War and peace in munich

war and peace in munich

Andreas holzem and antonia leugers:
war and peace in munich 1914-1939.

Topography of a discourse. presentation and documents.

Paderborn: schoningh 2021. XII, 976 pages.
ISBN: 978-3-657-70156-8.

128 €

A peace that was only a temporary non-war:
the significance of religion in munich’s public discourse 1914-1939

A review by christoph auffarth

Briefly: an excellent research work, which shows vividly and differentiatedly, concentrated on one place, how the end of the first world war did not necessarily and without alternative lead to the second war. The role of religion in the process of aggressiveness, the priority of war, the incapacity for peace is here comprehensively presented and documented. Absolutely worth reading.

Detailed: in order to end the first world war, which produced only senseless battles of attrition, by a lasting peace, the pope benedict XV. The initiative as a bipartisan and supranational body. in order not to let the first world war become a smoldering fuse for an inevitable second world war, moderate, just peace agreements should end the war and make possible a coexistence of peoples. although the churches in each nation were able to contribute a significant voice and resonance in society, they did not embrace the theological concepts of the pope’s peace initiative. Rather, they traditionally reinforced the claim of a ‘just war’ that could only be concluded by a victory that god would bestow. the german peace with russia after the october revolution was as immoderate as the treaty of versailles was then. The principles of the rising world power USA and its president woodrow wilson could have had a corresponding bipartisan effect (such as the right of self-determination of nations), but were not implemented. peace was possible, but in the hatred that continued to grow, "war peace" occurred, a non-war that fueled the next war. Was there no alternative? (477-494) the role of religion in the discourse that thus developed is the subject of this magnificent book. The author and the author open up a research on public opinion, open to cultural studies and not limited to church history, on a clearly circumscribed time and place, munich between the end of the first world war and the war of aggression with its previously unthinkable crimes in september 1939: how in the end "the capital of the movement … became the capital of criminals and crime." (486). The churches made themselves the mouthpiece of national revenge instead of the angel of peace.[1] the social catholicism (which is shown in tables 12.1-7, S. 815-914 is presented in detail, but was not given a chapter of its own) went to enormous lengths to deal with social misery and the crisis of meaning, but in doing so solidified the seemingly hopeless crisis mode (491) that the national socialists promised to end.

to investigate the permanent presence of war in the apparent peace between the end of the first and the invasion of poland in the second world war around conflict cases, biographies, election campaigns in a city in different media was the subject of a research, which is presented here in three parts: a documentation of the sources, the listing of the (already mentioned) institutions of the catholic church (on which, however, there is only a short, accurate judgment, 491) and the presentation of selected questions on about half of the volume, 494 pages.[2] the appendix contains the abbreviations and the list of newspapers etc. Then there is the list of unprinted sources, 40 pages of bibliography and an index of persons as well as the picture credits for the numerous, painstakingly researched and collected illustrations. You have to get a card from munich yourself.

the author’s word for this intermingling of the continuation of the war and the unstable peace in the people’s consciousness peace of war selected. that munich was chosen here is a very good choice: in view of the good source situation and especially because of the tension that the metropolis possessed both a strong imprint of catholicism on the one hand, and on the other hand was considered the ‘capital of the movement’ in which national socialism achieved its rise. 82% of the population was catholic, 15% lutheran, 1.5% jewish. The book thus also questions the claim in church history that the church (especially the Catholic church) was a bulwark against national socialism. The churches ensured the rejection of the republic and the acceptance of the tyranny of national socialism. And yet the opposing voices also have their say. The regional leader, archbishop michael faulhaber, distanced himself only when the war began, but nevertheless avoided loud protests. This is presented in a very differentiated way, not a scientific indictment, not a lack of alternatives.

"the nazi regime did not need to enforce this under pressure; it was in line with the practices since 1933, if one did not want to provide a further pretext for the many pressures of the nazi regime and not be accused of defeatism in view of its ‘successes." (484). This is true, but it does not address the fact that this was already the case before the NS, as shown in the preceding chapters. And: with the concordat 1933 the national socialists guaranteed the continuance of the church and that excluded a culture war like after the foundation of the prussian protestant empire. But in return, the bishops also got rid of the unloved political arm of catholicism, which the bishops found too self-assertive. In doing so, they also destroyed a strong counterforce to the NS. Rather, the bells rang on the eve of hitler’s 50th birthday. Birthday on 20. april 1939, hailed the munich agreement of the peace chancellor, etc.

