The German Right in the Weimar Republic: Studies in the History of German Conservatism, Nationalism, and Antisemitism

By Bookbinder, Paul | The Historian, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

The German Right in the Weimar Republic: Studies in the History of German Conservatism, Nationalism, and Antisemitism


Bookbinder, Paul, The Historian


The German Right in the Weimar Republic: Studies in the History of German Conservatism, Nationalism, and Antisemitism. Edited by Larry Eugene Jones. (New York, NY: Berghahn Books, 2014. Pp. 352. $95.00.)

The essays in this collection have much to say about the complexity of the German Right. They are particularly strong on the involvement of the religious components of the Right and the centrality of anti-Semitism to all its segments. Crucially, the authors point out that the Right was not a monolithic whole but instead was composed of a number of varied parts. What all these groups shared was hostility to the Weimar Republic and support of volkisch nationalism and anti-Semitism.

The anti-Semitism of such groups varied in its virulence and the ways in which it was expressed but was integral to all of their belief systems. Their success, however, was often dependent upon the degree to which they foregrounded these beliefs. Brian E. Grim demonstrates that Franz Seldte's lack of emphasis on anti-Semitism helped Theodor Duesterberg outmaneuver him in their struggle for leadership of the Stahlhelm and lost the organization a significant number of voters to the German National People's Party (DNVP). Hoping to be a factor in government, the DNVP also muted its anti-Semitism, which cost it support that went instead to the Nazis. As Larry Eugene Jones points out, the fact that Alfred Hugenberg, who triumphed over Count Kuno von Westarp, was not a racist ideologue also contributed to the loss of support for the Nationalist Socialist Party.

Though only a small number of German Catholics were part of the Catholic Right, they contributed to the success of the German Right. Ulrike Ehret notes that these Catholics were members of the social elites of imperial and Weimar Germany. …

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