After studying medicine at the Universities of Munich, Wurzburg and Leipzig, he served in World War I as an army doctor and was wounded on the western front. He continued to practise as a family physician in Munich until 1929, using his professional experience as source material for his literary work. He was an autobiographer and confessional novelist. All of his books were translated in English. After 1933 Carossa continued writing novels which reached a wide public.
In 1942 he was appointed President of the European Writers' Union - a brainchild of Goebbels - which made him unwittingly appear as an apologist of the Nazi régime.
During World War II the writer managed to remain apolitical and avoided any dealings with Nazi officialdom as far as possible.
Carossa's warm, simple, graceful style, his urbanity and Olympian serenity, his preoccupation with themes like love, friendship and the art of living, largely accounted for his popularity and the fact that he was readily tolerated by a régime eager to preserve the façade of normality and an abstract, humanitarian idealism.