Chapter 1 formulates the question. Chapter 2 describes the situation before and during the first world war. Chapter 3 presents choreographed commemorative events in 1921 (83-124). chapter 4 deals with war memorials (125-228).[3] except for one church, the newly built 1937 church st. maria, queen of peace there is no mention of women; there they are highlighted as ‘heroines’. In 1937, the dedication to peace was not yet a challenge for the Nazis, since hitler always wanted to be understood as the peace chancellor, even beyond the munich agreement of 1938,[4] and the press, which was in line with the Nazis, praised the message of the new church accordingly. In the churches, the war memorials commemorate those who died in the war, to whom the church attributed a privileged promise of salvation, as martyrs. This was put into perspective by the highest catholic theologian, cardinal faulhaber, who did not want to apply this to everyone in such a general way. All this has been excellently researched and the differences worked out.

What is missing in the chapter, and what would have rounded the whole thing off, is the NS commemoration. While the war dead were being honored in berlin, hitler had munich and the 9. November selected for the commemoration of the fallen of the party, i.e. those who were killed in the amateurish attempt to capture the state chancellery with a putsch. At the field hall their names were inscribed on the left side of the street in the manner of a war memorial. Hitler had the swearing-in ceremony of the recruits on 9. November in the square in front of the feldherrnhalle. In the evening, the commemoration of the ‘fallen’ followed, from the Feldherrnhalle, where they had received a kind of war memorial, to the konigsplatz, past the party headquarters, to the new ‘temples of honor’ at the entrance of the square, where the putschists received honorary graves. In the theatiner church right next to the feldherrnhalle, some priests read masses for the nazi dead, while others prayed for the four slain police officers who had defended the bavarian state. This has been well researched by antonia leugers, but is not included here.[5]

Chapter 5 on the election posters (229-293 with excellent color illustrations) shows how aggressive language in munich’s ‘war peace’ was carried from the external enemies into the internal conflict between the parties and thus perpetuated. The worker hero who smashes something became a figure on the posters of all parties. – few newspapers could afford their own cartoonists, and that of the munich illustrated press was rather jovial. In the time of national socialism cartoonists accused foreign governments of warmongering. The picture of the caricatures is incomplete because the nazi magazine "der sturmer" in particular introduced new sharpness and scurrilous insinuations into the pictorial language of the press, which not only attacked the other parties, but above all fueled anti-semitism. Although the magazine was published in nuremberg, it also covered munich. How apparent wit hurts worse than open opinion, martina kessel has elaborated.[6]

chapter 6 (295-325) focuses on the so-called "automotive. cardinal faulhaber’s peace speech at the end of the catholic convention held in munich two and a half years after the end of the war and the versailles treaty in august 1922. Sharp clashed two catholic positions here. Had the cardinal in his opening speech condemned the republic because it was based on a revolution, thus bearing a mark of Cain,[7] perjury and high treason as founding acts, and the return to monarchy (the Bavarian Wittelsbachers at an all-German Catholic congress!), konrad adenauer, as mayor of cologne and president of the catholic convention, called for the constitution of the weimar republic, which would finally give catholics equal rights and thus give the centrist party the opportunity to shape its political catholicism. on the final day, faulhaber gave his peace speech, which was still present years later, and was received enthusiastically by the audience and commented on almost entirely positively in the press. No one dared openly criticize the authority of germany’s highest churchman, but it was not a sermon, even if elements of prayer and benediction were included. Faulhaber placed his political speech in line with the efforts of pope benedict XV. 1917 for a fair and just peace. The speech, however, turned out to be rather the opposite, with its outbursts against the League of Nations, the "gambling casino" of the Jewish stock exchange and high finance. His "bierkellerparolen" aroused "frenetic applause" from the audience. Faulhaber, however, "did not articulate his own; he was not the one who set the topics and marked out the spaces of what could be said. He was the one who willingly acted as the mouthpiece of the peace and constitution despisers."[8] his speech did not have a conciliatory effect, but rather a polarizing one. two and a half years later, when he advocated reconciliation in the context of the hitler-ludendorff putsch attempt and called especially for the protection of jews, nazis and right-wing catholics accused him of betraying his own ‘peace speech’.

