All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|“Can one go along with this?” Conservative German Diplomats and the Changes of 1918/19 and 1933/34|
|Research on the history of the German Foreign Ministry, the Auswärtiges Amt, has become ever more topical before the background of recent debates on the issue of 'Traditionspflege' and the interpretation of the Foreign Ministry’s historical record during the Third Reich and the early years of the Bonn Republic.
This paper focuses on how diplomats within the Auswärtiges Amt perceived the two central caesurae of German history in the first decades of the 20th century, the revolutionary changes of the period 1918/19 and Hitler’s take-over and consolidation of power in 1933/34. Historical research on the Auswärtiges Amt has to a large extent addressed both turning points separately and identified in each case a number of underlying continuities with regard to the diplomatic staff, its mentality and political disposition. Serving subsequently republican and authoritarian governments as well as the National Socialist regime, the majority of diplomats within the Foreign Ministry habitually retained a conservative, almost Wilhelmine outlook.
A systematic comparative approach to the history of the German Foreign Ministry at those turning points has so far remained a historiographical desideratum. This paper attempts to display the necessity of such an approach. It closely examines a number of diplomats who by and large form a cross-section of the Foreign Ministry’s staff body. The analysis of the close, occasionally argumentative relationship between the high-profile diplomat Rudolf Nadolny and his younger colleague Wipert von Blücher provides the study’s backbone. Nadolny's and Blücher’s examples are additionally intended to demonstrate the complex nature of individual decision-making in times of relative crisis and change. Other conservative diplomats, among them Constantin von Neurath, Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, Ulrich von Hassell, and Ernst von Weizsäcker, are included to base the findings more broadly and thus permit general conclusions. In all cases, the study rests upon the thorough examination of both the published and unpublished private papers and the correspondence of these diplomats.
The paper cautiously argues that in the wake of the horrific experience of the Empire’s collapse and the subsequent revolution, the largely noble and correspondingly conservative diplomatic staff of the Ministry developed a profoundly defensive attitude, literally exiling into their own institution. For a period of time, the state and with it loyalty and allegiance was being reduced to the institutional framework, as Weimar did not or only to a significantly lesser extent allow for identification, especially if compared with the vanished Kaiserreich. A similar, albeit less marked response of those diplomats can be found after Hitler and the National Socialists assumed power. In both cases, during the revolutionary and post-revolutionary upheaval of 1918/19 and the first years of the Third Reich, larger morale issues at stake were being rationalised and accommodated in frameworks of professional ethics and national duty. It is by engaging with this pattern of response that the proposed paper partially illustrates why the overwhelming majority of diplomats within the Auswärtiges Amt remained in their positions during the period of National Socialism.|