Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Gustav Radbruch

First Page



As recently as the end of the last World War the name and work of Gustav Radbruch were virtually unknown in the Anglo-American legal world. In 1938 Roscoe Pound, in his encyclopedic survey, "Fifty Years of Jurisprudence," had given a concise account of Radbruch's legal philosophy in the context of his section on "neo-idealism." In 1944 Anton Hermann Chroust wrote a penetrating analysis of Radbruch's philosophy of law, and about the same time the first edition of the present writer's Legal Theory, published on the other side of the Atlantic, included Gustav Radbruch in the survey of major legal philosophers. It also acknowledged the author's deep indebtedness to Radbruch's principal work. Since Radbruch died in 1949 at the age of seventy-one, there has been a dramatic and welcome change. Not only has he remained the dominating figure in post-war Continental and especially German legal philosophy; in both Britain and the United States his work and views have been discussed by leading jurists such as Professors Campbell and Hart in Britain, and Professors Fuller and Patterson in this country. Radbruch's Rechtsphilosophie was at last made accessible (in 1950) to English readers through the translation of his principal work in the Twentieth Century Series of Legal Philosophers.