Tradition under debate
in Humboldt and the modern German university

This chapter discusses some of the most significant contributions to the early 1960s discussion on the idea of the German university to a fairly thorough analysis. On the basis of knowledge of the interwar years and the first post-war years, there is reason to ask in what way these contributions mirrored the academic situation of the time. The general conditions, the growth of student numbers, the birth of the mass university and the large-scale social planning, had their analogies in other countries. Also, their sweeping changes brought about an investigation of the classic academic tradition. The chapter also focuses on the concrete, time-bound manifestations of the long Humboldtian line. It further focuses on a person named Helmut Schelsky who brought Wilhelm von Humboldt into the centre of the debate on the development of the modern university.


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