The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself… Daniel Patrick Moynihan


Look at the typical picture of Adolf Hitler. You see a scowling man with a gas pipe fitter’s moustache – or worse – always seeming to personify the evil that emanated from his regime. Yet, as the photos printed with this entry demonstrate, this is not the universally accurate portrait of the man. He was an accomplished politician who held and promoted many ideas in the mainstream – his pathology was not apparent in his every glance and utterance – and because of this he was able to rise to power in a relatively legitimate way and once at the apex seize the reins of government. The story has been too often repeated, and will be again, but the lessons have not been learned and if history really is a race between learning and catastrophe this is one of the most important books of the last decade.

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Living with Hitler : liberal Democrats in the Third Reich  Eric Kurlander  New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press, c 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xi, 292 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [255]-283) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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This book addresses key questions about liberal democrats and their activities in Germany from 1933 to the end of the Nazi regime. While it is commonly assumed that liberals fled their homeland at the first sign of jackboots, in reality most stayed. Some even thrived under Hitler, personally as well as professionally. Historian Eric Kurlander examines the motivations, hopes, and fears of liberal democrats — Germans who best exemplified the middle-class progressivism of the Weimar Republic — to discover why so few resisted and so many embraced elements of the Third Reich.

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German liberalism was not only the opponent and victim of National Socialism, Kurlander suggests, but in some ways its ideological and sociological antecedent. That liberalism could be both has crucial implications for understanding the genesis of authoritarian regimes everywhere. Indeed, Weimar democrats’ prolonged reluctance to oppose the regime demonstrates how easily a liberal democracy may gradually succumb to fascism.

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