The Question of German Guilt

The Question of German Guilt

The Question of German Guilt

Shortly after the Nazi government fell, a philosophy professor at Heidelberg University lectured on a subject that burned the consciousness and conscience of thinking Germans. “Are the German people guilty?” These lectures by Karl Jaspers, an outstanding European philosopher, attracted wide attention among German intellectuals and students; they seemed to offer a path to sanity and morality in a disordered world. Jaspers, a life-long liberal, attempted in this book to discuss rationally a problem that had thus far evoked only heat and fury. Neither an evasive apology nor a wholesome condemnation, his book distinguished between types of guilt and degrees of responsibility. He listed four categories of guilt: criminal guilt (the commitment of overt acts), political guilt (the degree of political acquiescence in the Nazi regime), moral guilt (a matter of private judgment among one’s friends), and metaphysical guilt (a universally shared responsibility of those who chose to remain alive rather than die in protest against Nazi atrocities). Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) took his degree in medicine but soon became interested in psychiatry. He is the author of a standard work of psychopathology, as well as special studies on Strindberg, Van Gogh and Nietsche. After World War I he became Professor of Philosophy at Heidelberg, where he achieved fame as a brilliant teacher and an early exponent of existentialism. He was among the first to acquaint German readers with the works of Kierkegaard. Jaspers had to resign from his post in 1935. From the total isolation into which the Hitler regime forced him, Jaspers returned in 1945 to a position of central intellectual leadership of the younger liberal elements of Germany. In his first lecture in 1945, he forcefully reminded his audience of the fate of the German Jews. Jaspers’s unblemished record as an anti-Nazi, as well as his sentient mind, have made him a rallying point center for those of his compatriots who wish to reconstruct a free and democratic Germany.

ThirdWay

ThirdWay

ThirdWay

Monthly current affairs magazine from a Christian perspective with a focus on politics, society, economics and culture.

Cinematic Poetics of Guilt

Cinematic Poetics of Guilt

Cinematic Poetics of Guilt

How do the temporal and dynamic patterns of media forms and practices create complex constructions of meaning, identity and value? How can we describe the way cinematic images generate and transform the affectively grounded structures that survey, confirm or revise a political community’s horizon of values? Using the exemplary case of feelings of guilt, the author develops an approach that makes patterns of audiovisual compositions intelligible as aesthetic modulations of moral feelings. A sense of guilt is presented here as neither an individualistic psychological emotion nor an external social mechanism of control but as a paradigmatic case for understanding politics and history as based upon embodied affectivity and shared relations to the world. By taking three distinct examples – German Post-War cinema, Hollywood Western and films on climate change – patterns of audiovisual composition and the inherent calculation of affect are analyzed as practices shaping the conditions of possibility of political communities and their historicity.

Nazi Camps and Their Neighbouring Communities

Nazi Camps and Their Neighbouring Communities

Nazi Camps and Their Neighbouring Communities

Nazi concentration camps were built close to local populations all across Europe. These nearby communities were involved with the camps in a myriad of ways, and after the war, they continued to interact with camp legacies. This study examines locality-camp relationships and how these played out during and after the war.

Justice As Message

Justice As Message

Justice As Message

International criminal justice relies on messages, speech acts, and performative practices in order to convey social meaning. Major criminal proceedings, such as Nuremberg, Tokyo, and other post-World War II trials have been branded as 'spectacles of didactic legality'. However, the expressive and communicative functions of law are often side-lined in institutional discourse and legal practice. This innovative work brings these functions centre-stage, developing the idea of justice as message and outlining the expressivist foundations of international criminal justice in a systematic way. Professor Carsten Stahn examines the origins of the expressivist theory in the sociology of law and the justification of punishment, its articulation in practice, and its broader role as method of international law. He shows that expression and communication is not only an inherent part of the punitive functions of international criminal justice, but is represented in a whole spectrum of practices: norm expression and diffusion, institutional actions, performative aspects of criminal procedures, and repair of harm. He argues that expressivism is not a classical justification of justice or punishment on its own, but rather a means to understand its aspirations and limitations, to explain how justice is produced and to ground punishment rationales. This book is an invitation to think beyond the confines of the legal discipline, and to engage with the multidisciplinary foundations and possibilities of the international criminal justice project.

The Nation

The Nation

The Nation


Coping with the Past

Coping with the Past

Coping with the Past

The defeat of Hitler in 1945 left Germany a tabula rasa. Normal personal, civic and political life had to be reconstructed on entirely new foundations. The overriding question of German guilt naturally gave rise to other questions. How could the German catastrophe have come about in 1933? How did the successor states - the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic and Austria - view their joint past? In what ways did they rebuild their political, ecocomic and social structures?

Karl Jaspers

Karl Jaspers

Karl Jaspers