The German University in Crisis: The Collapse of Liberal Democracy and the Rise of National Socialism


This conference addressed the following question: Given that German universities were, from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1920s, models of humane scholarship, scientific probity, and liberal learning, how is it that they succumbed so rapidly to domination by Hitler and the Nazi party? How could academics, committed to the examined life, have gone down this path? In turn, why did some take this fateful turn while others refused it? We approached the question of responsible use of freedom by examining its pathology.


Conference Readings

Gadamer, Hans Georg. Gadamer in Conversation: Reflections and Commentary. Edited by Richard E. Palmer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

Gadamer, Hans Georg. Philosophical Apprenticeships. Translated by Robert R. Sullivan. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985.

Jaspers, Karl. The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers. Edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp. La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1957.

Loewith, Karl. My Life in Germany before and after 1933. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Roepke, Wilhelm. The Moral Foundations of Civil Society. London: Transaction, 1996.

Röpke, Wilhelm. Against the Tide. Translated by Elizabeth Henderson. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1969.

Strauss, Leo. "German Nihilism." Interpretation 26, no. 3 (Spring 1999): 353-378.

Voegelin, Eric. The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin. Edited by Ellis Sandoz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990.

Voegelin, Eric. Hitler and the Germans. Edited by Detlev Clemens and Brendan Purcell. Translated by Detlev Clemens and Brendan Purcell. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999.

Weber, Max. The Vocation Lectures. Edited by David Owen and Tracy B. Strong. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2004.