radical perspectives-chp6-PetersonA

Regional Elites and the Rise of National
Socialism, 1920-33
Brian Peterson
In the past decade, historians have actively debated the social composition of the Nazi party's membership and electorate during the Weimar
years. Most now generally agree that the social dass most indined to
join and vote for the National Socialists was the petty bourgeoisie,
induding artisans, shopkeepers, and peasants. 1 Substantial support,
however, has been shown to have come from higher social strata.
Recent studies have demonstrated that residents of affiuent neighborhoods, vacationers, cruise ship passengers, civil servants, and
rentiers-all arguably elite-supported the National Socialist German
Workers party (NSDAP). 2 On the other hand, big business and
Junkers-the core groups of the ruling dass in Weimar Germanywere generally disindined to join or vote for the Nazis, although some
of them gave various other kinds of direct and indirect support. 3
The present study is primarily interested in elite support manifested
by membership in and voting for the Naziparty. The thesis here is that
"peripheral elites'', that is, provincial aristocratic and bourgeois elements that lacked control of the central machinery of the government
and economy, were the main upper-dass groups giving active support
to Nazism. Nazism represented to these peripheral elites an aspiration
to remove control over the machinery of the national government from
the hands of the large corporations and the Junker dass, as well as to
free the government from inßuence by the organized working dass.
They desired government policies more favorable for small-to-mediumsize industrial firms, banks, and commercial enterprises.
Regional Elites
Table 1
Shifts from Election to Election in Correlations
Between Percentage of Domestic Servants and Percentage Nazi Vote
- .24
- .69
- .2lx
- .15x
- .23
Number of
Underlining: Significant, positive initial correlation or significant shift in direction of
overall party vote shift.
Initial correlation, not shift.
x: Not significant at .05 level.
These peripheral elites never became the central decision-making
group within the Nazi party, apart played by "military-political-intellectuals" of a statist and totalitarian orientation. The peripheral elites,
however, played a very important role as a bridge between the party's
ideologues and the petty-bourgeois masses. As seen in Table 1, peripheral elites contributed to the voting surges of the NSDAP in May
1924 and again in 1930. This elite support represented an assurance to
the core elites that Nazism was not truly a socialist movement and thus
served to ease Hitler's accession to power in 1933.
In distinguishing peripheral elites from core elites, geography and
dass position were closely related, for all regions were not equal. Core
regions obviously included the great metropolises, especially Berlin,
Radical Perspectives
Hamburg, and Düsseldorf, the home cities of many top industrial
corporations, banks, and commercial enterprises, as well as government centers. Also induded would be the heavy-industry centers of
the Ruhr and Upper Silesia, home to some of the wealthiest people in
Germany and headquarters to the great iron, steel, and coal companies. Likewise, Protestant Prussia, the region around which Germany was unified and the home of the Junkers, the aristocratic landowners of East Elbia, must be considered a core region, in spite of its
predominantly agricultural composition. The rural elite of Protestant
Prussia was accustomed down to the revolution in 1918 to exercising
disproportionate inßuence over the political and economic life of Germany as a whole. This power continued to a lesser degree in the
Weimar period through Junker inßuence in the military and civil
service and through Junker control over the dominant national farm
organization-the National Rural League (Reichslandbund-RLB).
The political party of the Junkers in the Weimar period was the
German National People's party-DNVP.
Peripheral regions, Catholic and/or non-Prussian, induding Bavaria,
Rhineland-Westphalia outside the Ruhr, and southwest and central
Germany, lacked the political power of Protestant Prussia and were
generally areas of peasant, rather than estate, agriculture and small to
medium-sized industrial firms. Elites in these areas were less wealthy
than the core elite and also lacked a tradition of service to the national
The consciousness of elites in core and periphery was historical as
well as economic. Politics in Germany in the 1920s still reßected
displacement of peripheral elites in the unification process of the
1860s, and old resentments lingered. Below the surface of the large
national parties that appeared dominant in 1919, many regional and
sectoral parties were waiting to break out and did so in 1920--28.
Within this constellation of dass forces, the Junkers were in many
respects the most volatile. Until 1918 Junkers obviously were an important component of the ruling dass because of their dose association
with the Hohenzollern state machine. After 1918 their position became
less dominant. The Kaiser had always seen himself as the natural leader
of the Junkers, but Friedrich Ebert, the Social Democratic president of
Germany from 1918 to 1925, in spite of his role in creating the Free
Corps (right-wing paramilitary organizations, many of whose members
later became Nazis), was despised by the estate owners. The election as
president of Germany in 1925 of Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg
partially remedied this problem for the Junkers, and Hindenburg
would play a vital role both in providing special government assistance
for East Elbian agriculture and in brokering the deal between the
Nazisand the DNVP that brought Hitler to power.
Regional Elites
Tue revolution of 1918 cost the Junkers the dominance in Prussia
given them by the three-class suffrage system, where the bottom 80
percent of the taxpayers could vote for only one-third of the state
parliament seats. With their loss of control over Prussia, Junkers lost
their leveraged position of dominance over the German federation. The
ultimate indignity of the revolution for the Junkers was witnessing the
support their agricultural workers gave to radical proposals such as
dividing up the estates. With the support of the Social Democratic
government, the Junkers smashed the revolutionary movement in both
urban and rural areas, using army and the Free Corps. Finally, after a
viable independent labor movement in rural East Elbia had been
destroyed, the Junkers set about convincing peasants and agricultural
workers to favor the DNVP and RLB, by involving them in cooperatives for credit, marketing, and purchases, protecting the workers
from inßation through in-kind wages, and fighting for higher agricultural prices and an end to government restrictions on farming. 4 Tue
success of the estate owners in winning special protection for the
purported agricultural interests of all sections of the East Elbian population brought many in the lower classes to respect Junker hegemony
during the early 1920s.
In the period from 1919 to 1923, an important group of Junkers
aligned themselves with Erich Ludendorff, the quartermaster general
of the German army in World War I and the effective dictator of
Germany from 1916 to 1918, who set up a movement to overturn the
Weimar state, rule by military dictatorship, and resume the war. 5
Hitler and the early Nazis were allied with the Ludendorff Circle in a
subordinate capacity. The Junkers saw Hitler as a "drummer" with the
task of stirring up the Bavarian masses on behalf of a nationalist counterrevolution. Tue failure of this plot in Berlin in the autumn of 1923
did not prevent the outbreak of the Beerhall Putsch in Munich, but the
Reichswehr (German army), which had been arming, equipping, training, and providing officers for the Sturmabteilung (SA-the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party, which was actually more important and
powerful than the party itself during this early period) now pulled
away. There was a breach between the traditional Junker conservatives
in the DNVP and the Ludendorff-Hitler movement, and the Junkers
brießy moved toward cooperation with the Weimar regime.
