisch ideology was both political and revolutionary. It was based on intuitive rather than rational principles. While some völkisch activists absolutely rejected the democratic parliamentarianism of the Weimar Republic, others sought to work within it to achieve the völkisch revolution. Parties like the Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP) and the NSDAP formed an increasingly powerful ← 97 | 98 → right-wing bloc in the Reichstag in the late 1920s.264 Völkisch-nationalists, and the message they spread through their literary output, were therefore inextricably bound up with the formation of a political consensus on the right during these years. The cooperation and competition between the Nazis and other völkisch groups, the influence of völkisch ideology on the development of the Nazi programme, and the similarities and differences between the movements will therefore be the subject of the next chapter.

In his lecture to the students in Munich, Kolbenheyer outlined a role for literature, and by extension German writers, that formed the basis of his expectations of the Nazi regime. For Kolbenheyer and his völkisch colleagues, as well as the Nazis responsible for the cultural sphere after 1933, literature had a role to play in the struggle for the future of the German Volk. Where tensions emerged, they were not about the nature of German literature itself, but about who should determine its course. For the völkisch-nationalists, literature must come from the Volk itself, the position of its creators thus confirmed by the works they had written rather than political patronage or favour; literature was not to serve a party programme or political propaganda, but solely the German people. While the Nazis were prepared to acknowledge this ideal in theory, as subsequent chapters will show, in practice the situation was more complex.


1 Völkier Ullrich, Die nervöse Großmacht, 1871–1918. Aufstieg und Untergang des deutschen Kaiserreichs (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1999), p. 138.

2 Geoff Eley, Reshaping the German Right, pp. 349–350.

3 Heinrich Claß (alias Daniel Frymann), Wenn ich Kaiser wär’ – Politische Wahrheiten und Notwendigkeiten (Leipzig: Dieterich, 1912). pp. 168–170; This is also reflected in Hans Grimm’s later work, Volk ohne Raum (Munich: Langen-Müller Verlag, 1926).

4 See, for example, Paul de Lagarde, Schriften für das deutsche Volk (Munich: Deutsche Buchgemeinschaft, 1934), vol. I, p. 35. Also Uwe Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, p. 155.

5 Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung, p. 263.

6 Peter Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria (New York: Harvard University Press, 1964), p. 5.

7 Gustav Freytag, Soll und Haben (Edition used: Munich: Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Knaur, 1959).

8 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1973), p. xi.

9 Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism, p. 5.

10 On the debate about Freytag’s attitudes towards the Jews, see Jürgen Matoni, ‘Die Juden in Gustav Freytags Werken’, Oberschlesisches Jahrbuch, vol. 8 (Berlin 1985), pp. 107–116. See also: Martin Gubser, Literarischer Antisemtismus: Untersuchungen zu Gustav Freytag und anderen bürgerlichen Schriftstellern des 19. Jahrhunderts (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1998); Hartmut Steinecke, ‘Gustav Freytag: Soll und Haben (1855). Weltbild und Wirkung eines deutschen Bestsellers’ in Horst Denkler (ed.), Romane und Erzählungen des Bürgerlichen Realismus: Neue Interpretationen (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1980), pp. 138–152.

11 Gustav Freytag, ‘Über den Antisemitismus. Eine Pfingsbetrachtung’, Neue Freie Presse, Vienna, 21.051893.

12 Heinrich von Treitschke, ‘Unsere Aussichten’, Preußische Jahrbücher, November 1879.

13 Significant contributions from both sides of the Antisemitismusstreit are reproduced in Karsten Krieger (ed.), Der ‘Berliner Antisemitismusstreit’ 1879–1881: Kommentierte Quellenedition (Munich: Saur, 2003); see also: Walter Boehlich (ed.), Der Berliner Antisemitismusstreit (Frankfurt am Main: Insel-Verlag, 1965), especially pp. 237–263; Peter Pulzer, Jews and the German State: The Political History of a Minority, 1848–1933 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), pp. 96–97; George Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology, pp. 200–201. Treitschke’s best-known historical work was Deutsche Geschichte im neunzehnten Jahrhundert (5 Volumes, Leipzig: Hirzel, 1878–1894).

14 Wilhelm Marr, Der Sieg des Judentums über das Germanentum (Bern: Costenoble, 1879).

15 Moshe Zimmermann, Wilhelm Marr, The Patriarch of Anti-Semitism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 79.

16 Quoted in Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism, p. 50.

17 Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology, p. 93; Joachim Kohler, Wagner’s Hitler, pp. 130–131.

18 Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (1899). Among his other works were a number of biographies: Richard Wagner (Munich: Bruckmann, 1895), Immanuel Kant. Die Persönlichkeit als Einführung in das Werk (Munich: Bruckmann, 1905), Goethe (Munich: Bruckmann, 1912). See also: Geoffrey G. Field, Evangelist of Race: The Germanic Vision of Houston Stewart Chamberlain (New York: Columbia University Press 1981), p. 224.

