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Introduction - Historicizing Capitalism in Germany, 1918–1945

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2022

Moritz Föllmer
Affiliation:
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Pamela E. Swett
Affiliation:
McMaster University, Ontario
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Summary

This broadly conceived introduction discusses recent approaches to the history of capitalism in the United States and Germany and relates them to the findings of economic and business historians of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. It identifies four key tensions between the prominence of Kapitalismuskritik and the tacit spread of capitalist practices and attitudes; a focus on capitalism’s concentrated and organized character and the experience of its bewildering complexity; state intervention and the dynamics of the market; and a national framework of viewing the economy and capitalism’s transnational entanglements. The overarching argument is that Nazism became attractive not least for promising to resolve these tensions. It professed to transcend capitalism while harnessing its energies for a racist and imperialist agenda. These and other aspects are treated in the volume’s four sections on debating, concealing, promoting, and racializing German capitalism between 1918 and 1945.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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