From 1926 on, however, the Junkers entered a profound economic
crisis that eventually cost them their leadership over the peasants and
agricultural workers of East Elbia and Germany generally. As their
estates became less and less profitable due to falling agricultural prices
and rising industrial prices, they were under pressure to increase the
exploitation of their workers. 6 In the agricultural crisis of the 1870s
autonomous peasant cooperatives developed in western and southern
Radical Perspectives
Germany because noble landlords were unable to provide traditional
types of individual assistance to nearby peasants, but in the late 1920s
many Junker-dominated agricultural cooperatives in northeastern Germany collapsed, damaging the ability of the Junkers to tie the peasants
to themselves through co-op loans, marketing, and other assistance. 7
Junkers demanded special government assistance for themselves
through the Osthilfe (Eastern Aid) program, and this angered many
west and south German peasants who felt that they also deserved aid. 8
The result was that peasant support for the DNVP greatly diminished in 1928, particularly in western, southern, and central Germany,
where peasants switched to the Country People's party (Landvolkpartei) based on anti-Junker elements within the RLB. After 1928
the Nazis were able to recruit many Landvolk voters. Nazimeetings in
East Elbia were filled with workers, small peasants, and agricultural
workers, with high school students, teachers, or ministers usually the
only representatives of the local elite present. 9 Junkers seldom attended. Nazism spread in the Northeast as an anti-Junker, as well as
anti-urban-worker and anti-Jewish, movement.
The alliance between Hitler and the Junkers was renewed, however,
in the joint DNVP-NSDAP referenda against the Young Plan-an
arrangement for reparations payments on loans to Germany-in 1929
and against the Social Democratic-dominated Prussian government in
1931. Many areas of complete agreement between the Nazis and
Junkers did, of course, exist. Both supported militarism and expansion
in the East and opposed the workers' movement. Reports of Junker
agricultural congresses from the early 1920s reveal a surprisingly crude
anti-Semitism. 10 Junkers supported many aspects of the Nazi economic
program: autarky through high tariff barriers for agricultural products;
German self-sufficiency in grain; and compulsory mixing of alcohol
made from distilled fermented potatoes with gasoline to keep up farm
prices and make Germany more self-reliant in energy resources. 11
Nazisand Junkers differed sharply on the questions both of settling
peasants and agricultural workers on bankrupt estates and the use of
imported Polish agricultural labor. 12 Speaking at a Silesian Nazi party
school, von Reibnitz asserted, "In the German East there is not the
correct, healthy mixture of small and large farms." He wished to
restrict large estates to only 7 to 10 percent of the agricultural land in
East Elbia, comparable to the percentage in Württemberg. 13 Harwig
von Rheden-Rheden, writing in the agricultural supplement of the
Nazi daily, called it "shameful" that foreign migratory workers were
brought in for the sugar beet harvest. 14
In any case, Junkers were not willing to concede a leadership role to
Hitler. A Nazi estimate in January 1933 was that only one Junker in ten
Regional Elites
supported the Nazis in the Frankfurt/Oder electoral district, with the
remaining nine supporting the DNVP. 15 Junkers always saw themselves as the natural rulers of Germany and regarded the Hohenzollern
kaiser as the crowned symbol ofJunker supremacy. They saw Nazis as
plebeian, South German, and, perhaps worst of all, Catholic. Wilhelm
Henning, the chairman of the Association of Nationalistic Soldiers,
stated: "Our preference for the Hohenzollerns will not allow us to aid
in the establishment of a one-sided party domination which at least in
its practical consequences might aid Roman strivings to replace this
party dictatorship through an empire of a South German Catholic
prince." 16 Junkers could not rid themselves of nineteenth-century
categories in evaluating the Nazis. For them, Nazis were always agents
of rival monarchs in Bavaria and Austria.
Junkers saw the Nazi party as inclined toward socialism and aiming
to tear down traditional leadership strata. This critique certainly
seemed to have considerble local justification with reference to East
Elbian Nazis, although their leftism was the consequence of the antiNazi stance of the Junkers. Northeast German Nazis were radical by
default, since the local upper classes could not be recruited to the Nazi
movement in large numbers. With an almost exclusively plebeian base,
Nazis in Protestant Prussia adopted a "socialist" line. 17 The radical SA
was larger in proportion to total Naziparty membership in the Northeast than elsewhere in Germany, while the more elite Schutzstaffel (SS)
organization was delayed in establishing itself in East Elbia. 18
North German "radicals" and South German "conservatives" within
the NSDAP had in common an anti-Junker stance. Both opposed
"Kaiser fetishists": "the men of the eternal yesterday, the stubborn
dogmatists of Old Prussian-conservative tradition and pigtailed privy
councillors and courtier circles of the Wilhelmian epoch are still today
the leaders of the German Nationalists. " 19
In the contest between the plebeian NSDAP and the Junker-dominated DNVP for political control of East Elbian agriculture, estate
owners defended their hegemony by refusing to allow members of the
Stahlhelm to attend Nazi meetings, coercing local newspaper owners
into refusing Nazi ads, and pressuring local innkeepers to refuse to rent
meeting halls to the Nazis. 20 The conservative Junker newspaper, the
Kreuz-Zeitung, criticized at length Nazi economic and agricultural
programs as "socialist," "utopian," and dangerous to the autonomy of
the farmer. 21 In turn, the Völkischer Beobachter accused DNVP estate
owners of firing Nazi agricultural workers and hiring Communists in
their stead. 22
The Nazis quickly took away the mass following of the Junkers in the
rural Northeast in 1930-31. Junker control over the Stahlhelm and
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RLB was shaken. New Nazi or proto-Nazi elements ousted the previous DNVP-oriented leaders and gave greater attention to peasant and
agricultural worker interests. 23 Nazi agitators aroused small peasants
against the "moral serfdom" involved in the traditional custom of
making deep bows to estate owners. 24
The dass composition of Nazi support among farm owners in East
Elbia is shown by the occupations of the NSDAP representatives
elected to the Brandenburg Chamber of Agriculture in 1931: thirteen
peasants and one gardener on the plebeian side, and one estate renter,
two estate owners, and three owners of knights' estates on the elite
side, or fourteen to six in favor of the plebeians. Only one of the elite
representatives of the Nazis had an aristocratic name, suggesting that
big landlords who backed the Nazis were more likely to be commoners
than noblemen. 25 By contrast, DNVP-RLB slates typically had a preponderance of aristocrats.
Hostility between Junkers and Nazis was particularly acute in the
Reichstag campaign of November 1932, when Hitler said of the Herrenklub, a Berlin society of 300--400 nobles and capitalists to which
many ministers in von Papen's cabinet belonged: "You speak against
Marxism as a dass phenomenon, and you yourselves are the worst sort
of dass phenomenon. " 26 National Socialists were even worried in October 1932 that Junkers might engage in an anti-Nazi putsch with
support from Franz von Papen and Paul von Hindenburg. Nazis feared
that if they did well in the November 1932 elections, reactionaries
could make a coup d' etat, abolish the Constitution, and rule by means
of a military dictatorship that could eventually restore the
Hohenzollerns to power. 27 Nazis need not have worried because they
did poorly in this election, and the reactionaries instead became anxious about the large increase in the Communist vote and decided that
the best thing after all would be to make Hitler chancellor in a coalition
government with the DNVP, Stahlhelm, and von Papen.