19 Field, Evangelist of Race, p. 225.

20 Ibid.

21 Quoted in Kohler, Wagner’s Hitler, p. 125.

22 Ibid. p. 125.

23 Werner Bergmann, ‘Völkischer Antisemitismus’, in Uwe Puschner, Walter Schmitz, Justus H. Ulbricht (eds), Handbuch zur ‘Völkischen Bewegung’ 1871–1918 (Munich: Saur, 1999), p. 456. Bergmann lists further völkisch-nationalist groups among those that represented this later, ‘scientific’ form of anti-Semitism: the Verein deutscher Studenten; the Deutsche Turnerbund; the DHV (see below); the Wartburgbund; and finally the Bund Alldeutschland.

24 Steven Nyole Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather: Adolf Bartels and Cultural Extremism, 1871–1945 (New York: Peter Lang, 1997), pp. 51–52.

25 Peter Fritsche, Reading Berlin (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1996).

26 Steven Nyole Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather, pp. 51–52.

27 Ibid. pp. 62–63.

28 See, for example, Julius Langbehn, Rembrandt als Erzieher (Leipzig: Hirschfeld, 1890; edition used here: 1922); Thomas Neumann, Völkisch-nationale Hebbelrezeption: Adolf Bartels und die Weimarer Nationalfestspiele (Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag, 1997), pp. 39–40; Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair.

29 Adolf Bartels, Geschichte der deutschen Literatur, 2 vols (Leipzig: Avenarius, 1901/1902).

30 Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather, pp. 70–71.

31 Adolf Bartels, Handbuch zur Geschichte der deutschen Literatur (Leipzig: Avenarius, 1906).

32 Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather, pp. 70–71.

33 Adolf Bartels, Heinrich Heine: Auch ein Denkmal (Dresden: Koch, 1906).

34 Ibid. p. 284. Quoted in Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather, p. 120.

35 Ludwig Lorenz, Adolf Bartels und seine Dichtungen: Eine Studie (Dresden: Koch, 1908), p. 100.

36 Ibid. pp. 101–103.

37 Adolf Bartels, Das Weimarische Hoftheater als Nationalbühne für die deutsche Jugend: Eine Denkschrift (Weimar: Böhlau, 1905).

38 Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather, pp. 89–90.

39 Ibid., pp. 89–90. Bartels was also Baldur von Schirach’s tutor in these years.

40 Neumann, Völkisch-nationale Hebbelrezeption, p. 102.

41 Ibid., pp. 121; 125.

42 Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung, pp. 15–16.

43 Quoted in Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung, p. 55.

44 Ibid., p. 55.

45 Fuller, The Nazis Literary Grandfather, pp. 25–31, 83–84.

46 Adolf Bartels, Kinderland: Erinnerungen aus Hebbels Heimat (2nd edition: Leipzig: Bürger, 1914) Die Dithmarscher: Historischer Roman in 4 Büchern (Kiel & Leipzig: Lipsius & Tischer, 1898).

47 See also Uwe-Karsten Ketelsen, Völkisch-nationale und nationalsozialistische Literatur, p. 38.

48 Kay Dohnke, ‘Völkische Literatur und Heimatliteratur 1870–1918’ in Puschner et al. (eds), Handbuch zur ‘Völkischen Bewegung’ 1871–1918 (Munich: Saur, 1999), pp. 652–653.

49 Celia Applegate, A Nation of Provincials: The German Idea of Heimat (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), p. 80.

50 Ibid. pp. 3; 103–107.

51 The roots of this idea can be seen, for example, in the earlier works of Ernst Moritz Arnd and, particularly, Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl. See Colin Riordan, ‘Green Ideas in Germany: A Historical Survey’ in Colin Riordan (ed.), Green Thought in German Culture: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997), pp. 3–41; on Arndt and Riehl, pp. 8–11.

52 Anna Bramwell’s controversial political biography of Walter Darré seeks to rescue the reputation of its protagonist by arguing for the existence of a ‘green’ wing in the NSDAP: Blood and Soil: Richard Walther Darré and Hitler’s ‘Green Party’ (Bourne End: Kensal, 1985).

53 Sebastian Meissl, ‘Zur Wiener Neugermanistik der dreißiger Jahre: Stamm, Volk, Rasse, Reich. Über Josef Nadlers literaturwissenschaftliche Position,’ in Klaus Amann and Albert Berger (eds), Österreichische Literatur der dreißiger Jahre (Vienna: Böhlau, 1985), p. 133.

54 Ibid. pp. 133–134.

55 Josef Nadler, Literaturgeschichte der deutschen Stämme und Landschaften 4 vols (Regensburg: Habbel, 1912–1928), vol. 1, pp. 6–7.

