Why did ordinary Germans vote for Hitler? In this dramatically plotted book, organized around crucial turning points in 1914, 1918, and 1933, Peter Fritzsche explains why the Nazis were so popular and what was behind the political choice made by the German people.Why did ordinary Germans vote for Hitler? In this dramatically plotted book, organized around crucial turning points in 1914, 1918, and 1933, Peter Fritzsche explains why the Nazis were so popular and what was behind the political choice made by the German people.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-02-16 Everyone knows that the Germans turned to the Nazis when dismay over the Treaty of Versailles mixed with the depredations of the Great Depression. Fritzsche (Reading Berlin), however, quickly points out flaws in the scenario. To start, every party in Germany excoriated Versailles, and the people hardest hit by the recession were not the ones most likely to vote National Socialist. It is as a broader social revolution that Fritzsche attempts to make sense of Nazism. As Kaiser Wilhelm hoped, WWI unified Germany; but after withstanding four years of privations with little help from the monarchy, ordinary Germans emerged with a new sense of their worth within the society and with the German volk, a vitally different entity from the Hohenzollern Empire. By 1933, Germans were law-and-order chauvinists, and Nazis seemed to offer order and a national vision that embraced all the volk. Well researched and succinct, this history offers a nuanced view of a complicated history. As for Germany's uniquely murderous anti-Semitism, Fritzsche notes (without mentioning Daniel Goldhagen by name) that the complicity of so many ordinary Germans in the murder of Jews "was not so much the function of genocidal anti-Semitism which they shared in uncomplicated fashion with Nazi leaders; rather over the course of the twelve-year Reich, more and more Germans came to play active and generally congenial parts in the Nazi revolution and then subsequently came to accept the uncompromising terms of Nazi racism." (Mar.)
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