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Visions of Community in Nazi Germany: Social Engineering and Private Lives
Name: Visions of Community in Nazi Germany: Social Engineering and Private Lives
Author: martina steber
Pages: 369
Year: 2014
Language: English
File Size: 2.17 MB
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Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries Oxford University Press 2014 e moral rights of the authors have been asserted First Edition published in 2014 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2013957911 ISBN 978 0 19 968959 0 Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.


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Foreword In 1941 a German letter writing manual advised its readers in the name of the new Volksgemeinschaft to stop the old practice of using subaltern and sycophantic addresses when corresponding with state o?cials and adopt a more self con?dent style. 1 Another manual, dating from 1937, gave similar advice, stressing that our new state is a state of the Volksgemeinschaft" and therefore the workman is just as important a member of the whole as the professor or minister". 2 ?e term Volksgemeinschaft permeated o?cial Nazi state propaganda and all levels and areas of everyday life. It was a key term which covered up the authoritarian and bureau cratic nature of Nazi rule and functioned as a tool to exclude and exterminate all those who were not considered part of or bene?cial to it. However, it was also con sidered by many as an egalitarian and emancipatory concept which de?ned their relationship to the state by transforming it into our state". Over the last few years the ambivalence of the concept of Volksgemeinschaft has sparked o a new debate. ?is partly considers the usefulness of Volksgemeinschaft as an analytical term and asks whether it should be used by historians to describe Nazi society. But it also takes up and transforms several older discussions on what was at the centre of Nazi dictatorship and Nazi society. It comes as no surprise, then, that the concept is highly controversial and antagonizes the international community of historians of Nazi Germany considerably. Against this backdrop the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) and the Institut f r Zeitgeschichte M nchen Berlin (IfZ) decided to co organize a conference on this topic, hosted by the GHIL in March 2010 under the title German Society in the Nazi Era. Volksgemeinschaft between Ideological Projection and Social Practice". It was jointly organized by Bernhard Gotto (IfZ) and Martina Steber (GHIL). More than once during the conference, comparisons arose with the 1979 confer ence which the GHIL had organized at Cumberland Lodge on the Structure and Politics of the ?ird Reich", and where Tim Mason had coined the famous distinc tion between an intentionalist" and functionalist" camp of historians as regards the explanation of Nazi rule. Some of the protagonists of 1979 were also present at the 2010 conference. However, the new dividing lines did not run along the old trenches. More often old adversaries now found themselves united in either supporting or denying the usefulness of Volksgemeinschaft as an analytical tool for the historiography of Nazi Germany. Having published a book on the German working class and the Volksgemeinschaft, it would have been interesting to see the position of the late Tim Mason, whose person and work is still so present, especially Alfred Volkland, So musst du deine Briefe schreiben (M hlhausen 1941), 11. Curt Elwenspoek, Der rechte Brief zur rechten Zeit. Eine Fibel des schriftlichen Verkehrs f r jeder mann (Leipzig 1937), 33.


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vi Foreword among British historians on Nazi history, and the twentieth anniversary of whose untimely death was also commemorated at this conference. is volume assembles some of the most important papers given at the confer ence. ey are written by leading British, German, and US historians and not only outline the theoretical issues at stake, but also give insights into the many ?elds of politics and everyday life where this concept was at work' and needs to be analysed. As such, this volume provides far more than just an overview of current research. It makes an important new contribution to the debate on the function of the concept of Volksgemeinschaft as the core Nazi vision of community for the structure and politics of the ird Reich. e 1979 conference not only internationalized a debate which had, up to then, been one of those famous German historical political controversies with multiple internal agendas, but also initiated new research on an impressive scale. is vol ume aims to continue this fruitful international exchange on the social and societal history of the ird Reich and, in particular, to promote the lively Anglo German exchange in this still ourishing ?eld of research. One of the great challenges of internationalizing academic debates, especially in the ?eld of conceptual history, is to ?nd appropriate translations for frequently untranslatable terms. is volume would not have come about without the inval uable help of Angela Davies (GHIL) and Jonathan Ashby (Winchester), whose admirable linguistic and editorial skills proved essential for turning the conference papers into a coherent book. Our thanks go to them and also to Anna Greithanner and Linus Rapp from the IfZ for their assistance with the editorial work on this volume. Particular thanks go to the contributors, who not only participated in the conference, but were prepared to rework their papers for this volume, to the referees at Oxford University Press who read the manuscript in full and whose valuable reports helped to improve the book, and to OUP's delegates who accepted this volume for publication. Finally, we would like to thank Bernhard Gotto and Martina Steber for their dedication and energy. e main credit for conceiving and organizing this highly stimulating conference as well as for editing the present volume goes to them. Andreas Gestrich Andreas Wirsching German Historical Institute Institut f r Zeitgeschichte London M nchen Berlin


