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The Nazi Seizure of Power [Paperback]

William Sheridan Allen

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Book Description

30 Mar 1995
Intended as a comprehensive, balanced study of the effects of the Nazi Party on the ordinary Germans themselves, William Allen's study of the records of a small town in Saxony is aimed at revealing how the Nazis were able to plunge a civilized society into a nihilistic dictatorship.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Revelations about Nazism 17 Aug 2008
By Diogenes - Published on
>The Nazi Seizure of Power< is a solid history book, good enough for use in a college-history syllabus, which is where I came across it. It is an eye-opener. Nazism, i.e. "National Socialist German-Worker Party," was as enigmatic at the working level as its name was long, which helped it hoodwink German voters, and prove that you can establish a dictatorship with ballots as easily as you can with bullets.
Nazism in "Thalburg," Professor Allen's renamed sample city, came into being through the tireless effort of Party workers, many of whom had no clue about the Party's true intentions:
from >The Nazi Seizure of Power<
1)A housewife put it clearly: "The ranks of the (Nazis) were filled with young people. The people who joined did so because they were for social justice or opposed to unemployment."
2) Others joined because it looked as though the Nazis would be victorious and they hoped to profit.
3) "Most who joined did so because they wanted a hard, sharp, clear leadership. They were disgusted with the internal political strife of parliamentary party politics."

One cannot read >The Nazi Seizure of Power< and not be impressed by the techniques used by the Nazis to sway voters:
1) In the early months of 1930, the (Nazis) held a meeting nearly every week, advertised with such titles as "The German Worker as Interest-slave of Big International Capitalists," or "Saving the Middle Class in the National Socialist State."

For the Nazis to succeed, they had to restrict private organizations:
1) There is a proverb, "Two Germans, three clubs." This was almost true of Thalburg where, in 1930, there were no fewer than 161 clubs.
2) There were 21 sports clubs, 47 with an economic or occupational function, and 23 religious or charitable societies.
3) Social discrimination against Jews was practically non-existent.

Distinctions between schools had to be eradicated:
1) There were three public primary schools, arranged so that children could also secure religious orientation.
2) Burgerschule I was Lutheran; the Katholische Volksschule served Catholic children; and the Burgerschule II was non-denominational.
3) Each school had its own School Advisory Council, elected by the pupils' parents.

The process of dissolving private or exclusive spaces in German society was called "Gleichschaltung," i.e. linking to one source.
1) Eventually no independent social groups were to exist. All of society would exist whereby each individual related not to his fellow man but only to the (Nazi) State.
2) With their social organizations gone and with terror a reality, Thalburgers were isolated from one another. By reducing the people to unconnected social atoms, the Nazis could move the resulting mass in whatever direction they wished.

The Nazi leader in Thalburg was "Kurt Aergeyz," not his real name. Aergeyz was "cynical, ruthless, and brutal," Professor Allen writes. Indeed his name means "ambition" in German:
1) It is possible to construe the actions of Kurt Aergeyz, after he came to power, as expressive of class divisions. Nothing is more difficult than discovering the truth about personal motivation, but many of the actions taken by Aergeyz suggest they were a product of social resentment.
2) As a result, Aergeyz did things to the social elite that he never did to his political opponents. The same approach characterized all of his actions with the town's upper crust.
3) Kurt Aergeyz was possibly attempting to triumph over the environment in which he had grown up and which condemned him to the condescension of his social betters.

The >Nazi Seizure of Power< is an important insider's view.
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