Republican and Fascist Germany: Themes and Variations in the History of Weimar and the Third Reich, 1918-45

Republican and Fascist Germany: Themes and Variations in the History of Weimar and the Third Reich, 1918-45

Republican and Fascist Germany: Themes and Variations in the History of Weimar and the Third Reich, 1918-45

Republican and Fascist Germany: Themes and Variations in the History of Weimar and the Third Reich, 1918-45

Synopsis

This important addition to twentieth-century German historiography treats the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich as a continuum, exploring its themes through the 1920s and 1930s without artificial breaks, Although the basic information is provided for an understanding of the text, John Hiden's purpose is not to provide yet another chronological narrative of German history between her successive defeats in the two World Wars; rather, he sets out to re-examine a number of key aspects of the period in a set of parallel thematic chapters deliberately designed to provoke reflection and debate.

Excerpt

The present volume spans the period between 1918 and 1945, years witnessing among other things the historic peacemaking at Versailles, the rise of fascism, the early stages of co-existence between communist and capitalist societies, the advent to power of Adolf Hitler, the path to the Second World War, the brutal onslaught on the Jewish peoples and the final high drama of Germany's defeat and partition. Momentous enough in themselves, these events have had the most fundamental impact on Europe and have become the object of renewed and mounting public interest since the re-unification of Germany in 1990. There are of course general histories of modern Germany which include coverage of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, but they are often understandably short of detail. At the other extreme are studies concentrating either on National Socialist or Weimar Germany. Of the latter, however, many also turn out in fact to be largely concerned with Hitler, his movement and his rise to power. Bookshelves holding volumes on the Nazi state positively groan beneath the weight.

One of the central aims of this book is to tilt the balance more towards the Weimar era, giving due and necessary attention to National Socialism but emphatically not at the expense of observing potentially constructive developments during the 1920s. Thus, to take one example, the early history of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Arbeiter Partei -- NSDAP) is set in the context of a full and critical consideration of the major German political parties and against the backdrop of some rather interesting but often overlooked progress in the Reichstag. However, the historiographical imbalance between the 1920s and 1930s is only redressed in the larger interest of promoting an informed, structured and critical discussion of the period as a whole. To this end the book . . .

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