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Catholicism, Political Culture and the Countryside: A Social History of the Nazi Party in South Germany

Catholicism, Political Culture and the Countryside: A Social History of the Nazi Party in South Germany (Hardback)

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Recent scholarship has held that Germany's Catholic population, particularly in rural areas, consistently withheld support from the Nazi Party until its takeover of power in 1933. In Catholicism, Political Culture, and the Countryside Oded Heilbronner makes a careful study of an important counterexample, that of the southern part of the state of Baden, a Catholic region where the Nazi party enjoyed massive support from 1930 onwards.The Nazi success in South Baden, Heilbronner finds, cannot be explained by the innovativeness of its organization and propaganda. Rather, Heilbronner contends that even before the economic crisis of 1929, the organizational frameworks of sociocultural life in the region, exemplified by the Catholic Church's Voluntary Associations (Vereine), had begun to disintegrate. The social and cultural vacuum created by the breakdown of these local organizational frameworks, the deepening economic crisis, and fear of a communist takeover all led to a search for a politically and economically meaningful alternative to political Catholicism and the bourgeois infrastructure. And thus, without any particular effort, and despite mistakes, mismanagement, and poor organization, the Nazi Party--the only political body to offer a non- establishment, non-Socialist alternative--was able to attract a large group of voters.With its shift in emphasis from the Nazi Party to the society in which it operated, Catholicism, Political Culture, and the Countryside will be crucial reading for historians of Germany.Oded Heilbronner is Lecturer in History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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