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Germany's Ancient PastsArchaeology and Historical Interpretation since 1700$
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Brent Maner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226592916

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226593104.001.0001

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Prehistory as a National Socialist Narrative

Prehistory as a National Socialist Narrative

(p.252) Chapter Eight Prehistory as a National Socialist Narrative
Germany's Ancient Pasts

Brent Maner

University of Chicago Press

Under the Nazi regime, the field of pre- and early history was to focus exclusively on a national story. The Nazi regime developed a version of prehistory that clarified the origins of the Volk, celebrated the supposedly advanced culture of the “Indo-Germanic race,” and promoted the idea that European culture had its origins in northern Europe. The regime aggressively pushed this version of prehistory through museum exhibits, publications, school curricula, and official speeches. Territorial claims were central to this presentation of prehistory. The regime used pre- and early history to document “Germanic” settlements throughout central and eastern Europe and taught Germans to view territories in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union as ancient German possessions. Established professionals welcomed the recognition given to their field, and they moved toward more nationalist and racist narratives about the ancient past. But many also displayed a reluctance to use their expertise to tell a story of Germanic greatness exclusively.

Keywords:   National Socialism, Hans Reinerth, Karl Hermann Jacob-Friesen, Albert Kiekebusch, occupation of Poland

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