Florence 2016

Imposing Liberty: Overseas influences on the legal reconstruction of Europe after World War II
NYU Florence, Via Bolognese, 120, 50139 Florence (Italy), April 15-16, 2016

Organizers Bill Nelson (NYU), Kaius Tuori (University of Helsinki)

The purpose of the conference is to explore the impact of American and British influences on the legal aspects of European reconstruction in the post-WWII era. In particular, we are interested in the impact of scholars exiled by the Nazis in the formation of Allied policies supporting the imposition of a liberal model of society on Germany and their influence on the advancement of post-war European integration. Potential themes of interest are:
– the reconfiguration of ideas of law and justice before and after the war
– legal repression and its impact
– reactions in the US and Europe to Nazi and Communist totalitarianism and legal policies
– Jewish exiles and the importance of ethnic and religious equality and liberty
– the impact of the four freedoms and the New Deal on European liberalism and integration
– the transformation of thinking about European legal heritage and the emergence of pan-European thought
– continuities and ruptures in continental legal thought from the Nazi era and beyond

Conference report: Imposing Liberty: Overseas Influences on the Legal Reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

Programme of the conference

Friday, April 15

9:30-11:00 AM – Session 1. The Prewar Background
Noah Rosenblum (Yale) – The Need for a True Chief: Losing Faith in Representative Assemblies in the Interwar Atlantic
William Nelson (NYU) – The Emergence of an Ideology of Ethnic Equality in New Deal New York

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Session 2. The Early Impact of American Ideas on Europe
Ben Brady (NYU) – Free of Private and Public Barriers Alike: Reconstructing the European Economy after World War II
Jacob Giltaij (Helsinki) – Fritz Schulz, refugee scholarship and the Riccobono-seminar

2:00-3:30 PM – Session 3. Émigré Scholars and the Legacy of the Nazi Experience
Alfons Söllner (Chemnitz) – “From „Staatsrecht“ to „Demokratiewissenschaft“? Ernst Fraenkel as prototype
Magdalena Kmak (Helsinki) – Émigré Law Scholars in Between Nazi and European Enclosures

4:00-5:30 PM – Session 4. European Ideas of European Futures
Catherine McCauliff (Seton Hall) – Borders Not Walls, Brothers Not Others: A Catholic Plan for Reconstructing Europe
Pascaline Winand (College of Europe) – Jean Monnet and the Transatlantic Connection

Saturday, April 16

10:00-11:30 AM – Session 5. After the War
Carolyn Eisenberg (Hofstra) – Imposing “Self-Determination”: US Policy and the Reconstruction of Postwar Germany, 1945-1949
Bill Davies (American University) – Walter Much: A Weimar Jurist in the EU Service

12:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Session 6.
Kaius Tuori (Helsinki) – Beyond Traditions and Ideals: The Post-War Battle Between Universal Rights and Legal Heritage in European Legal History

2:00-4:00 PM – Session 7. Roundtable


Jacob Giltaij – Fritz Schulz, refugee scholarship and the Riccobono-seminar
In this paper presentation, I shall focus on Fritz Schulz (1879-1957), a professor of Roman law who was ousted from office at the advent of the Nazi regime. After his forced retirement from the University of Berlin in 1934 due to his Jewish background, Schulz was to publish the work he is more generally known for among Roman law scholars, the Principles of Roman law. In 1939, he fled to Oxford, where he would stay until his death, never to return to Germany for any extended period of time. Soon after the publication of the Principles in German in 1934, Schulz travelled to the US to deliver a lecture in the Riccobono-seminar at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. The series is named after the famous Roman law scholar Salvatore Riccobono (1864-1958), who started the seminar in 1928. Due to its apparent success, the seminar was continued, over time hosting many well-known European (Roman) legal scientists before, during and after the War, and attended by prominent US academics, policy makers and judges. The full text of the lecture Schulz delivered is preserved as an appendix to a book by Jakobs, a pupil of a pupil of Schulz himself. In this presentation, I would like to assess first of all the role of the Riccobono-lectures in the advent of refugee scholarship in the outbreak of the Second World War, by-and-large as a possible selection-tool for prospective academic assets for US universities and other institutions. A comparison between Schulz and Ernst Levy (1881-1968), another prominent refugee Romanist, but one who would actually flee to the US instead of the UK, is central to this part. Second, I would like to discuss the text of the lecture itself, comparing it to the Principles but also viewing it as a redefinition of his scholarship preparing him for the continuation of his academic career overseas. For example, the Principles carries as its motto an excerpt from a published lecture by Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938), the famous US Supreme Court Justice. Finally, I will end with some preliminary points with regard to the possible influence of both the Principles and Schulz´s Riccobono-lecture on American post-war policy, as a rough guide for a future examination of the relevant archival sources in the US.

Alfons Söllner – From ‘Staatsrecht’ to ‘Demokratiewissenschaft’? Continuities and Discontinuities in the Political Thought of German/American e/remigrants (Ernst Frankel, Karl Löwenstein, Franz Neumann and others)
First, I will present some quantitative results of my research on German political scholars in exile, especially those which might indicate the historical starting point before they had to flee from Nazi-Germany. As significant might be to determine the opposite point, where and in what scientific constellation they finally landed. Second, I will give some impressions which the major problems were when I tried to characterise their different and often diverging ways into emigration. Which conceptual ideas or even theories proved helpful in order to understand their intellectual biographies and to determine their intellectual impact. What was the significance of these people for the history of legal-political thought in the 20th century in general? Third, I will specify this rather abstract picture by concentrating on one single figure, namely Ernst Fraenkel. Choosing his life and work allows us not only to add re-migration as a further station to the course of intellectual migration but to study how re-migrants eventually functioned as founding fathers for political science in West-Germany and to ask for their influence on establishing democracy.

Magdalena Kmak – Émigré Law Scholars in Between Nazi and European Enclosures
It is estimated that over 2000 scholars and intellectuals emigrated to the USA between 1930 and 1945 in order to escape persecution by the Nazi regime. For many exile meant loss of not only scholarly prestige and academic position but also scientific language and culture. Lawyers in particular suffered the greatest difficulties due to little resemblance between German and American legal tradition and education and in consequence often needed to start afresh, reeducating themselves at the US law schools or rebranding as political scientists. Such experience had significant impact on the scholars’ intellectual trajectories. In this context, the paper is interested in epistemological value of exile for law during the law’s journey in between enclosures: first its uprooting through exile in result of Nazi enclosure; then its encounters with other disciplines as well as particular economic and social conditions in exile; its reappearance in a changed form in the work of émigré scholars; and, finally, its “export” to Europe and involvement in creation of new nation-state and European enclosures. The paper aims to initiate the discussion about the impact of the new ideas and theories on state and law, developed by émigré law scholars acting as US experts and advisors in post-war Europe. In particular, the experience of exile often left émigrés “catastrophe-minded”. Many considered the conditions that would allow reversion to dictatorship and totalitarianism still firmly in place and saw the link between Nazi ideology and communism. In consequence, anti-communism often became the ultimate goal of their work for the US agencies, providing a background for creation of post-war nation states and development of a new idea of Europe.