Reports on the state of mind of the nation

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Reports on the attitude of the nation is a satirical short story by Heinrich Böll , which appeared in Cologne in 1975. The author had read extracts from it on September 21 of the same year on NDR3 .


The spies Red Gimpel, Ackergaul and Rotmolch I write seven reports on "observations of attitudes" to the "intelligence officers", the red-headed shrike, the stable master and the majordomo. Stable master makes a memo. The three representatives for their part then finally write a "confidential report" in their official German to their superiors, who sit on the "committee of representatives". The three informers sometimes use tricky abbreviations.


Each of the three informers - about the other two and about the people at their place of work - reports a hard-to-understand amount of nonsense. Their activities are ridiculous to despicable. During the "Aktion teacher's desk" z. B. table boxes are ransacked for communist documents.

In their final report, the secret service officers appreciate the "opinion determination process", in which the mood of over seven hundred intellectuals and senior officials is explored and the inclinations - e.g. B. Radicality - was recorded as a complete success. So they apply with a clear conscience for funds for the next "sentiment survey". Then the facial expression of people at demonstrations should be one of the focal points. " Orientation physiognomics " is on the agenda.

A source of inspiration for Böll for this story, especially for the naming, was the Grimm dictionary ( German dictionary ).


  • The dark man's letters served Böll as a model for his satire. The author's situation in the years immediately after the story was published became more and more complicated.
  • Böll wrote against the "official snoopers".
  • Reds and radicals are observed in satire.
  • Guntermann names current political events after 1975 that are somehow reminiscent of the reports .


First edition
  • Heinrich Böll: Reports on the attitude of the nation . Kiepenheuer & Witsch Cologne 1975. 62 pages, ISBN 3-462-01117-0 .
Secondary literature
  • Bernd Balzer: Anarchy and tenderness . in: Heinrich Böll works. Novels and short stories 1. 1947 - 1952 . Kiepenheuer & Witsch Cologne 1977 (supplemented new edition 1987, 877 pages), ISBN 3-462-01871-X
  • Jochen Vogt: Heinrich Böll . Verlag CH Beck München 1978 (2nd edition 1987), 192 pages, ISBN 3-406-31780-4
  • Georg Guntermann: "The author's persistence on his old jacket". Böll as the author of the denied consent pp. 195–230 in: Bernd Balzer (Ed.): Heinrich Böll 1917 - 1985 on his 75th birthday. Peter Lang AG Bern 1992. 354 pages, ISBN 3-906750-26-4
  • Werner Bellmann (ed.): The work of Heinrich Böll. Bibliography with studies on early work. Westdeutscher Verlag Opladen 1995, 292 pages, ISBN 3-531-12694-6
  • Henning Falkenstein: Heinrich Böll . Morgenbuch Verlag Volker Spiess, Berlin 1996. 95 pages, ISBN 3-371-00398-1
  • Gero von Wilpert : Lexicon of world literature. German Authors A - Z . P. 68 (698 pages). Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-520-83704-8

Individual evidence

  1. Bellmann, p. 181
  2. Balzer, S. [150], [151]
  3. ^ Vogt, p. 133
  4. Falkenstein, p. 79
  5. Guntermann, p. 221