The first in-depth depiction of the development of some of the most important humanities fields at the German University in Prague during the First Czechoslovak Republic and the German occupation. Drawing from archival material, specialist literature and interpretations of period texts written by historians, Germanists and Bohemists based at the university, Konrád examines the history of these fields on the backdrop of scientific, political and cultural development of Czech lands in the first half of the 20th century as well as in the context of this leading German academic and cultural institution in this region.
The book thus champions the broad conception of the history of science that takes into consideration institutional and personal aspects of the development of the particular fields as well as their thematic and methodological transformation in a wider historical context. These examinations lead to a conclusion that as early as in the mid Thirties, the nationalist and non-democratic model of science and its wider role in society started to gain momentum at the university, while Slavonic studies, which focused on Czech-German cooperation and represented an open conception of Sudeten Germanness, was increasingly on the defensive.
The development after September 1938 (or March 1939), when the German University in Prague became part of the Third Reich university system, was thus to a great extent foreshadowed in the preceding years. The second part of the book explores the period between 1938 and 1945, analyzing primarily the question of institutional, personal, thematic and methodological continuity and discontinuity in the particular fields.