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Die ”Gleichschaltung” der mathematischen Gesellschaften im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland. (German) Zbl 0565.01016
Jahrb. Überblicke Math. 1985, Math. Surv. 18, 83-103 (1985).
[For the entire collection see Zbl 0552.00001.]
The author, who has worked broadly on the social history of mathematics in the Third Reich, deals in detail with the regimentation (and, more generally, the behaviour) of the three professional societies, on the background of a brief sketch of the general social situation of the discipline (dismissals, violently diminished number of students). The Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (DMV) is shown to have saved scientific (and partly organizational) autonomy and to have brushed off Ludwig Bieberbach’s ”German mathematics” in alliance with the ministry of education and the minister at the price of loyal work for the Nazi State. The Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik saved even more of its autonomy under the leadership of Ludwig Prandtl, thanks not least to its effective aviation research. The interest in professional autonomy is shown not to derive from political opposition, especially in the case DMV, the head of which in the key years 1935-37 (Georg Hamel) was also (from 1933 onwards) ”Führer” of the Mathematischer Reichsverband, the organization protecting the interests of the body of mathematicians. Here he agitated unscrupulously for the importance of the discipline in school teaching by a coupling to Blut-und-Boden, and ”propagated the baddest Nazi ideology in objective, mathematical wrapping” for use in school. The pro-Nazi behaviour of the ”Förderverein” is also noted briefly. A closing section takes up a sociological perspective: While claiming (afterwards) to have been ”unpolitical”, the organized profession (but not all members!) was in reality a necessary and effective collaborator for the Nazi State, legitimizing itself unscrupulously and refusing only to give up that scientific autonomy which was a precondition for scientific effectivity and hence even for usefulness for the state. Only the public opinion of the international scientific community is seen not to have surrendered.
Reviewer: J.Høyrup

01A80 Sociology (and profession) of mathematics
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
01A74 History of mathematics at institutions and academies (non-university)