In this coalition government, formed at the end of January 1933,
Alfred Hugenberg, head of the DNVP, was made minister of economics
and also minister of agriculture, the two ministries that most affected
core elites in big business and estate agriculture. 28 Hugenberg's job
was to protect core elites, who had not backed Hitler, from peripheral
elites and the petty-bourgeois masses, who had. Junkers had helped to
oust General Kurt von Schleicher as chancellor in January 1933 because Schleicher favored dividing up bankrupt Junker estates among
workers and peasants, and Junkers knew that this was also the Nazi
program. In the event, their fears came true, but not in the manner
they feared. Junker estates were divided up, not by Nazis in 1933, but
Regional Elites
with the arrival of the Red Army in 1945, as a logical consequence of
Junker short-sightedness in giving power to Hitler.
Junker culpability in the Nazi accession to power, however, is not the
same thing as direct Junker support for Nazism. Tue Junkers had
resisted the Hitler movement for as long as they could. Only after they
had lost their mass support to the Nazis and the only alternative
seemed to be a leftist government did they agree to support a cabinet
in which Hitler was chancellor. By contrast, outside Protestant Prussia,
National Socialists were more successful in elite recruitment. In Catholic and/or non-Prussian regions, including central and southwest Germany, Rhineland-Westphalia, and Bavaria, members of local elites
more frequently joined and voted for the Nazis.
One very common practice in these peripheral regions was for
aristocrats who were leaders of local peasant organizations to join the
NSDAP. Over and over again, one notes the presence of Nazis with
names beginning with "von" or Nazis who farmed large estates as heads
of state, provincial, or county branches of the RLB or the Cham her of
Agriculture. 29 Aristocratic farm leaders in peripheral regions who
joined the Nazis were much less inclined to quit the party over policy
disputes than were Junkers.
Of all the peripheral regions, the Southwest-the most democratic
and egalitarian area of Germany-surprisingly became the area of
strongest elite support for Nazism. In Baden, members of the upper
classes conversed casually with newspaper vendors, saleswomen, and
waiters in cafes. 30 In Württemberg, "after a good supper, a man of
office and worth will sit and drink wine with a modest artisan. " 31 These
could be regarded as matters of style, rather than substance, since
there was no accompanying willingness to give up real privileges to the
masses. Nevertheless, these expressions of democratic spirit had political consequences and served to differentiate the southwestern elite
from the Junkers and North Germans generally. Their democratic
traditions prepared them for the mass politics of National Socialism
and, unlike North German elites, they had no inbred prejudices
against associating with the masses. In many respects, the Nazi movement was a continuation of the Grossdeutsch-Greater Germandemocratic movement of 1848, with its aspirations to create a Germany
inclusive of Austria and other eastern territories, which had great
appeal in Catholic areas of the Southwest.
Another factor in the politics of southwestern elites was the many
resorts and spas in the region. Rentiers and retired people living in
these spa towns had suffered greatly in the inßation of 1923 and blamed
Weimar democracy for their plight. They often voted Nazi in con-
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sequence. These people were geographically marginalized as a function of their generational marginalization. Many of them had lived and
worked in core sectors of Protestant Prussia, but now no longer ran
companies, estates, military units, or government departments. Unlike
those actively running the institutions of society, they were under no
constraint in the expression of their political beliefs. They had nothing
to lose by radicalism. In this, they strongly resembled the young. High
school and university age children of Junkers and big businessmen also
frequently joined and supported the Nazis, even while their parents
remained loyal to the DNVP. 32 Thus, Nazi support came from the
generational-as well as geographic and power/wealth-periphery of
the elite.
Central Germany shared with the Southwest an economy based on
small factories and a political structure of autonomous states (Länder).
The Chemnitz-Zwickau electoral district of Saxony included the
Erzgebirge and the Vogtland, a region of much domestic industry and
many small lace, embroidery, silk-weaving, and toy factories, and was a
prime locale for support by the local elite for the Nazis. 33 Here
employers felt ignored by the national government, which they accused of favoring the interests of big business. 34 Tue prosperity of the
rest of Germany seemingly had permanently left behind the
Erzgebirge-Vogtland, where the poor still sometimes ate dog meat. 35
Thuringia was similar, only somewhat less impoverished, with no city
over 100,,000 population and generally small factories whose owners
heavily favored the Nazis. 36 Throughout central Germany, then, a high
elite vote for National Socialism was produced by the relatively small
size of factories and by a regional pattern of political loyalites.
In Bavaria, the homeland of National Socialism, much more elite
support for Nazism existed than in Protestant Prussia, but this Bavarian
elite support was restricted in scope by religion. Certainly the core
groups of the Bavarian upper class-the Catholic aristocracy, not very
politically influential, and the large industrialists-did not desire
Hitler in power. 37 Tue Catholic aristocracy supported the Bavarian
People's party (BVP) and hoped for a restoration of the Wittelsbachs,
the former ruling family of Bavaria, and the larger industrialists mostly
moved from the German People's party (DVP) to the DNVP. Tue BVP
attacked the Nazis as favoring a "Greater Prussia," just as the Prussian
loyalists attacked the Nazis for wanting a Bavarian or an Austrian to rule
all of Germany.38 In general, Nazis in Bavaria received support from
elite members who had formerly voted for the liberal parties, the
DNVP, or the anti-clerical peasant movement, the Bavarian Peasant
Association (BBB), rather than those who had supported the Catholic
and particularist Bavarian People's party.
Regional Elites
Upper-dass Bavarians gave less support to the Nazis in towns where
the Catholic church held a particularly dominating position, for instance, diocesan seats such as Eichstätt. In strongly derical towns, the
middle dass tended to dominate the local Nazi group, while the upper
dass remained aloof and loyal to the church. 39 Antidericalism distinguished Catholic elite support for the Nazis in Bavarian peasant
villages. 40 In larger towns, the Nazis were more likely to have many
supporters among the stratum of notables than in smaller towns where
the local elite was more traditionalist. In Catholic agricultural areas in
Bavaria, elite support for the Nazis came especially from individuals
who were not well-established local residents, but rather less religious
and less socially conservative newcomers. Civil servants, teachers, and
educated professionals represented the Nazielite in Catholic Bavaria,
rather than large property owners, who remained true to the BVP. 41 In
Protestant areas of Bavaria, wealthy estate owners, industrialists, and
bankers quite frequently joined the Nazis. 42
The dass structure of Rhineland-Westphalia differed markedly from
that of Bavaria. The heads of huge coal and steel corporations at the
summit in the Ruhr, men of strong national political influence and
international economic power, suspected Nazi social radicalism. Two
leading heavy industrialists, however, Fritz Thyssen and Emil Kirdorf,
were members of the Nazi party for a period, although both were
suspicious of its anti-big business rhetoric. 43 In the German regional
structure, the Ruhr counted as metropolitan, while the rest of the
Rhineland and Westphalia was merely provincial and was typified by
small and medium-size business. Thus, Nazism in the Ruhr, as in
Protestant Prussia, was plebeian, although not proletarian. 44
Elsewhere in the Rhineland and Westphalia, however, National Socialism often had strong support from the same types of small-factory
owners who backed it in central Germany. 45
Elite members in peripheral regions who became Nazis often were
former particularists and separatists, the supporters of local dynasties
that had ruled before German unification. Many had been advocates of
a local state separate from the rest of Germany in the turbulent period
from 1918 to 1923 when the French sponsored such movements in
western and southern Germany. The thwarted will to provincial sovereignty became transformed into a desire to oust the core elites from
control over the central government.
