Past Program

Jul 15 - Aug 31, 1947

General Session in American Studies


Not for the first time this century, the world is in the midst of recovery following a substantial period of global conflict. As tensions continue to simmer, large parts of Europe require physical reconstruction and economic development. We are of the belief former enemies can talk to and learn from one another, even as these countries reel from the ravages of war. We propose an international forum for those seeking a better future for Europe and the world.

The Salzburg Seminar in American Civilisation will mark the beginning of the first experiment in international education in postwar Europe. The Salzburg Seminar is a joint project of the Harvard Student Council and the International Student Service. Scholars and advanced students will convene at Castle Leopoldskron this summer for six weeks of study. The Seminar will make it possible for the present and future leaders of European thought and education to study with Americans a well-defined subject of common interest.

The curriculum, based on American studies in literature, history, government, economics, sociology and the arts, will form a nuclear for discussion of method and theory in the various disciplines, and point to new attitudes and a firmer understanding of both America and Europe. Our hope is members of the Seminar will return to their classrooms with a stronger belief in the future reconstruction of Europe on a democratic basis. We also hope the Americans will bring back to the United States as much new insight as they stimulate among the Europeans.

Students will stay at Castle Leopoldskron under favorable living conditions with time and facilities for advanced work. Leopoldskron, built by an Archbishop in the 18th century, and later a residence of King Louis II of Bavaria, was bought by Max Reinhardt in the 1920’s. It lies within a beautiful part of Salzburg, surrounded by parks and gardens, facing a large pond which can be used for bathing. All students should be prepared to sleep in dormitories and to receive a nutritious but plain diet.

Students of 19 countries will be reached through the national committee of the International Student Service and will be asked to submit applications. All lectures will be in English. To qualify for attendance, a student must have a fluent command of the English language and must have a good scholarly record. This seminar offers a program of learning and reflection for young leaders who seek to build a united Europe.


The national committee of the International Student Service is reaching out to students in 19 countries. The following quotas have been agreed by the Seminar’s executive committee and the International Student Service: Austria 15; France 6; Great Britain 6; Germany 5; Italy 5; Belgium 3; Holland 3; Czechoslovakia 4; Greece 3; Poland 3; Hungary 3; Displaced Persons 6; Spain 2; Yugoslavia 3; Bulgaria 2; Romania 2; Scandinavia 9; Finland 3; Russia 6; Switzerland 2.

The criteria for the selection of European members of the Seminar have been their study as teachers of advanced students of American civilisation, their scholastic achievement, their ability to speak English, their maturity, and personal qualifications.

List of members attending Session 1List of American members attending Session 1

Session Format

The 90 advanced students will continue their studies of American problems for six weeks under the guidance of a group of distinguished teachers from the United States. There will be 13 American scholars at Salzburg for the full six weeks’ period or part of it. They will be complemented by various guest lecturers, American and European, and assisted by 20 American students who will be responsible for administrative details.

The program will consist of lecture courses and seminars. The seminars have been prepared for advanced students in the various fields presented at the Seminar, whereas the lecture courses will aim at a level which will make them worthwhile for all students present, irrespective of their field of concentration.

Seminars will take place in the afternoons, from Monday until Thursday. There will be three lectures each day, which will be held in the mornings from Monday until Saturday. However, this program can be adjusted for students who wish to attend performances at the Salzburg festivals. Each student is expected to attend at least two course lectures each day, and no more than two seminar sessions a week.

It is envisaged each student will arrive a definite research problem in their mind which to center their work at Schloss Leopoldskron. The lecture courses and seminars offered include American literature, economics, government, history, sociology, and music.

Program Goals

“We hope to create by this program at least one small center in which young Europeans from all countries, and of all political convictions, could meet for a month in concrete work under favorable living conditions. We also hoped to lay the foundations for a possible permanent center of intellectual discussion in Europe, and further to give some support to the revival of the Salzburg festivals with their underlying idea of European unity and cooperation.”

“It was not at all our intention to propagate American ways and politics. We felt, rather, that we could only hope to get an outstanding international student body united in common cultural and political discussion if a subject was chosen which would pre-condition a common language and a common stock of basic knowledge among the students […] Intense and open discussion among students and faculty, unhampered by language difficulties, would, we felt, be a fundamental condition for the success of our project.” - Richard Campbell, co-founder of Salzburg Global Seminar

Session Photos

View full set on Flickr

Further Reading

Eliot, Thomas H. and Lois J. Eliot. The Salzburg Seminar: The First Forty Years. Ipswich: The Ipswich Press, 1987.

Matthiessen, F.O. From The Heart of Europe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1948.

Thistlethwaite, Frank. “The Salzburg Seminar in American Studies” Cambridge Years. Cambridge: The Book Company, 1999.

Thomsen, Christian W. Leopoldskron: Early History, The Reinhardt Era, The Salzburg Seminar. Siegen: Vorlander, 1983.