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Hitler's Social Revolution: Class and Status in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 (Norton Paperback) Paperback – March 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Paperback
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (March 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393315541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393315547
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Schoenbaum's thesis--that German society committed suicide by concurrently using the means of industrial society to achieve its goal of destroying industrial society . . . constitutes an interpretation of major historiographical significance.” (Choice)

“Valuable and impressive. . . . A genuinely new contribution to historical understanding.” (Economist)

About the Author

David Schoenbaum, a professional historian and lifelong amateur violinist, has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Economist, and many other publications. His previous books include Hitler’s Social Revolution and The United States and the State of Israel.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. McClain on May 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book delves into the effect of the National Socialist movement and Third Reich on German society and economy, thereby shining a light on aspects widely overlooked and reminding us that the Nazis were about much more than "Herrenvolk" and the Holocaust. Schoenbaum's exhaustively documented work (from primary sources) supports the conclusion that the Nazi regime was more socialist in both character and deed than most realize.

Communism nationalized industry; Nazism nationalized the people. The concept of "Volksgemeinschaft" (national community) became the supreme organizing principle of German society and economy, and a mass of controls materialized to ensure that no individual's interest be allowed to interfere with the general welfare of the whole collective (as determined by those in charge). The nationalism espoused by the Nazis was their perceived antidote to the Marxist theory of class struggle, which they sought to transcend by uniting all interests in a fraternal bond embodied within the state. Schoenbaum's incredibly important and unmatched work describes nearly every significant aspect of the move toward social egalitarianism, duty, and endless economic interventions that reduced business owners to mere shop managers as industry under Hitler's regime was forced into a position of prostration "not even demanded of it by a revolutionary SPD."

This book is very accessible but lends itself to serious study, not casual reading. It is quite simply an indispensable component for anyone who wishes to make sense of the less sensational parts of this episode in history and to ascertain just how much of the Nazis' walk in fact matched their talk. I suspect that for many readers, more of their initial assumptions will be challenged than will be confirmed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arnold E. Bjorn on June 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
Usually today when one reads of the Third Reich, one hears only of anti-Semitism and evil. But no state built solely on evil can function; much less can it inspire millions to fight and die for it. To be able to understand the Germans of the Nazi era, who elected Hitler and cheered for him in their teeming myriads when he spoke to them, we must look past the elements of Nazism which are abhorrent to our democratic sensibilities and explore those aspects of it that were conceived of as positive by those ruled by it.

Chief among these was the idea of the Volksgemeinschaft, the organic "National Community" in which every German, no matter how mean his name or pay-check, had his place as a fellow-citizen and equal. The Volksgemeinschaft was of course a Germans-Only club, with no room for Jews or other minorities deemed harmful or hostile, but inside it there was a strongly egalitarian ideology. In the Hitler Youth every young man had his own dagger to wear with his dress uniform, symbolic of every freeman's right to keep and bear arms; in the old German Empire this had been the privilege of the aristocratic elites. There were also very real material improvements for the lower classes under Nazism -- The "Socialism" in "National Socialism" was not merely for show, even if it was not Marxian.

David Schoenbaum wrote one of the first pioneering studies of these aspects of Nazi social policy, with his focus on its quantifiable results rather than the underlying ideology. His book remains a classic today, compiling all the data required to show that Nazi Germany was anything but a "reactionary" dictatorship. (On the contrary, its "progressive" agenda frequently scandalized the real conservatives and reactionaries, both in Germany and elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AUBCBC36 on April 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well written book that helps the reader have a better understanding of Hitler's social programs prior to the beginning of World War Two.
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Format: Paperback
Only for people that have more of a understanding of this time in Germany. It goes in depth of why the people loved Hitler and why he was so popular amongst them. The ideology of the Nazis is well written and explained. David Schoenbaum did a great job. This book is not for everyone.
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Hitler's Social Revolution: Class and Status in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 (Norton Paperback)
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