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Gierkes Protest gegen das BGB

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Justitia – Italia oder Germania?

The enactment of the German Civil Code (BGB) marked the triumph of the Romanists in the famous codification debate. However, the Germanists’ resistance endured and found new grounds and means of conflict. This essay throws light on the exploitation of the fine arts for the advancement of the Germanists’ legal policy. With the help of the prominent murals in the plenary hall of the court of appeal in Düsseldorf, executed in 1913, we will examine the continuing influence of the germanistic combat and the socio-political mores of the functionary elite of the late empire. It will be demonstrated that these murals were an expression of the ressentiment of a certain part of these ‘power elites’ towards the liberal constitutional state which had come into existence by the time of the codification of the BGB at the very latest. Nazi ideology was able to appeal to these political dispositions and values after the First World War. This was one of the major routes that led to the Nazi takeover and finally to the decline of the rule of law in Germany.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Bonn, Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft, Institut für Deutsche und Rheinische Rechtsgeschichte, Adenauerallee 24-42, D-53113 Bonn, Deutschland


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