Humanities

Vansittartism Revisited

Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and the Threat of World War III

Hans Vaget's November 21 lecture re-examined one of the most divisive issues in the debate over the antecedents of the Third Reich and the appropriate future shape of post-war Germany. "Vansittartism” – named after Lord Vansittart's whole-sale indictment of Germany in his radio addresses, "Black Record" – has been almost universally condemned as a kind of racism-in-reverse. Within the German-exile community, this debate famously pitted Thomas Mann against Bertolt Brecht. Vaget masterfully analyzes Mann’s position, comparing to that of Willy Brandt when he was exiled in Sweden, and urges a new appreciation of both Vansittart himself and his interpretation of modern German history.

To view the full lecture, click to the film on the right, or here.