THE NAZI SEIZURE OF POWER by William Sheridan Allen


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Any study on Nazi Germany is limited from the start by its many competent predecessors. Yet this historian has somehow managed to employ still another approach to the time between 1930 and 1935--the years in which Hitler advanced, conquered, and entrenched himself and the National Socialist party in every town in the country. By settling on one of these towns--Thalburg, near Hanover, population 10,000--the author can trace the take-over in concrete events, changes, reactions. The detailed monograph is divided into two parts: the ""death of the democracy"" due to economic depression, political failure and the complementary feelings of nationalism and anti-Communism. Then in 1933, the second phase begins--Hitler's concerted program to ""coordinate"" the nation by destroying the existing social structures. There is nothing novel about this analysis or division. The book's distinction lies rather in its fidelity to the facts in one particular town, with one set of civic officials (notably the Nazi ""Local Group Leader""), and one population--whose shift in attitudes, indifference and, in the end, total lack of comprehension of what was really happening convert the theory into actuality and make it both clearer and more readable. Even if Thalburg is not the ""typical"" German town, as the author readily admits, the monograph is still one of the most trusted historical approaches to any period. This is primarily well-organized source material for scholars, not to compete with Shirer's work, but to supplement it.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1965
Publisher: Quadrangle