chapter 7 is devoted to destructive communication 1928-1932 (327-392). Chapter 8 examines the most important buzzwords, functional conceptual cases 1919-1934 (393-426). chapter 9 confronts two lives that were possible at the two poles of catholicism but were major exceptions: the teacher maria zehetmaier, who advocated pacifism at the cost of a normal life. The unmarried woman received no support, not from the church, not from the school, rather she was declared mentally ill by the bureaucracy and hospitalized. a counterpart is the national socialist priest josef roth, who first agitated against the church in the nazi newspapers under a pseudonym, then in the reichskirchen ministry, which was set up in 1935, and became powerful there, devised and legitimized the constant violations of the concordat. Only after his accidental death did the official church distance itself from him.[9]

what makes this book so special is the look at catholicism as a formative part of a city society, not only at the behavior of the archbishop and the clergy, but at munichers as catholics. antonia leugers has already thoroughly explored faulhaber’s ambivalence in earlier work, not limited to the period of national socialism. This is also the novelty of the choice of the time period, that the time of the Nazi rule is not cut out – as is often the case – without knowing the before and after and thus continuities (such as anti-Catholicism, anti-clericalism, anti-Bolshevism, anti-capitalism, anti-Semitism, anti-feminism, militarism, images of masculinity, etc.) are not left out.) and to be able to recognize ruptures. This is excellently and differentiatedly described and documented in this book.

Bremen/wellerscheid, 18. July 2021

Religious studies
university of bremen

[1] on protestantism the source collection karl-heinz fix (ed.): consent – conformity – contradiction: sources on the history of bavarian protestantism during the period of national socialist rule … [work on contemporary church history: series A: sources) 2021 https://blogs.Rpi-virtuell.en/book-recommendations/2021/04/27/fix-approval-adjustment-contradiction/ (27.4.2021).

[2] 2010-2015 sponsored by the german research community. Antonia leugers is an outstanding expert on catholicism and munich, which she explores very critically and without reservation. I found your books excellent, or, for example, the essay on the one-year permanent exhibition at the nazi documentation center in munich. A critical balance. Theology.History 11(2016), online: one year permanent exhibition at the nazi documentation center munich. A critical review | leugers | theology.History (theology-history.De) (13.6.2018). – andreas holzem, professor of church history at the catholic theological faculty in tubingen, has published several times on the subject of religion in the first world war, including in the handbuch der religionsgeschichte im deutschsprachigen raum, volume 6/1: 20. Century. Ed. By lucian holscher, volkhard krech. Paderborn: schoningh 2015, 21-60, 415-423, 517-527.

[3] reinhart koselleck has written for the 19. The nineteenth century elaborated on how commemoration for the fallen forms a civil religion, s. Manfred hettling: ‘identity creation’ of a ‘survivor’? Reinhart koselleck’s structural analyses of the political cult of death. In: ders.; wolfgang schieder (ed.): reinhart koselleck as historian. Gottingen: vandenhoeck&ruprecht 2021, 225-247.

[4] ian kershaw: myth hitler. Stuttgart: DVA 1999, 155-164.

[5] leugers, permanent exhibition 2016, section 2a) the cover photo of the publication of the nazi documentation center shows the picture of the swearing-in ceremony.

[6] martina kessel: violence and laughter. ‘being german’ 1914-1945. Stuttgart: steiner 2019. My review: http://blogs.Rpi-virtuell.De/book-recommendations/2020/07/27/violence-and-gelaechter/ (27.7.2020).

[7] after cain had slain his brother abel, god draws a mark (mal) on the murderer’s forehead, which at the same time marks him as a murderer, but deprives him of human vengeance (genesis 4, 10-15).

[9] that he was not entirely unique as a national socialist and a priest is documented by tables 12.8 (44 names of priests as party comrades or otherwise party supporters) and 12.9 (priests in the freikorps).

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