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Totalitarianism: Introduction

  • Donald J. Dietrich (a1)


Our understanding of the types and meaningful levels of resistance to Hitler's rule has broadened as more complex and reflective studies have unremittingly exposed the political, social, and cultural dynamics supporting the Holocaust and its significance for our culture. Analyses of how and why the Holocaust erupted in Nazi-controlled Europe have elicited studies on the tools and methods of terror in the Third Reich. The works of both Eric Johnson and Robert Gellately, for example, have helped crystallize our understanding of the phenomenon that individual Germans living out their hopes, fears, and, frequently, petty jealousies made operant the ideological and physical terror that empowered the Nazi oppression. The Gestapo and courts, of course, formally carried out the brutalization of society, but they were assisted by countless Germans in fulfilling the Nazi agenda.

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1. Geyer, Michael and Boyer, John, “Introduction: Resistance against the Third Reich as Intercultural Knowledge,” in Resistance against the Third Reich, 1933–1990, edited by Geyer, Michael and Boyer, John (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 114;Large, David Clay, ed., Contending with Hitler: Varieties of German Resistance in the Third Reich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

2. Johnson, Eric, Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans (New York: Basic Books, 1999);Gellately, Robert, The Gestapo and European Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990);Gellately, Robert, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

3. Mallmann, Klaus-Michael and Paul, Gerhard, “Allwissend, Allmächtig, Allgegenwärtig?: Gestapo, Gesellschaft, und Widerstand,” Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 41 (1993): 984–99;Gellately, Robert, “Situating the ‘SS-State’ in a Social-Historical Context: Recent Histories of the SS, the Police, and the Courts in the Third Reich,” Journal of Modern History 64 (1992): 338–65.

4. Kershaw, Ian, Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria, 1933–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983);Kershaw, Ian, The “Hitler Myth”: Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

5. Broszat, Martin, et al. eds., Bayern in der NS-Zeit, 6 vols. (Munich: Oldenbourg, 19771983);Peukert, Detlev, Die KPD im Widerstand: Verfolgung und Untergrundarbeit an Rhein und Ruhr, 1933–1945 (Wuppertal: Hammer, 1980);Schmädeke, Jürgen and Steinbach, Peter, eds., Der Widerstand gegen der Nationalsozialismus: Die deutsche Gesellschaft und der Widerstand gegen Hitler (Munich: R. Piper, 1985).

6. Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York: Vintage Books, 1996);Browning, Christopher, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Harper Collins, 1998).

7. Rothfels, Hans, The German Opposition against Hitler (Hinsdale, Ill.: H. Regnery, 1948);Hoffmann, Peter, The History of German Resistance, 1933–1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988);Conway, John, “Coming to Terms with the Past: Interpreting the German Church Struggles, 1933–1990,” German History 16 (1998): 377–96.

8. Bauer, Yehuda, “Overall Explanations, German Society and the Jews, or: Some Thoughts about Content,” in Probing the Depths of German Antisemitism: German Society and the Persecution of the Jews, 1933–1941, by Bankier, Bavid (New York: Berghahn Books, 2000), 318;Bartov, Omer, “Defining Enemies, Making Victims: Germans, Jews, and the Holocaust,” American Historical Review 103 (1998): 771816.

9. Nicosia, Francis and Stokes, Lawrence, eds., Germans against Nazism: Nonconformity, Opposition and Resistance in the Third Reich: Essays in Honour of Peter Hoffmann (New York: Berg, 1990);Chandler, Andrew, The Moral Imperative: New Essays on the Ethics of Resistance in National Socialist Germany, 1933–1945 (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1998).

10. For an introduction to the study of resistance as moral history, see Geyer, Michael, “Resistance as Ongoing Project: Visions of Order, Obligations to Strangers, and Struggles for Civil Society, 1933–1990,” in Resistance against the Third Reich, eds. Geyer, and Boyer, , 325–50.

11. Geyer, , “Resistance” in Resistance against the Third Reich, eds. Geyer, and Boyer, , 349–50;Huyssen, Andreas, “After the Wall: The Failure of German Intellectuals,”; New German Critique 52 (1991): 109–43.

12. Bracher, Karl Dietrich, “Demokratie und Ideologie im Zeitalter der Machtgreifungen,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 31 (1983): 124.

13. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, “After Ten Years: A Reckoning Made at New Year 1943,” in letters and Papers from Prison (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972).

14. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Ethics (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1965), 55ff.

15. Klemperer, Klemens von, “Church, Religion, and German Resistance,” in The Moral Imperative, Chandler, 5456.

16. Barnett, Victoria, Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1999), 175;Volf, Miroslav, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville, Term.: Abingdon, 1996).

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Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
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