The Question of German Guilt Shortly after the Nazi government fell a philosophy professor at Heidelberg University lectured on a subject that burned the consciousness and conscience of thinking Germans Are the German people gui

  • Title: The Question of German Guilt
  • Author: Karl Jaspers E.B. Ashton Joseph W. Koterski
  • ISBN: 9780823220694
  • Page: 367
  • Format: Paperback
  • Shortly after the Nazi government fell, a philosophy professor at Heidelberg University lectured on a subject that burned the consciousness and conscience of thinking Germans Are the German people guilty These lectures by Karl Jaspers, an outstanding European philosopher, attracted wide attention among German intellectuals and students they seemed to offer a path to sShortly after the Nazi government fell, a philosophy professor at Heidelberg University lectured on a subject that burned the consciousness and conscience of thinking Germans Are the German people guilty These lectures by Karl Jaspers, an outstanding European philosopher, attracted wide attention among German intellectuals and students they seemed to offer a path to sanity and morality in a disordered world.Jaspers, a life long liberal, attempted in this book to discuss rationally a problem that had thus far evoked only heat and fury Neither an evasive apology nor a wholesome condemnation, his book distinguished between types of guilt and degrees of responsibility He listed four categories of guilt criminal guilt the commitment of overt acts , political guilt the degree of political acquiescence in the Nazi regime , moral guilt a matter of private judgment among one s friends , and metaphysical guilt a universally shared responsibility of those who chose to remain alive rather than die in protest against Nazi atrocities Karl Jaspers 1883 1969 took his degree in medicine but soon became interested in psychiatry He is the author of a standard work of psychopathology, as well as special studies on Strindberg, Van Gogh and Nietsche After World War I he became Professor of Philosophy at Heidelberg, where he achieved fame as a brilliant teacher and an early exponent of existentialism He was among the first to acquaint German readers with the works of Kierkegaard.Jaspers had to resign from his post in 1935 From the total isolation into which the Hitler regime forced him, Jaspers returned in 1945 to a position of central intellectual leadership of the younger liberal elements of Germany In his first lecture in 1945, he forcefully reminded his audience of the fate of the German Jews Jaspers s unblemished record as an anti Nazi, as well as his sentient mind, have made him a rallying point center for those of his compatriots who wish to reconstruct a free and democratic Germany.

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      Published :2019-02-24T08:41:30+00:00

    One thought on “The Question of German Guilt”

    1. Karl Jaspers examines the question of German guilt associated with the rise of Nazism. He distinguishes 4 types of 'guilt' - criminal, moral, metaphysical and political. This is one of the most honest attempts I have ever read dealing with this important issue.

    2. I found this timely and moving, though it was written in 1945. Jaspers explores the various internal responses that Germans had available to them in the aftermath of WW2.What's timely and valuable to read now, as an American, is to see how powerful it is to reflect upon the actions of your country. The USA has worked itself into a position where it is utterly incapable of learning from its past. This is because the myth of American Exceptionalism must be preserved, and thus the US has never made [...]

    3. Jaspers tries to pin down what sorts of guilt can attach to people and peoples, and what the appropriate responses are — using the experience of the German people during the Nazi regime as his example.There is an element of “I am the professor, I’m in the front of the room, I have a theoretical edifice, you listen and write it all down good” about all of this. Jaspers doesn’t really argue his position so much as he declares it, leaving it to stand or fall on how much it matches your ow [...]

    4. In this book, a German professor speaks to German university students about guilt just after the Second World War had ended. The book is condensed from his lectures. There is some mention of the Holocaust, but it is not as central as I would have expected. To some extent, the question of this book is more "how are we still doing this -- going to class, listening to professors, being a nation?" and the answer seems to be through an exploration of guilt, which Jaspers breaks into four types: crimi [...]

    5. In the context of post-WWII denazification in Germany, and in light of the Nuremberg trials, Jaspers attempts to objectively understand an essential question - "Are the German people guilty?" - guilty for following military orders and federal law? guilty for allowing a Nazi political takeover? guilty for standing by and watching the systematic extermination of the Jewish people?He does so through the creation of a four-part philosophical framework of guilt that explores what it means to be held [...]

    6. Although many years have passed Since Karl Jaspers wrote his book on ‘The question of German guilt’. The question on the responsibility of the civilians for their government acts (Whether the Government was elected in a democratic manner or not) is still applies today.In an era where countries still deny their responsibilities for genocide (such as Turkey). In an era where Governments violently suppress their civilians (such as Libya, Syria), the question of personal responsibility Remains r [...]

    7. Did you ever feel guilty because you belong to a group of people? Then this is a book for you

    8. This small book is obviously an occasional work, prompted by the uneasy relationship between Germans and the rest of the world after the War. Competing voices were present at that time: on the one hand, the pervasive charge on the Germans' being "guilty", as a people, for the war crimes and the holocaust by the Third Reich; on the other hand, the lamentation on the Germans' part about their sufferings after the war and the great burden on their lives. Jaspers wanted to address both, but to avoid [...]

    9. I had to pick up a book for my philosophy class at university and chose this one, because it was a thin book (I got to be honest here) and also because it covered a theme I was quite interested in.I've been reading about the WW2 a lot, but mostly the memoirs of survivors from different countries, different nationalities, Jews, Gipsies, communists, local farmes. But I never thought of the things ordinary Germans had to go through after the war was lost. Jaspers deals with the guilt, which he dist [...]

    10. I don't have the right adjective to describe this book: it wasn't "amazing" or "awe-inspiring" or "fascinating", but it was a damn interesting book which gave a great deal of insight into the human soul, particularly regarding the guilt of the holocaust. However, I felt that many of his words about guilt, particularly moral and metaphysical guilt, could be applied to everyday life and current world catastrophes very easily. I'm really not a philosopher, and there was a lot in the book which was [...]

    11. This is one of the book that influenced a lot in my way of perception guilt in generally seance. Loved it.

    12. "La colpa metafisica consiste nel venir meno a quell’assoluta solidarietà con l’uomo in quanto uomo. È una pretesa incancellabile, anche quando le esigenze ragionevoli della morale sono già cessate. Questa solidarietà viene lesa quando io mi trovo a essere presente là dove si commettono ingiustizie e delitti. Non basta che io metta a rischio con ogni cautela la mia vita per impedirli. Una volta che quel male ha avuto luogo e io mi sono trovato presente e sopravvivo, dove un altro viene [...]

    13. This book was most certainly interesting and often insightful, but I might not find it profound. Jaspers, according to the introduction by JW Koterski, came out of WWII with not guilt in association with the Nazi party and as such maybe he could have avoided the question of guilt, or taken some high road and blame for example Heidegger for his association with the Nazi party. However, Jaspers delineates four different types of guilt, criminal guilt, political guilt, moral guilt and metaphysical [...]

    14. Another one by way of the Churchill archives. This short and very readable book is by a German philosopher written immediately after WWII. It specifies the types of German guilt and suggests punishments. Ward Churchill, inOn the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Consequences of American Conquest and Carnage adopts and amends this schema to arrive at his own conclusions about the guilt of USians.

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