Untersuchungen zum Hansebild Fritz Rörigs


  • Ulrike Förster




History was grist to the mill of Nazi propaganda, and the medieval Hanse was no exception. Fritz Rörig, a historian, was heavily involved in the instrumentalisation of Hanseatic history during the Third Reich. This paper analyses his writings before and during the Nazi period. What narrative patterns, phraseology and political content do they exhibit? The articles Rörig wrote in the first half of the 1940s display the typical stylistic devices and narrative patterns – indeed the buzz words – of Nazi propaganda, but impacts of racial ideology are not discernable. Indeed, some sections of these essays could be seen to constitute criticism of those in power. Despite this, the conclusion is unavoidable that Rörig was ready and willing to instrumentalise Hanseatic history for Nazi propaganda purposes. However, even before 1933, Rörig had viewed the Hanse through the lens of political ideology. What changed was not the Instrumentalisation of Hanseatic history itself, but Rörig’s political position and, in consequence, the picture of the Hanse he presented. Before the Nazi period, Rörig had been something of a free-market liberal, albeit one of a distinctly  conservative and nationalist bent. Accordingly, he spotlighted the vital role of the bourgeoisie in the development of the Hanse, particularly in lectures for a broader public.