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Contents List of Abbreviations ix Notes on Contributors xiii Glossary xvii 1. Volksgemeinschaft: Writing the Social History of the Nazi Regime 1 Martina Steber and Bernhard Gotto I. VOLKSGEMEINSCHAFT: CONTROVERSIES 2. Volksgemeinschaft: Potential and Limitations of the Concept 29 Ian Kershaw 3. Volksgemeinschaft: A Modern Perspective on National Socialist Society 43 Michael Wildt 4. Echoes of the Volksgemeinschaft 60 Ulrich Herbert II. A NEW FRAME OF REFERENCE: IDEOLOGY, ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES, AND SOCIAL CONTROL 5. Pluralities of National Socialist Ideology: New Perspectives on the Production and Di usion of National Socialist Weltanschauung 73 Lutz Raphael 6. ?e NSDAP"s Operational Codes after 1933 87 Armin Nolzen 7. Mobilizing German Society for War: ?e National Socialist Gaue 101 omas Schaarschmidt 8. Registering the Volksgemeinschaft: Civil Status in Nazi Germany 1933 9 116 Jane Caplan 9. Exporting Volksgemeinschaft: ?e Deutsche Volksliste in Annexed Upper Silesia 129 Gerhard Wolf III. THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE REGIME: THE PROMISES OF VOLKSGEMEINSCHAFT 10. Volksgemeinschaft and the Illusion of Normality" from the 1920s to the 1940s 149 Andreas Wirsching


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viii Contents 11. Greasing the Palm of the Volksgemeinschaft? Consumption under National Socialism 157 Birthe Kundrus 12. Volksgenossinnen on the German Home Front: An Insight into Nazi Wartime Society 171 Nicole Kramer 13. Community of Action' and Diversity of Attitudes: Re ections on Mechanisms of Social Integration in National Socialist Germany, 1933 45 187 Frank Bajohr 14. Social Spaces of the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft in the Making: Functional Elites and Club Networking 200 R diger Hachtmann IV. VOLKSGEMEINSCHAFT: A RATIONALE FOR VIOLENCE 15. e Holocaust: Basis and Objective of the Volksgemeinschaft? 217 Christopher R. Browning 16. Volksgemeinschaft and Violence: Some Re ections on Interdependencies 226 Sven Keller 17. Social Control and the Making of the Volksgemeinschaft 240 Detlef Schmiechen Ackermann V. THE LIMITS OF VOLKSGEMEINSCHAFT POLICIES 18. e Military Elite and Volksgemeinschaft 257 Johannes H rter 19. National Socialist Blueprints for Rural Communities and their Resonance in Agrarian Society 270 Willi Oberkrome 20. e End of the Volksgemeinschaft 281 Richard Bessel Bibliography 295 Index 327


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List of Abbreviations Abt. Abteilung BA Bundesarchiv betr. betre end BGH Bundesgerichtshof BStU Beh rde f r die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik CA California CADN Centre des Archives Diplomatiques, Nantes cf. confer ch. chapter Conn. Connecticut DAAD Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst DAF Deutsche Arbeitsfront DAI Deutsches Auslands Institut DDP Deutsche Demokratische Partei DDR Deutsche Demokratische Republik DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFW Deutsches Frauen Werk Dok. Dokument DPs Displaced Persons Dr Doctor DVP Deutsche Volkspartei e.g. egregia gratia ed(s) editor(s) edn. edition etc. et cetera esp. especially et. al. et alteri . and the following pages fo(s) folio(s) FRG Federal Republic of Germany GDR German Democratic Republic Gestapo Geheime Staatspolizei GfK Gesellschaft f r Konsumforschung GHI Washington German Historical Institute Washington GHIL German Historical Institute London GNP Gross National Product HJ Hitlerjugend HStA Hauptstaatsarchiv HTO Haupttreuhandstelle Ost Kan. Kansas KdF Kraft durch Freude


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