Victims of their own ambition: The founding of the NSDAP stronghold Finschhafen - a case study in power and political paralysis

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Abstract

I argue the Neuendettelsauer Mission made a strategic choice in the early 1930s to reverse its transnational politics of the 1920s. It did so to make its institution richer, more powerful, and influential. This decision backfired. When the field personnel founded the stronghold, it exposed the fragile and precarious transnational position the home base had manoeuvred itself into, leaving it para- lyzed, unable to act. This paralysis extended to the mission’s representative Otto Theile, and the leadership of the Australian UELCA. The Lutherans involved in mission work were thus powerless, unwilling and unable to assist those under their care when support was critical. It is in the tension between the seeking of power and influence in 1933 and the lack of it when it counted in 1942 that an ethical reading unfolds of the foundation of the Finschhafen stronghold.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-143
Number of pages20
Journal, Interkulturelle Theologie. Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft (ZMiss)
Volume2022
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • National Socialism
  • Papua New Guine
  • Germany -- Politics and government
  • Lutheranism
  • colonial history
  • Australian History

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