56 Karl-Heinz Rossbacher, ‘Programm und Roman der Heimatkunstbewegung – Möglichkeiten sozialgeschichtlicher und soziologischer Analyse’ in Viktor Žmegač (ed.), Deutsche Literatur um die Jahrhundertwende (Königstein/Ts.: Verlagsgruppe Athenäum, Hain, Scriptor, Hanstein, 1981), p. 127.

57 Claß, Wenn ich Kaiser wär’, pp. 20–26.

58 Applegate, A Nation of Provincials, pp. 70–74.

59 Rossbacher, ‘Programm und Roman der Heimatkunstbewegung’, p. 123.

60 Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, p. 98.

61 Walter Lacqueur, Die deutsche Jugendbewegung (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1978).

62 Gustav Frenssen, Jörn Uhl; Hermann Löns, Der Wehrwolf (Jena: Diederichs, 1912).

63 Rossbacher, ‘Programm und Roman der Heimatkunstbewegung’, p. 123.

64 Dietrich Stein, ‘Spuren im Nebelland. Fakten und Menschliches in Frenssens Biographie’, in Kay Dohnke and Dietrich Stein (eds), Frenssen und seiner Zeit: Von der Massenliteratur im Kaiserreich zur Massenideologie im NS-Staat (Heide: Boyens, 1997), pp. 23–24.

65 Ibid. p. 24.

66 Gustav Frenssen, Das Heimatsfest: Schauspiel in 5 Akten (Berlin: Grote, 1903); Hilligenlei (Berlin: Grote, 1905; 1937 edition also consulted).

67 Stein, ‘Spuren im Nebelland’, pp. 31–33.

68 See for example: Frenssen, Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest: Ein Feldzugsbericht (Berlin: Grote, 1942), pp. 68–69.

69 Ibid. p. 196.

70 Eley, Reshaping the German Right, pp. 255–256.

71 Stein, ‘Spuren im Nebelland’, p. 32.

72 Ibid.

73 Wernt Grimm added a note to Grimm’s archive, in which he recalled these visits. See: DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Gustav Frenssen, 1902–1928. That such visits took place is confirmed in the correspondence between Grimm und Frenssen. For example a postcard from Frenssen of 18.8.1915 requests the arrival details of Grimm in Blankenese: Postcard from Frenssen to Grimm, Blankenese, 18.4.1915. Also postcard, 4.7.1917. Other postcards exchanged between the Grimm and Frenssen families also illustrate the visits between them took place during the war, DLA – A: Grimm, Frenssen to Grimm, 1902–1928.

74 Postcard from Frenssen to Grimm, 1.6.1914 in DLA – A: Grimm, Frenssen to Grimm, 1902–1926. The envelope is addressed to Grimm at Beethovenstr. 9, Bahrenfeld-Altona, where he lived while he studied at the Colonial Institute in Hamburg.

75 Hans Grimm, Südafrikanische Novellen (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Löning, 1913); Afrikafahrt-West: Ein Reisebuch und Einführungsbuch (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Löning, 1913).

76 Thomas Neumann, ‘“Deine Ausführungen hättest Du Dir sparen können … ” Einige biographische Anmerkungen zum Verhältnis Adolf Bartels – Gustav Frenssen’ in Dohnke and Stein (eds), Gustav Frenssen in seiner Zeit, p. 348.

77 The full text of Frenssen’s letter is reproduced by Neumann in ‘“Deine Ausführungen hättest Du Dir sparen können … ”’, p. 349.

78 Uwe K. Ketelsen, ‘Frenssens Werk und die deutsche Literatur der ersten Jahrzehnte unseres Jahrhunderts. Zuordnungen, Parallelen, Abgrenzungen,’ in Dohnke and Stein (eds), Gustav Frenssen in seiner Zeit, p. 155.

79 See, for example, Hans Wysling (ed.), Dichter oder Schriftsteller? Der Briefwechsel zwischen Thomas Mann and Josef Ponten, 1919–1930 (Bern: Francke, 1988).

80 See, for example, Gustav Frenssen, ‘Um Haus und Herd’ in Deutsche Kriegswochenschau, No. 15, 18.3.1917, quoted in Andreas Crystall, Gustav Frenssen: Sein Weg vom Kulturprotestantismus zum Nationalsozialismus (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2002), p. 403, n.424.

81 Crystall, Gustav Frenssen, pp. 399–400.

82 Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung, p. 14.

83 Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, pp. 3–4.

84 Roger Chickering, We Men who feel most German: A Cultural Study of the Pan-German League, 1886–1914 (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1984). p. 184.

85 Eley, Reshaping the German Right, pp. 24–30, 44.

86 Quoted by Eley, Reshaping the German Right, p. 48; see also Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung, p. 69.

