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View Diary: The myth of the Nazis (545 comments)

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  •  That's interesting (1+ / 0-)
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    I was not aware that there was a theory situating Germany/Prussia that way; I knew that some writers conceived of Russia as a unique fusion of East and West.  I guess my German history is deficient. :)

    Admittedly while I own Shirer's Rise and Fall I have never completed it.  I took exception to several errors contained within it (he apparently believed that Nazis were prone to atheism and homosexuality, and there really is not much in the way of credible evidence to suggest this was the case).  Beyond that, though, the professors I had were functionalists, and while I did read Wistrich and other intentionalist accounts of the era, Browning was by far one of the best authors we covered and he pretty much convinced me.  

    For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

    by Alec82 on Fri Dec 31, 2010 at 01:42:32 PM PST

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    •  The Junker class that ran Prussia (1+ / 0-)
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      (and, for the most part, imperial Germany after 1870) was firmly situated, both geographically and ideologically, in the agricultural, quasi-serf-based economy of the east Elbian lands where their estates were (mostly) located and upon which their wealth and power were based. They really did not understand (or like) the nobility or the bourgeoisie from the remainder of the Empire who had more Western outlooks. Keeping the two factions in balance was always rough, and that tension was one of the fundamental weaknesses of both the Wilhelmine and the Weimar eras. The Pomeranian and Silesian provinces had large (in some cases approaching majority) contingents of residents of Polish and Baltic ancestry, who always represented a concern for the German-speaking authorities (and the central government).

      Add to that the roughly north-south Protestant/Catholic sectarian division, and it's not too surprising that there would be some folks thinking of Germany as occupying a distinct (or unique) middle position between two (or more) competing worlds/ideologies/camps.

      I've never been able to get all the way through Shirer's book, either. It's not read much anymore in academic circles as far as I can see, except possibly as an exemplar of an outdated historiography--though, curiously, it remains in print and I routinely find it in the German/Nazi history sections of just about every bookstore I visit.

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