The German intellectuals and the rise of Nazism, 1923-1933
Bruggen, Ben B.
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On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler became for all intents and purposes the dictator of the Weimar Republic in Germany. Prior to this date, democracy in Germany had sought to find a solution to the critical problems of the hour. One chancellor had succeeded another with rapidity. Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor bought a stability to German politics that began in constitutionalism and ended in a ruthless dictatorship. Since the program of Hitler's National Socialism was well known before he assumed power, the ending should not have been a surprise. It is my intention to examine the period of the rise of Nazism, prior to its assumption of power, approximately 1923-1933, in an effort to determine what part the German intellectuals played in this process. Though it is difficult to assess the effect of the views held by "intellectuals,” they do have an effect, and they must accept responsibility for these effects. The first and second chapters in this study deal with the role of the intellectuals in Germany during this period. The remaining chapters attempt to determine why they assumed this role. There are several limitations on this work. The most important one being the definitions of an intellectual. Dr. Joseph Goebbels would have us believe that an intellectual is one whose only task is to interpret data to the benefit of the State, regardless of the validity of that interpretation.1 The designation of intellectuals in this study is simply left to the various authors who were consulted for material.2 Another limitation on this work is the lack of a knowledge of the German language by the Author. This necessitated using either material written in English or translated. 1. Goebbels, Joseph, nGerman Undercurrents—Those Wretched Intellectuals,” Living Age. Vol. 356, (April 1939), p. 151. 2. That is, no attempt to designate persons as intellectuals was done unless this designation had previously been made by other authors.