Mandeville, LA – To complete the picture we may mention the mass of art books, which no more betrayed the regime under which they were appear- ing than did the books already mentioned. Here, too, there was a clear fundamental tendency — to turn away to the heritage of the past and to pay homage to the universal scales of value. It is significant of this tendency that poets of the classic and romantic traditions continued to write, even if, like Ernst Wiechert, they had to pay for their courage with the concentration camp. That truly Christian literature continued in full course need scarcely be said. Thus the impression might be gained that under the National Socialists the German intellectuals largely remained as they had always been, with their great and, indeed, fatal weaknesses but also with their achieve- ments and with a cultural tradition that deserves respect. It was only the very complex character of the German mind that enabled the intellectuals to preserve this tradition without openly breaking with Nazism.
In this continuity one may see at once a sort of opposition, if only passive. But it is significant and encouraging that some of the German intellectuals — the number is difficult to estimate — had for years no longer contented themselves with the mere preservation of intellectual continuity but had gone from passive to active opposition. That litde is known of this, as a rule, outside Germany is due, of course, mainly to the fact that these movements of intellectual resistance could only be noiseless undercurrents, of which everyone in Germany became aware at once, but rarely anyone outside the country. It should, however, be mentioned here as of general knowledge that intellectual life in Germany, even before the ultimate wild excesses of the final phase of Nazism, had been so shackled that Fascist Italy had seemed in comparison almost a Paradise of freedom. No one who cared for life and liberty could dare in Germany to write for a single day with the freedom of Benedetto Croce in his review La Critica , Luigi Einaudi in his Rivista di Storia Economica , or certain authors in the Giornale degli Economisti.