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7 - ‘Hoist the Flag!’

Flags as a Sign of Political Consensus and Distance in the Nazi Period

from II - The Private in the Volksgemeinschaft

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2019

Elizabeth Harvey
Affiliation:
University of Nottingham
Johannes Hürter
Affiliation:
Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History Munich - Berlin
Maiken Umbach
Affiliation:
University of Nottingham
Andreas Wirsching
Affiliation:
Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History Munich - Berlin
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Summary

This chapter explores rituals of communal flag-raising in the late years of the Weimar Republic and the early years of the Nazi regime, challenging the prevailing view that such events merely demonstrate a growing mass conformity after 1933 to Nazi dictates. Instead, it is argued that, paradoxically, these mass rituals allowed scope for individuals to express private political views and even a degree of distance from the regime. Conversely, individuals who did conform to the mass flag-raising could also protect their private sphere from intrusive Party scrutiny. However, between 1933 and 1936–7 the room for individual manoeuvre was increasingly squeezed out as the Party sought to stop individuals expressing political preferences through a particular configuration of flags; moreover, the regulations concerning the ritual also evolved in order to visibly exclude German Jews from the national community.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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