Hans Mayer (1879-1955) has been portrayed either as a tragic hero or, more often, as an evil traitor who presided, as the school’s only representative at the University of Vienna, over the decline of the Austrian school in its home country for almost three decades. While from the outset his goal had been to secure the survival of the school in Vienna’s increasingly hostile academic environment, in the course of time he invested most of his energies not in his scientific work but in unending conflicts in the realm of academic politics. Thus for Mayer the school’s defense became more and more an end in itself, justifying any sacrifice on its behalf, even that of his own reputation, for example during the Nazi rule in Austria, 1938-45. This paper tells the story of this strange academic life and its repercussions for the evolution of Austrian economics.

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