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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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(p.211) Conclusion

Anna von der Goltz (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This concluding chapter highlights common threads between chapters. It argues that Hindenburg's appeal was not limited by class, regional, or religious constraints. Hindenburg-worship differed qualitatively, and various versions of his myth evolved — but these often existed simultaneously. This polyvalence made the Hindenburg myth a more potent phenomenon than one trapped in the tight corset of the right-wing political sphere could ever have been. That his myth survived military failure and political disappointments is seen as cause to question the notion that it was simply moulded in the image of the expectations of German society. It is argued that Germans harboured strong wishes for a permanent national father figure and cherished the sense of order and continuity Hindenburg's mythical presence offered more than the various political — and military — goals associated with his name. Max Weber's model of ‘charismatic authority’ can therefore not be applied to Hindenburg's case in a clear-cut manner.

Keywords:   Hindenburg, myth, Max Weber, charismatic authority, right-wing, father figure, continuity, military failure

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