New Society / Frankfurter Hefte

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New Society / Frankfurter Hefte

Area of ​​Expertise Politics, culture
language German
publishing company Verlag JHW Dietz Nachf. Bonn (Germany)
First edition 1985, forerunner 1946 (Frankfurter Hefte) and 1954 (Die Neue Gesellschaft)
Frequency of publication monthly with double issues January – February and July – August (10 issues per year)
Editor-in-chief Thomas Meyer
editor Kurt Beck , Jürgen Kocka , Thomas Meyer , Bascha Mika , Andrea Nahles , Angelica Schwall-Düren , Wolfgang Thierse
Web link
ISSN (print)

Neue Gesellschaft / Frankfurter Hefte (NG | FH) is a German magazine for politics and culture with a left-liberal line. Ten issues appear per year (eight monthly issues and two double issues). It has existed in its current form since 1985, when the SPD-affiliated journal Neue Gesellschaft, founded in 1954, took over the Frankfurter Hefte , which had been published since 1946 and originally developed in the left-wing Catholic milieu .

The NG / FH, published by JHW Dietz Nachf. Bonn , sees itself today as a political culture magazine that aims to convey both current diagnoses and future perspectives. Outstanding topics since the 1990s have been the democratization processes in Eastern and Central Europe, civil society and communitarian models of society, the tendencies of a conservative intelligentsia , dealing with the totalitarian past, the development of the new media , the future of metropolises (issues of globalization and migration ) . After the death of his predecessor Peter Glotz, the editor-in-chief of NG / FH is the political scientist and co-editor Thomas Meyer . In addition to Meyer, the following editors are currently (as of December 2018) on behalf of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung : Kurt Beck , Jürgen Kocka , Thomas Meyer , Bascha Mika , Andrea Nahles , Angelica Schwall-Düren and Wolfgang Thierse .

A quarterly English-language edition has been published since 2012 with the subtitle Journal of Social Democracy . It contains translations of selected articles from the German version and is edited by the political scientist Lew Hinchman, a professor emeritus at Clarkson University in Potsdam (New York) .


Frankfurter Hefte (1946–1984)

Frankfurter Hefte December 1979

The Frankfurter Hefte named after their place of publication were founded in 1946 as a monthly magazine for culture and politics (so the subtitle). The founders were the social scientist Eugen Kogon and the publicist Walter Dirks , who also acted as editors, as well as the later television director of Bavarian Broadcasting and President of the University of Television and Film Munich Clemens Münster and the journalist and translator Walter Maria Guggenheimer . Politically, the magazine was oriented towards the ideal of Christian - democratic socialism , which they wanted to bring to the German post - war society. Kogon and Dirks had 1945 the " Frankfurter Principles " written on which the founding program of the Hesse CDU based, which - like the better known Ahlen Program in North Rhine-Westphalia - citing the Catholic social teaching a nationalization of key industries and extensive participation demanded. After these ideas did not gain acceptance within the CDU, however, Kogon and Dirks soon turned away from the party. Instead, with the Frankfurter Hefte , the editors pursued the goal of a critical cultural magazine that would also appeal to a broader readership and a. should win for the ideas of Christian socialism. In the course of time, however, the magazine developed a broader profile and became one of the most important magazines in the early Federal Republic; Ernst-Otto Czempiel described it as the “intellectual agora of the Federal Republic”, in which everyone wrote who “had rank and name”. The first edition appeared in April 1946, the last in 1984. The price was 2 Reichsmarks (RM) at the beginning and 9 Deutsche Mark (DM) at the end . The magazine had a Military Government Information Control License number , US-W-2010. The magazine found its greatest distribution between 1946 and 1950, when it had a circulation of 50,000 to 75,000 copies.

