German Conservatism After 1945

--- Bertil Häggman recenserar
"Die kupierte Alternative – Konservatismus in Deutschland nach 1945"
av Frank-Lothar Kroll ---

Once again the publishing house Duncker & Humblot in Berlin has provided conservatives worldwide with an excellent collection of essays on modern German conservatism. (Die kupierte Alternative – Konservatismus in Deutschland nach 1945; Hrsg. Frank-Lothar Kroll, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 347 pp.).
      First a few words about the foundation behind this and other books on German conservatism. Foerderstiftung Konservative Bildung und Forschung is led by Dr. Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing in Munich, a highly admired expert on the subject of German conservatism and conservatism in general. He was th editor-in-chief for many years of Criticón, a high quality journal of the German right in Munich. This reviewer had the pleasure of contributing a number of articles to Criticón. After leaving as head of the journal Schrenck-Notzing led the forming of thefoundation and in 1996 was the editor of a lexicon on conservatism (C. von Schrenck-Notzing; Hrsg., Lexikon des Konservatismus, Graz – Stuttgart, 1996).
      In 2000 the foundation initiated a series of high quality books on aspects of German conservatism: Studien und Texte zur Erforschung des Konservatismus. The founder edited the first volume in the series: Stand und Probleme der Erforschung des Konservatismus, 242 pp.
      Later that year Duncker & Humblot published J.P. Mueller’s Werteverfassung und Werteverfall – Eine kulturkritische Betrachtung, 128 pp.
      Next year it was time to present an importannt study on Prussian conservatism by B. Ruetz: Der preussische Konservatismus im Kampf gegen Einheit und Freiheit; 213 pp.). In 2003 followed Hans-Christof Kraus (Hrsg.), Konservative Zeitschriften zwischen Kaiserreich und Diktatur – Fuenf Fallstudien; 186 pp.
      Last year it was time for a political biography of a prominent German conservative (W. Nitschke, Adolf Heinrich Graf v. Arnim-Boitzenburg [1903 – 1868] – Eine politische Biographie; 462 pp.)

Anticommunism and Tradition
After the collapse of Hitler’s tyranny there was in Germany for around two decades a highly active conservative political and intellectual activity supported by the CDU/CSU led government of Bundeskanzler Dr. Konrad Adenauer. The latter was a catholic from the Rhineland and a leading personality of Christian Catholic conservatism.
      Then there was the strand of Prussian conservatism in the north (Hans-Joachim Schoeps, Hans Georg von Studnitz, and Hans-Joachim von Merkatz). Finally should be mentioned the very special strand of German conservatism named ”technocratic conservatism” (Hans Freyer, Arnold Gehlen, and Ernst Forsthoff).
      Anticommunism was a strong component of conservatism in Germany after the war. The Soviet Zone (East Germany, SBZ) was not diplomatically recognized (this came later with the social democratic governments in the 1970s). Another important base was the Burkean belief in family and tradition. Germans expelled from East Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, and the Sudeten area often supported conservative believes among the parties of the right.

Leading Ideologues
The new book in seperate essays presents a group of leading conservative opinion makers: Hans Zehrer (closely connected to the conservative Springer press empire), Eric Voegelin (also a leading conservative voice at his time in the United States) and last but not least the American-Jewish intellectual William S. Schlamm. He was born in Austria and fled Hitler to the United States. Later he returned to his European home continent and crusaded for a German nuclear arsenal against the Soviets.
      Finally Stefan Winckler adds an essay on conservatism in Germany after 1991 (”Konservative Intelligenz im vereinigten Deutschland”).

The intiative of von Schrenck-Notzing is a useful model for the study of conservatism in all EU-countries. As a Swedish author I am naturally thinking of countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland. In Sweden Konservativt Forum, an ideological center for conservative debate and information based in Uppsala, is an important nucleus. If this group could attract the interest of conservative newspapers in Sweden to fund a project on a lexicon of conservatism and initiate a series of books on Swedish conservatism, this would be a fine contribution to the study of conservatism in a country ruled by socialists since 1932. At present socialist ideologues in Sweden are weak and and the system only admired by tyrants like Lukashenko of Belorussia and the suspected war criminal Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague.

Bertil Häggman
Mr. Bertil Häggman, Sweden, is born in 1940 and has written 150+ books and articles in various languages.