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A Reply to Gerald Feldman

Abstract

For more than a year and a half Gerald Feldman has waged an unrelenting campaign against my work and character. By his own declaration, the object of this campaign has been to deny me employment as a professional historian, and to establish within the historical profession that my work is a fraud, and that I am a liar. Hitherto Professor Feldman has used private correspondence, countless phone calls, irregularly circulated “open” letters, and lapel-grabbing confrontations with interested (and some not so interested) colleagues to advance these ends. After much of that, he has availed himself of the services of a scholarly journal. I am pleased with his decision to do so, and grateful to this journal's editor for the opportunity given me to respond. But there is no escaping history. And to understand the present exchange, some history is required.

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1. American Historical Review 88 (1983) 11431149.

2. April 29, 1983, May 17, 1983, March 14, 1984, author file. As with the circular letters referred to here, they are on file with the editor of this journal and are available from me.

3. May 20, 1983. In a letter to the Press of March 27, 1984 he made veiled threats if my book was not withdrawn from the market, catalogues, etc., in ibid.

4. Widely available, including in ibid.

5. In the case of Texas: the publication and application materials “returned” to me after my candidacy was dropped included Feldman's “Dear Colleagues” letter of November 28. At Tel Aviv University: in late February-early March, Feldman, visiting the university, told the department which had earlier extended me a one-year visiting mutual look-see offer with a likely-to-be permanent arrangement thereafter that my work is fraudulent and I a liar. (Report of department members to the author; further documentation available.) Feldman went on to say that a former student of his had “demonstrated” this. Negotiations regarding a position, which had been taking place for several months, were then not pursued further by the department. At Catholic University documentation on Feldman's intermeddling is more extensive. After an initial interview and expression of interest, Catholic University interviewed me a second time on January 24, 1984, and the history department search committee expressed enthusiasm about my candidacy. Shortly after my second interview, I received numerous phone calls from various department members, including members not on the search committee, encouraging me to accept an offer described as “imminent,” to come to Washington to explore housing possibilities, etc. At the beginning of February, the department recommended to the dean's committee on tenure and promotion at Catholic that I be hired, and at the end of the month the dean's committee approved this recommendation, and passed it on to the dean. In the meantime, however, Feldman had learned of Catholic's interest in me. Beginning on February 13, Feldman initiated a series of phone calls to search committee and other department members, and mobilized other German historians to do the same to protest my prospective hiring. In conversations with Catholic University history department members, Feldman declared, inter alia, that hiring me would be “embarrassing” for the University, and that in fact I was “not worthy of teaching in any American university.” “After all,” Feldman said at one point, “what can you think [of Abraham] when he leaves out a ‘not’ from a quotation.” After several weeks of such phone calls, many letters, and assorted other interventions by Feldman, the dean finally decided not to accept the department's and promotion committee's recommendations that I be hired. Subsequent to this decision, and on the basis of these interventions, all the members of the history department search committee cosigned a letter addressed to Professor Richard Kirkendall, Vice President for the Professional Division of the American Historical Association. After detailing some of Feldman's interventions, the search committee members urged the Professional Committee of the A.H.A. to “establish some guidelines to assure fairness to any candidates who might, in the future, be the object of similar campaigns to deny them employment. Is the circulation of unpublished charges against a candidate for a position, or indeed against any fellow historian, an acceptable means of carrying on discourse within the profession? Our own conclusion, based on the Abraham case, is that it is not.” At Santa Cruz, on February 23, Feldman placed the first of numerous phone calls to department members then actively considering me for a job. (The February 23 phone call, in fact, was actually made to the Santa Cruz history department chairman while I was being interviewed on campus.) Feldman threatened “to go to the Board of Regents, if necessary,” to block my appointment, and repeatedly accused me of incompetence and mendacity. After an initially highly favorable reception by the Santa Cruz department, my candidacy was dropped in the early spring of 1984. Subsequent to this decision, 10 members of the History Board at UCSC (more than a two-thirds majority) signed a June 12, 1984 letter protesting Feldman's conduct addressed to the editor of the American Historical Review. Citing Feldman's threat to go to the Board of Regents, and his “barrage of letters and telephone calls” to UCSC department members condemning Abraham, the cosigners concluded that “We regard such a campaign, and the effort to intimidate colleagues at another campus that it entailed, as unethical and unprofessional. We publish this letter to dissociate ourselves from Professor Feldman's actions.”

6. Nocken Ulrich, “Weimarer Geschichte(n),” unpublished manuscript, University of Düsseldorf, 1984, pp. 1, 3, 29, and 25. Since virtually all of Feldman's charges are based on Nocken's findings, in responding to Feldman in what follows I will be implicitly responding to Nocken's claims as well.

7. To my knowledge, Feldman's first written description of the Nocken typescript as “forthcoming” occurs in his February 26, 1984 “Dear Colleagues” letter; widely circulated, also in author file. In a letter written a few days earlier, however, on February 23, to Professor Peter Kenez, the chairman of the Board of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Feldman stated that the “review” was “to be published” in the Vierteljahrschrift; in ibid.

8. I have seen two versions of the Nocken manuscript. One is the version Feldman circulated. It contains 22 pages of text, 7 unnumbered pages of footnotes, and bears the subtitle “Teil I: Methodologische Kritik.” The second version contains 29 pages of text and 8 pages of notes all numbered consecutively. In the second version the subtitle omits the “Teil I,” but in the text itself Nocken has two main sections, “I” and “II”. With a few important changes, “I” of the second version is the same basic text as the totality of the first version. “II” of the second version is new text, and offers a substantive, as opposed to “methodological,” criticism of my book. I know that the second version of Nocken's text is the one he submitted to the journal for two reasons: (1) Nocken informed me of this himself in a letter dated March 8, 1984; (2) in response to a query from me about the disposition of the Nocken manuscript, the editor of the journal provided me with a copy of correspondence from the journal's book review editor to Nocken that clearly refers to “Teil II.” See note 10, below.

