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HindenburgPower, Myth, and the Rise of the Nazis$
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Anna von der Goltz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570324.001.0001

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Hindenburg After 1945

Hindenburg After 1945

(p.193) 9 Hindenburg After 1945

Anna von der Goltz (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the reinterpretation of Hindenburg in both German states after 1945. It shows that Hindenburg's role was soon reassessed by opinion makers: from ‘national saviour’ to the senile figure that ‘delivered’ Germany to Nazi rule. While this represented a break from his mythical glorification, it also entailed apologetic tendencies. In both FRG and GDR, blaming Hindenburg made it possible to skirt the issue of popular consent so vital to Nazi rule. The chapter illustrates that this reinterpretation of Hindenburg was mirrored in the symbolic realm: re-buried secretly in a church in Marburg, his unobtrusive post-war grave stands in sharp contrast to his monumental pre-war burial site. In the pluralist Federal Republic, undercurrents of Hindenburg's veneration have continued to exist: streets and army barracks still carry his name, and he remains a lieu de m é moire for select, but influential, groups, especially among German expellees.

Keywords:   grave, Marburg, national saviour, GDR, Hindenburg, German expellees

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