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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
January 2022
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Book description

In Weimar and Nazi Germany, capitalism was hotly contested, discreetly practiced, and politically regulated. This volume shows how it adapted to fit a nation undergoing drastic changes following World War I. Through wide-ranging cultural histories, a transatlantic cast of historians probes the ways contemporaries debated, concealed, promoted, and racialized capitalism. They show how bankers and industrialists, storeowners and commercial designers, intellectuals and politicians reshaped a controversial economic order at a time of fundamental uncertainty and drastic rupture. The book thus sheds fresh light on the strategies used by Hitler and his followers to gain and maintain widespread support. The authors conclude that National Socialism succeeded in mobilizing capitalism's energies while at the same time claiming to have overcome a system they identified with pernicious Jewish influences. In so doing, the volume also speaks to the broader issue of how capitalism can adapt to new times.


‘This pioneering collection sheds new light on how capitalism was lived, critiqued and imagined in this crucial period of German history, bringing social and cultural histories into dialogue with the politics and practices of business life to great effect.’

Neil Gregor - University of Southampton, author of Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich

‘None are so proficient at practicing capitalism yet as fiercely critical of it than the Germans. Reshaping Capitalism approaches the protean nature of commercial activity and the changing attitudes of Germans toward it from wholly new perspectives. This valuable collection forms an indispensable guide to market failure, cultural condemnation of capitalist excess, and the use of racism to legitimate plunder in a Germany poised between democracy and dictatorship.’

Jonathan Zatlin - Boston University

‘Showing the multiple challenges of the interwar economy at work in studies of the individual and corporate actors who had to respond to them, these chapters give life and breath to the familiar diagnosis of a crisis of capitalism and add new terms to the debate about continuity and change in 20th-century Germany.’

Eve Rosenhaft - University of Liverpool

‘Within the recent rise of a 'new history of capitalism', studies of both the Weimar Republic and the Nazi regime have been surprisingly absent. This volume, edited by Moritz Föllmer and Pamela E. Swett, thus clearly fills a gap. Beyond that, it adds relevant findings to the current rediscovery of the interwar years as an epoch comparable to our own times.’

Stefanie Middendorf Source: German History

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