AUTHORMacrakis, Kristie
TITLESurviving the Swastika: Scientific Research in Nazi Germany
PUBLISHEROxford University Press
CITYOxford, England

This book is a history of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (KWG), the German umbrella scientific research organization that maintained numerous research institutes during World War II, and how it adapted and, to some extent, thrived during the National Socialist regime in Germany from 1933-1945. The author reassesses old assumptions that the sciences in Germany were all geared to the Nazi war machine and that leadership came to be dominated by Party members. In fact, the author finds that the KWG maintained a moderate level of autonomy, mainly because of its semiprivate nature, that allowed basic scientific research to continue and thrive. The author, Kristie Macrakis, also notes that the sciences were differentially affected by the National Socialist regime: while basic research expanded at the centers for chemistry, biology, and physical chemistry, some of the applied science centers, which had arisen during the Weimar period, began to be utilized for the war effort. In addition, Macrakis discusses the very important research done on nuclear power at the centers for physics and chemistry, where nuclear fission was discovered in 1938. The KWG is now the Max Planck Society. The book contains an extensive appendix of lists of émigrés and key researchers at the centers, as well as a section of black-and-white photographs depicting researchers and directors of the society.

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