German School of Politics

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The German University of Politics (DHfP) was a private university founded in Berlin in October 1920 . It emerged from the state school that Friedrich Naumann founded in 1918. In 1940 it was added to the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität , re-established in 1948 and converted into the Otto Suhr Institute of the Free University of Berlin in 1959 .


The DHfP should establish the elementary principles of a democratic community in Germany out of a liberal spirit and help to consolidate the still young Weimar Republic in this sense against anti-democratic tendencies. At that time, political science was still understood and called democracy science. The previous institution of the School of Politics was the Berlin Citizens' School, founded in 1918.

Supporters or members of the founding board of trustees were a. Walter Simons , Ernst Jäckh , Friedrich Naumann , Friedrich Meinecke , Max Weber , Hugo Preuss , Gertrud Bäumer and Moritz Julius Bonn . The Prussian minister of education, education reformer (and Islamic scholar) Carl Heinrich Becker played a major role in the successful establishment of the new university .

Weimar Republic

Lectures and seminars for the first 120 students initially only took place in the evening with mostly part-time honorary lecturers. The focus areas were initially (1) general politics , political history and political sociology , (2) foreign policy and foreign studies, (3) domestic policy , including cultural policy and press, and (4) legal bases and (5) economic bases of politics. With the increasing number of students, the proportion of full-time lecturers and chairs increased in the following years. A diploma from the University of Politics could only be obtained from the mid-twenties due to the difficulties in academic training.

The teachers included, among others

such as

His son Hans Simons temporarily headed the university and also took on teaching duties.

National Socialism

Career until 1940

Leader's decree on the establishment of the Politics College of September 30, 1937

Some of the lecturers at the DHfP emigrated in 1933 in order to evade the reprisals of the Nazi state against political opponents and people of Jewish and partly Jewish origin. In March 1933, the new Reich Propaganda Ministry took control of the German School of Politics . In May, the ministry gave the official there, Paul Meier, who had already joined the NSDAP in 1927, the management initially provisionally. In November 1933 he was officially installed as President by Joseph Goebbels . Since then, Meier has called himself Meier-Benneckenstein . The political writer Peter Kleist , a member of the NSDAP since 1931, became managing director .

During the Nazism which was conformist University in 1937, a PTR named "School of Politics". Closest to National Socialism were the “nationalist-conservative” teachers who came from the Political College . In 1927 this established a working group with the DHfP. From then on, the teaching body was torn apart and no uniform concept was developed. The political science was on foreign policy and the so-called International Studies limited and therefore part of the ideological apparatus of Nazi foreign policy . In 1933 Johann von Leers became the head of the "Department for Foreign Policy and Foreign Studies".

In the summer semester of 1934, the National Socialist Academy for German Law Hans Franks set up a chair at the School of Politics. On May 16, 1934, Hans Frank gave the opening speech in the new auditorium of the University of Berlin. The first speakers for this endowed professorship were State Secretary Dr. Roland Freisler , Professor Dr. Carl Schmitt , Rudolf Schraut and Professor Dr. Viktor Bruns .

Integration into the Faculty of Foreign Studies and the German Institute for International Studies (DAWI)

In 1940 the German University of Politics was merged with the Department of Oriental Languages , which had already become the University of Berlin's foreign university in 1935 , and incorporated into the university's newly founded Faculty of Foreign Studies . The dean was the 30-year-old Franz Alfred Six . In addition to his function as dean, Six also headed the German Institute for International Studies (DAWI), which is closely linked to the faculty and largely identical in terms of personnel , and whose tasks included ideological training in the context of external relations. The institute also served as a foreign information point for party and government bodies. Six was an SS intellectual who belonged to the NSDAP's functional elite ; he also worked as Adolf Eichmann's superior in the Reich Main Security Office on the extermination of the Jews. Another leading National Socialist at the School of Politics was the sociologist and geopolitician Karl Heinz Pfeffer , who replaced Six as dean. Even anti-colonial (mostly Indian and Arabic) students studied belonged to the faculty and the NSDAP under standing "Institute for Foreign Policy Research" under here until 1945. Fritz Berber .

The lecturers at the Faculty of Foreign Studies also included Albrecht Haushofer , Harro Schulze-Boysen , Ernst Wilhelm Eschmann , Werner Schmidt , Arvid Harnack and Mildred Harnack . Students at this faculty were a .: Ursula Besser , Eva-Maria Buch , Ursula Goetze , Horst Heilmann , Rainer Hildebrandt , Bohdan Osadczuk (pseudonym: Alexander Korab) and Fritz Steppat .

Other authors in the publications of the Nazi institutes in the vicinity of the university, mostly in the "(Hamburg) monthly books for foreign policy" were Karl Megerle , often Giselher Wirsing and Karl Kerkhof . A central publication organ was the Zeitschrift für Politik , which was published by Carl Heymanns Verlag at the time. Further series and monographs by associated authors were published by Junker und Dünnhaupt Verlag Berlin.

The proportion of NSDAP party members in this faculty was 65%, twice as much as at other Berlin university institutes (University of Berlin 38%, Philosophical Faculty 31%). She worked closely with the state German Institute for International Studies DAWI of the Reich Ministry for National Education. The head of the SGEI was also Six, who in a third function was still head of a “cultural policy department” of the Foreign Office ; a typical National Socialist multifunctional. A good overview of the protagonists of the Six Institute DAWI is provided by the list of authors in the 1248-page “Yearbook of World Politics 1944” with around 40 different authors. Everything that wanted to make a career in the National Socialist war and foreign policy or its “scientific” underpinning met here.

post war period

In 1948, the German University of Politics was re-established under the Social Democrat Otto Suhr . When the university was converted into the Otto Suhr Institute , which was newly founded in 1959 , it was integrated into the Free University of Berlin and moved to Berlin-Dahlem . In 1971 the Berlin School of Economics moved into the prestigious former building in Schöneberg .

