Any consideration of the 20th century would be incomplete without a discussion of Nazi Germany, an extraordinary regime which dominated European history for 12 years, and left a legacy that still echoes with us today. The incredible force of the destructive vision at the heart of Nazi Germany led to a second world war when the world was still aching from the first one, and an incomprehensible death count, both at home and abroad.
In this Very Short Introduction, Jane Caplan's insightful analysis of Nazi Germany provides a highly relevant reminder of the fragility of democratic institutions, and the ways in which the exploitation of national fears, mass political movements, and frail political opposition can lead to the imposition of dictatorship. Considering the emergence and popular appeal of the Nazi party, she discusses the relationships between belief, consent, and terror in securing the regime, alongside the crucial role played by Hitler himself. Covering the full history of the regime, she includes an unflinching look at the dark stains of war, persecution, and genocide. At the same time, Caplan offers unexpected angles of vision and insights; asking readers to look behind the handful of over-used images of Nazi Germany we are familiar with, and to engage critically with a history that that is so abhorrent it risks seeming beyond interpretation.
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In this brilliant concise account, Caplan succeeds in outlining the startling rise and devastating impact of National Socialism in Germany under Hitler, conveying both illustrative detail and the broad shape of developments, as well as finely balancing different historical interpretations. A major achievement. * Professor Mary Fulbrook, University College London *
1: Hitler myths
2: National socialism
3: From Munich to Berlin (via Weimar)
5: Volksgemeinschaft: community and exclusion
6: Volksgemeinschaft: control and belonging
7: Preparing for war
9: From terror to genocide