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2 The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Anthroposophy in Theory and Practice Before 1933

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Chapter Summary

Anthroposophists believed that the World War would bring Germany the stature it deserved. Anthroposophy shared several of the chief preoccupations of the nationalist right in post-World War One Germany: war guilt, Germany's honor, the fate of the eastern territories, the Allied occupation in the west, the status of the German people within Europe and its mission in the world. The development and elaboration of Steiner's racial and ethnic doctrines in the early anthroposophist movement framed many of the concrete claims at stake in the ongoing rivalry between different occult and völkisch tendencies. Emphasizing spiritual transformation over democratic action, the anthroposophist movement simultaneously alienated militant nationalist and racist organizations while leaving itself open to potential appropriation once such organizations achieved state power.

Keywords: Anthroposophists; Europe; Germany; spiritual transformation; Steiner; World War



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