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The German Right in the Weimar Republic

The German Right in the Weimar Republic: Studies in the History of German Conservatism, Nationalism, and Antisemitism

Edited by Larry Eugene Jones
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    The German Right in the Weimar Republic
    Book Description:

    Significant recent research on the German Right between 1918 and 1933 calls into question received narratives of Weimar political history.The German Right in the Weimar Republicexamines the role that the German Right played in the destabilization and overthrow of the Weimar Republic, with particular emphasis on the political and organizational history of Rightist groups as well as on the many permutations of right-wing ideology during the period. In particular, antisemitism and the so-called "Jewish Question" played a prominent role in the self-definition and politics of the right-wing groups and ideologies explored by the contributors to this volume.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-353-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction The German Right in the Weimar Republic: New Directions, New Insights, New Challenges
    (pp. 1-24)
    Larry Eugene Jones

    The German Right in the Weimar Republic was a complex amalgam of political parties, economic-interest organizations, patriotic associations, paramilitary combat leagues, and young conservative salons of one sort or the other. What held these disparate organizations together, however, was not so much an ideology as a profound sense of bitterness over the lost war, a deep and abiding distrust of the democratic theory of government with its emphasis upon the principle of popular sovereignty, and a longing for the hierarchical and authoritarian values of the Second Empire. “To stand on the Right” did not mean membership in any particular political...

  5. 1 Hindenburg and the German Right
    (pp. 25-47)
    Wolfram Pyta

    How does one situate Hindenburg in the German Right? The answer to this question offers important insights into the processes of political change that ran through the German Right in the first third of the twentieth century. For in the case of Hindenburg one can easily trace the deformation of Prussian-German conservatism in its classical form as it gravitated into the orbit of an increasingly powerful and emergent nationalism. Hindenburg’s political views and the political position he represented render an impressive account of the changes that took place in the structure and form of the German Right: the retreat from...

  6. 2 From Friends to Foes: Count Kuno von Westarp and the Transformation of the German Right
    (pp. 48-78)
    Daniela Gasteiger

    Through a long political career that lasted from the late Second Empire to the end of the Weimar Republic, the politician and publicist Count Kuno von Westarp (1864–1945) was eager to stress the continuities in his conservative view of the world.¹ Even years after the fall of the German monarchy Westarp’s opponents still claimed to hear tones of Wilhelmine reaction in his speeches,² while his supporters looked upon him as the “embodiment [Fortführer] of the conservative tradition” and pinned their hopes for the creation of a united German Right on his leadership.³ His writings were inspired by a strong...

  7. 3 Conservative Antisemitism in the Weimar Republic: A Case Study of the German National People’s Party
    (pp. 79-107)
    Larry Eugene Jones

    The extent to which antisemitism constituted an essential component of German political culture both before and after World War I remains a question of considerable historical interest. This is particularly true of recent investigations on the history of the German Right. The purpose of this essay will be to examine the history of antisemitism in the Weimar Republic through the lens of the German National People’s Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei or DNVP), a party that was founded in November 1918 as the point around which a badly fragmented prewar German Right could crystallize. Although antisemitism had figured prominently in the politics,...

  8. 4 Academics and Radical Nationalism: The Pan-German League in Hamburg and the German Reich
    (pp. 108-133)
    Rainer Hering

    What do Georg von Below, Ernst Haeckel, Karl Lamprecht, Franz von Lenbach, Alfred Lichtwark, Baron Hans von Liebig, Dietrich Schäfer, Reinhold Seeberg and Max Weber all have in common? They were all academics and belonged, if only briefly, to the extreme nationalistic Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband or ADV) at some point in its existence from 1891 to 1939. To be sure, many of them have never been recognized or thought of as Pan-Germans. Still, by virtue of the prominent social status they held and the role they played as professors, teachers, physicians, jurists, lawyers, journalists, and writers in the dissemination...

