Nazi Germany: A New History

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ISBN-13: 978-0826409065
ISBN-10: 0826409067
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rejecting traditional explanations that Hitler received most of his support from the lower middle class, Fischer draws on electoral studies to show that a broad segment of Germans voted for Hitler, with the highest levels of support coming from the upper and upper middle classes. An indispensable, compellingly readable political, military and social history of the Third Reich, this major synthesis argues that Nazism was not the inevitable culmination of German history. Fischer identifies various factors that allowed a "clever sociopath" to seize power, forge a totalitarian regime and kill millions by state mandate: widespread, virulent anti-Semitism, an all-embracing racial ideology made academically respectable; belligerent nationalism; economic collapse following WWI; and a strong tradition of institutionalized authoritarianism in family, school and everyday life. He paints a chilling picture of Nazi society?educational indoctrination, the family as incubator, the regime's war on religion, book-burning and state-regulated culture. His analysis leaves no doubt that Hitler himself was the guiding force in the annihilation of Europe's Jews from the time he gained power in 1933. Fischer is the author of History and Prophecy: Oswald Spengler and "The Decline of the West." Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Fischer (cultural/intellectual history, Univ. of California-Santa Barbara) succeeds admirably in his attempt at a balanced analysis of the Third Reich from its late-19th-century origins to its apocalyptic collapse at the hands of three allied armies. This excellent volume culminates a ten-year project and utilizes much new material and many new insights. By design, there is neither overbearing Germanophobia nor revisionism steeped in apologetic rhetoric. The work addresses collective and singular aspects of Nazi Germany's rise and ultimate collapse; its multifaceted treatment encompasses economic, political, military, diplomatic, international, religious, and cultural components of the Third Reich. The book could be laborious reading for nonspecialists, but it is well organized and methodically written. Recommended for scholars, informed lay readers, and cultural/general history collections.
Thomas G. Anton, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 744 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826409067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826409065
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,367,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
As the author of "A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days when God wore a Swastika," my autobiographical account of my seven years in the Hitler Youth, I consider Klaus Fischer's book an invaluable work for anybody interested in the history of Nazi Germany. It's comprehensive, lucid,and the best up-to-date account of the Third Reich. I especially like his honest analysis of a complex era that defies easy answers, and I frequently use his book in my own research.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding narrative history of the 12-year Nazi reign in Germany and an exemplary attempt at writing history in the round. Fischer is equally at home in narrative history, political, social, administrative and war history. He also indulges in a fairly convincing use of psycho-history in trying to explain Hitler, Germany's attraction to authoritarianism and the psyche of the Nazi party and its leaders. Although it is a long book, it is readable from beginning to end because Fischer knows how to tell a story. He also understands how to put flesh and blood on it by filling it out with vivid portraits of the protagonists and enlivening it with well written anecdotes. He also has a rare talent for summarising complex issues and developments tightly, often in as little as a single, tightly written paragraph. And if one of the qualities of good writing is density of detail, then this is good writing. Fischer never shirks a challenge, whether it be to describe an administrative structure or a battle. He packs his descriptions with all the details of who, how, when, where, why and what; he names names and sets down even the most horrible details of torture and crime. But it would be wrong to write this off as just another example of good storytelling. This is history in the round and the round includes both intellectual and cultural factors. The opening chapter on the Origins of Totalitarianism is both an incisive analysis of its subject and a cautionary polemic about what to avoid in writing Nazi history. Psychohistory these days generally gets a bad press, but Hitler cries out for it. Fischer's use of psychology is restrained but credible. Similarly, he rarely gets carried away by wild theories when he tries to explain Hitler's and Germany's anti-semitism.Read more ›
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Severin Olson on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Perhaps Fischer's greatest achievment here is in how much he tells us in so short a book. He covers Nazi and German history from the 19th century to 1945 in under 600 pages!! He shows a special gift for writing the most with the (relatively) fewest words. Even those knowing much about the subject will learn a lot from this volume. And Fischer knows what should and should not be included in a book of this kind. This work will be a valuable addition to any historical library.

I particularly enjoyed the section on the Weimer Republic and the 20's. Most books skip over this period, saying only that the Republic was democratic and flawed, and that Hitler sought to destroy it. Fischer gives us an in depth look at this society, and explains how its insecurities contributed to the disaster to come.

I only wish the book had been a bit longer. There is only so much one can include in a one volume work, I know, but a few hundred more pages would have made it truly outstanding.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Gardner on April 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
For a comprehensive overview of the Third Reich, Fischer's book is one of the best single-volume works on the market. It's eminently readable on all aspects of Nazi society: the sham politics, the ruthless military ethos, the imposition of one man's psychosis on the policies of an entire nation. The opening chapter, "The Origins of Totalitarianism" is a cogent synthesis of the historical strains from which the darkest period of the 20th century emerged: Germany's anti-modernism, which stretched back to the Enlightenment; the economic breakdown, political instability, and unraveling of civil society which the Versailles Treaty wrought; and the scapegoating of two groups which Hitler believed were a mortal threat to the country--the Communists and the Jews.
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44 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Hannah on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Klaus Fischer's account of Nazi Germany succeeds as a source of basic information, particularly regarding the early roots of the Nazi movement. Since this is its main purpose, it merits consultation by anyone seeking a solid basic grasp of those world-shattering events. However, the reader should be prepared to wade through some fairly archaic, and at times deeply disturbing, ideological baggage that pops up along the margins of the main historical narrative. First, Fischer's fleeting references to Marxism and Communism as historico-social phenomena are shallow, unsubtle and dismissive in a manner only possible for a scholar trained in America (as Fischer was), and thus saddled with that peculiar cultural blind spot of ours. However, this blind spot does not much compromise the narrative, beyond giving the misleading impression that the ideas of Marx are somehow "natural" (as opposed to historical and contingent) breeding grounds for totalitarianism. More disturbing by far is the extent to which Fischer's account of the psychological makeup and personal characters of Nazi party members echoes and reproduces some of the same archaic ideologies for which they themselves were so notorious. For example, Fischer makes frequent use of the term "deviance" to describe Nazi operatives, and explicitly includes under this rubric not only sadism but homosexuality! In his desire to paint the Nazis as twisted fiends, he ends up demonizing gays in much the same way that Jews were demonized by the Nazis. Equally archaic is his reference to facial physiognomy as evidence of criminal character among Nazis.Read more ›
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Nazi Germany: A New History
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