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Making "Nature"The History of a Scientific Journal$
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Melinda Baldwin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226261454

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226261591.001.0001

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Nature, Interwar Politics, and Intellectual Freedom

Nature, Interwar Politics, and Intellectual Freedom

Chapter:
(p.123) Chapter Five Nature, Interwar Politics, and Intellectual Freedom
Source:
Making "Nature"
Author(s):

Melinda Baldwin

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226261591.003.0005

This chapter is centered on Nature’s conflict with Germany’s National Socialist Party, a conflict that led to the Nazi government banning Nature from German universities and libraries in 1937. Following the First World War, Nature’s editor and contributors shifted from portraying Britain as a nation that lagged behind other countries in its support of science to portraying Britain as a nation with superior respect for intellectual freedom. Nature’s contributors had once held Germany up as the shining example of government support for science that Britain ought to emulate, but the journal’s editors and contributors vehemently decried the behavior of German scientists during the war. Even after the war the journal did not resume its former envious tone with respect to Germany or any other nation. Instead, in discussions ranging from the Scopes Trial in Tennessee to the academic policies of the Soviet and National Socialist governments in Europe, Nature proudly praised Britain’s commitment to intellectual freedom. Gregory and the editorial staff were also pleased to point out the number of contributions from foreigners in the Letters to the Editor and to proclaim Nature’s international importance as a venue for publishing the latest scientific findings.

Keywords:   Nature, German science, intellectual freedom, First World War

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