9. The first I learned of the completed manuscript was from Nocken's letter to me dated March 8, 1984 announcing that, “Under separate cover, I am sending you the completed, partially revised and corrected manuscript which has been submitted to the VSWG.” (ibid.) A month previous, on February 7, Nocken had sent my editor at the Princeton University Press a copy of the first, shorter version of the manuscript. That letter begins: “Jerry Feldman suggested that I send this MS of an article which I am just now finishing for a German journal to you.” (emphasis added) It thus seems safe to conclude that Nocken actually finished and submitted his manuscript no earlier than shortly after his letter to my editor, and he may have only finished it by the time he wrote me. If the first is true, then Feldman was allowing less than two weeks for submission, review, and acceptance for publication. If the second is true, then he allowed no time at all.

10. After receiving the revised, expanded version of Nocken's manuscript, I wrote the editor of the VSWG on two occasions, April 5 and June 6, 1984 (ibid.), inquiring about the Nocken manuscript and requesting an opportunity to respond to it should it be published there. In response to these queries, the chief editor of the journal, Professor Wolfgang Zorn, informed me in a letter dated June 22, 1984 (ibid.) that the Nocken manuscript “will not be printed or appear” as submitted and “circulated without our permission and ahead of time.” It had been sent back to Nocken in early May with the invitation—to which there had been, by the time Zorn wrote me, no reply from Nocken—to write instead either a “miscellany” (“Miszelle”), “which for the most part cover several books,” or a real “article,” in which case Nocken's manuscript “would have to be structured differently [from the submitted manuscript], but would have the advantage of having as its object a substantive treatment (as in Part II) [of the submitted piece].” Again, “Part II” of the Nocken typescript was precisely that part not included in the version widely circulated by Feldman and identified as “forthcoming.”

11. That Feldman and Nocken were in contact during this period regarding the Nocken manuscript is evident from Nocken's February 7, 1984 letter to my editor (see note 9 above), and from Feldman's “Dear Colleagues” letter of February 26, which states in relevant part: “A few months ago he [Nocken] called to tell me that the charges levelled against the Abraham book by Professor Henry Turner actually understated the amount of invention, misquotation, and egregious error to be found in that book.”

12. Needless to say too, the force of this objection to Feldman's behavior will in no way be diminished by any subsequent publication of Nocken's views.

Note: Shortly after submission of this article in mid-November, I received, without any accompanying letter, directly from the publisher of the VSWG, the Steiner Verlag, what appear to be galley proofs of a review essay by Nocken. It bears considerable resemblance to his previous effort, and I shall respond to it in an appropriate manner. I regard the objections voiced here as unvitiated.

13. Circular letter of February 26, 1984, widely available, included in author file.

14. Ibid.

15. Letter of March 27, 1984 to Princeton University Press with numerous cc's, also in ibid.

16. Circular letter of March 20, 1984, widely available, included in ibid.

17. Feldman to Abraham, May 17, 1983, also recirculated by Feldman with his circular letter of March 20, 1984; widely available, also in ibid.

18. The works of his by which I was most influenced at the time were, not surprisingly, his Geschichte der Weimarer Republik and his Socialism and Democracy. The penultimate paragraph of my book, concluding my analysis, begins, “To paraphrase Arthur Rosenberg, we can say that the ‘middle-class republic collapsed.…’” (p. 326).

19. The perceived inadequacy of the political system—particularly after Papen, whom many of them supported whole-heartedly, could win no popular support, and Schleicher, whom some others of them supported, threatened to reintroduce unions and a reparliamentarization of political life (see, for example, pp. 171–79, 219–21, 321f.)—ultimately led variously to support of or surrender to the Nazis, particularly as neither a presidential nor a military dictatorship was possible and greenhouse conservative “mass” movements never got off the ground.

20. Thus, there is precious little discussion in my work of figures like Fritz Thyssen, one of the most notorious industrial advocates of the Nazis. We shall return below to Paul Reusch, who was not a Nazi, but whose efforts with Schacht and together with the Nazis have aroused such a storm.

21. See, as an example, Hallgarten G. W., Hitler, Reichswehr und Industrie (Frankfurt, 1955).

22. Turner H. A., Faschismus und Kapitalismus (Göttingen, 1972), p. 30. Turner's forthcoming book, German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler (New York, 1985) will extend the argument.

23. For a good discussion of these two theories and how closely related they in fact are see Kocka Jürgen, “Organisierter Kapitalismus oder Staatsmonopolistischer Kapitalismus,” in Winkler H.-A., ed., Organisierter Kapitalismus (Göttingen, 1974), pp. 1935. Examples of the Stamokap school include, Gossweiler Kurt, Grossbanken, Industriemonopole, Staat (Berlin, 1971); Kuczynski Jürgen, Studien zur Ceschichte des deutschen Imperialismus, I (Berlin, 1948); Czichon Eberhard, Wer verhalf Hitler zur Macht? (Cologne, 1961). The last of these three is the only one from which I have derived anything. Nearly all Stamokap—state-monopoly-capitalism—analyses are grounded in the view that leading monopoly capitalists control the state and its functions.

24. Any examination of my book's bibliography makes my debt to this literature clear. The work of Weisbrod Bernd, Schwerindustrie in der Weimarer Republik (Wuppertal, 1978); the various contributions to the symposium Bochum, Industrielles System und politische Entwicklung in der Weimarer Republik (Düsseldorf, 1974); and the various essays by Dirk Stegmann, referred to below, are especially worth noting. Also in this vein are the new work by Neebe Reinhard, Grossindustrie, Staat und NSDAP 1930–1933 (Göttingen, 1981) and Grübler Michael, Die Spitzenverbände der Wirtschaft (Düsseldorf, 1982).

25. Needless to say, I do not agree with all of Thalheimer's particulars.

26. Gramsci Antonio, Prison Notebooks (New York, 1971); Poulantzas Nicos, Political Power and Social Theory (London, 1973).