The dedine of particularism was simultaneously the death of monarchism. After the 1926 referendum to expropriate the former princely
houses-a referendum sponsored by the Social Democratic party
(SPD) and the German Communist party (KPD) that failed but, in the
process, revealed extensive antimonarchical sentiment among non-
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Marxist voters-the decline of monarchism was marked among the
plebeian supporters of the pro-Hohenzollern DNVP as well as among
particularists backing various regional dynasties . 46
In Hanover the turning point away from particularism was the referendum of May 18, 1924, on separate state status. Hanover had been
absorbed by Prussia as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and
the supporters of the dispossessed Guelph dynasty of Hanover formed
their own political party, the German Hanoverian party (D HP), known
as the Guelph party. Tue May 1924 referendum was a failure for the
Guelphs. 47 This failure had been anticipated two weeks earlier by
urban elite voters for the German Hanoverian party who switched to
the Nazis in the May 4 Reichstag election. 48 Losses to the DHP
between 1920 and May 1924 seem to have been concentrated in towns
with a strong local elite population. Movement of Guelph peasants to
the Nazis was much slower, and it was only in 1932 that the Nazis
finally decimated the Guelph party among the deeply conservative and
localist peasant masses. 49 As the Guelph movement disintegrated, its
local units urged supporters to switch to the Nazis. 50
Similar particularist movements in the northwest German regions of
Schleswig-Holstein, Schaumburg-Lippe, and Oldenburg also eventually produced an important vote for the Nazis. Schleswig-Holstein
and Hanover had been absorbed by Prussia in 1866, while Oldenburg
retained its independence but remained in clear danger of being
swallowed by Prussia as part of the movement of government rationalization. Particularist elites wanted tobe controlled neither by the
Junkers of Old Prussia nor by the Socialists of New Prussia, and the
Nazis advocated continued independence for Mecklenburg-Strelitz,
Oldenburg, and Schaumburg-Lippe and respect for local autonomy
within Prussia elsewhere. For example, in Hanover, the Nazis criticized liberal peasant leaders who supported organizations devoted to
centralizing the Reich government with greater Prussian dominance. 51
In Bavaria, separatism and particularism were gradually exhausted
by a long series of rebuffs. In the immediate postwar period, numerous
consultations between BVP leaders and the French with a view toward
establishing a separate Bavarian or Catholic monarchy in the south of
Germany came to naught. Many in the BVP had separatist aims in the
events leading up to the Beerhall Putsch in November 1923. However,
the most decisive demonstration of public sentiment on the issue of
separatism and particularism was the vote in April 1924 on a proposal of
the BVP that was backed also by the DVP and DNVP. This referendum
called for a separate Bavarian state president, an upper house to the
state parliament, and a simplified form by which the Constitution
could be revised. Tue purpose of the referendum was to establish a
Regional Elites
state structure for Bavaria as much like the prewar structure as possible, which would make it a simple matter to restore the local monarchy. This referendum was held simultaneously with the Landtag
election in which the Nazisfirst showed substantial strength in Bavaria,
and the referendum failed. In deciding against particularism, many
Bavarian voters also decided in favor of Nazism and switched from the
parties supporting the referendum. 5 2
Bavaria also had its own internal particularism. The dominant region, Upper Bavaria, centered on M unich, gave strong support to the
Wittelsbachs. Other regions of Bavaria were less supportive of the
Wittelsbachs. The least favorable region was predominantly Protestant
Franconia, where the most intense duster of aristocratic support for
National Socialism in Germany could be found. Franconian aristocrats
felt alienated from the Catholic aristocracy of South Bavaria and the
Wittelsbachs, yet not, of course, integrated into the Prussian aristocracy. 53 These aristocrats had no hope of restoring a favorable position
for themselves merely by returning to the past, and support for the
Nazis appeared to be the best way to create an authoritarian society.
Franconia was unusual as well in the level of support the Nazis had
among sections of the elite other than the aristocracy, including police
officials, government administrators, and small factory owners. 54 Franconian localities had given the highest votes of any localities in Germany to the DNVP in 1920, but in 1924 they became the strongest
localities for the Nazis. 5 5
The key center for Nazi strength in Franconia-Coburg-had belonged to Thuringia until after the war and never quite fit into Bavaria.
As the Kreuz-Zeitung drolly put it, Bavaria was so reactionary that it
did not allow Coburgers to grill their beloved Bratwürste. 56 Dominated by a castle dating from the twelfth century, Coburg was a city in
thrall to the past. The streets were filled with signs indicating "Suppliers to the Duke," including jewelers, barbers, druggists, and bookdealers. The local dukes had deliberately retarded the development of
transportation and industry in the area so that their hunting grounds
and castles would be peaceful. The townspeople felt grateful to their
duke for supplying them with wide avenues, parks, and especially
theaters, for Coburgers were famous for their love of plays, opera, and
music. In June 1929 Coburg became the first of many "Residence
Cities"--cities of residence for a territorial ruler-across Germany's
small states to elect a Nazi government. The former duke, Karl Eduard, lived in Coburg and led the movement toward the Nazis. 57 The
Nazislogans in this election formed a revealing melange of nationalism,
particularism, and anti-Semitism: "Germany for the Germans! Coburg
for the Coburgers! And to Palestine with those who belong there!"58 At
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the end of 1929, Duke Karl Eduard appeared at the Nazirally andin
April 1932 endorsed Hitler for president. 59 Thus, the multiple levels of
particularism in Coburg-against Thuringia, Bavaria, and the national
government-made this a stronghold of Nazism.
Other areas of Bavaria also showed centrifugal tendencies. Tue Palatinate, geographically separated from the rest of Bavaria, was under
Allied occupation, and the French and Belgians encouraged a local
separatist movement designed to set up a buffer state they could
permanently dominate. Conßicts here between the occupation troops
and separatists, on the one hand, and loyal Germans, on the other,
contributed to radicalization in Pirmasens, andin the winter of 1924 a
group of separatists was lynched by the local population. 60 Pirmasens,
a center for shoe manufacture with many small factories, served both as
a locus of separatism in the 1920-23 period and one of the strongest
cities for the Nazis from 1929 on. 61 There is a likelihood that both
separatists and antiseparatists ended up in the Nazi camp.