After Gideon Botsch, the former National Socialists found a new home in the "Society for Foreign Studies" founded in 1951. So there published Gerhard von Mende , who for the Muslim SS troops of the Mufti had been in charge and its educational instructions as director in the Federal Agency for Civic Education continued with a slightly different audience. Herbert Scurla , who used to be a lecturer and advisory board member at the DAWI, made an exception .


An exhibition by Siegfried Mielke and his staff about students and lecturers of the DHfP, "who were active in resistance groups during the Nazi dictatorship", was opened on June 14, 2008 in the foyer of the OSI by Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Thierse . The show is now also shown in other locations. The exhibition and accompanying book provide an overview of the development of the university. The focus is on several dozen biographies of lecturers and students who fought against National Socialism in the resistance or in emigration in various groups. The biographies show a connection between the democratic orientation of the university and the political commitment of many of its lecturers and students against the Nazi state. While at the turn of 1932/33 lecturers and students at the German universities defected to the National Socialists in large droves, the majority of lecturers and students at the DHfP remained loyal to the democratic founding intentions. According to the authors, this is "unique" in the university landscape. The large number of lecturers and students who joined resistance groups or who fought the Nazi system from emigration is also unique.


  • Erwin Mai: French colonial policy. Goals, methods, problems. Junker & Dünnhaupt, Berlin 1940 (= writings of the German Institute for Foreign Policy Research. Issue 68; at the same time: France against civilization. Issue 13. - The "Civilization" series comprised 25 issues. Ed. By Karl Epting under the pseudonym Matthias Schwabe See also: Ernst Anrich ).
  • For further publications by the university and associated authors, see Junker and Dünnhaupt Verlag, Berlin.


  • Gideon Botsch: "Political Science" in World War II. German foreign studies in action 1940-1945 . Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, ISBN 3-506-71358-2 .
  • Rainer Eisfeld : Expatriated and yet tanned . German political science 1920–1945. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1991, ISBN 3-7890-2393-0 .
  • Ernst Haiger: Political Science and Foreign Studies in the “Third Reich” - (German) University of Politics 1933–1939 and Faculty of Foreign Studies at the Berlin University 1940–1945 . In: Gerhard Göhler, Bodo Zeuner (Ed.): Continuities and breaks in German political science . Nomos, Baden-Baden 1991, p. 94-136 .
  • Steven D. Korenblat: A School for the Republic? Cosmopolitans and Their Enemies at the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik, 1920–1933. In: Central European History. 39 (2006), No. 3, pp. 394-430, doi: 10.1017 / S0008938906000148 .
  • Detlef Lehnert: "Politics as Science". Contributions to the institutionalization of a specialist discipline in research and teaching at the German University of Politics (1920–1933). In: Political quarterly . Vol. 30, No. 3 (September 1989), pp. 443-465.
  • Siegfried Mielke (Ed.) With the collaboration of Marion Goers, Stefan Heinz , Matthias Oden, Sebastian Bödecker: Unique - Lecturers, Students and Representatives of the German University of Politics (1920-1933) in the resistance against National Socialism. Lukas-Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86732-032-0 .
  • Antonio Missiroli: The German University of Politics . Comdok, St. Augustin 1988, ISBN 3-89351-017-6 (Writings of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation: Liberal Texts - About the Weimar Period).
  • Erich Nickel: Politics and political science in the Weimar Republic . Rotschild, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-9809839-0-0 ( review ).
  • Ernestine Schlant: The language of silence . German literature and the Holocaust. C. H. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-47188-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Bleek: History of Political Science in Germany. P. 230 ( preview in Google Book search); Paul Meier-Benneckenstein Foreword to Joseph Goebbels Fascism and its practical results (= writings of the DHfP. Issue 1). Berlin 1934: We want to "convey understanding for the Adolf Hitler government [...] The writings of the DHfP should serve the further penetration of the German people with National Socialist ideas and education in the spirit of the national community ." Meier-Benneckenstein was also co-editor of the magazine for politics .
  2. Andreas Zellhuber: "Our administration is heading for a catastrophe ..." The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories and German occupation in the Soviet Union 1941–1945. Vögel, Munich 2006, p. 74.
  3. ^ German justice . Administration of justice and legal policy. Official organ of the Reich Minister of Justice, the Prussian Minister of Justice and the Bavarian Minister of Justice. 96. Vol. 17, April 27, 1934, p. 557
  4. Gideon Botsch: "Political Science" in the Second World War: the "German Foreign Studies" in action 1940-1945. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, pp. 13, 74; German Institute for International Studies (Berlin) from, accessed on October 14, 2015.
  5. A complete list of all lecturers at the DHfP in: Gideon Botsch: “Political Science” in the Second World War. German foreign studies in action 1940-1945. Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, p. 247 ff.
  6. ↑ The names of the publications and the publishers, which vary a number of times, may indicate that the protagonists are not sure how they can best represent their plans.
  7. Karl Magerle: Germany and the end of Czechoslovakia. Article published August 1939, OCLC 718854881 . From: Monthly Bulletins for Foreign Policy. In association with the Hamburg Institute for Foreign Policy, ed. from the German Institute for Foreign Policy Research, Berlin. Essen publishing house, Essen [a. a.] 1939, ZDB -ID 547611-2 .
  8. ^ Karl Kerkhof: The Versailles Dictation and German Science. A contribution to the history of international organizations. Article in November 1940.
  9. The daily mirror . June 14, 2008, p. B3.