A Study of Right-Wing Political Culture in Germany, 1890–1960
Chapter 5: Völkisch-Nationalism in the Post-War Era
← 278 | 279 →CHAPTER 5
In 1962, Walter Laqueur noted the tendency of German intellectuals in the 1950s to consign the nationalist writers of the Third Reich to oblivion in their determination to reject the Nazi regime itself. He contested this dismissive assumption and commented: ‘Some of them are apparently more widely printed and, presumably, read than even the better-known contemporary writers of the “democratic-liberal” camps. True enough, their books are not widely discussed, and they certainly are of no interest to the literary avant-garde, but they have their faithful public, a fact that is usually ignored by the literary critics.’1 Following the Second World War, writers who had been prominent in the Third Reich, particularly those who had occupied leading positions in political and cultural institutions, were subject to the Allies’ denazification and re-education programmes. A demand for their works nonetheless continued to exist and by 1950 their books were widely available again as publishers sought to satisfy the desire of the German public for familiar literature.2 Hans Sarkowicz estimates that only one-sixth of the recipients of literary prizes, honours and awards under the supervision of Goebbels and the Reich Chamber of Literature between 1933 and 1945 published nothing at all after the War.3 Similarly, Gregor Streim has demonstrated the popularity in the 1950s of accounts of post-war imprisonment in Allied internment camps. He places these in ← 279 | 280 → the context of post-war perceptions of German victimhood, which, while not exclusive to the far right, also came to play a significant role in v...
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