Particularism and separatism also promoted elite support for National Socialism in other areas of the Southwest. Nazi voting totals were
often highest in university towns and former residence cities, usually
nonindustrial and nostalgic for the glories of their independent past. A
disproportionate number of the well-to-do, especially professors, civil
servants, professionals, and military officers, lived in such towns. 62
Examples of cities in the Southwest where the Nazis won a strong elite
support included Marburg, a reactionary university town in Hesse,
with a long history of conservative and anti-Semitic voting, and an
educated Nazi local leadership; 63 Kassel, a residence city in Hesse,
where the Nazi vote increased dramatically in 1924;64 and Heidelberg,
Baden, where in 1930, out of thirty-one Nazis on the city council,
fourteen were educated professionals, including judges, doctors, architects, and engineers. 65 In Hesse, the Nazis attracted the "Old
Nassauers," loyal to the dynasty displaced by the Prussians in 1866,
just as these individuals had also ßocked to separatism during the
period of French occupation. During 1923, some Naziparty members
in Frankfurt am Main simultaneously were active in the "Blücher
Association," a paramilitary organization that sought an independent
South German state under Wittelsbach rule and received funding from
the French. 66 Of course, these separatist activities were not part of
Hitler's program; they illustrate instead the confused ideological world
of National Socialism on the periphery.
Microparticularism-loyalty to a single town or a tiny region-was a
factor in support for Nazism by local elites in Thurginia. Because
merger meant losing their status as capitals, cities that had been
capitals of very small states resisted being merged into the larger state
Regional Elites
of Thuringia in 1920. Weimar became the capital of the united
Thuringian state, but other former ducal capitals lost their function.
This brought with it a loss of court patronage for local merchants, an
end to the ßow of tax moneys into the city's infrastructure, and a
decline in such cultural amenities as ducal theaters and libraries.
Gotha, for example, lost its Grand Duke's Court, garrison, and government ministries. 6 7
Central German particularism was agitated again in 1928 when the
governments of Saxony and Thuringia began exploratory steps toward
merger with each other, and in 1929 when the German Democratic
party (DDP) and SPD urged fusion with Prussia. 68 By an odd dialectic,
the most parochial areas of Germany became the strongest bases of
support for the movement that, once in power, would institute the most
extreme policy of centralization-Gleichschaltung, the subordination
of states to the national government.
Particularist support for National Socialism resulted from a complex
process of "deprovincialization" that had economic, social, and political
roots. Particularism was grounded in a localist economy, especially
agrarian, with support from artisans, professionals, and banks serving
local clients. As the German economy increasingly focused on national
and international markets, the strength of economic localism declined.
Another blow to provincialism was World War 1. Tue experience of
serving in military units with men from all over Germany, the growth of
national consciousness both on the battlefield and on the home front,
and the shared deprivation as a result of the peace settlement all served
to undermine localism.
Tue loss of the war, to be sure, discredited Junker, Prussian, and
Hohenzollern leadership, and during the 1919-23 period caused an
upsurge of separatism. Once separatism irrevocably failed with Gustav
Stresemann's restoration of effective central government in 1923-24,
localist elites turned their attention back to the problem of controlling
the national government in their own interest. Tue Weimar Republic,
simply by abolishing all German monarchies, helped to delegitimate
monarchism. All of these factors combined tosend many particularists
to the Nazis in the crisis elections of 1924 and 1930.
Besides particularists, Nazism received much support from liberal
members of peripheral elites who had supported the DDP and DVP
and always favored a strong central government. Liberals who became
Nazis hearkened back to the grossdeutsch tradition of the German
unification movement and welcomed any steps that would bring Austria and Germany together. These formerly liberal Nazis had several
traits in common with former particularists who became Nazis. Both
liberals and particularists were hostile to the power of Junkers and big
Radical Perspectives
business, and both were willing to join a völkisch-populist-racialistmovement and associate fraternally with the masses. These qualities
allowed them to unite with one another and with the huge Nazi
following among the lower middle dass in order to reshape Germany.
The grandsons of the Guelphs and the 48ers joined ranks to contest
Bismarck's legacy with the grandsons of the Junkers and the Krupps.
Precedents existed in other countries for the kind of regional restructuring represented by the Nazi movement. In spite of the enormous
differences in ideology, organization, and the human costs of the outcomes, structural similarities existed between the electoral coalition of
National Socialism and that of Jacksonian Democracy in America from
the 1820s to the 1840s. In both cases, the new movement represented a
significant regional broadening of the traditional base of national power
coming two generations after the founding of the new state. In both
cases, peripheral elites (westerners in the American case) united with
plebeian elements of the core regions to transform traditional political
alignments. In both cases, core elites were divided into two major
factions that had, at least temporarily, exhausted their potential for
political leadership, industrialists and Junkers in Germany and northern merchants and Tidewater planters in America. In both cases, also,
the agrarian and traditionalist half of the core elite was more willing to
give support to the new movement than was the urban and modernist
half. 69
While Nazi supporters among the provincial elites hoped to create a
truly national ruling dass for Germany in which they could play a
leading role, instead, by placing power in the hands of an irresponsible
dictatorship, they brought calamity. Their banal political aim of broadening the regional basis of power was incommensurable with the
consequences that ensued.
Methodological Appendix
County (Kreis) level analysis serves as the statistical base for this
study, with material from 1, 155 counties and towns. The percentage of
domestic servants in the population is used as a substitute indicator for
the percentage of affiuent. For purposes of regional analysis, Germany
has been broken up into seven areas. Three regions of Protestant
Prussia are considered as the core: the Northeast, the heart of Old
Prussia, and the preeminent Junker region, induding Brandenburg,
Pomerania, East Prussia, Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia, and the nonPrussian states of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz;
Silesia, with a predominance of estate agriculture, but the complicating
Regional Elites
factor of Catholic and industrial Upper Silesia; and the Northwest,
including the Prussian provinces of Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein
and the autonomous states of Brunswick, Oldenburg, SchaumburgLippe, Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck. Four regions formed the
periphery: Central Germany, a Protestant, industrialized area consisting of Saxony, Thuringia, Anhalt, and the Prussian province of Saxony;
Rhineland-Westphalia, Catholic, industrial provinces of Prussia; the
Southwest, a region of mixed religion and light industry, including
Baden, Württemberg, Hesse, Waldeck, Hohenzollern, and the Bavarian province of the Palatinate and the Prussian province of HesseN assau; and Bavaria, the heavily Catholic and particularist homeland of
the National Socialist movement. Tue election and census data used in
this essay are from the Inter-University Consortium for Political Research at the University of Michigan. 70
Domestic servants are a valid indicator of elite presence, since only
one German family in ten could afford to employ a servant. 71 Ofthe1.4
million domestic servants in Germany in 1925, three-fourths lived in
the homes of their employers. Young women under the voting age
comprised a majority of domestic servants, and those who qualified to
vote seldom actually voted or else voted as their employers indicated.