27. Przeworski Adam, “Material Bases of Consent: Economics and Politics in a Hegemonic System,” Political Power and Social Theory 1 (1980): 2166; Social Democracy as an Historical Phenomenon,” New Left Review 122 (1980): 2758; Proletariat into a Class: The Process of Class Formation,” Politics and Society 7 (1977): 343401.

28. The appearance of my second article in 1978 prompted the editor of a prominent liberal German historical journal to write that, if I continued with marxist, “i.e., marketdependent,” class theory, I would “take over all the prattle of Hegelian historical philosophy including the mission of the proletariat.” I still have no idea what my work has to do with Hegelianism or the “mission of the proletariat.” Old prejudices die slowly. Newer ones perhaps even more slowly: referring to the influence of Poulantzas in my conceptualization, he insisted that this would “yield absolutely nothing, least of all for Germany, of which the Great Master understands virtually nothing.” It was not the good name of American scholarship that was at stake so much as a potential challenge from a quarter where all was presumed under control. My work would be dangerous if believed. This suspicion of Gramsci and Poulantzas, whose conceptualizations are central in my work, has apparently continued. Editor of Geschichte und Gesellschaft to author, Sept. 19, 1978.

29. This danger for a beginner was first brought home to me by a prescient reader for the Journal of Modern History who, in refereeing my first article, in May 1977 wrote that mine was “a stimulating and difficult article,” a “bold and imaginative piece of work which will stimulate and provoke.” Yet he closed by writing, “I can't help but wonder, however, if this is really the best way for a young scholar to make his debut. I would hate to see a person of his or her potential be saddled with an interpretation he or she would have to spend the rest of his or her career defending.” (I do not know the identity of this referee, but he knew whereof he spoke!)

30. Burawoy Michael, Contemporary Sociology 11 (1982): 509: Although it is never detached from the historical analysis, a theory of the conditions of capitalist democracy is outlined…”; and Schneider Michael, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 22 (1982): 772: “[S]eine Fragestellung keineswegs nur für das Ende der Weimarer Republic, sondern generell für die Erhaltung einer funktionsfähigen Demokratie von zentraler Bedeutung ist.”

31. Spencer E. G., Business History Review, Winter 1981, p. 610: “tenuous stability fell victim to the great depression and the inability of proponents of republican moderation to insure both social legitimacy and capital accumulation”; and James Hunt, Review of Politics (forthcoming); “The Weimar Republic failed because of the inability to balance and harmonize capitalist interests within the existing constitutional framework… A class compromise bloc [first] emerged [and then shattered]: an alliance, personified by Gustav Stresemann, between the dynamic export industries and labor, both socialist and Catholic.” “A greater attention to empirical data might even strengthen Abraham's theses.”

32. Richard Bessel, Times Higher Education Supplement, Sept. 25, 1981: “during the prosperous 1920s it had been possible to fashion a ‘hegemonic bloc’ dominated by the export industries with the willing support of organized labor and the grudging acquiescence of heavy industry, this was shattered by the Depression. By 1930–32 most of industry had been driven into a corner (already inhabited by rural interests…) and the social foundations upon which the Republic had rested could no longer bear the weight.… With the onset of the economic crisis, the drying up of American capital and the contraction of world trade, things changed. No longer could even the ‘dynamic fraction’ of industry afford Sozialpolitik and… the pluralist democracy which allowed it. … The result was a growing determination to use the crisis not only to dismantle social legislation but also to eliminate economically threatening political structures. This, in Abraham's view, was the logic which drove the dominant social classes, themselves unable to generate mass political support for their programmes, to accept Nazi participation in government” (emphasis added); and Vajda Mihaly, New German Critique 23 (1983): 243, 245: The Weimar Republic “followed the goals of a modern popular democracy but could not realize them.” “The German bourgeoisie proved that it was incapable.… but it was no different with the working class. A reformist party like the SPD should not have remained a class party.” Labor's policy “isolated the working class from the other subordinate groups and strata of society.” “In this hopeless moment [at the end] those who had no policy and even less an ideology … were compelled to acquiesce to those who did … there was no other way out by 1933.”

33. Mason T. W., AHR 87 (1982): 1122: “[Heavy industry's] counteroffensive from late 1928 on was, on this reading, not a willful exercise in authoritarian union bashing but belonged firmly in the realm of economic necessity.…”; Childers Thomas, Journal of Social History 16 (1983): 189: Abraham “shifts the emphasis away from the rather narrow question of capital's financial support for the NSDAP to a broader structural analysis. … Abraham also takes a significant step away from the more traditional and simplistic Marxist models of fascism”; Papcke Sven, West Deutscher Rundfunk 3, 04 4, 1983: “begründet der Autor … die totalitäre Lösung vom 30 Januar 1933 nicht aus einem ‘Machtüberschuss,’ vielmehr sei eher ein ‘Machtmangel’ dafür haftbar zu machen.” “Hitler war nicht notwendig, er war aber kaum mehr zu vermeiden.”

34. Revue d'Allemagne 15 (1983): 319: “[Abraham's work] est fondé sur la thèse marxiste du ‘bonapartisme’”; Gourevitch Peter, American Journal of Sociology 88 (1983): 777: “Abraham situates this approach in the Marxian current of history and social science. This may confuse the illiterate or the prejudiced, since the argument of the book bears little resemblance to the mechanistic approach which many of its critics insist is all that tradition contains.…” One West German reviewer, Kühnl Reinhard, Neue Politische Lituratur 28 (1983): 61, did, however, castigate me for certain deficiencies here: Abraham's is “a combination of marxist elements (Gramsci, Poulantzas, Miliband, Mason) and elements of ‘historical social science’ (Wehler, Kocka, Stegmann).” “Monographs and documentation produced by historical scholarship in the GDR [East Germany] appear unknown to him.”