  9. 5 Realms of Leadership and Residues of Social Mobilization: The Pan-German League, 1918–33
    (pp. 134-165)
    Björn Hofmeister

    As the ideological and propagandistic vanguard of the radical Right in Imperial Germany, the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband or ADV) aspired to influence right-wing politics in Weimar Germany. The Pan-Germans had consistently challenged the government by mobilizing public opinion in support of an aggressive foreign policy, cultural and ethnic homogenization, and the political containment of liberalism, pacifism, Social Democracy, and political Catholicism. The historiography on the Pan-German League has produced a number of important studies on Pan-German ideology and politics during its formative years in Imperial Germany and World War I.¹ Debates about the League’s attempts to create a conservative-nationalist...

  10. 6 Continuity and Change on the German Right: The Pan-German League and Nazism, 1918–39
    (pp. 166-193)
    Barry A. Jackisch

    In late January 1920 Heinrich Claß met with Adolf Hitler for the first time. Claß, chairman of the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband or ADV) and one of the most influential figures on the postwarvölkischRight, traveled to Munich to meet with the radical politician gaining notoriety in local right-wing circles.¹ Their meeting lasted a little over two hours. As Claß recalled, it was not really a “discussion” but rather a two-hour session of Hitler’s lectures and rants embellished with fanatical gesticulations. Claß seemed at once shocked and impressed with Hitler’s raw political skill and fanatical devotion to the fatherland:...

  11. 7 Weimar’s “Burning Question”: Situational Antisemitism and the German Combat Leagues, 1918–33
    (pp. 194-219)
    Brian E. Crim

    In December 1925 a patriotic German-Jewish citizen named Bernhard Abraham wrote the Young German Order (Jungdeutscher Orden or Jungdo) with what appeared to be a straightforward question: “Is the Young German Order antisemitic or not?” The Order responded by directing Abraham to several journals in which it addressed the so-called Jewish question.¹ It is doubtful whether Abraham had his question answered satisfactorily even after reading the entire catalog of Young German publications. To be fair, Abraham would have encountered the same inconsistency in similar organizations. The fractious German Right during the Weimar period comprisedvölkischorganizations, traditional conservative parties, and...

  12. 8 Antisemitism and the Jewish Question in the Political Worldview of the Catholic Right
    (pp. 220-243)
    Ulrike Ehret

    This chapter examines the discussion of the Jewish question and the image of the Jew on the Catholic Right by using examples from the publications and correspondence of some of its leading representatives. The essay argues that the Catholic Right’s profoundly religious worldview of a God-given organic order did not allow the traditional Christian “solution” to the Jewish question, namely the conversion of Jews to Christianity. Furthermore, right-wing Catholics saw Jews less as a religious community than as an alien, even racially distinct people that undermined German culture and threatened German national unity. Still, their proposed “solution” to the Jewish...

  13. 9 Eugenics and Protestant Social Thought in the Weimar Republic: Friedrich von Bodelschwingh and the Bethel Institutions
    (pp. 244-267)
    Edward Snyder

    In 1931 Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, one of Germany’s foremost Protestant theologians and director of the Bethel Institutions in Bielefeld from 1910 until his death in January 1946, met with leading members of the Inner Mission (Innere Mission), an umbrella organization of Protestant social-welfare providers, in the town of Treysa to discuss the place of eugenics—or the idea of selective breeding—in Protestant-run institutions. At the conclusion of the conference the group formally articulated a position that not only embraced eugenics, but also approved the implementation of surgical sterilization within the institutions of the Inner Mission. As such, the conference’s...

  14. 10 Carl Schmitt and the Weimar Right
    (pp. 268-290)
    Joseph W. Bendersky

    For decades it had been widely assumed that Carl Schmitt “exercised a powerful influence over the right-wing critics of the Republic.”¹ Schmitt, certainly one of Weimar’s most eminent conservative thinkers, expressed ideas that appreciably affected the entire intellectual climate of the era. He definitely held a place of distinction in any Weimar discourse in political and legal theory. However, his relationship to the German Right is as complex and differentiated as that side of the cultural, intellectual, and political spectrum is widely and significantly diverse. It was an identification and association that varied over time and was as much personal...

  15. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 291-294)
  16. Selected Bibliography of New and Standard Works on the History of the German Right, 1918–33
    (pp. 295-318)
  17. Index
    (pp. 319-332)