Tue rate of voting of domestic servants was the lowest of any major
occupational group. Domestic servants could form independent political opinions only with difficulty simply because they seldom spent
much time outside their employers' homes. They were expected to
work fourteen hours a day, with only a half day off on Sundays. Servants
had less free time than any other workers. 72 A good example of a Nazi
domestic servant was Frau Friederike Brzoska of Wollin, East Prussia,
who was eighty years old in 1932 and had been working for a Nazi
physician since 1922. She accompanied him to party meetings in all
weather and knit socks for the SA. 73 Her support for the Nazis was an
aspect of her servility, rather than representing an independent dass
consciousness. This argues that these statistical correlations show not
the direct impact of domestic servant voting so much as an indication of
the voting pattern of the elite that employed the servants.
Correlations used in this essay are Pearson's r, generated by the
DSTAT-2 program. Correlation shifts show the change from election to
election. Rules of interpretation are simple. In order tobe significant,
the correlation shift should be statistically significant at the . 05 level
and should be moving in the same direction as the overall vote for that
particular party. For instance, in rural localities between May and
December 1924, the Nazi correlation with domestic servants went up
.12, a statistically significant shift, but the overall Nazi vote was declining from 6. 9 percent to 3.2 percent. This means that it was not likely
Radical Perspectives
that the affiuent vote for the Nazis was increasing, but simply that the
affiuent were not deserting the Nazis in such large proportions as other
groups in the population. However, the significant shift from December 1924 to 1928 of -.28 took place as the overall Nazi vote was
declining from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent, indicating that in this
election affiuent voters were deserting the Nazis faster than voters
generally. Thus, this correlation shift is underlined.
1. Thomas Childers, The Nazi Voter: The Social Foundations of Fascism in Germany,
1919-1933 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983); Rudolf Heberle,
From Democracy to Nazism: A Regional Case Study on Political Parties in Germany
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1945); Jerzy Holzer, Parteien und
Massen: Die politische Krise in Deutschland, 1928-1930 (Wiesbaden : Franz Steiner
Verlag, 1975); Michael H. Kater, The Nazi Party: A Social Profile of Members and
Leaders, 1919-1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); ClausDieter Krohn and Dirk Stegmann , "Kleingewerbe und National-Sozialismus in
einer agrarisch-mittelständischen Region: Das Beispiel Lüneburg 1930-1939," Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 17 (1977): 41-98; Klaus Schaap, Die Endphase der Weimarer Republik im Freistaat Oldenburg 1928-1933 (Dusseldorf: Droste Verlag,
1978); Gerhard Stoltenberg, Politische Strömungen im schleswig-holsteinischen
Landvolk 1918-1933 (Dusseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1962); Heinrich August Winkler,
Mittelstand, Demokratie und Nationalsozialismus: Die politische Entwicklung von
Handwerk und Kleinhandel in der Weimarer Republik (Cologne: Verlang
Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1972), "From Social Protectionism to National Socialism:
The German Small-Business Movement in Comparative Pespective," Journal of
Modern History 48, no. 1 (March 1976), and " Mittelstandsbewegung oder Volkspartei? Zur sozialen Basis der NSDAP," in Wolfgang Schieder, ed., Faschismus als
soziale Bewegung: Deutschland und Italien im Vergleich (Hamburg: Hoffmann and
Campe Verlag, 1976); Peter Wulf, Die politische Haltung des schleswig-holsteinischen Handwerks 1928-1932 (Cologne: Westdeutsche Verlag, 1969); Wolfgang
Zapf, Wandlungen der deutschen Elite: Ein Zirkulationsmodell deutscher
Führungsgruppen 1919-1961 (Munich: R. Piper Verlag, 1965); Hansjörg Zimmermann, Wählerverhalten und Sozialstruktur im Kreis Herzogtum Lauenberg 19181933 (Neumünster: Karl Wachholtz Verlag, 1978); Zdenek Zofka, Die Ausbreitung
des Nationalsozialismus auf dem Lande: Eine regionale Fallstudie zur politischen
Einstellung der Landbevölkerung in der Zeit des Aufstiegs und der Machtergreifung
der NSDAP 1928-1936 (Munich: Stadtarchiv, 1979).
2. Richard F. Hamilton, Who Votedfor Hitler? (Princeton : Princeton University Press,
1982); see also Childers, Nazi Voter, regarding civil servants and rentiers.
3. Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler (New York :
Oxford University Press, 1985). Older works indicating some of the kinds of support
given to Nazism by big business include George W. F. Hallgarten , Hitler, Reichswehr und Industrie (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1955); Eberhard
Czichon, Wer verhalf Hitler zur Macht? Zum Anteil der deutschen Industrie an der
Zerstörung der Weimarer Republik (Cologne, 1967); Arthur Schweitzer, Big Business in the Third Reich (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964); Nicos Poulantzas, Fascism and Dictatorship: The Third 1nternational and the Problem of
Fascism (London: NLB, 1974).
Regional Elites
4. Germania, March 29, 1922, evening ed.; Frankfurter Zeitung, October 19, 1924,
first morning ed. and May 11, 1928, first morning ed.; Die rote Fahne, December
21, 1924; Vorwärts, May 16, 1924, evening ed. and January 27, 1927, evening ed.;
Leipziger Volkszeitung, April 9, 1920; Fritz Brehmer, "Die Landarbeiterbewegung
in der Provinz Pommern," lnaug. diss., Greifswald University, 1923, p. 99; and
Richard N. Hunt, German Social Democracy, 1918-1933 (Chicago: Quadrangle,
1970), p. 121.
5. Bruno Thoss, Der LudendorffKreis 1919-1923 (Munich: Stadtarchiv, 1978); Gerst
Borst, "Die Ludendorflbewegung 1914-1961," Inaug. diss., University of Munich,
1969; Andreas Werner, "SA and NSDAP. SA: 'Wehrverband,' 'Parteitruppe' oder
'Revolutionsarmee'? Studien zur Geschichte der SA und der NSDAP 1920-1933,"
Inaug. diss., University of Nuremberg, 1964; Heinrich Bennecke, Hitler und die SA
(Munich: Günter Olzog Verlag, 1962); Dietrich Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party:
1919-1933 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1969); F. L. Carsten, The
Reichswehr and Politics, 1918 to 1933 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966); Harold J.
Gordon, Jr., Hitler and the Beerhall Putsch (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1972); and Robert G. L. Waite, Vanguard of Nazism: The Free Corps Movement in
Postwar Germany, 1918-1923 (New York: Norton, 1969).
6. Frankfurter Zeitung, July 25, 1928, first morning ed.; Max Sering, Die deutsche
Landwirtschaft (unter volks- und weltwirtschaftlichen Gesichtspunkten) (Berlin:
Paul Parey, 1932), pp. 46, 49.
