Herausgegeben von: Frank Bajohr + Michael Wildt
In recent years, historians have taken a closer look at the concept of ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ or national community. The term originated in the nineteenth century and became key vocabulary in Nazi election campaign propaganda and especially after the National Socialists came to power.
This volume contains ten articles presenting the very latest research findings. The texts deal with the elements of consensus that linked the German population with the Nazi regime, the release of social forces after 1933, the mobilisation of the population, and in general the question of the reach and duration of consensus in Nazi Germany.
Classic social historians reject the term, as they tend to associate it with social equality. In fact, the Nazi period was based on a complex and dynamic structure of inequalities throughout society: inequality of races (Jews, gypsies; non-‘Aryan’ ethnicities as ‘alien to the community’) and eugenic valuations (excluding the mentally ill and disabled). This exclusion indirectly constituted the inclusion of the ‘Volksgenossen’ into the ‘Volksgemeinschaft’.
Hence, it was not egalitarian standstill but racist mobilisation that characterised the Nazi ‘Volksgemeinschaft’, even though the partial overcoming of class barriers tended to reinforce social differentiation. Is the term ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ adequate for describing the realities of the Nazi period in close focus, or is it a tool of Nazi propaganda that ultimately only mobilised the radical core of National Socialist supporters?