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The Swansong of the Mandarins : Humboldt’s Idea of the University in Early Post-War Germany

Östling, Johan LU (2016) In Modern Intellectual History 13(2). p.387-415
Abstract
In the wake of the Second World War, Germany saw an intensive debate about the idea of the university and its future role in society. All were agreed that the country’s universities had to be revitalized after the ravages of Nazism, but the question was what weight should be given to the classical German heritage, and the Humboldtian tradition in particular. The mandarins, the older humanist scholars, dominated the public debate about the fundamental principles of research and higher education, and this article focuses on the contribution made by three of them—Karl Jaspers, Gerhard Ritter, and Werner Richter. In making their points, they all revealed a strong historical orientation, but equally very different views on the Humboldtian... (More)
In the wake of the Second World War, Germany saw an intensive debate about the idea of the university and its future role in society. All were agreed that the country’s universities had to be revitalized after the ravages of Nazism, but the question was what weight should be given to the classical German heritage, and the Humboldtian tradition in particular. The mandarins, the older humanist scholars, dominated the public debate about the fundamental principles of research and higher education, and this article focuses on the contribution made by three of them—Karl Jaspers, Gerhard Ritter, and Werner Richter. In making their points, they all revealed a strong historical orientation, but equally very different views on the Humboldtian legacy. This article argues that their ideas about the German university must be seen against the background of the specific experiences of their generation. In the event, the immediate post-war period was the last time their academic ideals were to gain much of a hearing. The university debate proved to be the swansong for Germany’s intellectual elite. (Less)
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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
the Humboldtian tradition, Wilhelm von Humboldt, mandarins, Werner Richter, Gerhard Ritter, Karl Jaspers, de-Nazification, the Second World War, university, post-war period, Germany, intellectuals
in
Modern Intellectual History
volume
13
issue
2
pages
29 pages
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84921418665
  • wos:000380912300004
ISSN
1479-2443
DOI
10.1017/S1479244314000808
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
50fe6673-20ca-4a6a-bf65-7c99f40f4975 (old id 4538900)
date added to LUP
2014-07-14 14:51:51
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:28:21
@article{50fe6673-20ca-4a6a-bf65-7c99f40f4975,
  abstract     = {In the wake of the Second World War, Germany saw an intensive debate about the idea of the university and its future role in society. All were agreed that the country’s universities had to be revitalized after the ravages of Nazism, but the question was what weight should be given to the classical German heritage, and the Humboldtian tradition in particular. The mandarins, the older humanist scholars, dominated the public debate about the fundamental principles of research and higher education, and this article focuses on the contribution made by three of them—Karl Jaspers, Gerhard Ritter, and Werner Richter. In making their points, they all revealed a strong historical orientation, but equally very different views on the Humboldtian legacy. This article argues that their ideas about the German university must be seen against the background of the specific experiences of their generation. In the event, the immediate post-war period was the last time their academic ideals were to gain much of a hearing. The university debate proved to be the swansong for Germany’s intellectual elite.},
  author       = {Östling, Johan},
  issn         = {1479-2443},
  keyword      = {the Humboldtian tradition,Wilhelm von Humboldt,mandarins,Werner Richter,Gerhard Ritter,Karl Jaspers,de-Nazification,the Second World War,university,post-war period,Germany,intellectuals},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {387--415},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Modern Intellectual History},
  title        = {The Swansong of the Mandarins : Humboldt’s Idea of the University in Early Post-War Germany},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1479244314000808},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2016},
}