35. Evans Richard, Historical Journal 26 (1983): 1008: “This is the first real attempt at a serious Marxist interpretation of these events that gets away from the sterilities of the ‘Stamokap’ approach, with its obsession with proving the guilt of individual capitalists, toward a more sophisticated structural approach.” Ruge W., Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 30 (1982): 290: “An attempt to revive Bonapartism theory … [this view] proves also for him [Abraham] an instrument for the whitewashing of the big bourgeoisie and its responsibility for barbarism and war.” Borchardt Knut, Historische Zeitschrift 236 (1983): 485: “The end of Weimar appears here [for Abraham] not as the work of ideologically charged reactionary plotters but also not as the logical product of class conflict. … [At the end of 1931 the previous situation] gave way to a stalemate among the potentially dominant groups. … A fascist disposition on the part of industrialists—which fundamentally cannot be demonstrated is—[for Abraham] not necessary to explain the political restructuring [of 1932–33].…”; Maier Charles, Journal of Modern History 56 (1984): 91: “Abraham's argument does not finally depend upon specific German industrialists evincing enthusiasm for Hitler or his movement. … Thus two arguments can coexist: historians can point out the consequences of the industrial elites’ policies without ascribing Nazi success to [them]”; Spencer E. G., Business History Review 55 (1981): 609: “The author rarely displays interest in individuals. …” “The Nazis make only brief appearances in Abraham's book. … He is aware that Germany's leading industrial and agrarian capitalists neither created nor controlled Nazism and that it was not their first choice as an alternative to the democratic republic.…”; Overy R. J., Economic History Review 35 (1982): 321: “The industrialists and the agrarians had, as Dr. Abraham shows clearly, no real political skill in confronting a radicalized bourgeoisie and peasantry.… Nazism was in no sense their movement.”

36. First was Turner Henry A., Political Science Quarterly 97 (1982): 739, 740, who began his review with the assertion that I, as apparently all marxists, had “striven to explain it [fascism] as a product of capitalism” and, by the second sentence, the topic was “the crimes of the Nazi regime” (my emphasis). My effort was a “warmed over version” of 1920s marxism, a view somewhat different from Turner's earlier belief that marxist scholars had only one position, and that they “cannot expect their position to receive a full hearing in the forum of international scholarship.” (Reappraisals of Fascism [New York, 1975], p. xi). Another case was Köhler Henning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 03 29, 1983 (Feldman, above, has the date wrong), p. 25, who wrote that I had simply taken over “DDR-Historikern,” and that “empirical history stands no chance against marxist scholasticism.” He closed by wondering “how could such a book be produced by the hope-filled progeny of a capitalist private university” (emphasis added), after opening by bemoaning the fact that a marxist, namely I, had made it to “Princeton, the renowned university on the east coast.” Feldman's own comment on this review, when I asked him about it, at the time, was that he would have been even harsher “while simply paying no attention” to my “‘Marxism.’” (Feldman to author, April 29, 1983, author file). All three dangers were thus indeed present.

37. Nocken, pp. 11, 13, 28, 24, respectively.

38. Ibid., p. 28, “dutch eine gemeinsame Entscheidung.

39. Mason's comments, AHR 88 (1983): 1144. See, Turner H. A., “The Ruhrlade: Secret Cabinet of Heavy Industry,” Central European History 3 (1970): 195228.

40. Thus Feldman speaks of archivists making materials available “for the discovery of historical truth,” whereas I think that, rather than containing the “truth”, they contain evidence and illustration for a range of arguments. And I have neither heard of nor experienced any “distrust.”

41. See Feldman Gerald, Vom Weltkrieg zur Weltwirtschaftskrise (Göttingen, 1984), pp. 7, 8.

42. Ibid., pp. 221, 232.

43. Feldman circular, March 27, 1984; see note 15, above.

44. Conspiratorial theories are notoriously impossible to refute, since they can be “immunized” by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses of “incompetent dishonesty,” “supererogatory manipulation,” etc. Ultimately they can only be rejected on grounds of implausibility.

45. To be found, e.g., HA GHH 400 101 221/3a. Even a source as authoritative as Feldman's, Wenzel, can be wrong sometimes.

46. See, for example, Kocka Jürgen, “The Modern Industrial Enterprise in Germany,” in Chandler Alfred D. and Daems Herman, eds., Managerial Hierarchies (Cambridge, 1980), p. 91, where the “interlock” between banks and industries pivots around members of these Aufsichtsräte.

47. Factoring out lignite, as Feldman seems implicitly to suggest I should have, would strengthen my argument that mining as a whole was stagnant.

48. Weisbrod, p. 222, n. 15.

49. HA GHH 400 101 202 4/8a.

50. See Schlenker to Reusch, January 24, 1930, HA GHH 400 101 221/11a, “dass ich dazu bestimmt sei, Kastl zu ersetzen.”

51. Neebe, pp. 55, 56, emphasis added. Here too, I have not yet had the opportunity to examine all the documents Neebe cites, but he is fully persuasive.

52. Reichert to Schlenker, December 4, 1930, in Schulz Gerhard, Maurer Ilse, and Wengst Udo, eds., Politik und Wirtschaft in der Krise: Quellen zur Ära Brüning (Düsseldorf, 1980), pp. 478–80; cited hereafter as SMW. Reichert raised the matter with Reusch the next day.

53. Here too, the forthcoming book by Professor Turner, chapter 6, “Businessmen, Nazis and the Politics of Deepening Depression” will substantiate my position.

54. My summary included the sentence: “He [Brüning] could not or would not tell me [Silverberg] and Vögler what he really wants.” Feldman, again in order to widen the gap between his translation and my summary, in his translation omits the sentence: “Any kind of definite or in any way comprehensible explanation by [Brüning] as to his political intent was not to be gotten.” Feldman also deletes the reference to Warmbold's inclusion.

55. Given Feldman's own researches, I would have thought this clear to him.

56.…die Gewerkschaften augenblicklich relativ vernünftig sind und dass mitihnen schon etwas zu erreichen sei, wohingegen die sozialdemokratischen Minister scheinbar unbelehrbar seien.” Abraham, p. 271, also SMW, p. 70.

57. Feldman adds nothing new, but Nocken's new claim, p. 8, that the misdating serves my argument is completely illogical.

