Journal Review: VfZ, 1/2017

s00425702In the January issue of the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Dirk Blasius writes about the mutual influences between Carl Schmitt and historian Hans Rothfels during the Weimar Republic: “This article widens the scope in the debates about Hans Rothfels by assessing the significance of reviews within the political and intellectual culture of the Weimar Republic.
Rothfels as a reviewer showed an interest in the publications of Schmitt. The reviews of Rothfels are short essays which exhibit his own position on the Weimar constitutional system. They make clear the distinction between Rothfels and Schmitt. Rothfels points out the incomplete understanding of history in Schmitt’s works. Also, he highlights the limitations of his legal theory. In the reviews, Rothfels followed Rudolf Smend (1882–1975), an other authority on jurisprudence. An essential part of Carl Schmitt’s intellectual personality was the history of Prussia, especially Clausewitz. Rothfeld’s“Carl von Clausewitz” (1920) was an important work in the shaping o Schmitt’s political orientation. After 1945 Schmitt made use of Rothfeld’s Prussian history. Schmitt and Smend read and commented on Rothfels’ “The German Opposition to Hitler. An Appraisal” (1948). Here we find Smend with a noble gesture on Rothfels’ side. In his remarks, Schmitt gives the impression that he was close to the Prussian opposition to Hitler.”

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