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Intellectuals in Exile

In the 1930s, with the rise of the Third Reich, thousands of European intellectuals sought refuge in the United States. Through the tireless efforts of Alvin Johnson, director of the New School for Social Research, nearly two hundred of these scholars came to be affiliated with the University in Exile, later known as the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. This book presents an intellectual history of that remarkable group of social and political scientists, documenting their experiences and their influence on both European and American thought. Johnson was one of the first to recognize the need for action to prevent Hitler's destruction of the German intellectual tradition. He sought out many of the best European scholars of the day and brought them to the newly created University in Exile in New York. There, the refugees framed as intellectual problems the social and political experiences that had so disrupted their lives and careers. They examined the cultural roots of fascism, the bureaucratization of Western societies, and the prerequisites for a historically and morally informed social science. In the field of economics, the exiles developed theoretical concepts and models that came to be instrumental in the formation of New Deal policies and that remain relevant today.
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This careful and thorough piece of intellectual history explores the work and influence of emigre social scientists, mainly economists, who left Germany after 1933 and settled at the New School in New York City. Among the 184 emigres were Rudolf Arnheim, Emil Lederer and Hans Speier. The author, who teaches modern history at the University of Luneberg in Germany, traces the pattern of the German intellectual diaspora and explains how xenophobia and anti-Semitism kept some American universities from welcoming such scholars. He describes how emigres brought laissez-faire Austrian neo-classical theories as well as more youthful reformist ideas. New School director Alvin Johnson sought to both express the school's internationalism and progressivism and also to build his fledgling institution. There, economists like Gerhard Colm critiqued Keynesian theory and influenced New Deal policy. Scholars such as Arnold Brecht and Albert Salomon also took on issues of administrative law, Weberian sociology and the sources of fascism . Krohn concludes that the impact of these emigre scholars was greater than has been previously acknowledged. (Feb.)

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