Physics and National Socialism

An Anthology of Primary Sources

  • Klaus Hentschel

Part of the Modern Birkhäuser Classics book series (MBC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ci
  2. Klaus Hentschel
    Pages 1-16
  3. Klaus Hentschel
    Pages 17-118
  4. Klaus Hentschel
    Pages 119-206
  5. Klaus Hentschel
    Pages 207-331
  6. Klaus Hentschel
    Pages 332-406
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 407-511

About this book


This anthology of primary sources is a collection of 121 documents in English translation portraying the role of physics, both perceived and actual, in the Nazi state. These texts were written predominantly by influential German scientists, particularly physicists, both inside and outside Germany in the period from 1933 to 1945. The semipopular articles, private correspondence, and official memoranda selected for the volume reflect the contemporary developments in science as well as the change in political climate and working conditions after the National Socialists' rise to power. The extensive annotation is clearly distinguished from the original text, and the appendix provides an aid to the reader with biographical information on the more important figures and brief outlines of frequently mentioned institutions, journals and companies. The introduction surveys the latest results in the secondary literature.




 (…) the envisaged audience includes not only scholars and students of science, history, politics, and sociology, but also the general reader.

(Mathematical Reviews)


The editor appears to have compromised very well in picking documents that have enough direct connections to link them together and illustrate the chronology of events, while at the same time surveying the variety of opinion and events filling this crucial period. (…) The documents appear in chronological order and are divided into five periods: controversies before 1933, (…) 1933-36, (…) 1936-39, (…) the six-year period of the war and finally, the legacy of National Socialism in post-war Germany. (…) Some 1000 literature references and a name index complete this comprehensive work.

(…) the quality of the translation from German is excellent.

I strongly recommend this book as an introduction to the interplay of science, government and their publics in the particular context of Nazi Germany, and as (…) illustration of the immense power of public policy-making.

(Science and Public Policy)


Many of the sources are extremely interesting and appear here for the first time.



Mathematica Nation physics socialism sociology

Editors and affiliations

  • Klaus Hentschel
    • 1
  1. 1., Head of the Section for HistoryUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

Bibliographic information