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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Altman, Clara 2013. A Companion to American Legal History.

    Vik, Hanne Hagtvedt 2012. Taming the states: the American Law Institute and the ‘Statement of essential human rights’. Journal of Global History, Vol. 7, Issue. 03, p. 461.


The Alchemy of Occupation: Karl Loewenstein and the Legal Reconstruction of Nazi Germany, 1945–1946


In August 1945, Karl Loewenstein began work as senior expert advisor to the Legal Division of American Military Government (AMG) in Berlin. An eminent German-born and educated political scientist and jurisprudent, Loewenstein had come to assist in the “democratization” of his homeland's Nazified law and legal institutions. It was soon obvious, however, that in its crucial first phase the American legal mission in Germany was in disarray. The development and implementation of American law reform policy was being undercut by ill-prepared leadership, poor planning, and the scarcity of learning about German laws, lawyers, and legal history. By Loewenstein's reckoning, many American officers had been “set to work on problems of which they have not the slightest idea and very little professional qualification.” Critical law reform initiatives had been based upon expedient “over-simplifications” of Nazism and its eradication. By January 1946, his initial misgivings having given way to mordant despair, Loewenstein concluded that the American program for the democratization of the German legal system was irrevocably “lost,” a “failure which stinks to high heaven.” This article sets forth the theoretical and observational bases of Loewenstein's assessment and evaluates its cogency.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Karl Loewenstein , “Reconstruction of the Administration of Justice in American-Occupied Germany,” Harvard Law Review 61 (1948): 419

Kenneth F. Ledford , “Book Review,” The American Journal of Comparative Law 46 (1998): 225–29

Erich Hahn , “Rudolf Gneist and the Prussian Reichsstaat: 1862-78,” The Journal of Modern History 49 (4) (1977)

Peter M.R. Stirk , Twentieth-Century German Political Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006)

Karl Loewenstein , “Freedom is Unsafe without Self-Government,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 243 (1946): 47

Karl Loewenstein Militant Democracy and Fundamental Rights I,” American Political Science Review 31 (June, 1937): 423

Barry M. Katz , “The Criticism of Arms: The Frankfurt School Goes to War,” The Journal of Modern History 59 (3) (1987), 439–78

Eli Nathans , “Legal Order as Motive and Mask: Franz Schlegelberger and the Nazi Administration of Justice,” Law and History Review 18 (2000): 281304

Karl Loewenstein , “Law and Legislative Process in Occupied Germany: I,” Yale Law Journal 57 (March, 1948): 734–35

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
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