7. Allan Stanley Kovan, "The Reichs-Landbund and the Resurgence of Germany's
Agrarian Conservatives, 1919-1923," Ph.D. diss., University ofCalifornia-Berkeley,
1972, p. 145; Pankraz Fried, "Die Sozialentwicklung im Bauerntum und Landvolk,"
in Handbuch der bayerischen Geschichte, vol. 2, part 2 (Munich: C. H. Beck'sche
Verlag, 1973), p. 753; Die rote Fahne, January 30, 1926; Frankfurter Zeitung,
February 2, 1927, first morning ed.; and Vorwärts, March 1, 1930.
8. Bruno Buchta, Die Junker und die Weimarer Republik: Charakter und Bedeutung
der Osthilfe in den Jahren 1928-1933 (East Berlin: VEB Deutscher Verlag der
Wissenschaft, 1959); Herman Lebovics, Social Conservatism and the Middle Classes
in Germany, 1914-1933 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), p. 41; Dieter
Gessner, "The Dilemma of German Agriculture during the Weimar Republic," in
Richard Bessel and E. J. Feuchtwanger, eds., Social Change and Political Development in Weimar Germany (Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1981), pp. 142-43; Alexander Gerschenkron, Bread and Democracy in Germany (New York: Howard
Fertig, 1966; reprint of 1943 original), p. 145; Vorwärts, May 17, 1930; and Frankfurter Zeitung, March 16, 1931, evening ed.
9. Völkischer Beobachter, January 24, 1928, February 9, 1928, June 6, 1928, June 15,
1928, and October 14/15, 1928; and Frankfurter Zeitung, September 9, 1930,
evening ed.
10. Kreuz-Zeitung, February 18, 1920, morning ed.; and Vorwärts, February 18, 1920,
morning ed.
11. Völkischer Beobachter, February 26, 1932.
12. Kreuz-Zeitung, January 28, 1929, evening ed.; Völkischer Beobachter, September
13, 1932, and December 18/19, 1932, and Vorwärts, July 27, 1927, evening ed.
13. Quoted in Völkischer Beobachter, February 12, 1932.
14. Völkischer Beobachter, February 16, 1932.
15. Völkischer Beobachter, January 4, 1933.
16. Quoted in Kreuz-Zeitung, February 21, 1933.
17. Völkischer Beobachter, July 7, 1929, February 15, 1930, and April 4, 1931; Vorwärts, July 4, 1930; Frankfurter Zeitung, April 3, 1931; second morning ed. See also
Childers, Nazi Voter, p. 120; Orlow, Nazi Party, pp. 56--88; Jeremy Noakes, The Nazi
Party in Lower Saxony, 1921-1933 (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 71-
Radical Perspectives
81; and Reinhard Kühnl, Die national-sozialistische Linke 1925-1930 (Meisenheim
am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain, 1966).
SA membership in proportion to party membership was highest in the following
provinces as of January 1, 1930: East Prussia, Brandenburg, Hessen-Nord ,
Pomerania. See Völkischer Beobachter, February 15, 1930. On the late start of the
SS in the northeast: Robert Lewis Koehl, The Black Corps: The Structure and Power
Struggles of the Nazi SS (Madison: University ofWisconsin Press, 1983), p. 54.
Völkischer Beobachter, July 7, 1928.
Ibid., August 13, 1927, March 30, 1928, July 13/14, 1928, July 16, 1928, and
October 26, 1932.
Kreuz Zeitung, March 22, 1930; July 11, 1930, second ed. and July 27, 1930.
Völkischer Beobachter, October 26, 1932.
Frankfurter Zeitung, December 31, 1931, evening/first morning ed.
Völkischer Beobachter, January 23, 1932.
Ibid., November 28, 1931.
Quoted in ibid. , October 13, 1932.
Ibid., October 1, 1932.
Turner, Big Business , p. 313.
Such individuals were mentioned in the Völkischer Beobachter for the following
regions: Palatinate, February 16, 1932; Eschwege, Hesse, February 11 , 1932;
Rhineland, April 10/11, 1932; Saxony, February 6, 1932; and Magdeburg-Anhalt,
December 8, 1931.
Frankfurter Zeitung, November 28, 1924, first morning ed.; and November 29,
1924, first morning ed.
Ibid., November 12, 1924, first morning ed.
Nazis received strong support among fraternity members in East Elbian universities
(Völkischer Beobachter, July 28/29, 1929). lt was even said that Hugenberg's son in
Munich supported the NSDAP (Frankfurter Zeitung, December 19, 1929, evening
ed. ). Many sons of members of the Building and Landowners' Association-a group
tightly affiliated with the Economic Party-- supported the Nazis (Frankfurter
Zeitung, August 18, 1930, morning ed.).
Kreuz Zeitung, June 24, 1930; Heinrich Brandler, Die Aktion gegen den KappPutsch in Westsachsen (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, 1920), p. 55; Ernst
Heilmann, Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung in Chemnitz und dem Erzgebirge
(Chemnitz: Landgrat, n.d. [1910?]), p. 59.
Frankfurter Zeitung, April 22, 1932, evening/first morning ed.
Vorwärts, February 14, 1920, morning ed.; May 7, 1925, morning ed.; November
24, 1929, morning ed.
Turner, Big Business, pp. 194--95.
Axel Schnorbus, "Wirtschaft and Gesellschaft in Bayern vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg
(1890--1914)," in Bayern im Umbruch: Die Revolution von 1918, ihre Voraussetzungen, ihr Verlauf und ihre Folgen , ed. Karl Bosl (Munich: R. Oldenbourg,
1969), p. 148.
Geoffrey Pridham, Hitlers Rise to Power: The Nazi Movement in Bavaria , 1923-1933
(New York: Harper, 1973), p. 82.
In the 1930 Reichstag election, Nazis won 18 ercent in Eichstätt, but in another
diocesan seat, Passau, where the population was 95 percent Catholic, the Nazis won
31 percent. One difference was that Passau was close to the Austrian border and
hence more nationalistic and Grossdeutsch in its attitudes (Pridham, Bavaria , pp.
140, 159); Elke Fröhlich, "Die Partei auf lokale Ebene. Zwischen gesellschaftlicher
Assimilation und Veränderungsdynamik," in Gerhard Hirschfeld and Lothar Ket-
Regional Elites
tenacker, eds., Der "Führerstaat": Mythos und Realität. Studien zur Struktur und
Politik des Dritten Reichs (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1981), p. 262.
Oskar Maria Graf, Unruhe um einen Friedfertigen (Munich: Süddeutscher Verlag,
1975, first edition 1947), p. 309.
Zofka, Ausbreitung, p. 104.
Frölich, "Die Partei," p. 263.
Turner, Big Business, pp. 91, 95, 145.
Wilfried Bühnke, Die NSDAP im Ruhrgebiet, 1920-1933 (Bonn : Verlag Neue
Gesellschaft, 1974), pp. 174, 179, 199; and Herbert Kühr, Parteien und Wahlen im
Stadt- und Landkreis Essen in der Zeit der Weimarer Republik (Dusseldorf: Droste
Verlag, 1973), pp. 152, 155.
