W hile carrying out preliminary research on German cities, I one day came across Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht's highly publicized 1927 attack against municipal luxury expenditures. I soon discovered, however, that the same city governments condemned by powerful financial authorities simultaneously won acclaim for their programs of recovery. I then began to investigate the paradoxes of the politics and policies of Weimar municipal recovery. In broader terms, I have aimed to reconcile the considerable evidence of success at the municipal level with depictions of Weimar history as a sequence of catastrophes.
This work owes an initial debt to my dissertation committee of John Boyer, Michael Geyer, and George Steinmetz. John Boyer directed me toward the world of Central European Cities. Michael Geyer provided invaluable guidance. My research was supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. I wish to thank the staffs of the Düsseldorf Stadtarchiv, Stadtarchiv Frankfurt am Main, and Hanover Stadtarchiv. I would like to thank Dieter Rebentisch, Jürgen Reulecke, Adelheid von Saldern, and the late Peter Hüttenberger for sharing their vast knowledge about municipal and urban history with me. I also thank the Interlibrary Loan Office at the Fitchburg State College Library. Volker Berghahn and Christoph Conrad also provided valuable suggestions.
Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.
Marcia and Philip Lieberman helped my works in many ways, and I therefore dedicate this book to them.
I would also like to thank Nancy Waters for advice, support, and much more.