Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

German

Major Professor

Daniel H. Magilow

Committee Members

Sarah V. Eldridge, Maria Stehle

Abstract

The controversy surrounding the so-called „Innere Emigration“ (inner emigration) as a way to describe authors who stayed in Germany during the Nazi regime engaged German intellectuals in the postwar period. Although the term was accepted between 1933 and 1945 to describe the non-fascist attitude of authors remaining in Nazi Germany, exiled authors questioned the term after the war. Authors who had remained in Germany used the term as a self-definition to avoid the arising „Schuldfrage”, especially in the postwar period. The lack of a concrete definition of what „Innere Emigration” describes creates significant challenges surrounding research on literature written during the Nazi time. Using the example of Bavarian author Georg Britting, who remained in Nazi Germany and gained publicity in the literary scene, this thesis argues that the term fulfilled a specific political function in the postwar period, and was used indirectly or directly by authors like Britting as justification for their position in Nazi Germany to suggest their alienation from the National Socialism. However, their position and work fail to support this attitude. I argue that as a result, the term is not useful to describe the literature under the National Socialism.

The focus of this work lies not on the analyses of Britting’s oeuvre but on his biography, mainly based on his correspondence with fellow emigre Alexander Wetzlar. I look specifically at two segments of Britting’s life: his attitude towards the inner emigration between 1933 and 1945, which includes his political-ideological attitude and his position in the literary publicity, and his attitude towards the inner emigration after 1945 within arising postwar debates. Examination of these two areas show that writing and publishing in the context of the problematic everyday reality in Nazi Germany requires a nuanced understanding and cannot be subsumed under a fixed term. Instead, the positions of these authors could be described as a form of “Zwischentöne”, a term used by Michael Braun and Georg Guntermann.

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