Douglas Morris, "Legal Sabotage: Ernst Fraenkel in Hitler's Germany" (Cambridge UP, 2020)


During the mid-1930s, Germans opposed to Adolf Hitler had only a limited range of options available to them for resisting the Nazi regime. One of the most creative and successful challengers in this effort was Ernst Fraenkel, who as an attorney sought to use the law as a means of opposing Nazi oppression. In Legal Sabotage: Ernst Fraenkel in Hitler’s Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Douglas G. Morris describes the ways in which Frankel stood up to the Nazis and what understandings he drew from that experience. As a veteran of the First World War, Fraenkel survived the initial purge resulting from the implementation of measures designed to bar Jews from practicing law in the Third Reich. Though his legal practice suffered, Fraenkel persisted in defending people prosecuted by the Nazis, and enjoyed success in a number of cases. While the increased restrictions and growing reach of the police state ultimately forced Fraenkel to emigrate in 1938, his experiences as a lawyer played a major role in the development of the “dual state” theory of dictatorship, the only analysis of totalitarianism written from within Nazi Germany and the cornerstone of Fraenkel’s contributions to the field of political science.

Your Host

Mark Klobas

View Profile