Detlev Vagts has carried out much research on international law during the Nazi period, including on Wilhelm Wengler and his fate during that time. In this Festschrift in Detlev's honour, a focus on the life and work of Wilhelm Wengler, an international law scholar who stood in close contact with the German resistance movement to National Socialism, is particularly appropriate. The academic context in which Wengler was working demonstrates the options open to German international law scholars after 1933. These ranged from genuine enthusiasm for National Socialism, over academic and personal adaptation to the ‘new realities’ and resort to internal or external emigration to insurgency. Wengler's life also exemplifies how post-war scholarship in Germany and abroad evaluated the attitude of German scholars before 1945.
Studies, doctoral thesis and scholarly activities at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Comparative and International Private Law and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law
Wilhelm Wengler was born on 12 June 1907, to working-class parents in Wiesbaden. After attending secondary school, he studied law and political science at the University of Frankfurt/Main from 1927 until 1931. In Frankfurt, he also passed his First State Exam with distinction, and also met Hans Lewald, who later became his doctoral supervisor. In 1931 he obtained his doctorate in law magna cum laude with a thesis on the primacy of international law, as well as his doctorate in political science summa cum laude with a thesis on double taxation.