Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Joseph Bendersky


This thesis explores the work of two German Jewish émigré scholars, Karl Loewenstein and John H. Herz, and how they confronted the conflict between fascism and democracy throughout the 1930s and during World War II. Loewenstein, in academic publications and later through a campaign of public advocacy, urged the adoption of his theory of militant democracy for the protection of democratic institutions. Originally conceived as temporary legislation to deprive fascists of the fundamental rights they abused in order to seize power, this theory evolved into the understanding by Loewenstein that fascist and democratic states could not coexist, and that fundamental changes must be implemented within the legislative and executive branches of democratic governments to create a more responsive, flexible system. Defined by his pessimistic worldview, Loewenstein was acutely anxious about fascism, especially after the start of World War II. In contrast to Loewenstein, and despite his own pessimism, Herz conceived of an international system that combined both realism and idealism in order to obviate man’s violent and suspicious anthropology and create a peaceful international order in which nations, regardless of their particular political ideology, could coexist.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

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