Goetz, Walter

(1867-1958)
   professor and politician; among the acad-emy s vocal champions of the Republic. Born in Leipzig, he pursued an eclectic range of studies before taking a doctorate in 1890 with a thesis on the 1562 election of Maximilian II as Kaiser. He completed his Habilitation in 1895 at Leipzig and accepted temporary appointment in the late 1890s with the Bavarian Academy of Sciences Historical Commission; this soon evolved into a lifelong relationship (he served as the commission s president in 1946-1951). Mean-while, he succeeded Georg von Below* at Tübingen in 1905. Goetz went to Strassburg in 1913 and in the summer of 1915 accepted appointment at Leipzig while serving as a major on the Western Front. He soon founded Leipzig s Institute for Cultural and World History and remained with the university until the NSDAP forced his retirement in 1933. He thereafter lived in Munich.
   Goetz was not content with a life of Renaissance research and cultural history. In the waning years of the Kaiserreich Friedrich Naumann* sparked his political involvement; while he was writing for Naumann s Die Hilfe, he became friends with Theodor Heuss.* In Deutschland und der Friede (Germany and the peace), which appeared in early 1918, he advocated a negotiated peace settlement. He served briefly in 1918 as counselor to the Foreign Office's Richard von Kühl-mann and established a citizens committee upon the monarchy s collapse to impede radicalism in Leipzig.
   Goetz applied his analytic skill to both domestic and foreign affairs, publish-ing Deutsche Demokratie (German democracy) in 1919 and Nation und Volkerbund (Nation and League of Nations) in 1920. Joining the DDP, he entered the Reichstag* in 1920 and retained his seat until 1928. Service on numerous committees and an active speaking schedule did not preclude his sustaining full academic responsibilities at Leipzig. Focusing his research skills on contempo-rary history, he spent several years studying Kaiser Wilhelm II. In a 1924 article he lamented that Germany s historians were too enamored with the false glam-our of the Kaiserreich and too blinded by the imaginary crimes of the Republic.
   REFERENCES:Peter Gay, Weimar Culture; NDB, vol. 6.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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