Golo Mann was one of the most important German-language historians of the 20th century, as well as a political essayist and writer. In exile and in the post-war Federal Republic of Germany, he was a highly respected historian whose writings are a rare combination of acute scholarly judgement and literary merit.
Golo Mann (full name Angelus Gottfried Thomas Mann) is born on 27 March 1909 in Munich, the third child of Thomas and Katja Mann. After attending boarding school in Salem Castle on Lake Constance from 1923 to 1927 he studies history, philosophy and Latin philology in Berlin and, from 1929, in Heidelberg, receiving his doctorate in 1932 under the supervision of Karl Jaspers with a thesis entitled Das Einzelne und das Ich in Hegels Philosophie.
After the National Socialists assume power, Mann initially emigrates to France, where he lectures in German at French schools for three years. From 1937 to 1940 he is editor of the exile magazine Mass und Wert in Zurich, before taking the route over the Pyrenees to go into US exile in 1940. There, between 1942 and 1958, he is a professor of history at colleges in Michigan and California.
In 1958 Mann takes up residence in Kilchberg near Zurich, where he also holds citizenship. This is followed by a guest professorship at the University of Münster and a chair in political science at the University of Stuttgart (1960–64). During this period, Mann jointly edits the new Propyläen Weltgeschichte.
Golo Mann’s principal works are the Deutsche Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts (1958) and the widely hailed literary biography Wallenstein (1971), the fruit of a lifelong interest in the military leader from the Thirty Years’ War. In 1968 he receives the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize.
A conservative yet determinedly anti-nationalist intellectual and speaker, Mann first serves as an advisor to Willy Brandt before supporting the electoral campaign of Franz Josef Strauss in 1980.
Golo Mann dies on 7 April 1994 in Leverkusen.
Last modification 26.10.2020