Benjamin Carter Hett F'09
ACLS Fellowship Program 2009
City University of New York, Hunter College
A Cultural History of the Reichstag Fire
This project studies this pivotal moment in the transition to Hitler’s dictatorship as a typical product of the political culture, violence, and propaganda of late Weimar, and analyzes the post-war controversy over the Fire as a product of the political and media structures of the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. In this sense the project differs markedly from literature on the Fire which has studied this event in isolation from other factors. The project extends earlier research which studied the interconnections and mutual influences of law, politics, and media culture; it also illustrates the surprising continuities in these elements of German life from the 1930s to the 1960s.