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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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Anti‐Democratic Politics

Anti‐Democratic Politics

(p.65) 3 Anti‐Democratic Politics

Anna von der Goltz (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the fate of the Hindenburg myth during the Weimar Republic's ‘crisis years’. Between 1919 and 1924, right-wing anti-republicans increasingly discovered Hindenburg-worship as a resource of agitation against the despised ‘system’ of Weimar and the Treaty of Versailles. These years generally witnessed a regrouping and intensified mobilization of the militant Right. Hindenburg's public appearances, often accompanied by mass rallies, became increasingly politically charged. Such events provided an inconspicuous cover, not least for voicing anti-Semitic sentiments, and proved to be pivotal in the nationalization of Germany's masses. Hindenburg himself made a decisive contribution to this development by helping to popularise the stab-in-the-back legend, commemorating Tannenberg, and lending his name to other right-wing causes. The author argues that far from playing the integrative role it had done during wartime, the Hindenburg myth now helped to shift the political climate considerably to the right, intensifying the polarization of German politics already underway.

Keywords:   Weimar Republic, Tannenberg, crisis, Versailles, mass rallies, anti-Semitism

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