In a Cold Crater: Cultural and Intellectual Life in Berlin, 1945-1948

In a Cold Crater: Cultural and Intellectual Life in Berlin, 1945-1948

Paperback(First Edition)

Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Although the three conspicuous cultures of Berlin in the twentieth century—Weimar, Nazi, and Cold War—are well documented, little is known about the years between the fall of the Third Reich and the beginning of the Cold War. In a Cold Crater is the history of this volatile postwar moment, when the capital of the world's recently defeated public enemy assumed great emotional and symbolic meaning.

This is a story not of major intellectual and cultural achievements (for there were none in those years), but of enormous hopes and plans that failed. It is the story of members of the once famous volcano-dancing Berlin intelligentsia, torn apart by Nazism and exile, now re-encountering one another. Those who had stayed in Berlin in 1933 crawled out of the rubble, while many of the exiles returned with the Allied armies as members of the various cultural and re-educational units. All of them were eager to rebuild a neo-Weimar republic of letters, arts, and thought. Some were highly qualified and serious. Many were classic opportunists. A few came close to being clowns. After three years of "carnival," recreated by Schivelbusch in all its sound and fury, they were driven from the stage by the Cold War.

As Berlin once again becomes the German capital, Schivelbusch's masterful cultural history is certain to captivate historians and general readers alike.

This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1999.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520301214
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 04/20/2018
Series: Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism , #18
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Wolfgang Schivelbusch is an independent scholar who divides his time between New York and Berlin. His books include The Railway Journey (California paperback, 1986), Disenchanted Night (California, 1988), and Tastes of Paradise (1992). Kelly Barry is a scholar and translator living in Baltimore.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1. The Prize

Metropolis of Debris and the Pathos of Destruction
Albert Speer's Theory of Ruins • "Upright to an Astonishing
Degree" • Berlin Lessons of the 1920s: Joseph
Goebbels and Franz Biberkopf · Historical Precursors
in the Occupation of Prize Cities: Jerusalem, Paris, Shanghai
• Berlin and the World Revolution • British American
Plans for Conquest • Drawing Borders and
the Balance of Power • Sixty Days of Undivided
Russian Sovereignty

The Laboratory of Modernity • The Intellectual
Cold War before 1933


The Benefit of Destruction for Modern Architecture The
Crater and the Garden


Real Surrealism, 1918 and 1945 • "Scenery from
the Wrong Play"-Hotel Abyss in the Abyss •

Conjuring the 1920s • Rich Opportunities,
Meager Productions


Allied Satraps • Officer Intellectuals A Reminiscence:
German Cultural Politics in Paris, 1940-1944
French Complexes • The English Model:
Reschooling the Boers The American Model:
Reschooling the South • German Exiles Russian
"Kulturnost" NEP Dandies in the SMAD

2. Kulturkammer

The House on Schliiterstrasse Reichskulturkammer •
The Ernst Group • Debuts: Elisabeth Dilthey, Klemens
Herzberg, Alex Vogel • Otto Winzer and Paul Wegener
Fortune Hunters, Functionaries, Dignitaries Affairs
Between Union, Club, and Academy The End

3. Theater Battles

Aesthetic Islands in the Third Reich: The Staatstheater
and the Deutsches Theater • Jiirgen Fehling •
The Rise and Fall of Gustav von Wangenheim •
The Shadow of Gustaf Griindgens • Wolfgang
Langhoff and the Apparatus

4· Kulturbund

Beginnings in Dahlem • Neo-Popular Front • The
Initator: Johannes R. Becher • The Bourgeois Partner:
Ferdinand Friedensburg • Physical and Spiritual
Exile • Media, Assemblies, Clubs Figureheads •
Opposition from the Right Opposition from the Left
Fistfight in Wilmersdorf • The American Ban •
Friedenburg's Last Attempt Friedenburg's Expulsion
Move to the Russian Sector • A Postmortem of SED •

5· Radio

"The Bear Purrs" A Fresh Start with Old Voices •
Russian Enclave in the English Sector • The Western
Response: DIAS and RIAS • Franz Wallner-Baste
Ruth Norden New Deal Liberals Anticommunists
Mr. Brown • Enter William Heimlich Musical
Politics • From High Culture to Entertainment •
Radio Berlin: Heinz Schmidt and the Last Levy of the
Nondogmatic SED

6. Film

The Chaos of the Ufi Legacy • Private Initiatives •
Film Plans in the Kammer • Wolf von Gordon and
Theodor Baensch • The Central Administration for
Popular Education • The Filmaktiv • Herbert Volkmann
• Alfred Lindemann, Communist Adventurer
and Organizer • Defa under Lindemann • Plans for
Germany · Lindemann's Fall
Film-Industry War Goals and Military-Government
Policies • Erich Pommer's Appointment • Return
to Berlin • "The Rich Tradition of Poverty and
Ingenuity" Hollywood Attacks • The Vining
Document • Washington Intervenes

7· Writers at Large

The Press Quarter in Summer 1945-Peter de
Mendelssohn and Hans Habe • Erik Reger •
The Tagesspiegel • "Of the Highest Standards"
A Frankfurter Rundschau for Berlin?
The Schweinichen Case

The Curious Nacht-Express • The Miinzenberg
Model • Rudolf Kurtz and Paul Wiegler
The Mysterious Major Feldmann

The First Round: Walther Karsch • Maud von
Ossietzky, Hans Leonard, & Co. · Party Loans
Impediments and Delays • Authors and Colleagues
in the First Year

Wolfgang Harich, Friedrich Luft, and the Brucke
Project • Harich vs. Leonard • The Widow Ousted

Appendix: Archives and Interviews
Index of Names

Customer Reviews