58. May 20, 1983, letter to Press with cc's.

59. Nocken, pp. 7, 8, gets both dates wrong, writing, September 19 and April 19.

60. Neebe, p. 122, emphasis added.

61. Neebe, pp. 153–73, 201f. Neebe and I agree on a number of points here, including the preference for and continued support of Schleicher by liberal, export-oriented groups like the DIHT.

62. Feldman, Vom Weltkrieg, p. 230.

63. Nocken, p. 17f.

64. My own assessment of the significance of these changes is based overwhelmingly on Weisbrod's data. We know we disagree about their significance, and have discussed it as reasonable people can. What I see taking place in the 1925 RDI elections is a very important change of guard at the leading organization of German industrialists—this in contrast to the results of the preceding elections in 1919 and the succeeding ones in 1930. Paul Reusch, viewing matters from the perspective of the other fraction of industry, saw it coming too and wrote a confidant that “we have to reckon with the possibility, that for the time being leadership of the Reichsverband will pass to someone who thinks about protection of national production [i.e., commercial and social matters] differently from us.” Reusch to v. Wilmowsky, December 23, 1924, HA GHH 400 101 290/39. It is Weisbrod who argues that the more conservative and protectionist Ruhr steel and mining figures, in good part through their other organizations, retained “veto power” within industry generally. And it is I who argued that the ascent of the more dynamic export liberals was rather more real. Weisbrod shows, on the pages of his book I cited (Weisbrod, pp. 220–26) how, under Duisberg, the key RDI organs were all expanded and the previous preponderance of heavy industry reversed in favor of the dynamic-export fraction. As Weisbrod shows, only 5 of 20 members of the Beirat (council), only 4 of 20 members of the economic policy committee, only 8 to 10 of the 34 members of the presidium, and only 21 of the 100 members of the Vorstand (governing board) represented the interests of heavy industry as opposed to those of the dynamic fraction. Not only do his quantitative indicators stand in distinct contrast to the situation before Duisberg's election and again after the next election, but the leading men and officers of the RDI (Kastl, Bücher, Herle, Lammers, Raumer, for example) were of a distinctly liberal and dynamic bent when compared to either their predecessors or successors.

65. This claim is one of the four in this entire article that does not come straight from the Nocken typescript.

66. That sentence, p. 126, reads:” (The number of actual supporters of the Kapp Putsch, for example, was quite small.)31 31 It is illustrative of the splits within industry—and an indication of things to come—that while Albert Vögler, Hugo Stinnes, Emil Kirdorf, and some others… supported Kapp, the chemical industry supported the general strike against the Putsch and chose to pay workers for the strike days.…”

67. Feldman, “Kapp Putsch,” p. 108, n. 14. I think I was particularly struck by the word “enthused.”

68. Feldman, “Kapp Putsch,” p. 123.

69. Ibid.

70. Feldman here, n. 27.

71. Feldman, “Kapp Putsch,” p. 127.

72. Ibid., p. 128, n. 57, emphasis added.

73. Feldman, Vom Weltkrieg, p. 228, emphasis added.

74. Intra-office memo to Reusch, January 6, 1932, HA GHH 400 101 293/12.

75. I think it fair to assume that Reusch recalled the matters mentioned in Blank's letter to him of December 17, 1928, because two days later he replied to Blank, writing, “I hold the suggestions made to be right.” Blank to Reusch, December 17, 1928; Reusch to Blank, December 19, 1928—both HA GHH 400 101 202 4/4b. In my footnote, I neglected to provide the date of the letter.

76. Anlage 1 to Blank's letter of December 17, 1928. This file has so deteriorated that it is no longer accessible to scholars. Beyond my own notes, I have in rechecking my quotation relied here on the German notes of another scholar, the first portion of which is in the indirect discourse subjunctive: “die kameradschaftliche Hilfsleistung gut gewirkt habe; es habe sich ja um eine Abwehr der Arbeitgeber gegen die Gewerkschaften gehandelt; die Stahlhelmhilfe habe die Gewerkschaftsabsicht durchkreuzt, die unorganisierte Arbeiterschaft in ihre Reihen zu zwingen, langfristig möchte man wünschen, dass die national gesinnten Arbeiter sich zu einer ‘nationalen Berufsorganisation zusammenschliessen, die auf der ganzen Linie und auf das ganze Reich ausgreifend die Monopol Gewerkschaften bekämpfen.’”

77. This entire charge, like the preceding and succeeding ones, is taken over from the Nocken typescript.

78.so aufgebaut werden müssen, dass mit der Hilfe für die Landwirtschaft keine zerstörende Wirkung auf die Industrie ausgeübt wird und umgekehrt.”

79. Sohn-Rethel Alfred, Ökonomie und Klassenstruktur des deutschen Faschismus (Frankfurt, 1973). p. 87: “Expansion of the domestic market into Mitteleuropa was from the outset part of the program for agricultural cartellization. The first cautious announcement of this wide-ranging project came in two articles in Rhein und Ruhr in September 1932 (signed by Dr. Max Schlenker and Herrn von Knebel, written by Dr. Max Hahn and Herrn von Flugge).” These two men were colleagues of Sohn-Rethel and all three were assistants to and ghost writers for Schlenker.

80. Knebel-Döberitz was, incidentally, no rustic gentleman but rather a man who, a year earlier, had been proposed to Brüning as one of four or five men to staff an “economic dictatorship” council consisting also of other of Schlenker's colleagues. See Neebe, p. 104. Several of the others had close contacts to IG Farben.

81. See Krohn Claus-Dieter, “Autoritärer Kapitalismus…,” in Stegmann Dirk, et al. , eds., Industrielle Gesellschaft und politisches System (Bonn, 1978), pp. 120–22; Winkler H.-A., “Unternehmerverbände zwischen Ständeideologie und Nationalsozialismus,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 17 (1969): 341–71.

