Vierteljahrshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte 4 (2001)
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Hans Woller, Churchill and Mussolini. Openly Opposed yet Secretly Cooperative?
Since 1945 there have been recurring reports in Italy stating that Mussolini and Churchill were bound by close fellowship. Letters written secretly during the time of Italy's entry into the war in the spring of 1940 are the basis for this controversial allegation. Although proof has never been given confirming the existence of these letters, new rumours continue to crop up. Those responsible are neo-fascist writers who wish to reinstate Mussolini by placing him close to Churchill. Hans Woller raises the question whether these rumours are historically valid and traces the various stages of the relationship between Churchill and Mussolini from 1922 to 1945. The outcome of this study is without doubt: there were no secret contacts and there were no secret plans. Although the Italian dictator and the British aristocrat had gotten along well in the 1920's, their relationship deteriorated during the Abyssinian crisis and by 1940 they were firmly encamped enemies where any kind of understanding was out of the question.
Holger Afflerbach, "To Sink with Flag Unfurled". The German Navy's Refusals to Capitulate.
In European wars, at what point the decision was made to capitulate is a question difficult to answer. Referring to the definition given by Clausewitz, capitulation is called for when continued fighting can no longer seriously impair the opponent. However, there existed in the German Navy during both World Wars a tradition to resist against all odds and to refuse to capitulate. Several battles (battle of the Falklands in 1914, the last battle of the Bismarck in 1941 and the sinking of the Scharnhorst in 1943) present the same picture. "To sink with flag unfurled" meant to do battle in face of a hopeless situation, the loss of the crew, and no further impairment to the enemy. After the Graf Spee sunk itself in 1939, capitulation was prohibited by direct order in the German Navy. It comes as no surprise, that Hitler in his testament, praised the refusals to capitulate by German Navy officers as exemplary. This study cites several examples to illustrate these occurrences as reminiscent of Japanese "Kamikaze" pilots. The author briefly outlines the role tradition played in the German Navy after 1945.
Peter E. Faessler, "Diversanten" or "Aktivisten"? Westarbeiter in the GDR (1949-1961).
When the GDR sealed off its border to West Germany end of May 1952, regular border traffic not only came to a halt, but regulations concerning crossover work were affected as well. Surprisingly GDR authorities, in what was called the "Lehestener Vereinbarung", allowed approximately 200 Bavarian skilled labourers to resume their traditional occupation of slate mining in the southern region of Thuringia. They mined at the VEB Schiefergrube Lehesten until September 1961 before shutting down, resulting from the construction of the Berlin Wall and ending the last of labour relations between the GDR and West Germany. The text studies the political reasoning leading to this unique action which preoccupied state and party officials at the highest levels, and places this in context with the daily decision making process concerning Deutschlandpolitik. The classic conflict between party ideologists and economic pragmatists so characteristic of the GDR's socialist system of rule is reflected here. At the same time implementation of goals set by both groups was hampered by the GDR's fluctuating economic situation.
Heinrich August Winkler, "Hans Rothfels - Hitler's Eulogist?" A Critical Assessment of Sources Used in Ingo Haar's Book Historiker im Nationalsozialismus.
Hans Rothfels, who lectured history in Koenigsberg from 1926 to 1934, played a prominent role in efforts to block the Versailles Treaty and, in particular, in trying to defeat the "polnische Korridor". However, he was not, as portrayed in Ingo Haar's book Historiker im Nationalsozialismus, unreservedly grounded in National Socialism. Nor did Rothfels demand the elimination of the last remnants of parliamentary government. A radio broadcast of a lecture given by Rothfels, which Haar uses as evidence, was aired in January 1930 and not after Hitler's seizure of power. In it Rothfels honours Ebert, Stresemann and Hindenburg. Hitler is never mentioned.
Chistoph Buchheim, The Economic Upswing in the Third Reich - an Exercise in Futility.
This is a critique of an article by Werner Abelshauser published in issue No. 4 of the Vierteljahrshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte in 1999. Abelshauser maintains that the rather high economic growth exacted by the economic policy of the NS regime was ultimately futile. Its intervention hampered an already improving economy which would have been beneficial in the long term. Abelshauser's argument to the contrary notwithstanding, there was indeed movement toward autonomous recovery in 1932/33. This movement, however, was soon stopped by the regime so that it could make use of the idle industrial capacity and work force created by the Great Depression to manufacture arms. With growth becoming dependent on ever increasing state demand, entrepreneurs had to wonder how long it could go on. Firms restricted investment in spite of the large profits they were making. Consequently, the state had to provide much of the investment capital needed to create the industry it required. Furthermore, the NS economic policy led to a drop in German exports and to a relatively low standard of living. The economy was ever more regulated and controlled by cartels. Given these facts, one can scarcely agree with Abelshauser maintaining that there is a certain similarity between the social market economy of the Federal Republic and the controlled economy of the Third Reich.
Mark Spoerer, Forced Labour During the NS-Regime. Statistics Data Gathered by the District Employment Department on 30 September 1944.
In line with compensation payments to former forced workers during the NS-regime, many local and city archives in Germany, as well as historical societies are presently engaged in the critical assessment of the National Socialist policy of forced foreign labour. A central question is how many foreign workers were actually enlisted during the Second World War. Barely known is that the National Socialist Deployment Administration (Arbeitseinsatzverwaltung) gathered extensive statistics on set dates during the year. A few copies of this data were published and provide valuable information which this article addresses. The results of the last survey conducted on 30 September 1944 by the District Employment Department (Arbeitsamtsbezirk) are presented here.
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