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Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy download epub

by Eric D. Weitz

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Eric D. Weitz has written a great book about a very important subject. He examines the political, social and cultural aspects of the Weimar Republic so that we can compare and contrast them with our own.

Eric D. Weitz’s Weimar Germany .

Eric Weitz's Weimar Germany reveals the Weimar era as a time of strikingly progressive achievements-and even greater promise.

Eric Weitz's portrayal of Weimar Germany concentrates on the culture, and . The book's subtitle, "Promise and Tragedy," encapsulates Weitz's responses to Weimar cultural and political life, respectively.

Start by marking Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Eric Weitz has written the authoritative history that this fascinating and complex period deserves, and he illuminates the uniquely progressive achievements and even greater promise of the Weimar Republic.

In his new book Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Princeton University Press, 2018), Eric D. Weitz challenges the belief that the fledgling democracy was doomed to fail

Princeton University Press, 2007.

Weimar Germany still fascinates us, and now this complex and remarkably creative period and place has the history it deserves. Eric Weitz's Weimar Germany reveals the Weimar era as a time of strikingly progressive achievements--and even greater promise. With a rich thematic narrative and detailed portraits of some of Weimar's greatest figures, this comprehensive history recaptures the excitement and drama as it unfolded, viewing Weimar in its own right--and not as a mere prelude to the Nazi era.

Weimar Germany tells how Germans rose from the defeat of World War I and the turbulence of revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. Setting the stage for this story, Weitz takes the reader on a walking tour of Berlin to see and feel what life was like there in the 1920s, when modernity and the modern city--with its bright lights, cinemas, "new women," cabarets, and sleek department stores--were new. We learn how Germans enjoyed better working conditions and new social benefits and listened to the utopian prophets of everything from radical socialism to communal housing to nudism. Weimar Germany also explores the period's revolutionary cultural creativity, from the new architecture of Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut, and Walter Gropius to Hannah Höch's photomontages and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's theater. Other chapters assess the period's turbulent politics and economy, and the recipes for fulfilling sex lives propounded by new "sexologists." Yet Weimar Germany also shows how entrenched elites continually challenged Weimar's achievements and ultimately joined with a new radical Right led by the Nazis to form a coalition that destroyed the republic.

Thoroughly up-to-date, skillfully written, and strikingly illustrated, Weimar Germany brings to life as never before an era of creativity unmatched in the twentieth century-one whose influence and inspiration we still feel today.

Comments: (7)

Eric D. Weitz has written a great book about a very important subject. He examines the political, social and cultural aspects of the Weimar Republic so that we can compare and contrast them with our own.
Weimar Germany was born from the ashes of World War One, and was troubled by inherent problems right from the beginning. Weitz identifies the main weakness of the Weimar Republic as right wing elements such as the Junkers, the officer class and big business. He claims these elements never supported the idea of democracy and remained throughout the 15 years of its existence at best grudging, lukewarm supporters.
He describes how the conservatives conspired to put Adolf Hitler in power in January, 1933, thinking they could control him. Needless to say, reality unfolded the other way around.
Weitz describes how there were strong racist and anti-Semitic trends in Weimar Germany outside the Nazi Party, left over from Imperial Germany, and foreshadowing the Third Reich. There are illustrations of right wing, non-Nazi posters describing the horrors of French occupation and Bolshevism in blatantly racist images, for example.
Weitz takes a really interesting look at the architecture, art and philosophy of Weimar, showing how trends in those fields both conformed to and led the worldwide trends.
Weitz shows how democracy should have worked in Weimar: "Germans went to the polls on 31 July 1932. The Nazis received 37.3 percent of the vote, the highest they would ever achieve in a free election. They now became Germany's largest party and had 230 delegates sitting in the Reichstag. They celebrated their triumph, but it is worth underscoring the fact that they did not achieve, and never would achieve, a majority in a freely contested election. They received a very large chunk of the vote, more than one-third. But the German people never elected the Nazis to power. Nearly two-thirds of the electorate cast their votes against the Nazi Party." p. 356.
The author gives a good review of the political dynamics and details of that time in Germany. While he does spend some time on the economic situation, his focus is on the cultural changes rather than on the financial issues and ramifications. Fortunately, the author's political bias is obvious, so the reader can take that into consideration as he/she reads the book. With so many political parties in existence in Germany at the time, a glossary including, if nothing else, the acronyms and brief descriptions of the various political groups would have been helpful.
Weimar Germany (i.e., the period between the two wars) is usually primarily seen merely as a precursor to the Nazi era which was to follow. This is a shame because Weimar itself is an extremely interesting period well meriting extensive study on its own. This excellent study, by a professor of history at the University of Minnesota, demonstrates the virtue of taking a close look at this fascinating period.

Most books on Weimar tend to focus on the political developments that led to Hitler's rise; while that is covered in this book as well (the initial chapters focus upon the aborted German revolution and the "political worlds"), it is clearly secondary to other concerns of the author. He sees Weimar as fundamentally being about trying to cope with "modernism" and all of the technological changes that swept life in the 1920's and 1930's. So there is sustained discussion of the mass printed media, radio, theater and film, architecture, photography (Sander and Moholy-Nagy), music and expressionist art as well as political developments and the impact of economic crises on German life. Culture and the "mass society" is a constant focus here, including some interesting capsule discussions of individuals such as Thomas Mann, Bertold Brecht, Kurt Weill, Martin Heidegger, and an absolutely fascinating figure of whom I had not previously been aware, the artist Hannah Hoch. "Bodies and Sex" is another interesting topic which I have not encountered in other studies of Weimar.

All of this is discussed against the political background which is so critical to understanding the period. As such, the book is a richer study with wider sweep than Peter Gay's stupendous "Weimar Culture," which it complements nicely. The book contains extremely helpful notes, a useful bibliographic essay, and a number of incisive illustrations, many in full color. The author begins his book stating: "Weimar Germany still speaks to us." This fine study validates that perspective.
Bought this book in preparation for a trip to Berlin. Cannot be happier that I did so--provided excellent context and history of a turbulent time in Berlin and German history, in all its complexity. Provided much needed "backstory" and allowed me to engage more deeply with the excellent museums and memorials in Berlin.
Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy download epub
Author: Eric D. Weitz
ISBN: 069101695X
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Language: English
Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 24, 2007)
Pages: 448 pages