82. Deutsche Führerbriefe, November 25, 1932, emphasis added.

83. Blank to Reusch, October 14, 1931, HA GHH 400 101 202 4/9; now in SMW, pp. 1044 ff.

84. Three weeks earlier, with western big industry rejecting his call for a lowering of cartel prices, Brüning made his well-known complaint to Catholic trade unionists that: “Rhenish-Westphalian [Ruhr] industry has for the last thirty years done nothing but cause every Chancellor difficulties.” ZSA, RLB Pressarchiv, 148/10, p. 37, 24 September 1931.

85. That inadequacy is also the reason why the footnote listed only author, recipient, and folder number, with the date unclear beyond its being around the time of the RDI convention at the end of September. Feldman's date, October 14, is correct.

86. Blank to Reusch, 13 May 1931, HA GHH 400 101 202 4/8b, now in SMW, pp. 621, 622.

87. Blank to Reusch, 11 June 1931, HA GHH 400 101 202 4/8b, now in SMW, p. 655.

88. Neebe, p. 90 and Chapter 5 of Turner, “Big Business Responds to the Depression and the Nazi Breakthrough,” where my interpretive sentence will be backed up and developed.

89. He wrote, first, that the “spiritual,” “political,” and “economic prerequisites for free trade were now gone” (p. 696) and that “Die Staaten der Welt kapseln sich zunehmend gegeneinander ab”; Germany had “keine Wahl als bis zu den Grenzen des Möglichen sich auf sich selbst zu stellen, sich zumindest in seiner Ernährung vom Weltmarkt unabhängig zu machen’ (p. 699). Hence, “so wird die Betreuung der Landwirtschaft zur vornehmsten Aufgabe des Staates” (p. 712).

90. Stated here pp. 161ff, and elsewhere numerous times. Most directly—“I submit Abraham knowingly lied”; Feldman Rundschreiben of February 26, 1984 accompanying his distribution of the Nocken typescript, from which all of the charges here come.

91. I might add here that my use of the term “Christmas 1930” exchange was intended as an economy to avoid the cumbersome “end of December 1930-beginning of January 1931” exchange. It may have been this particular label that excited the antennae of those who either think that history is propelled by conspiracies or that I was claiming to have unearthed one. There may be deficiencies to the mode of historical analysis in which I engage, but I should have thought that an underestimation of human volition and agency was chief among them rather than a penchant for discovering plots. The plot that isn't wasn't.

It was in regard to these materials that Henry Turner wrote to the AHR challenging my use of “non-existent archival documents.” Turner did not question the accuracy or attribution of documents but rather their existence. And he chose to describe one of them as a “letter” where I had referred to a “report” and “all his copies.” Now, before submitting his letter to the AHR, Turner wrote to me on May 11, 1983 asking for proof of the existence of the “letter” and the “instructions.” On May 21, 1983, I replied to him, enclosing a xerox copy of my notes. Obviously that constituted proof of nothing. But it did contain enough of the language from some documents, as well as the names Blank, Jung, and Reusch, to help prompt Turner to respond on June 27, 1983 that he had examined the text of a “twelve-page, unsigned memorandum” and that “it does indeed seem to resemble closely some of the passages you present as quotations from a purported letter [sic! I had written “report”] from Blank to Reusch” (author file). If Turner could conclude this in June, less than a month after submitting his AHR letter and in plenty of time to alter it, why did he not do so?

Thus, the accusation that began this entire affair was the charge of fabricating two documents. The existence of those documents has now been proven over and over again. I misidentified the author of one of them (the anonymous report) twice; I misidentified the recipient (but not the author) of the other once. But the momentum generated by that fabrication charge has continued. It is high time for Turner to withdraw it publicly. And Feldman, rather than disassociating himself explicitly from that charge, has acted and written to keep it alive, both here and elsewhere. And Nocken too has been given or taken the cue. Thus, in the first version of his typescript, circulated by Feldman, Nocken writes: “Nachdem Henry A. Turner die Existenz dieses Dokuments [the December 1930 report, misdescribed by Turner in the AHR as a “letter” from Blank to Reusch-DA] in einem Brief an die AHR angezweifelt hat.…” (p. 4). But, in a second version of that typescript, Nocken has covered over Turner's and Feldman's charge, writing “Dieser ‘exchange’ [what I had called a ‘Christmas 1930 exchange’], dessen Existenz von Henry A. Turner in seinem Brief an den AHR in Frage gestellt wurde…” (p. 3). Is this Nocken's “service to the integrity of our profession”? (Feldman, n. 1).

92. It did not occur to me that I might have been one of the very first scholars to see this report. As I learned only this year, eight years after my research, Neebe describes it as hitherto unnoticed, ”bisher unbeachtet gebliebenen”—p. 117. I missed a scoop! The documents referred to in this discussion, unless otherwise noted, are located in HA GHH 400 101 293/11.

93. The precise dating of the split on Brüning and the precise assessment of with whom else Hitler and Hugenberg might be expected to cooperate varies by author. But the essence of this argument dates back at least to K. D. Bracher's seminal 1955 work, Die Auflösung der Weimarer Republik (Stuttgart, 1955, 1971), where he wrote that, in addition to the split over Brüning, Nazi electoral success in September 1930 prompted a rapid and “almost effortless” growth of contacts and positions between industrial interests and the NSDAP (pp. 328ff., 435ff., and passim.) It is evident also in the analyses of Jones L. E., “Sammlung oder Zersplitterung?Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 25 (1977): 265304; Schneider Michael, Unternehmer und Demokratie (Bonn-Bad Godesberg, 1975), pp. 95117; Stegmann Dirk, “Zum Verhältnis von Grossindustrie und Nationalsozialismus 1930–1933,” Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 13 (1973): 399441, and “Kapitalismus und Faschismus 1929–1934,” in Backhaus H. G., ed., Gesellschaft 6 (Frankfurt, 1976): 1475; Weisbrod Bernd, Schwerindustrie in der Weimarer Republik (Wuppertal, 1978), esp. pp. 479501; Winkler H.-A., “Unternehmerverbände” and—most recently—Neebe, pp. 8089, 99106, 117ff.; and Grübler, pp. 219–25, 418–22, 429–32.

