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Anna Haag and her Secret Diary of the Second World War

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


Edward Timms

How was it possible for a well-educated nation to support a regime that made it a crime to think for yourself? This was the key question for the Stuttgart-based author Anna Haag (1888–1982), the democratic feminist whose anti-Nazi diaries are analysed in this book. Like Victor Klemperer, she deconstructed German political propaganda day by day, giving her critique a gendered focus by challenging the ethos of masculinity that sustained the Nazi regime. This pioneering study interprets her diaries, secretly written in twenty notebooks now preserved at the Stuttgart City Archive, as a fascinating source for the study of everyday life in the Third Reich. The opening sections sketch the paradigms that shaped Haag’s creativity, analysing the impact of the First World War and the feminist and pacifist commitments that influenced her literary and journalistic writings. Extensive quotations from the diaries are provided, with English translations, to illustrate her responses to the cataclysms that followed the rise of Hitler, from the military conquests and Jewish deportations to the devastation of strategic bombing. The book concludes with a chapter that traces the links between Haag’s critique of military tyranny and her contribution to post-war reconstruction.
Edward Timms, Research Professor in History at the University of Sussex, is a cultural historian with a special interest in twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and politics, including radical critiques of the militarism that culminated in the two World Wars. He has co-authored and co-edited numerous publications, including Romantic Communist: The Life and Work of Nazim Hikmet (with Saime Göksu), Writing after Hitler: The Work of Jakov Lind (with Silke Hassler and Andrea Hammel) and Pictorial Narrative in the Nazi Period (with Deborah Schultz). Best known for his two-volume study Karl Kraus – Apocalyptic Satirist, he has also published the first complete translation of Kraus’s anti-war drama The Last Days of Mankind (with Fred Bridgham). Further details can be found in his memoirs, Taking up the Torch: English Institutions, German Dialectics and Multicultural Commitments.