The Faustian Pact

Goethe and the Goethe Society in the Third Reich

Goethe, co-opted

Goethe’s life is so richly documented and his life so multi-faceted that he is easily co-opted by vastly different opinion leaders. For the Goethe Society - founded in 1885 in Weimar - even before the Machtergreifung in 1933, he was less of the enlightened humanist and more of the conservative nationalist. After Hitler’s rise to power, the society promoted a significantly “browner” image of Goethe with increasing vehemence. Eventually, the Olympian was roughly brought into line to serve the regime’s purposes. The privileges of a designated “world role” combined with increasing entanglements yield a fascinating dramatic curve to this story.

- The first comprehensive history of the most important German literary society in the Third Reich
- A cultural history of Germany in those barbaric years
- Newly researched documents, insightfully analyzed


dtv Sachbuch
368 pages, ISBN 978-3-423-28166-9
31. August 2018