The Death of Democracy

The Death of Democracy

Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic

Book - 2018
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"A riveting account of how the Nazi Party came to power and how the failures of the Weimar Republic and the shortsightedness of German politicians allowed it to happen. Why did democracy fall apart so quickly and completely in Germany in the 1930s? How did a democratic government allow Adolf Hitler to seize power? In [this book], Benjamin Carter Hett answers these questions, and the story he tells has disturbing resonances for our own time. To say that Hitler was elected is too simple. He would never have come to power if Germany's leading politicians had not responded to a spate of populist insurgencies by trying to co-opt him, a strategy that backed them into a corner from which the only way out was to bring the Nazis in. Hett lays bare the misguided confidence of conservative politicians who believed that Hitler and his followers would willingly support them, not recognizing that their efforts to use the Nazis actually played into Hitler's hands. They had willingly given him the tools to turn Germany into a vicious dictatorship. Benjamin Carter Hett is a leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of these feckless politicians show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it. He offers a powerful lesson for today, when democracy once again finds itself embattled and the siren song of strongmen sounds ever louder"--Dust jacket
Publisher: New York, New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2018
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: 2018
ISBN: 9781250162502
Characteristics: xix, 280 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Argues that failures of the Weimar Republic and the shortsightedness of politicians trying to co-opt populist insurgencies inadvertently secured the tools that Hitler needed to get elected and establish a genocidal dictatorship.

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Aug 11, 2019

This book is a careful consideration of how democracy was lost during the years of the Weimar Republic, and does have some warnings for our present day. Democracy requires an engaged public, willingness to compromise, respecting the rights of minorities. It is difficult to gain and easily lost. This is a popular, rather than a scholarly work, and the profusion of names made the story sometimes difficult to follow, but it gave me a better understanding of how a civilized country could descend into barbarism, as I continue to hope that the same won't happen here.

Feb 14, 2019

Looking at the author's credentials I hoped for insight into the rise of the political right today. Unfortunately, far from drawing comparisons from the Second WW to today, I found a poor comparison of America today with Germany of that time.

Statements like Hitler "wanted to make Germany great again"...

"Adolf Hitler lied all the time. Yet he also said clearly what he was doing and what he planned to do. This is the essential paradox of Adolf Hitler."

"At highpoints of his speeches...he is seduced by himself, and whether he is speaking the purest truth or the fattest lies, what he says is, in that moment, so completely the expression of his being...that even from the lie an aura of authenticity floods over the listener".

I think Mr. Hett should review with himself who really is the subject of his book.

An historical and scholarly examination of the Third Reich given the political situation today would be interesting and perhaps educational. However this is not it. It appears a cheap knockoff, attributing all the failings of today's American leader onto one of the greatest horrors of the 20th century. Very disappointing.

Dec 04, 2018

An excellent, readable, well researched explanation of the rise of Hitler and the years preceding it.

Aug 23, 2018

I've read several books on the Nazi rise to power but this adds fascinating new information. Usually the other players are seen as passive to Hitler's maneuvers but this details schemes by Hindenburg and others and their power plays.


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