Hans-Peter Haferkamp, ‘Private Law, Judge-Made Law and Heimatfront

What influence did the First World War have on German civil law court rulings? Recently completed studies have stressed the importance of a concept called the ‘home front’ for understanding the so-called decisions of the courts during the Second World War. This concept is associated with ideas such as the ‘stab-in-the-back’ legend. It rests on the assumption that the population’s good will is decisive for the outcome of war. This historiography suggests that, particularly in their decisions on the general clauses of the BGB (German civil code), the courts advanced what were in effect legislative ideas in seeking to stabilise the ‘home front’, to adapt the law to the changed circumstances brought about by the war. This essay analyses whether the notion of a ‘home front’ was also determinative in the First World War. Reaching out further, the influence of the First World War on the judiciary’s self-image in Germany will be investigated.

Hans-Peter Haferkamp, Private Law, Judge-Made Law and Heimatfront. Comparative Legal History, Volume 2, Number 2, December 2014, pp 264-277.

First posted 2015-01-06 14:53:04

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