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By William Smaldone

The tales of the person women and men who led German Social Democracy's failed efforts to fend off the Nazi onslaught in 1933 have principally been misplaced within the wake of the cataclysmic battle, the Holocaust, and the department of Europe that Hitler's victory. Confronting Hitler recovers their tales and areas them at middle degree. In a chain of biographical essays targeting the studies of ten major Social Democratic activists, Smaldone examines their defeat in 1933 from the point of view of people enmeshed in political fight.

This research unearths what elements of those activists' lives have been most vital in shaping their political outlook in the course of the republic's ultimate problem and it illustrates the foremost elements that guided their activities within the attempt to maintain the republic alive. additionally, the biographies bring up the $64000 factor of the measure to which the defeat of German Social Democracy in 1933 is similar to the studies of alternative democratic socialist events within the 20th century.

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Extra info for Confronting Hitler: German Social Democrats in Defense of the Weimar Republic, 1929-1933

Sample text

The main reason for this division was ideological. During the German Revolution of 1918–1919 even the bourgeois employees’ associations increasingly organized themselves along trade-union lines in order to fight more effectively for better contracts. Despite this organizational similarity to the AfA, however, the bourgeois associations maintained a strong antipathy to the blue-collar workers’ movement. They demanded special legal status for employees and attacked the socialist workers’ movement as unpatriotic, morally inferior, and irresponsible.

Kolb, The Weimar Republic, 111–12. 29. Heinrich August Winkler, Der Weg in die Katastrophe. Arbeiter und Arbeiterbewegung in der Weimarer Republik 1930–1933 (Berlin/Bonn: J. H. W. , 1987), 189. 30. Wilhelm Keil, Erlebnisse eines Sozialdemokraten, II, (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1948), 97. 31. Miller and Potthoff, Kleine Geschichte der SPD, 134. 32. Riccardo Bavag, Von links gegen Weimar. Linkes antiparlamentarisches Denken in der Weimarer Republik (Bonn: J. H. W. , 2005), 104–07; Larry Eugene Jones, German Liberalism and the Dissolution of the Weimar Party System, 1918–1933 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 378–91.

At the Kiel party congress in May, Aufhäuser and Toni Sender led a substantial minority in opposition to this move. Its supporters, he asserted, were too optimistic about the potential of the republican state for the achievement of social-democratic aims. The state was more firmly in capitalist hands than ever before, none of the potential coalition partners—including the Catholic Center party—was a reliable ally, and the best way to defend the republic was to remain in the opposition and mobilize socialist forces 36 CHAPTER 2 against capitalism.

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