Turner, Big Business, pp. 198-201.
Ulrich Schüren, Der Volksentscheid zur Fürstenenteignung 1926 (Dusseldorf,
Droste Verlag, 1978).
Germania, May 14, 1924, morning ed.; and Noakes, Lower Saxony, p. 118.
Noakes, Lower Saxony, p. 117.
Völkischer Beobachter, May 26/27, 1929, and May 18, 1932; Noakes, Lower Saxony,
p. 154.
On the dissolution of the Guelph party in the city of Braunschweig in late 1930, see
Vorwärts, March 3, 1931.
Völkischer Beobachter, March 2, 1928; and Kreuz Zeitung, August 8, 1928, evening
Germania, April 8, 1924, evening ed.
Rainer Hambrecht, Der Aufstieg der NSDAP in Mittel- und Oberfranken (19251933) (Nuremberg: Stadtarchiv, 1976), pp. 256, 537.
Hambrecht, Mittel- und Oberfranken, pp. 256, 258, 308.
Jürgen Falter, Thomas Lindenberger, and Siegfried Schumann, Wahlen und Abstimmungen in der Weimarer Republik: Materialien zum Wahlverhalten 1919-1933
(Munich: C. H. Beck, 1986), pp. 132-33.
Kreuz-Zeitung, October 14, 1921, evening ed.
Frankfurter Zeitung, August 28, 1932, evening/first morning ed.; and Völkischer
Beobachter, June 25, 1929, and September 8, 1929.
Hambrecht, Mittel- und Oberfranken, p. 349.
Ibid., p. 537; and Kreuz-Zeitung, April 2, 1932.
Hans Hartmann, "Die Pirmasenser Schuhindustrie in der Kriegs- und
Nachkriegszeit," Ph.D. diss., UniversityofMunich, 1935, pp. 12, 37-39, 43, 48, 50,
53; Frankfurter Zeitung, January 15, 1924, first morning ed.; February 13, 1924,
first morning ed.; and February 24, 1924, first morning ed.
Statistik des Deutschen Reichs, vol. 315, part 2, Die Wahlen zum Reichstag am 4.
Mai 1924 und am 7. Dez . 1924 (Berlin: Verlag Reimar Hobbing, 1928), p. 60.
Frankfurter Zeitung, November 12, 1924, first morning ed.
Eberhart Schön, Die Entstehung des Nationalsozialismus in Hessen (Meisenheim
am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain, 1972), p. 82.
Schön, Hessen, p. 161; Frankfurter Zeitung, July 20, 1928, evening ed.
Johnpeter Horst Grill, The Nazi Movement in Baden, 1920-1945 (Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 1983), p. 196.
Schön, Hessen, pp. 39, 76; and Frankfurter Zeitung, July 4, 1930, evening ed.
Kreuz Zeitung, October 14, 1921, evening ed.; Donald R. Tracey, "The Development of the National Socialist Party in Thuringia, 1924-1930," Central European
History 1, no. 1 (March 1975): 24.
Germania, June 15, 1928, morning ed.; and Kreuz Zeitung, April 30, 1928, evening
Radical Perspectives
69. Obviously, the differences between Jacksonian Democracy and National Socialism
are qualitatively more important than the similarities. Jackson was for states' rights
and limited government, while Hitler favored Gleichschaltung and totalitarianism.
Whereas Jackson idly wished for the death penalty for Abolitionist writers, Hitler
actually imposed concentration camps, torture, and execution on Marxists.
Both Jacksonian Democracy and National Socialism represented movement away
from Honoratiorenparteien-parties of notables, dominated by the traditional
elite-to modern, mass parties with a professional party leadership and more
organized linkages to the rank-and-file party membership and electorate, and both
brought with them a substantial increase in voting participation.
Just as National Socialism served to protect capitalism by creating a new pattern of
electoral forces, so Jacksonian Democracy served to perpetuate slavery by bringing
northern plebeians into a coalition with southern planters. Just as National Socialism
rallied the petty-bourgeois masses around a program of anti-Semitism, so Jacksonian
Democracy used antiblack measures to win the support of northern urban Irish
Both movements appealed to younger, rather than older, men, and, among the
elites, to the less established rather than to the better established. Both movements
were heartily opposed, at least in rhetoric, to the power of "finance capital." Neither
movement was particularly strong among urban industrial workers, and both played
on male chauvinist, militarist, and antimodern themes. Just as National Socialism
sought expansion in the East at the expense of the Slavic peoples, so too the
Jacksonians promoted Indian Removal for the sake of white settlement.
A revealing distinction between the two movements was their relationship to
Freemasonry. Jackson was a Mason and the target of agitation by the Antimasonic
party, which was strong in some areas of the United States in 1828, while the Nazis
were themselves devoted anti-Masons.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of ]ackson (Boston: Little, Brown, 1953);
Robert V. Remini, The Election of Andrew ]ackson (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1963);
Edward Pessen, ]acksonian America: Society, Personality, and Politics (Homewood,
IL: Greenwood Press, 1978); Harry L. Watson, ]acksonian Politics and Community
Conflict: The Emergence of the Second American Party System in Cumberland
County, North Carolina (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981);
Arthur W. Thompson, ]acksonian Democracy on the Florida Frontier (Gainesville:
Florida State University Press, 1961); Donald B. Cole, ]acksonian Democracy in
New Hampshire, 1800-1851 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970);
Sean Wilentz, Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American
Working Class, 1788-1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 172-216;
Alvin Kass, Politics in New York State, 1800-1830 (Syracuse: Syracuse University
Press, 1965); and Lee Benson, The Concept of]acksonian Democracy: New York as a
Test Gase (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961).
70. Inter-University Consortium for Political Research, University of Michigan . These
statistics come from: Statistik des Deutschen Reichs, vols. 402-12, Volks-, Berufs- ,
und Betriebszählung vom 16 . Juni 1925 (Berlin: Verlag Reimar Hobbing, 1927-29).
71. For another study that uses the presence of servants as an indicator of the elite status
of the household, see Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie, Carnival in Romans (New York:
George Braziller, 1979), p. 5.
72. Statistik des Deutschen Reichs, vol. 402, part 2, p. 224; Herbert Tingsten, Political
Behavior: Studies in Election Statistics (Totowa, NJ: Bedminster Press, 1963), p. 163;
Eberhard Schultz, ed., Dokumente und Materialien zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung im Bezirk Halle, Vol. 1 (Halle: Mitteldeutsche Druckerei Freiheit, 1965),
Regional Elites
p. 87; Deutsche Tagezeitung, July 12, 1925; Seymour Martin Lipset, Political Man
(Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963), p. 263; Vorwärts, March 10, 1929, morning
ed., and September 9, 1931, morning ed.
73. Völkischer Beobachter, December 11/12, 1932.