Antisemitism in the German Military Community and the Jewish Response, 1914-1938
Antisemitism in the German Military Community and the Jewish Response, 1914-1938 explores how German World War I veterans from different social and political backgrounds contributed to antisemitic politics during the Weimar Republic. The book compares how the military, right-wing veterans, and Jewish veterans chose to remember their war experiences and translate these memories into a political reality in the postwar world. Brian E. Crim reveals that contested legacies of World War I influenced the growth and content of German antisemitism prior to the Third Reich.
- Hardback | 230 pages
- 157.48 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
- 17 Apr 2014
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Table of contents
Table of Contents Introduction Chater One Legacies of the Front: Antisemitism in the Imperial Army and Reichswehr Chapter Two The Stahlhelm's Jewish Question Chapter Three The Volkisch Middle? Situational Antisemitism and the Young German Order Chapter Four "We were there also": Jewish Veterans and the Defense against Antisemitism Chapter Five "There is only loyalty or treason": The Military Community in the Third Reich Conclusion Bibliography
Belying anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews shirking military service, German Jewish soldiers died on the battlefields of WW I alongside their gentile comrades, and almost half of the German Jewish soldiers were decorated for bravery. It is known that the hopes for recognition of those 80,000 who survived the war were mostly disappointed, not only by 1933, but also in the Weimar Republic, with most rightist and conservative veterans' organizations observing increasingly anti-Semitic policies. While confirming this general view, Crim unfolds a rather nuanced picture. In five chapters, he examines anti-Semitic attitudes and politics in the German Army before, during, and after WW I, in the Stahlhelm (the most proliferate right-wing veterans association), and in the less popular and more moderate Young German Order, and he explores the responses of the Jewish war veterans association to the increasingly yet never complete ostracism of Jewish servicemen from the gentile organizations. The final chapter outlines the radicalization of these politics through 1938. What propelled anti-Jewish stances and acts was, according to Crim, not ingrained hatred or disdain, but the need of these associations to overarch, or distract from, their massive internal divisions through 'situational anti-Semitism,' as he calls it. Clearly a scholarly book, addressed to graduates and faculty. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty. CHOICE Crim's comprehensively researched analysis demonstrates that antisemitism on the German Right, and specifically in veterans' organizations, was neither unanimous in scope nor rooted entirely in principle. Holocaust and Genocide Studies [The author's] description of the extraordinarily multifaceted, situational antisemitism in the veterans' leagues i insightful and very detailed ... [and] provides a rich source for specialists on German military antisemitism. German Studies Review In this masterfully sensitive analysis of the predicament of German-Jewish soldiers and officers during and especially after World War I, Brian Crim probes the depths of anti-Semitism among Weimar's right-wing veterans associations. It is the perhaps still incomprehensible story of the betrayal by their non-Jewish comrades who fought next to them in the trenches, a story that provides important new insights into the causes, but also the complexities of the rise and ultimate victory of the Nazis. -- V.R. Berghahn, Columbia University Antisemitism in the German Military Community and the Jewish Response, 1914-1938 is an indispensable study on the function and varieties of antisemitism among the right-wing organizations of World War I veterans in Weimar Germany and the early years of the Third Reich. Based on extensive research, Brian Crim's book carefully differentiates between the attitudes and actions of conservative and radical groups, and includes an important analysis of the struggle of Jewish veterans to preserve the memory of their sacrifice even after the establishment of the Nazi regime. This is a valuable addition to the literature that should be read by all students of modern Germany, Jewish history, and antisemitism. -- Omer Bartov, Brown University Brian Crim's Antisemitism in the German Military Community and the Jewish Response, 1914-1938, represents an important and discriminating contribution to the existing body of secondary literature on the history of antisemitism in the Weimar Republic. Based on a careful analysis of published and unpublished primary sources, Crim's study highlights the extent to which the antisemitism of paramilitary organizations like the Stahlhelm and Young German Order was shaped by the situation in which these organizations found themselves at any particular point in time. Crim also devotes attention to the struggle of Jewish veterans of the Great War against the antisemitism that became such a prominent feature of German political culture during the Weimar Republic. Crim's study is to be commended in particular for the sensitivity it demonstrates to the ebb and flow of antisemitic prejudice in the constantly shifting tides of Weimar political life. -- Larry Jones, Canisius College
About Brian E. Crim
Brian E. Crim is an associate professor of history at Lynchburg College.