Visions of Community in Nazi Germany : Social Engineering and Private Lives

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2014
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Gotto, Bernhard
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978-0-19-968959-0
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Oxford: Oxford University Press
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1. ed.
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When the Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933 they promised to create a new, harmonious society under the leadership of the Führer, Adolf Hitler. The concept of Volksgemeinschaft, lit. ‘the people’s community’, enshrined the Nazis’ vision of society. It was based on racist, social-Darwinist, anti-democratic, and nationalist thought. The regime defined who belonged to the National Socialist ‘community’ and who did not. Being accorded the status of belonging granted citizenship rights, access to the benefits of the welfare state, and opportunities of advancement. All those denied the privilege to belong lost their right to live. They were shamed, excluded, imprisoned, murdered. Volksgemeinschaft was the Nazis’ project of social engineering, to be realized by a plethora of means: state action, administrative procedure, party practice, propaganda, and individual initiative. It unleashed an enormous dynamism, which gave social change a particular direction. However, the Volksgemeinschaft concept was not strictly defined; it was marked by a plurality of meaning and emphasis which resulted in a range of readings in the Third Reich. Often, they stood in continuity to non-Nazi notions of Volksgemeinschaft prevalent in the Weimar Republic, which, however, now had to comply with the racist and social-Darwinist rationale of the National Socialist Volksgemeinschaft concept. In this way, Volksgemeinschaft drew people in. The book scrutinizes Volksgemeinschaft as the Nazis’ central vision of community, it engages with individual appropriations, examines projects of social engineering, analyzes the social dynamism unleashed, and shows how deeply private lives were affected by this murderous vision of society.

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ISO 690STEBER, Martina, ed., Bernhard GOTTO, ed., 2014. Visions of Community in Nazi Germany : Social Engineering and Private Lives. 1. ed.. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-968959-0
BibTex
@book{Steber2014-05-08Visio-41942,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689590.001.0001},
  isbn={978-0-19-968959-0},
  publisher={Oxford University Press},
  address={Oxford},
  title={Visions of Community in Nazi Germany : Social Engineering and Private Lives},
  edition={1. ed.},
  editor={Steber, Martina and Gotto, Bernhard}
}
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