Forum bei Thomas Mann
Thema: Gedanken im Kriege
Nick Di Liberto
Gedanken im Kriege
Erstellt am 19.04.2005 09:21
Dear Colleagues,

I am teaching a course on intellectuals in twentieth-century politics,
one section of which will concern intellectual responses to the Great
War. I would like to use Thomas Mann's essay "Gedanken im Krieg"
[1914], published in _Friedrich und die grosse Koalition_. Berlin, 1915;
however, I was surprised to find that the essay does not exist in
English translation. The collections of Mann's political speeches and
essays only cover his interwar (post 1923) and post-Second World War
writings (for example _Essays of Three Decades_ and the _Last Essays_).
What is interesting to me is how the _Political Essays of Three Decades_
begins with the famous essay of 1923, where, following Rathenau's
assassination Mann
calls for a rally of "rational" support for the Weimar Republic, and
moves away from this earlier, much more nationalist position. I haven't
found an English version or selections in any of the usual document
readers or in on-line document collections. To be sure, Mann's
"Observations of a Nonpolitical Man"(1918) contain similar reflections,
but none so direct and accessible as the 1914 essay. Before settling on
an alternative, I wanted to be sure that there really exists no English
translation of the 1914 essay. Any information regarding this piece
would be appreciated. Thank you.

best regards,

Nick Di Liberto
Harvey Goldmann
Gedanken im Krieg
Erstellt am 20.04.2005 17:30
Thomas Mann was so uncomfortable after 1923 with his wartime essays,
including the Betrachtungen, that he was resistant to their being
reprinted, let alone to their being translated. He eventually burned
all of his pre-1933 diaries as well, except for the 1918-1921 period, which
he was apparently using for other purposes, although he may have retained
them for the documentary evidence they provided of his shift from a reactive
German nationalism to a more subtle support of the Weimar Republic. In
addition to Charley Maier's recommendation of the letters to Paul Amann,
there are others from the same period in Mann's collected letters that
reinforce them.

Harvey Goldman
University of California, San Diego