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The Crisis of German Ideology : Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich Paperback – July 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0865274266 ISBN-10: 0865274266

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Fertig (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865274266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865274266
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By MWC on September 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
I had to read Mosse's book for a graduate seminar on the Holocaust and found this to be absolutely fascinating. Not only does it show the progression of philosophies withing Germany from its roots in Romanticism to Volkish to what would ultimately become Nazi ideologies, but it presents the material in such a way that it becomes understandable exactly how this transition in thought could happen. Though the book is written as a scholarly history for scholars, it is fairly easy to understand, especially in the format in which it is presented. The first section focuses on the roots of Volkish thought and how they progressed from Romanticism in the late nineteenth century to Volkish in the early twentieth century which in turn lead to the Nazi ideals presented by Hitler to the German masses in the 1930s, a perversion of the Volkish. His second section examines how Volkish spread from small groups of idealists into the University system through literature and art, and through this infiltration of the Universities, as well as the German Youth Movement, expose its philosophies to a wider German audience than it had enjoyed before the first world war. The final section addresses Hitler's rise to power and the ways in which Hitler was able to manipulate Volkish and its intrinsic anti-Semitism to a radical degree to serve his purposes. Highly recommended for those interested in the Holocaust and/or Philosophy.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
This outstanding book is basic to understanding Nazism and the Third Reich. Without indulging in any historical determinism, Mosse exposes and analyzes the intellectual background of Nazism in this very well written and documented book. The Volkish ideologies that formed the seedbed of Nazism were the products of several major developments in 19th century Germany. Deeply rooted in Romanticism and Idealism, the Volkish ideology emerged towards the end of the 19th century as a reaction to the disappointments of Imperial Germany. Many Germans, who had grown up with a highly romanticized idea of what unification would bring, found the prosaic reality of Imperial Germany profoundly disappointing. The belated unification of Germany under the Prussian Crown, accompanied by the stresses of rapid industrialization, disappointed many who found that the Wilhelmine state did not produce the expected social solidarity. At the same time, rapid industrialization with the emergence of a self-conscious and politically active working class and powerful business interests was deeply threatening to many, particularly traditional the traditional middle classes and craftsmen.

Mosse lays out very well how a group of now largely unknown and third rate intellectuals developed an increasingly popular ideology consisting of mystic and anti-rational identification of the German Volk with civilized values. These values were opposed to liberal capitalism, democratic politics, the idea of universal human values, the rationality underlying the natural sciences, and socialist ideas.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eero Richmond on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
The distinguished professor and historian George L. Mosse (1918-1999) has written an impressive number of scholarly works in the fields of German and English history, Jewish studies, and cultural history. His The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (1964) is considered by many to be his magnum opus.

Mosse's thesis, while hardly new, is that Hitler's ideas (if indeed he had any original ones) did not simply spring from nowhere, but were a result of a century of German "Volkish" thought that permeated virtually all of German society. This idea has, of course, been presented by a number of writers, but what distinguishes Mosse's discussion is the extraordinary wealth of documentation he uses, primarily from original German sources. Mosse's cited writers on the purity of the German people, on racism, and on a kind of "new-Romanticism" believed to solve the nation's ills (Eugen Dietrichs, Paul de Lagarde, Julius Langbehn, Guido von List, et al.) may be unfamiliar to many English-speaking readers, but they were, according to Mosse, highly influential thinkers in their day and quite probably had a great effect upon Hitler. This makes a lot of sense.

What doesn't make as much sense is that Mosse, in sticking rather rigidly to his thesis, mentions only in passing any dissenting voices, be they liberal, communist, religious, the youth, etc. And when they ARE mentioned, these voices are frequently tossed aside as if they are unimportant. Also, Mosse keeps repeating the words "Volk" and " Volkish" so often (literally hundreds of times) that the reader is made dizzy and wants to say, "O.k., o.k., I get the point!"

The rise of the NSDAP in Germany was, of course, a long uphill battle for acceptance and votes, lasting from the late teens until 1933.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By medicus on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book. It shows with great clarity and detail the seemingly benign and familiar sounding origins of full blown horror: nature and sun worshipping, nationalism, anti-intellectualism, homemade religion (among others) were the ingredients of the deadly brew which was produced in the most civilized country of Europe in the 19th century. Yes, ideas matter! Today's politicians and aspiring politicians would be well inspired to read it (but are they reading? If so, is it not already pre-history for them?). A minor regret pertains to the absence of any serious analysis of the role of Richard Wagner's operas and thought on the development of the volkisch ideology. However, the book makes it quite clear. Wagnerites (among who I count myself) beware: this book will sour their pleasure for some time. I also missed a few hints at what were the counter currents which failed to prevent the disaster.
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