Patrick Reitinger M.A.
- Spatial Policy in Rural and Peripheral Areas
- Borders, Borderlands and Cross-Border Relations
- Cultural Geographies of Politics and Law
- Historical and Interpretative Landscape Research
- Historical-Geographical Research on Central and Eastern Europe
Patrick Reitinger studied Governance and Public Policy (B.A.) as well as Social and Population Geography (M.A.) in Passau and Bamberg. He has been a doctoral student there since 2018 as a member of the Bamberg Graduate School of Historical Studies. He is an assistant lecturer at the Bamberg Professorship of Historical Geography and the Passau Chair of Modern and Contemporary History of Eastern Europe and its Cultures. In addition, he is an associate member of the Herder Institute Research Academy (HIRA) of the Herder Institute for Historical Research on Eastern Central Europe in Marburg (since 2018) and guest researcher at the Center for Cultural and Historical Geography at the Charles University in Prague (2020). He coordinates the international project Management of Crossborder Rurality | Bavaria Bohemia 1990 2020 and heads the project Transnational Resilience Strategies. Czech labor migration and regional economic development in Eastern Bavaria after Covid 19.
Spatial Policy in the Weimar Republic. Czechoslovakia and the Periphery Discourse in the Bayerische Ostmark
Previous research on Eastern Bavaria in the first half of the 20th century has concentrated primarily on the period of National Socialism. With the foundation of the NS-Gau Bayerische Ostmark in 1933, the former districts of Upper Franconia, Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria were combined and brought into the focus of National Socialist spatial policy. The initial aim was to erect a bulwark against the danger of slaves from the East and to improve the quality of life of the population in the border region. This region suffered from high unemployment and great poverty, not least due to the consequences of the world economic crisis.
The anchor point for the National Socialist argumentation was the view that the political actors of the Weimar Republic paid too little attention to the border region and thus also neglected the area geopolitically: They saw Czechoslovakia as a systematic oppression of the German-speaking population in the so-called Sudetenland and at the same time as the alleged preparation for an invasion of the Czechs into the German Reich. Only a reorientation of rural structural policy in the Bayerische Ostmark would, according to the common narrative, reduce the military dangers and, in addition, change the situation of the rural population in the villages and small towns of Eastern Bavaria for the better.
Although this National Socialist narrative became so powerful, and although it turned into real politics with Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia and the cession of the Sudetenland to the German Reich after the Munich Agreement in 1938, previous research on Eastern Bavaria hardly asks the question of the prehistory of these developments. This is surprising because, with a few exceptions, it still seems almost self-evident today that the period between 1918 and 1933 is regarded as a prelude to National Socialism. The few relevant publications, however, look almost exclusively at nationalist and patriotic actors and discourses in the Weimar Republic, but largely ignore the large field of rural spatial policy in the Bayerische Ostmark after World War I.
This dissertation project closes this gap by carrying out a historical-geographical analysis of rural spatial policy in the Weimar Republic using the example of the Bayerische Ostmark. The project traces how political developments in Czechoslovakia and the discourse on the periphery in eastern Bavaria were connected with each other. By investigating the institutions and structures (Polity), the political actors, interests and networks (Politics) and finally the political contents and discourses (Policy) surrounding the politics for the Bayerische Ostmark, an overall picture of the East Bavarian border region in the Weimar Republic emerges, which clearly shows the multifaceted nature of politics for rural areas.
The project works out how rurality was negotiated in the political multi-level system of the Weimar Republic and which spatial images came into play. It examines what role the phenomenon of borders played in spatial policy discourses and measures in eastern Bavaria, and when and how cross-border references to Czechoslovakia influenced spatial policy in the Bayerische Ostmark. Finally, the case of the Bayerische Ostmark will be put into relation to the general discourse on eastern borders in the Weimar Republic and evaluated before the international discussion on the development of rural areas in the interwar period.