Research & Teaching

Armaments research at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main during National Socialism

Researcher: Jason Pollhammer M.A.

Funding: Johanna Quandt-Stiftung und Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Stiftung

What contribution did Frankfurt University’s natural scientists make to the »Third Reich« armament and war efforts? This question is at the heart of a research project analysing Frankfurt University’s natural science departments in their institutional, personnel and scientific contexts. The research is primarily aimed at investigating links with the military, politics and industry. The project looks at the »resources« (Mitchell Ash) which were available to Frankfurt researchers and which they shared with political, military and industrial representatives, as a means of understanding the history of the university – not as has been the case heretofore as mainly the history of an institution – but as one of networking and relationships.

These questions regarding the history of Frankfurt University arise in a very particular manner. The university’s creation through endowment and its consequent partial private funding thus meant it was marked by a close relationship to industry and the city. What were the characteristics of the endowment model und how did they change in Nazi times? What significance did they have for natural sciences research? Did the endowment model facilitate carrying out armament projects at the university? Can one even speak of »endowed armament research«?