Imshausen Society

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Imshausen manor house, today the seat of the Adam von Trott Imshausen Foundation .

The Imshausen Society was an organization founded in 1947 to discuss ways to renew Germany.

On Werner von Trott's initiative , around 40 prominent personalities from all four occupation zones and political camps met between August 1947 and May 1948 to discuss the renewal of Germany in the spirit of European resistance. The place of assembly was the Imshausen manor , the seat of the von Trott zu Solz family .

After the end of the war they looked for possibilities of a fundamental reorganization of Germany, an independent “synthesis between West and East”. In order to give the initiative an organizational framework, the "Gesellschaft Imshausen" was founded as a network of intellectual "thought leaders". The former center member Carl Spiecker took over the chairmanship. The board also included Werner von Trott (brother of the resistance fighter Adam von Trott zu Solz ), the publicist Walter Dirks (co-editor of the Frankfurter Hefte ), the doctor and philosopher Wilhelm Kütemeyer and the economist and agricultural expert Artur von Machui . Werner von Trott's brother Heinrich von Trott zu Solz supported the initiative and supported the work of the society.

In its program, the Imshausen company made its high demands on its own work clear. Thus “all major positions of occidental politics should be encompassed in their dialectical context, in a wide arc from Freiherr vom Stein to Lenin , from the image of society Thomas Aquinas to the social theory of Karl Marx , from the Christian order in its secular or fleeting form to its confessional contradicting Soviet system . ”At the first meeting in August 1947, two essential questions were at the center of the discussion, which already made clear how fundamental the discussion should be in Imshausen: Which political system should be established in post-war Germany? And who had the legitimacy to take the lead in building democracy?

Participants in these gatherings of social democrats, conservatives, Christians and communists were, among others, the physicist and philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker , the publicists Eugen Kogon and Walter Dirks , the former center deputy Helene Wessel , Theodor Steltzer (member of the Kreisau district and first Prime Minister of Schleswig- Holstein ), the writers Alfred Kantorowicz and Alfred Andersch , Ernst Niekisch and the historian Walter Markov . The initiative failed in May 1948 after three meetings due to increasing tensions within the group and between the occupying powers. The beginning of the Cold War was already clearly felt after the London Foreign Ministers' Conference was broken off in December 1947. As a result, some of the representatives from the Soviet zone of occupation were no longer able to attend, others refused to attend for ideological reasons.

The Imshausen Society began its work in a very short "time window" that opened up between the end of the Second World War and the Cold War with the establishment of the two German states and their bloc ties . It was not the only initiative that addressed such issues during this time. Mention should be made here, among other things, of the also non-partisan society Mundus Christianus , which met in Tremsbüttel Castle and was initiated by Theodor Steltzer. Also Mundus Christianus relied explicitly on the principles of the Kreisau Circle .


  • Jürgen Baumgarten: The Imshausen Society: A forgotten attempt to reorganize Germany . In: Neue Gesellschaft, Frankfurter Hefte. 38 (1991), H. 5, pp. 443-447
  • Joachim Garstecki (ed.): The ecumenical movement and the resistance against dictatorships. National Socialism and Communism as a Challenge to the Churches. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-17-019966-8
  • Alfred Kantorowicz: Seeking Youth. Correspondence with young people, initiated by a letter from Thomas Mann , Alfred Kantorowicz Verlag, Berlin 1949
  • Wolfgang M. Schwiedrzik: Dreams from the very beginning. The Imshausen company . Siedler, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-88680-340-6
  • Werner von Trott zu Solz: The Fall of the Occident. Documents and essays , Walter-Verlag, Olten and Freiburg 1965

Web links


  1. ^ Program of the Imshausen Society, in: Werner von Trott zu Solz: Der Untergang des Abendlands , p. 45 ff.
  2. Wolfgang M. Schwiedrzik: Dreams of the first hour. The Imshausen Society , p. 35 ff.
  3. Wolfgang M. Schwiedrzik: Dreams of the first hour. The Imshausen Society , p. 105 ff.