His father, Julius Grimm, was a professor of law who retired early and devoted his time to private historical and literary studies and to political activity as a founder member of the National Liberal party, which he represented in the Prussian parliament, and was a founder member of the German Colonial Society.
His mother, Marie Grimm, née Schlumberger Edle von Goldeck, was a minor aristocrat.
As a child, Hans Grimm showed an interest and aptitude for writing and in 1894 started to study Literature and French at the University of Lausanne.
Under pressure from his father he left university in 1895 and went into business, working for a German company in Great Britain (in Nottingham and London), and then in the British-ruled Cape Colony (in Port Elizabeth and East London), where he also rented a small farm.
From a strictly literary point of view - and leaving their ideological bias to one side - the most readable of Grimm's works are, however, his Novellen and short stories, in which the discipline imposed by restricted space forces him to abandon the discursive wordiness of Volk ohne Raum (1344 pages in the one-volume edition).
In a centenary address (Der verkannte Hans Grimm, Lippoldsberg 1975), designed to restore Grimm’s reputation, Klaus von Delft was able to cite letters of complaint from Grimm to the Nazi authorities on a number of subjects: the infringement of the right of confidentiality at the ballot box; the behaviour of the Hitler-Jugend and the Nazi student association; the coupling of foreign and domestic policy issues in the 1936 referendum on Hitler’s rule; and criticism of Hitler’s presentation of the murders of the "Night of the Long Knives" in 1934 as due judicial process. It is, however, indicative of Grimm's stance that von Delft is not able to find or cite any criticism of National Socialist racial policy. In 1938 Grimm was threatened with imprisonment by Progandaminister Joseph Goebbels and withdrew from public life.
Despite everything, however, even after 1945 Grimm remained true to his political convictions. In a pamphlet Die Erzbischofsschrift. Antwort eines Deutschen, (1950), a response to a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the German people, Grimm described Germany's war of aggression as an attempt to defend "European Culture" against Communism and blames Great Britain for escalating a local conflict into a global war. In 1954, having failed to gain a seat in the West German parliament for the extreme right-wing "Deutsche Reichspartei", he published a detailed defence of National Socialism under the title Warum, woher aber wohin? (Why, whence, but whither?).
Europe's Pasts and Presents: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the Australasian Association for European History.(Book review)
Mar 01, 2006; Europe's Pasts and Presents: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the Australasian Association for European...