94. See Abraham, p. 316, n. 113. The additional materials are from the von Gilsa file, 4b. These materials make it clear that a role for the NSDAP was definitely intended, at least by Reusch's advisor von Gilsa, and financial resources marshalled.

95. The difference between Hitler or the Nazis as such and the National Opposition (consisting of Hugenberg's established DNVP, the Stahlhelm, and the Landvolk as well as the NSDAP) is so well established, I cannot understand why Feldman ignores it. The same holds for Nocken's version of this charge: my claimed “proof of the early emergence of a pro-Hitler fraction” (p. 3).

96. 88 (1983): 1146.

97. Neebe, p. 251, n. 9; Grübler, p. 422, n. 804.

98. Details in the Krupp Archiv, IVE, 152, 776. See also Grübler, pp. 424–25. I have not been to the Krupp archive.

99. Abraham, AHR, p. 1146.

100. I owe one of the German recipients of that draft thanks for bringing this discrepancy to my attention.

101. The next sentence identifies the National Opposition's leaders: “hauptsächlich führenden Persönlichkeiten (Hugenberg, Hitler, Seldte).

102. February 26, 1984 circular letter.

103. I took that opportunity to correct the other errors and infelicities in my rendering of the December report and the Jung-Reusch letters. My corrections also indicated that authorship of the report was inferred and could belong to someone other than Jung. Nocken may not have been aware of that (“Dass [Abraham] seine groteske Entstellung nicht selbst korrigiert hat. … [p. 5]”), but his American distributor Feldman certainly was, since he was a recipient of my letter to Turner (Nov. 18, 1983) and he responded to it.

104. See Weisbrod, pp. 467–74; Abraham, p. 170.

105. This letter dates from January 31, 1931; among others, all along the same lines, are those of July 16 and August 12, 1931 and others.

106. von Gilsa to Reusch, October 30, 1930, ibid,; now also in SMW, pp. 457, 458, my emphasis. Gilsa observed that there were “many who believe” that they could help move the NSDAP in the right direction by “joining the party and to a certain extent transforming it from within. This idea has something to be said for itself.” But Gilsa nevertheless rejected it on the grounds that there were not enough people with the right perspective around to pull it off.

107.Das Verhältnis zur Wirtschaft bzw. zum Unternehmertum sieht er [Goebbels] rein politisch. Für den Fall, dass das Unternehmertum mit der nationalen Opposition geht, ist er zu seiner Anerkennung und Förderung gerne bereit, setzt sich das Unternehmertum jedoch für die Unterstützung des jetztigen Systems ein, wird er es auf das Schwerste bekämpfen. Goebbels sagte, dass es nicht zu verantworten sei, Lohnkürzungen zugunsten des jetzigen innenpolitischen Systems und zugunsten einer Reparationserfüllung durchzuführen; eine Unterstutzung derartiger Massnahmen musse er unbedingt ablehnen. Dagegen stellte er sich dem Unternehmertum restlos zur Verfügung, falls dieses beispielsweise erkläre, dass es jede Finanzierung des jetztigen Systems (auch durch Steuerzahlung) ablehne und sich mit der Arbeiterschaft gemeinsam gegen die Fortsetzung der Ausblutung der Wirtschaft wende.

108. On the later course of wages, national income, and worker consumption, see Overy R. J., The Nazi Economic Recovery (London, 1982), pp. 34, 60; Bry Gerhard, Wages in Germany (Princeton, 1960), pp. 76, 407–15 and passim.

109. P. 164 above, my emphasis. In his February 26 circular, Feldman claims simply, “I don't know what an ‘adjunct employee’ is” and leaves it to the accompanying Nocken text to elaborate. Thus, (Nocken, p. 4): “Vermutlich nur weil Jung einige Aufsätze in der von Reusch kontrollierten ‘Münchener Neuesten Nachrichten’ publiziert und Reuschs finanzielle Unterstützung für seine politischen Projekte gesucht hatte, wird er von Abraham als Angestellter der GHH-Konzerns bezeichnet” (emphasis added). Now, I did not identify Jung as a salaried or any other kind of employee of the Gutehofmungs-Hütte, the Konzern Reusch headed. And my identification of Jung had nothing to do with the newspapers in which he published, as Nocken “suspects.” Feldman's source refers to Jung as “Vorläufer eines Terrorregimes.” See Jenschke Bernhard, Zur Kritik der konservativ-revolutionären Ideologie in der Weimarer Republik (Munich, 1981), p. 189.

110. He wrote Jung, “Das hätte bestimmt Wirkung und würde auch in seinen Kosten übersehbar und zu tragen sein.” HA GHH 400 101 290/36a.

111. He wrote Springorum and instructed him to summon Jung to Reusch's office—“Jung am Donnerstag nach Berlin kommen lassen,” and “einfinden soll.” ibid.

112. 400 101 293/11.

113. Pp. 320–21, n. 127. My text and note read as follows: “its [the NSDAP's] economic platform remained ambiguous. One should not, therefore, assume that the indus trialists’ efforts at ‘enlightenment’ were bound to bear fruit; the point is that they considered this the necessary and most promising avenue.127 127 Numerous other examples of this in HA GHH/Martin Blank 400 101 202 4/10. See Stegmann, ‘Faschismus,’ pp. 32, 46 ff., 62, 78. On the Nazi side, Walther Funk was particularly receptive, and Hans Reupke's pamphlets sought to demonstrate the complete compatability of National Socialism and private property of whatever size. August Heinrichsbauer also worked at harmonizing the economic views of the Nazis and Ruhr heavy industry. One culmination of this effort was Hitler's speech to the Düsseldorf Industry Club of 27 January 1932; see Bracher, p. 441, Czichon, p. 27, Krohn, pp. 120–22.”

114. On the regularity with which Blank read and red pencilled materials for Reusch, especially those originating in Berlin, as Heinrichsbauer's reports did, see, for example: Blank to Reusch, January 27, 1931, HA GHH 400 101 2024/8a, and Blank to Reusch, April 14, 1931.