87 Chickering, We Men who feel most German, p. 45.

88 Ibid. pp. 46–53.

89 Ibid., pp. 65–66.

90 Claß, Wenn ich Kaiser wär’, p. 102.

91 Ullrich, Die nervöse Großmacht, p. 381.

92 Chickering, We Men who feel most German, pp. 63–69.

93 Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, ‘Staatsstreichpläne, Alldeutsche und Bethmann Hollweg’ in Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann and Immanuel Geiss, Die Erforderlichkeit des Unmöglichen: Deutschland am Vorabend des ersten Weltkrieges (Frankfurt a/M: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1965), pp. 11–31.

94 Claß, Wenn ich Kaiser wär’.

95 Ullrich, Die nervöse Großmacht, pp. 380–383.

96 Chickering, We Men who feel most German, pp. 234–245.

97 ‘Verfassung und Regeln des Deutschbundes’, Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte [FfZ], Hamburg, 421–9: nationale und völkische Verbände.

98 Ibid.

99 Deutschbundblätter 28: Jahrgang Nr.53, 2.7.1913, FfZ, Hamburg, 412-9: nationale und völkische Verbände.

100 Chickering, We Men who feel most German, p. 236.

101 Ibid., pp. 60–62; 185–202; 256–257.

102 Quoted in Uwe Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus: Die Geschichte des Deutschvölkischen Schutz- und Trutz-Bundes, 1919–1923 (Hamburg: Leibniz-Verlag, 1970), p. 47.

103 See for example, Dr. Richard Boschan, ‘Die Zukunft unserer nationalen Vereine’, Deutsche Zeitung, No. 420, 20th September 1919, p. 7.

104 Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, pp. 15–16

105 Letter from Alfred Roth, written on 15.11.1918 and sent to the members of the Ausschuß für die Judenfrage in the Alldeutsche Verband on 2.12.1918. F.f.Z.: 11,R14–Nachlaß Alfred Roth.

106 Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, pp. 16–18.

107 Revised statutes of the Alldeutscher Verband 28.8.1919 in Hermann Sacher (ed.), Staatslexikon. Im Auftrag der Görres-Gesellschaft (5th revised edition, vol. 1., Freiburg i.Br. 1926), pp. 126–131.

108 Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, p. 77. The board (Beirat) of the Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutz-Bund included many prominent names in völkisch circles: see the list at the end of Deutschland den Deutschen, undated pamphlet published by the Deutschvölkische Schutz- und Trutz-Bund in FFZ: 11.R.14–Alfred Roth (Nachlaß).

109 Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, pp. 18–20.

110 Moeller van den Bruck, Das Dritte Reich (Hamburg: HAVA, 1922; edition referred to here: 1931), pp. 1–3.

111 Deutschland den Deutschen, undated pamphlet published by the Deutschvölkische Schutz- und Trutz-Bund in FfZ 11, R.14–Nachlaß Alfred Roth.

112 Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, p. 123. Examples of Flugblätter by the DVSTB are available in FfZ: 412-1.

113 Ibid., pp. 123–124.

114 These included titles such as: Wissenswertes für die deutschblütige Jugend; Arbeiter, schüttelt das Judenjoch ab and Der Anteil des Judentums am Zusammenbruch. See: Catalogue and order form for books produced or endorsed by the DVSTB, FfZ:412-1.

115 Ibid.

116 Alfred Roth (Pseudonym Otto Armin), Die Juden im Heer (Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 1919); Die Juden in den Kriegsgesellschaften (Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 1920).

117 Catalogue and order form for books produced or endorsed by the DVSTB, FfZ:412-1

118 Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, p. 126.

119 Catalogue and order form for books produced or endorsed by the DVSTB, FfZ:412-1

120 Chickering, We Men who feel most German, p. 47.

121 Quoted by Andreas Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion Langen-Müller: Zur Buchmarkt- und Kulturpolitik des Deutschnationalen Handlungsgehilfen-Verbands in der Endphase der Weimarer Republik (Frankfurt a/M: Buchhändler-Vereinigung, 1989), p. 9.

122 Initially the club was called the Deutschnationale Hausbücherei. It was changed to the Deutsche Hausbücherei after the First World War.

123 ‘Wie die Deutsche Hausbücherei wurde’, Herdefeuer, November 1931. FfZ: 5221–DHV.

124 Ibid.

125 For the complete annual lists of the Deutsche Hausbücherei between 1916/17 and 1933 see FfZ: 5221–DHV.

126 Pamphlet: Wille und Weg der Deutschen Hausbücherei in FfZ:5221–DHV.

127 Ibid.

128 Ketelsen, Literatur und Drittes Reich, pp. 300–301; On class and National Socialism see also: Richard F. Hamilton, Who Voted for Hitler? (Princeton: Princeton University Press 1982).

