n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Zur Schuldfragediskussion in politisch-kulturellen Zeitschriften der westlichen Besatzungszonen in Deutschland 1945-1949 : Germanistik im Ausland

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



Immediately after Second World War, Germans were confronted with the question of collective and individual guilt. It was not only the Allies who prescribed a thorough change of the whole society through Denazification and Re-education. The question of guilt also played a major role in a great number of cultural journals which appeared during the interregnum between the end of the Second World War 1945 and the Currency Reform of 1948. Titles like "Die Wandlung", "Merkur", or "Frankfurter Hefte" are still known today. The journals were the medium through which German journalists, writers and scholars, most of them from a liberal-conservative background, tried to find their own way of dealing with the question of collective guilt. The causes of the "German Desaster" were mainly seen in the failure of the educated individual towards the masses and in the framework of a general decline of occidental values. Deeply rooted in the intellectual traditions of Geistesgeschichte and metaphysical philosophy, the German intellectuals were still thinking in the paradigma of leader and masses, thus envisaging themselves as leaders into a better, more democratic society. After the currency reform of 1948, the majority of the journals could not survive market conditions, and the dreams of spirirtual leadership vanished in the upcoming new German society.

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