115. See Neebe, pp. 93, 145, and 250, n. 5 respectively. Also, pp. 90, 107,117–19, 122; and Grübler, pp. 202, 422.

116. In addition to Neebe, p. 250, n. 5, see, for example, Winkler, “Unternehmerverbände,” 314; Stegmann, “Zum Verhältnis,” 416–17, 431–33. All agree that Heinrichsbauer was “the leading publicist of heavy industry.” Many of his connections are documented in HA GHH 400 106 58.

117. See Blank to Reusch, June 4, 1929, HA GHH 400 101 202 4/5b.

118. On January 22, 1931, less than three weeks after the “Christmas exchange,” Blank sent Reusch personally a registered letter, separate from the rest of that day's mail to him, containing a memo from Heinrichsbauer (no longer preserved). The memo apparently discussed ways to topple the Brüning government in parliament (“parlamentarisch stürzt”) and with what to replace it. We may never know the details, but Blank found the goals certainly very worth pursuing (“sicherlich sehr erstrebenswert”) even if the path to their realization was not yet at hand (“der Weg zu ihrer Erreichung noch nicht angegeben”) and one needed to be clearer about the personalities who would then take on the major tasks (“die die grossen Aufgaben durchführen sollen”). Even a minimalist interpretation here supports the conclusion I drew from the misidentified documents—that one fraction of industry was splitting away from Brüning and moving toward the National Opposition. HA GHH 400 101 202 4/8a.

119. Writing Reusch the next day, January 23, 1931, Blank reported receiving a report from Heinrichsbauer (via Springorum) on the activities of a certain Dr. Glum, very much like those of Edgar Jung, intended to realize a conservative national “concentration.” Ibid.

120. On April 22 Blank reported to Reusch with distress that tensions between the DNVP and NSDAP might threaten the erection “of a unified front of the National Opposition.” Concerned, Reusch responded the next day asking “under all circumstances to be kept informed about everything” that Blank heard on this score, most of it from Heinrichsbauer. Ibid.

121. Around April 25, Springorum determined to go into full-fledged opposition to Brüning and his “half measures,” and he was prepared to resign as chairman of the Langnamverein if the meeting he intended to call on the subject did not back him. Among the first people he chose to break this news to were Blank and Heinrichsbauer. The break I located at the beginning of 1931 was effectively consummated by April. Ibid.

122. By June 10 Blank himself had taken up contacts with Hitler's new economics advisor Walther Funk as well as with the NSDAP's press bureau and so advised his chief, Reusch. On the same day Blank sent to Reusch a report he received from Heinrichsbauer on a Stahlhelm policy conference attended by men who “in der Wirtschaft etwas zu sagen haben.” Ibid.

123. Less than two weeks later, June 19, 1931, Blank could already report to Reusch that he and Heinrichsbauer were working with Otto Wagener, head of the economic policy division in the NSDAP Reichsleitung to shape an acceptable economic program for the party. In August 1931, Blank and Reusch, Jr., participated in an effort with Heinrichsbauer to draft a German Economic Manifesto to “synthesize” entrepreneurial interests and the program of the National Opposition. Ibid.

124. Indeed, without Heinrichsbauer's mediation among the various participants and industrial representatives, it is quite possible that the Bad Harzburg conference of October 11, 1931, which in some ways formalized and set in motion the entire National Opposition while substantially broadening Hitler's stage, would never have taken place. See Neebe, pp. 119, 107, and n. 58.

125. This is one issue on which Neebe, Turner, and Abraham all pretty much agree. See Neebe, esp. pp. 90–111, 119–25; Turner, chapter 6; Abraham, esp. pp. 162–74. Geary—see Feldman's footnote 31—pp. 91ff. summarizes many of these developments. Any reader turning to Geary's article would be hard put to recognize it or its treatment of my work from Feldman's reference. And his quotation on p. 97, taken over from me, is correct.

126. Neebe, p. 119.

127. See v. Gilsa to Reusch, October 22, 1931, December 3, 1931, December 18, 1931 in HA GHH 400 101 293/4 where these plans are put forward in detail.

128. Neebe, p. 120.

129. For example, circular letter of February 26, 1984; author file.

1. Albeit in somewhat peculiar language: In an unsolicited letter to the outgoing German historian at Catholic University, February 29, 1984 (cc'd to me and in author file), Turner wrote that “Abraham, upon discovering on his return to the archive that the Blank-Reusch exchange about which I inquired [‘inquired’?-DA] did not in fact exist chose to solve that problem by simply substituting two clearly unrelated documents he found in the volume he had cited in the footnote in question” (emphasis added). Apparently first there was a citation, and then only later documents? This is a doctrine of substitution as curious as Feldman's doctrine of invention: from the outset, we have had the same two real, existing documents and texts.

2. The letter to Luther is to be found in HA GHH 400 101 290/29b; the December report and Jung letters in 400 101 293/11. Feldman has circulated copies of the December 1930 report with the December 9 Reusch to Luther letter attached to it. This creates the impression that the letter of December 9 is a cover letter; it is not.

3. Why, of all possible people, did Reusch forward such a report to Luther? Reusch had many close colleagues, and there is no reason to think that the report, whichever one it was, would be of particular interest to Luther qua Reichsbank president. But Luther was also head of the Bund zur Erneuerung des Reichs (League for Renewal of the Reich), one of several antiparliamentary organizations dedicated to dismantling or restructuring key Weimar institutions, and in his January 2 letter to Jung, Reusch makes explicit comparisons between the way Jung and the “movement” should be financed and the way Luther's League was initially financed: “Es muss klein angefangen werden, wie das auch seinerzeit beim Bund zur Erneuerung des Reichs geschehen ist.

4. I did reach Neebe by telephone later in the month from the United States, but in his rush—he and family had just walked in the door—this topic did not come up. I then wrote Neebe a follow up letter on July 18, 1983, intended to open up further discussion. For whatever reason, I never received a response.

5. Circular letters of March 20 and March 27, 1984, respectively; author file.

6. Circular letter of February 26, 1984; ibid.

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Central European History
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