129 Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, pp. 23–30.

130 ‘Entwicklung der Deutschen Hausbücherei’, handwritten notes taken from the file of Emil Schneider, FfZ: 5221–DHV; see also Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, p. 30.

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131 David Welch, The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 5–8.

132 William L. Patch Jnr., Christian Trade Unions in the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933: The Failure of ‘Corporate Pluralism’ (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), pp. 45–50.

133 Ibid. pp. 63–64.

134 Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, p. 10.

135 Ibid. p. 3.

136 Eugen Diederichs, Der deutsche Buchhandel der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen (Leipzig: Meiner, 1927; Justus Ulbricht and Mieke Werner (eds), Romantik, Revolution und Reform: Die Eugen Diederichs Verlag im Epochenkontext, 1900–1949 (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1999); Melanie Lehmann (ed.), Verleger J.F. Lehmann: Ein Leben im Kampf für Deutschland. Lebenslauf und Briefe (Munich: Lehmann, 1935); Siegfried Lokatis, ‘Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt’: Politisches Buch-Marketing im ‘Dritten Reich’ (Frankfurt a/M: Buchhändler-Vereinigung, 1992).

137 Siegfried Jacoby, ‘Der Weg des deutschen Buches: Verlagsort München,’ Berliner Tageblatt, 6.10.1928 in FfZ:36213: Verlagswesen, 1918–1933.

138 Werner Richter, ‘Die literarische Diktatur der deutschnationalen Handlungsgehilfen’, Berliner Tageblatt, 4.6.1931, in FfZ:5221: D.H.V.; Theodor Tiger, ‘Georg Müller’, Vossische Zeitung, 1.1.1918, FfZ: 36213: Verlagswesen, 1918–1933; Siegfried Jacoby, ‘Der Weg des deutschen Buches’.

139 Mallmann, ‘Das Innere Reich’, pp. 41–42; Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, pp. 23–26.’

140 For example: Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Amor Dei: Ein Spinoza Roman (Munich: Langen, 1908); Meister Joachim Pausewang (Munich: Langen, 1910).

141 Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Die Kindheit von Paracelsus (Munich: Langen, 1917, edition consulted 1935); Das Gestirn von Paracelsus (Munich: Langen 1921, edition consulted 1935); Das dritte Reich des Paracelsus (Munich: Langen, 1925, edition consulted 1935).

142 See also: Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Jagd ihn – ein Mensch (Munich: Langen 1931).

143 Hans Sarkowicz and Alf Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland: Ein biografisches Lexikon (Hamburg: Europa-Verlag, 2000), pp. 241–245.

144 Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 30.

145 Kolbenheyer, Sebastian Karst, vol. III, pp. 9–10.

146 Siegfried Lokatis, Hanseatisches Verlagsanstalt, pp. 102–103.

147 Kolbenheyer, Sebastian Karst: Über sein Leben und über seine Zeit, 3 Vols (Gartenberg bei Wolfratshausen: 1955, 1957, 1958), vol. III, p. 10.

148 Ibid.

149 Ibid., p. 11.

150 Ibid. pp. 30–32.

151 Lokatis, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, p. 103.

152 Werner Richter ‘Die literarische Diktatur der deutschnationalen Handlungsgehilfen’, Berliner Tageblatt, 4.6.1931, FfZ 5221: D.H.V.

153 Lokatis, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, p. 103.

154 Pezold later outlined his achievements in achieving this goal in a letter to Himmler, 14.10.1936, DLA – Langen-Müller Verlag / Pezold.

155 Kolbenheyer, Sebastian Karst, vol. II, pp. 389–390.

156 Ibid., pp. 389–390.

157 See Chapter 3.

158 Kolbenheyer, Sebastian Karst, vol. III, pp. 8–10.

159 Ibid., pp. 16–18.

160 Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, pp. 28–29.

161 Richter, ‘Die literarische Diktatur’.

162 ‘Entwicklung des Mitgliederstandes des DHV, 1893–1931. Rechenschaftsbericht erstattet von seiner Verwaltung’, Hamburg 1931, FfZ 5221: DHV.

163 A. Zimmermann, ‘Rudolf Mosse gegen D.H.V.’, article in unnamed DHV publication, 1931, FfZ5221: DHV.

164 Wilhelm Stapel, ‘“Literarische Diktatur” des D.H.V.?’, Deutsche Handels-Wacht: Zeitschrift des Deutschnationalen Handlungsgehilfenverbandes, Gerwerkschaft der deutschen Kaufmannsgehilfen, No. 12, 38. Jahrgang, Hamburg 25.6.1931.

165 Quoted in Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 111.

166 Ibid. pp. 111–112.

167 Hans Grimm, Volk ohne Raum (First published Munich: Langen, 1926; edition consulted: Lippoldsberg: Klosterhaus-Verlag, 1956).

