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By William Smaldone

The tales of the person women and men who led German Social Democracy's failed efforts to fend off the Nazi onslaught in 1933 have principally been misplaced within the wake of the cataclysmic battle, the Holocaust, and the department of Europe that Hitler's victory. Confronting Hitler recovers their tales and areas them at heart level. In a sequence of biographical essays concentrating on the studies of ten major Social Democratic activists, Smaldone examines their defeat in 1933 from the viewpoint of people enmeshed in political fight.

This research unearths what facets of those activists' lives have been most vital in shaping their political outlook throughout the republic's ultimate hindrance and it illustrates the major elements that guided their activities within the attempt to maintain the republic alive. moreover, the biographies elevate the $64000 factor of the measure to which the defeat of German Social Democracy in 1933 is similar to the studies of alternative democratic socialist pursuits within the 20th century.

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Additional info for Confronting Hitler: German Social Democrats in Defense of the Weimar Republic, 1929-1933

Example text

They would penetrate the government’s administrative apparatus, the Reichswehr, and the police. 38 Many Social Democratic leaders shared this fear and the Nazis certainly did nothing to refute it. 39 Despite this Nazi clarity of purpose, however, Social Democracy’s leaders failed to respond to the threat with anything other than parliamentary tactics. The result of this failure was their complete collapse in 1933. Legions of historians have put forward a wide array of explanations for the Social Democratic debacle.

Between 1910 and 1912 the Aufhäusers had lived in Frankfurt am Main, where he owned a factory. In January of 1913, however, he took a job as a “research assistant” in the Berlin office of the Federation of Technical and Industrial Employees (Bund der technisch-industriellen Beamten or Butib). 10 His new job was with one of the most “modern” of the white-collar workers’ organizations. Unlike their counterparts in most of the older, trade-related sectors, the 22,000 Butib members, drawn largely from the sphere of modern industry, did not regard themselves as employees on the way to becoming independent business owners.

24 Aufhäuser’s new and strongly held Marxist convictions were clear and he urged the AfA to adhere to the free trade unions’ program, which rested upon the recognition of class struggle under capitalism. ” One could be a socialist and not be a member of any party. To calm the fears of some constituent groups, who were unhappy with the AfA’s close relationship to the SPD, he encouraged the organization to promote socialist ideas without losing its political independence. And, just as he urged his comrades to think flexibly about different views of socialism, he also called for open-mindedness about the latter’s relationship to Christianity.

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