A social history of Germany in the years following World War I, this book explores the devastating social and psychological consequences of Germany's defeat and subsequent demobilization. Dr Bessel looks into how the experience of the War affected the politics of the Weimar Republic. Changes brought by the War to Germany - those resulting from the return of the soldiers to civilian life and the demobilization of the economy are examined. Bessel demonstrates that the postwar transition was viewed as a moral crusade by Germans desperately concerned about challenges to traditional authority; and he assesses the ways in which the experience of the War, and memories of it, affected the politics of the Weimar Republic. This work offers the reader insights into the sense of dislocation, both personal and national, experienced by Germany and Germans in the 1920s, and its damaging legacy for German democracy. Richard Bessel also wrote "Political Violence and the Rise of Nazism". He also edited "Life in the Third Reich" and (with E.J. Feuchtwanger) "Social Change and Political Development in Weimar Germany".
'splendidly well-documented book ... One of the many things in this book is the way it demonstrates that civilian life in wartime Imperial Germany was indeed very unpleasant.'
Times Literary Supplement
`Bessel's study of a wide-ranging survey of developments in German society between 1914 and 1919.'
`...a major contribution...There can be no doubt that Bessel's findings, which come down heavily on Feldman's side, simply cannot be ignored in any far assessment of Germany's development in the 1920's. This book, which represents the fruitful outcome of years of intensive research, is one of the best comprehensive studies of the early Weimar Republic... a dense and very subtle analysis of the German home front.'
German Historical Institute Bulletin
`Bessel provides a carefully researched and thoughtful study of the early years of the Weimar Republic.'
E.D.R. Harrison. History Today
`His skill in utilizing statistical materials and weaving quantitative analysis into his narrative is quite impressive, and both professional historians and those generally interested in German affairs will find the book to be informative.'
Richard V. Pierard, Indiana State University, History