Tacitus's Germania has played an influential part in German cultural history since the sixteenth century, primarily in political ideology rather than in historical or classical scholarship. The twentieth-century editions of the work by the classicist and ethnologist (Volkskundler) Eugen Fehrle are particularly revealing as a case of ideological appropriation of Tacitus in Nazi Germany. Fehrle's first version (1929) presaged what was to come in the updated editions he published during the Third Reich (1935, 1939, 1944). A posthumous edition (1959) is instructive about the process of postwar whitewashing. This article examines Fehrle's ideological background and academic career and assesses the different editions. Their prefaces and illustrations are especially revealing. It also places the Germania in the context of related National Socialist publications, primarily Fehrle's own and those from his publisher. Rudolf Much's 1937 edition of the Germania provides a telling contrast to Fehrle's.
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Research Article| February 01 2016
Martin M. Winkler; Nazi Ideology and Tacitus's Dangerous Book: Eugen Fehrle's Editions of the Germania. New German Critique 1 February 2016; 43 (1 (127)): 91–118. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-3329211
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