168 Hans Grimm, Die Grobbelaars: Ein Trauerspiel in vier Aufzügen (Berlin-Charlottenburg: Vita Deutsches Verlagshaus, 1907).

169 Hans Grimm, Südafrikanische Novellen (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Löning, 1913); Afrikafahrt-West: Ein Reisebuch und ein Einführungsbuch (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Löning, 1913); Den Gang durch den Sand und andere Geschichten aus südafrikanischer Not (Munich: Langen, 1916).

170 Hans Grimm, Der Ölsucher von Duala (Berlin: Ullstein, 1918).

171 On the significance of the Juniklub, and in particular its success in disseminating völkisch-nationalist thought, see Sontheimer, Antidemokratisches Denken, pp. 32–34.

172 See, for example, Grimm to Pezold 24th June 1940, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Pezold, 1938–1946.

173 Grimm, Volk ohne Raum, pp. 18–19.

174 Hans Grimm, Das deutsche Südwester-Buch (Munich: Langen, 1929; edition consulted 1937); Lüderitzland: Sieben Begebenheiten (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1934).

175 Ketelsen, Literatur und Drittes Reich, pp. 678–679.

176 Grimm, Volk ohne Raum, pp. 853–855.

177 Ibid. p. 855.

178 Hans Grimm, Englische Rede: Wie ich den Engländer sehe (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1938).

179 See for example, Grimm, Volk ohne Raum, pp. 189, 439–440, 501; see also Schoeps, Literatur im Dritten Reich, pp. 74–75.

180 Bodo Heimann, ‘Die Konvergenz der Einzelgänger: Literatur als Integration des problematischen Individuums in die Volksgemeinschaft: Hermann Stehr – Emil Strauß – Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer’ in Denkler and Prumm (eds), Die deutsche Literatur im Dritten Reich, p. 121.

181 Ketelsen, Literatur und Drittes Reich, pp. 199–200.

182 Grimm, Volk ohne Raum, Foreword.

183 Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 112.

184 Ibid., pp. 115–117.

185 Ibid. p. 117.

186 Ibid. pp. 120–122.

187 Ernst Jünger, Der Arbeiter: Herrschaft und Gestalt (Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 1932).

188 Lokatis, Die Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, pp. 27, 44. Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 148.

189 Kolbenheyer, Sebastian Karst, vol. III, pp. 107–109.

190 Ibid. pp. 145–146.

191 ‘Völkische Hochziele – Das deutsche Heer’, Deutsches Handelsblatt (Hamburg, 16. Jahrgang, Nr. 15: 1.08.1909), FfZ: 5221.

192 Quoted in Hermand, Der alte Traum vom neuen Reich, p. 94.

193 On the various responses to the ‘August Days’ in Germany, see Peter Fritzsche, Germans into Nazis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp. 3–9; 13–31; Heinrich August Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen (Munich: Beck, 2002), vol. I, pp. 333–336; Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, ‘Germany and the Coming of War’ in R.J.W. Evans and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann (eds), The Coming of the First World War (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), pp. 101–102.

194 See Breuer, Anatomie der Konservativen Revolution, p. 3.

195 Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, p. 231.

196 Arthur Moeller van Bruck, Die moderne Literatur (Berlin and Leipzig: Schuster & Loeffler, 1902), p. 608. Quoted in Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, p. 237.

197 Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Die Deutschen (Minden: Bruns, 1904–1910).

198 Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Die Zeitgenossen: Die Geister – die Menschen (Minden: Bruns, 1906).

199 Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Die italienische Schönheit (Munich: Piper, 1913).

200 Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, p. 251.

201 Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Das Recht der jüngen Völker (edition consulted: Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 1932); see Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, p. 251. On Moeller van den Bruck’s relationship with völkisch thought, see also André Schlüter, Moeller van den Bruck: Leben und Werk (Cologne: Böhlau, 2010), pp. vi, 98, 113.

202 Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair, pp. 244; 264–265.

203 Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 97; Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (London: Pan, 2000), p. 30; Uwe Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, pp. 72–73. Ketelsen, Völkisch-nationalistische und nationalsozialistische Literatur, pp. 54–55; Sontheimer, Antidemokratisches Denken, pp. 121–122.

204 For example: Juan Winkelhagen, Das Rätsel vom Skagerrak (Leipzig: Weicher, 1925), reviewed in the Völkische Bücherschau, No. 2, May 1925. Other völkisch-nationalist works on the war reviewed in the same publication included: Unvergessenes Heldentum: Das Kolonisationswerk der deutschen Schutztruppe und Marine (Berlin: Kolonialwarte, 1925) and Admiral Michelsen, Der U-Bootkrieg 1914/1918 (Leipzig: Koehler, 1925). See Völkische Bücherschau, Nr.2, May 1925, FfZ: 36213, Verlagswesen.

