The Academy of Sciences of Lisbon between science, international politics, and neutrality, 1932–1945

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Like many other academies of the allied countries, the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon took part in the building of the International Research Council after the end of the Great War. The role that it played there was rather peripheral, among other reasons, due to its structural lack of organization at a national level, the peripheral condition of the country itself, and the political instability that Portugal had been undergoing since the Republican Revolution of 1910.
The Lisbon Academy proves to be a faithful mirror of Portuguese politics of the period and the conservative, authoritarian turns that the country experienced during the 1920s and the 1930s also find themselves plainly echoed there. The admission of conservative germanophiles like Gustavo Cordeiro Ramos (Full Professor of Germanistik at the University of Lisbon and former Ministry of Education of Salazar's governments) reflects a political change and at the same time the growing politicization of the Academy. After 1933, with the adoption of Salazar's New State Constitution and Hitler's rise to power, politicization of these international academic and scientific areas becomes much more obvious. The Lisbon Academy finds itself, like Portugal, in an ambiguous neutral position, right in the middle of the storm that swept Europe and the world: on one hand it acts as a safe haven for German Jewish scientists that had to leave Germany as a result of the Aryan laws (as is the case of Friedrich Wohlwill, former neuropathologist at St. George's Hospital in Hamburg); on the other hand, the active pro-German sectors of the Academy also managed to get members of the NSDAP admitted to the Academy (as is the case of Fritz Lejeune, Professor for the History of Medicine at the universities of Vienna and Cologne and director of the Portuguese-Brazilian Institute at the latter).
The chapter explores the ambiguous neutrality of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon and its entangled international and local networks between 1919 and the end of World War II.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntellectual Collaboration with the Third Reich
Subtitle of host publicationTreason or reason?
EditorsMaria Björkman, Patrik Lundell, Sven Widmalm
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781351185110
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2019


  • Nazi Germany
  • German-Portuguese Relations
  • Academy of Sciences of Lisbon
  • World War II
  • Intellectual cooperation


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