Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte

Ed. by Altrichter, Helmut / Möller, Horst / Szöllösi-Janze, Margit / Wirsching, Andreas


CiteScore 2017: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.104
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.940

Online
ISSN
2196-7121
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 61, Issue 3

Issues

Der „Fall Theodor Eschenburg“

Zum Problem der historischen Urteilsbildung

Udo Wengst
Published Online: 2013-10-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/vfzg.2013.0019

Vorspann

Theodor Eschenburg, imponierende Gründergestalt der Politikwissenschaft und zusammen mit Hans Rothfels erster Herausgeber dieser Zeitschrift, wird seit einiger Zeit wegen seiner Vergangenheit in der Weimarer Zeit und in der NS-Diktatur sowie wegen seines langen Schweigens danach kontrovers diskutiert. Die Debatte, die zunächst vor allem in der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft geführt wurde, hat nun auch die Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte erreicht. Udo Wengst, der an einer Biographie Eschenburgs arbeitet, verteidigt seinen Protagonisten: Trotz mancher Inkonsistenzen in seinem Verhalten nach 1945 lasse sich Eschenburg bereits seit der späten Weimarer Republik als Demokrat charakterisieren; die gegenwärtige Kritik an ihm sei überzogen und entspringe einem Mangel an Verständnis für seine schwierige Situation während der NS-Diktatur. Die Diskussion über Eschenburg geht weiter. Schon in der nächsten Ausgabe der Vierteljahrshefte nehmen Hans Woller und Jürgen Zarusky dazu Stellung.

Abstract

Theodor Eschenburg, one of the founders of the discipline of political science in post-war Germany and for many years one of the chief editors of the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, was a highly respected academic from the 1950s up to his death in 1999. In 2011, an article by Rainer Eisfeld started a debate about Eschenburg, which has not been concluded to this day. The article reproaches Eschenburg for his behaviour during the Third Reich, and especially for his participation in a case of Aryanisation in 1938. Similarly it considers his attitude to democracy before 1933 worthy of criticism, raising questions as to what extent the great political scientist was susceptible to dictatorship after 1945. Critique was however also focussed on Eschenburg’s handling of his Third Reich past. Especially due to this last point, the Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (German Association for Political Science) to date discusses the question, whether its Eschenburg Prize should be renamed. The present article is designed as a contribution to the ongoing debate, the course of which is summarised in the introduction. Subsequently it deals with Eschenburg’s handling of his “Nazi past” and finally discusses Eschenburg‘s position towards democracy and dictatorship, with special attention to his relationship with and appraisal of Carl Schmitt. Eschenburg’s behavior during the Third Reich is only treated insofar as it is necessary to the understanding of the debate about his examination of the Nazi period. One result that can be noted is that Eschenburg’s handling of the Nazi past was not substantially different from that of his intellectual contemporaries. Regarding his understanding of democracy, there is sufficient evidence that at least as of the mid-1920s he was a proponent of this form of government. Similarly after 1945, Eschenburg was a pronounced advocate of parliamentary democracy, despite mistakable statements and his esteem for Carl Schmitt‘s Constitutional Theory.

Keywords: Theodor Eschenburg; Arianization; Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte

About the article

Published Online: 2013-10-16

Published in Print: 2013-10-15


Citation Information: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Volume 61, Issue 3, Pages 411–440, ISSN (Online) 2196-7121, ISSN (Print) 0042-5702, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/vfzg.2013.0019.

Export Citation

© 2013 Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH, Rosenheimer Str. 145, 81671 München.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in