205 Erich Maria Remarque, Im Westen nichts Neues (Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1929).

206 For example, Franz Schauwecker, Aufbruch der Nation (Berlin: Deutsche Buchgemeinschaft, 1929); Paul C. Ettighoffer: Gespenster am toten Mann (Cologne: Gilde-Verlag, 1931); Feldgrau schafft Dividende (Cologne: Gilde-Verlag, 1932); Von der Teufelsinsel zum Leben (Cologne: Gilde-Verlag, 1932). For further discussion of First World War literature see: David Midgley, Writing Weimar: Critical Realism in German Literature, 1918–1933 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), chapter 6; Sontheimer, Anti-Demokratisches Denken, pp. 96; 118–119; Ketelsen, Völkisch-nationale und nationalsozialistische Literatur, pp. 69–71; Hans-Harald Müller, Der Krieg und die Schrisftsteller: Der Kriegsroman der Weimarer Republik (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1986), pp. 298–299.

207 For example, Hans Zöberlein, Der Glaube an Deutschland: Ein Kriegserleben von Verdun bis zum Umsturz (Munich: Eher, 1931), p. 890.

208 Ernst von Salomon, Die Geächteten (Berlin: Rowohlt, 1930), p. 34.

209 Salomon, Die Geächteten, pp. 81–82. See also Ernst von Salomon (pseudonym: Ernst Friedrich), ‘Stahlhelm und Rotfront’ in Deutsche Front, 3rd June edition, 1928, DLA – A: Ernst von Salomon, Box 1.

210 See, for example, Arnold Bronnen’s biography of General Roßbach, leader of the Freikorps unit bearing his name: Roßbach (Berlin: Rowohlt, 1930), p. 70.

211 Salomon, Die Geächteten, pp. 112–114. See also Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus, p. 216.

212 Howard Stern, ‘The Organisation Consul’, Journal of Modern History, vol. 35, No. 1 (March 1963), pp. 20–32. Here p. 23. See also: Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism, pp. 75–76; Emil Julius Gumbel, a mathematician, counted almost 400 murders and several thousand assaults as Feme crimes after 1918. Emil J. Gumbel, Vom Fememord zur Reichskanzlei (Heidelberg: Lambert Schneiderer, 1962).

213 Sontheimer, Antidemokratisches Denken, p. 121.

214 For example, the discussion concerning the Denkschrift über die Ausschreitungen der Besatzungstruppen im besetzten Gebiet (Berlin: Heymann, 1925) in the Völkische Bücherschau, No. 2, May 1925, FfZ: 36213, Verlagswesen. Also Friedrich Grimm, ‘Frankreich und wir’, excerpt from his book Frankreich am Rhein (Hamburg: HAVA, 1931) in Hava-Bücherbrief. Politik-Geschichte-Kultur, No. 3, Hamburg, February 1932; Prof. Dr. Grimm, ‘Der Kampf gegen die Separatisten’, Hava-Bücherbrief. Politik-Geschichte-Kultur, No. 2, Hamburg, December 1931, pp. 2–3. This article, which is also an excerpt from the aforementioned book, deals with the German struggle against separatists in the Palatinate, who were, according to Grimm, supported by the French. Further völkisch-nationalist works on the subject included: Hans Blüher, Die Erhebung Israels gegen die christlichen Güter (Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlaganstalt, 1931). See also Hans Blüher, ‘Der deutsch-französische Friede’, Hava-Bücherbiref. Politik-Geschichte-Kultur, No. 3, Hamburg, February 1932, pp. 4–5; Fritz Klein, ‘1923 als Paradigma’ from Auf die Barrikaden, Hava-Bücherbrief, No. 3, February, 1932, pp. 5–6. With particular reference to Albert Leo Schlageter, famous as a resistance fighter against the French occupation of the Rhineland in 1923, see Hans Sadowsky, Lebenslänglich Zwangsarbeit (Berlin: Fridericus Verlag). ‘Bücherumschau zur Femefrage’, Korrespondenz: Nachrichtenblatt aus den deutschen Grenzgebieten im bedrohten Osten, 22 September 1930; Friedrich Glombowski, ‘In Memorium Schlageter’, Korrespondenz, 1. Jahrgang, Oppeln, 22 October 1930, Folge 4. FfZ: 412–419, Nationale und Völkische Verbände; also: Winkler, Weimar 1918–1933, p. 195.

215 Wilhelm Schäfer, Die dreizehn Bücher der deutschen Seele (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1922), p. 403.

216 Wilhelm Schäfer, Mein Lebenswerk: Dankrede bei der Verleihung des Rheinischen Literaturpreises in Köln am 13. November 1937 (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1937), pp. 4–5.