The main topics were:

  • Role, task and problems of publicists
  • Christianity , Church and Life
  • Socialism and Marxism (compatibility of freedom and Christianity, idea of ​​Christian socialism)
  • Considerations of a theoretical / political nature on Russia and the USA (model and system)
  • School, education, college
  • Literature: reconsideration of fiction, non-fiction, new publications

The New Society (1954–1984)

In the second federal election in 1953 , the SPD suffered a heavy defeat; while the right-wing or “bourgeois” camp received over 60% of the vote, the SPD only got 28.8%. In particular, the CDU / CSU led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was able to stand out from the SPD, which was almost equally strong in 1949, with 45.5% and only missed the absolute majority by one seat. In this situation, social democratic intellectuals or intellectuals close to the SPD founded a magazine , in which u. a. theoretical and programmatic proposals should be discussed in order to move the party, which is still primarily perceived as a traditional workers' party, more strongly to the center of West German post-war society and to make it more attractive for the bourgeois electorate; this included u. a. the approach to the churches. Founding editors of the New Society , which appears every two months, were the public prosecutor Fritz Bauer , who later organized the Auschwitz trials that took place from 1963 , the later initiator of the Godesberg program Willi Eichler , the constitutional lawyer Carlo Schmid , who was one of the “fathers of the Basic Law ”, and the sociologist Otto Stammer . The first editor-in-chief from 1954 was the later SPD member of the Bundestag and political scientist Ulrich Lohmar , at that time assistant to the sociologist Helmut Schelsky and federal chairman of the then still SPD-related SDS . In 1968 he was followed by the Stern editor Leo Bauer , who - also a member of the SPD - was Willy Brandt's advisor on the new Ostpolitik . Bauer's successor from 1972 to 1982 was Herbert Wehner and, from 1983, Peter Glotz , who initially took over Frankfurter Hefte (1985). Glotz remained editor-in-chief of the Neue Gesellschaft / Frankfurter Hefte until his death in 2005 . The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's library has the old editions of the New Society digitized; the copies recorded so far are currently (as of January 2014) only accessible from the foundation's intranet.


  • Michel Grunewald: “'Christian Socialists' in the first post-war years: Die Frankfurter Hefte”, in: Michel Grunewald, Uwe Puschner (ed.), Le milieu intellectuel catholique en Allemagne, sa presse et ses reseaux (1871–1963) / The catholic Intellectual milieu in Germany, its press and networks (1871–1963) . Peter Lang, Bern 2006, pp. 459–481.
  • Josef P. Mautner: “Deconstruction of Christianity. Left Catholicism and the Present ”, in: Richard Faber (Ed.), Catholicism in Past and Present , Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2005, pp. 227-254.
  • Karl Prümm: Walter Dirks and Eugen Kogon as Catholic publicists of the Weimar Republic. Heidelberg 1984.
  • Karl Prümm: "Drafts of a second republic in the 'Frankfurter Heften' 1946–1949", in: Thomas Koebner , Gert Sauttermeister, Sigrid Schneider (eds.), Germany after Hitler. Future plans in exile and from the occupation 1939–1945. Opladen 1987, pp. 330-343.
  • Gabriel Rolfes: "The place of the new beginnings, I said, will have to be the magazine": Eugen Kogon and Walter Dirks as editors of the Frankfurter Hefte in the early Federal Republic. In: Alexander Gallus / Sebastian Liebold / Frank Shell (eds.): Measurements of an Intellectual History of the Early Federal Republic. Göttingen 2020, pp. 333-350, ISBN 978-3-8353-3472-4 .
  • Benedikt Brunner, Thomas Großbölting / Klaus Große Kracht / Meik Woyke (eds.): "Say what is". Walter Dirks in the intellectual and political constellations of Germany and Europe , Bonn: JHW Dietz Nachf. 2019 (Political and Social History series; 105), ISBN 978-3-8012-4233-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See: Frankfurter Hefte, magazine for culture and politics, 9th year, issue 5, May 1954, ed. by Eugen Kogon & Walter Dirks , Verlag der Frankfurter Hefte, Frankfurt 1954
  2. Ernst-Otto Czempiel, "Democrat and Europeans: On the hundredth birthday of the publicist Eugen Kogon", Neue Zürcher Zeitung , February 1, 2003 [1]
  3. Neue Gesellschaft Frankfurter Hefte - About Us
  4. ^ Friedrich Ebert Foundation | Library | Overview of digitized journals , Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung | Library | The New Society - Online Edition