The Unfree Professions

German Lawyers, Teachers, and Engineers, 1900-1950


How could educated professionals have supported the Nazi movement and collaborated with Hitler's inhuman policies? Jarausch examines this fascinating and largely unexplored subject, tracing the social, ideological, and political development of three representative German professions--law, teaching, and engineering--from the late Empire to the early Federal Republic. Based on a reformulated professionalization theory and on authoritative statistics, he describes professional prosperity and prestige in the Second Reich and analyzes the social crisis brought on by hyperinflation, stabilization, and Depression during the chaotic Weimar years. Threatened with the loss of livelihood and frightened by cultural disorientation, many experts embraced neo-conservative ideas and cooperated in Hitler's seizure of power. Welcoming the apparent restoration of their authority in the early Third Reich, professionals collaborated in the racial purges and warping of ethics, practices, and organizations under Nazi rule. During the Second World War, the radicalization of SS terror threatened the very survival of the professions so that most practitioners were only too happy to be rescued by Allied victory. Exploring the reluctant democratization of the post-war professions, Jarausch concludes with a reflection on the lessons of the German experience for the relationship between professionalism and liberty.
  • Oxford University Press; September 1990
  • ISBN 9780195364507
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Unfree Professions
  • Author: Konrad Hugo Jarausch
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"It is the type of research in which one can picture the researchers becoming passionately interested."--Southern Economic Journal
"One of the many merits of Unfree Professions is that it reproduces an astonishing wealth of literary and statistical evidence and, unlike other excellent studies of single twentieth-century professions, consistently and systematically juxtaposes the experiences of three disparate professional groups."--Journal of Modern History
"An important contribution to the social history of the middle class, to the social history of German politics, and to professionalization theory."--German Studies Review
"It is this comparative approach and the impressive scope of empirical research...that make this study fascinating reading."--History of Education Quarterly
"In this book as in earlier work, Konrad Jarausch is the master of the pithy summary....This is an innovative book."--German History
"The author's detailed empirical analysis of three representative professions--lawyers, secondary school teachers, and engineers--from the late Empire to the Early Federal Republic is undergirded by sophisticated sociological theory and comprehensive statistics."--Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"The vast array of his sources, complemented with a highly informative set of statistical tables in the appendix, allow him to combine methods of quantitative social history with intellectual history and a narrative approach. The most brilliant achievement of the book is to merge this complex material into a meaningful account of the travails of the German profession in the inter-war years."--European History Quarterly
"Strongly recommended."--CHOICE