The Primacy of the Political: The Rockefeller Foundation and post WW II Germany

Jan 01, 2011 | by
  • Description

As part of its general efforts to support the democratization of German society, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) invested substantial funds into promoting public health as a discipline and developing a new basis for medical training in West Germany. Not limiting itself to simply providing literature, the RF pursued a two-pronged strategy. First, the RF organized a program for German university physicians and public health officers to visit various universities and teaching hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. A second aim was to establish training institutes for postgraduate physicians. However, rather than simply imposing the U.S. model, the RF intended to adapt it to the German context, in the form of a postgraduate course for physicians that integrated practical experience with a university setting. My research to date shows that the RF's activities did not meet with much enthusiasm from German medical professionals. Intellectual, cultural, cognitive and political differences impaired constructive collaboration between the RF's staff and local practitioners and academics.