Peter Fritzche 's Book ' Germans Into Nazis '

Better Essays

Peter Fritzche’s book, Germans into Nazis, contends that, “Germans became Nazis because they wanted to become Nazis and because the Nazis spoke so well to their interests and inclinations…however, voters did not back Hitler mainly because they share his hatred of the Jews…but because they departed from established political traditions in that they were identified at once with a distinctly popular form of ethnic nationalism and with the basic social reforms most Germans counted on to ensure national well-being.” (8-9) His argument rests on the notion that the Nazis had a vision for Germany that incorporated Germans into a national community, throwing off the restraints of a tired government, and propelled them towards a future that would …show more content…

He urged the people, “go into your churches, kneel before God, and implore his help for our brave army.”(25) This moment hinted at a more independent minded approach to traditional authority. When coupled together, the emotions of the crowds and the ability of groups like the Fatherland Party to find a footing in the political arena, gives reason to believe that the German people were ready to make a change that served their newfound interests. Fritzche explicitly makes this point, “the patriotism that Germans displayed was of their own making and suited to new conceptions of nation and citizenship which invited rather than discouraged public participation.” (66) At the conclusion of the war, millions of people were at a loss, and the Nazis stepped in to fill a void left by their opposition who had stoked the flames of nationalism but failed to capitalize on its apparent momentum. This included a strong message that laid blame for the German surrender at the feet of those in charge. Also, previous notions of class were turned upside down or, for the Nazis, right side up, making it possible for an illiberal, fascist community to become the norm. Simply put, “Basic elements of the Nazi message spoke to the political aspirations that burghers had held for more than ten years.” (192) Germans became Nazis by their own choosing, they were not forced to

Get Access