For the most part, English language research on the Third Reich has focused on its political, economic and military structures. Comparatively little attention has been paid to the ideological underpinnings of National Socialism, however; to the ideas and discourses that informed the beliefs and actions of both major and minor actors in Hitler’s Germany.
In the sense proposed here, ideology is not to be understood in opposition to rationality, but rather as a precondition for rational thinking. Ideology, in other words, is a prism through which individuals, groups, and state authorities see the world, whilst also providing justification for their actions.
This project is based on the assumption that, if we want to understand the relationship between politics and people’s lived realities, or between the period’s inhuman atrocities and the worldview that informed them, then a deep understanding of National Socialist ideologies is required.
The core of our project is a four-volume reference resource entitled ‘’Ideologies in National Socialism’’, designed to be unprecedented in its detail and encylopaedic in its coverage:
Vol. I. People and their Ideology
Vol. II. Institutions and their Ideology
Vol. III. History of Ideas
Vol. IV. Terms, Research, Perspectives
The First Volume covers the major ideological actors: From the well-known protagonists such as Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels as well as all relevant ‘second-tier’ personalities and institutions within the economic, political, cultural and artistic spheres, such as v. Halt, Werlin, Horch, Porsche, Junkers, to the artists such as Rühmann, Gebühr, or Leander.
The Second Volume focuses on institutions and their associated ideologies: From the well-known institutions such as the NSDAP, SA, SS, OKW, Reichsnährstand, Dresdner Bank, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Reich Association of the Automotive Industry, Reich Association of Private Insurance, Reich Medical Association to the UfA, Central Association and Jewish Councils.
The Third Volume is devoted to the history of ideas, including anti-Semitism, West German research, East German research, schools of thought, religion and philosophy, science, medicine, law and culture.
The Fourth Volume, focuses upon relevant ideological Terms and Perspectives, including discussion of general methodological questions of principle and research, as well as more specific thematic areas that are not included in volumes 1-3: for example, language (from the language of violence and the LTI to the change in legal German), the effects of Nazi ideology on other states and regions 1933-1945 (Franco, Quisling, Mussert, Mosley, etc., Romania, Denmark, etc.), and the aftermath of Nazi ideology in other states (Estado Novo in Brazil, Salazar’s Portugal, etc.).
Wherever possible, the contributions are contextualised in an introduction. Their authors, who are internationally distinguished authorities in their respective fields of research, provide an overview of the current state of research as part of this contextualisation thereby ensuring that this reference resource is continuously updated online now and into the future.