217 Würmann, ‘Vom Volksschullehrer zum “vaterländischen Erzieher”’, p. 154.

218 Wilhelm Schäfer, ‘Die deutsche Judenfrage’ in Der deutsche Gott (Munich: LMV, 1923), pp. 211–266.

219 Ibid.

220 Sontheimer, Anti-demokratisches Denken, p. 115.

221 Uwe Puschner, Walter Schmitz, Justus H. Ulbricht, ‘Introduction’ to Handbuch zur‘völkischen Bewegung’, pp. IX–X. Puschner et al., note in particular comments by the conservative scholar Armin Mohler, who worked as Ernst Jünger’s private secretary after 1945. Mohler asserted that the völkisch movement should be viewed as a component of the ‘conservative revolution’ rather than related to National Socialism.

222 See, for example, Jan Andres, ‘Die Konservative Revolution in der Weimarer Republik und Joseph Goebbels’ Michael-Roman (1929)’, Jahrbuch zur Kultur und Literatur der Weimarer Republik 11 (2007), pp. 141–165.

223 Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, part I, volume 2 (Munich: Saur, 1987) 15.2.1931, p. 21; 31.3.1932, p. 149.

224 Barbian, Literaturpolitik, p. 403.

225 Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, part I, volume 2, 15th February, 1931, p. 21.

226 Hans Grimm, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin?, p. 115.

227 This is also clear in Grimm’s correspondence with Agnes Miegel after 1945. See Chapter 5.

228 Hans Grimm, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin?, p. 115.

229 Ibid., pp. 112–114

230 Ibid., pp. 113–114.

231 Ibid., p. 121.

232 Ibid., pp. 123–128. See also DLA, A: Grimm – Joseph Goebbels to Hans Grimm, 24.9.1932.

233 Hans Grimm, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin?, p. 124.

234 Ibid., p. 124.

235 Open letter from Goebbels in response to ‘Bitte an den Nationalsozialismus’ by Hans Grimm and August Winnig, published in Der Angriff, 24.09.1932; see also DLA, A: Grimm – Joseph Goebbels an Hans Grimm, 24.9.1932; Grimm, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin?, pp. 125–126.

236 Grimm, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? p. 126.

237 Ibid., pp. 126–127.

238 Ibid., pp. 127–128.

239 Grimm to Goebbels, 23.10.1932, DLA – A: Grimm, Hans Grimm to Joseph Goebbels, 23.10.1932; 21.3.1934.

240 Ibid.

241 Rudolf Hess to Hans Grimm, 3.11.1932, DLA, A: Grimm – Rudolf Hess to Grimm, 3.11.32 .

242 Grimm, Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? p. 128.

243 Hans Grimm to Rudolf Hess, 15.11.1932, DLA, A: Grimm – Grimm to Rudolf Hess, 1931–1939.

244 From Grimm’s correspondence with Goebbels in the years that followed, it would seem, however, that the matter was not laid to rest in 1932: See Grimm to Goebbels, 21.03.1934, DLA, A: Grimm – Grimm to Joseph Goebbels, 21.03.1934.

245 See discussion of Grimm’s confrontation with Goebbels on pp. 261–262.

246 Quoted by Gerd Koch in ‘1936: Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm in Lippoldsberg’, Zeitschrift für Germanistik (1994), No. 2, p. 343.

247 Ibid. p. 344.

248 Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, part I, volume 2, 31st February, 1932, p. 149.

249 Quoted by Koch, ‘1936: Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm’, p. 344.

250 Goebbels discusses Wilhelm Schäfer’s novel, Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (Munich: Müller, 1930) in Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, part I, volume 2, 6th July, 1931, p. 87.

251 Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Unser Befreiungskampf und die deutsche Dichtkunst: Rede gehalten an deutschen Hochschulen im Frühjahr 1932 (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1932), p. 3.

252 Ibid., p. 4.

253 Kolbenheyer, Sebastian Karst, vol. I, pp. 187–194, 233–236.

254 Kolbenheyer, Unser Befreiungskampf, pp. 4–5.

255 Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Die Bauhütte – Grundzüge einer Metaphysik der Gegenwart (Munich: Langen, 1925).

256 Kolbenheyer, Unser Befreiungskampf, p. 5.

257 Ibid., pp. 6–7.

258 Ibid., p. 12.

259 Ibid., pp. 12–13.

260 Ibid., p. 16.

261 Ibid., p. 18.

262 Ibid., p. 20.

263 Ibid., pp. 21–24.

264 Thomas Mergel, ‘Das Scheitern des deutschen Tory-Konservatismus: Die Umformung der DNVP zu einer rechtsradikalen Partei 1928–1932’, Historische Zeitschrift, Band 276, Heft 2, April 2003, pp. 323–368. See also Eley, ‘Conservatives and radical Nationalists’, pp. 65–68.