Weimar Germany by Eric D. Weitz
Promise and Tragedy

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Synopsis

Weimar Germany still fascinates us, and now this complex and remarkably creative period and place has the history it deserves. Eric Weitz's Weimar Germany reveals the Weimar era as a time of strikingly progressive achievements--and even greater promise. With a rich thematic narrative and detailed portraits of some of Weimar's greatest figures, this comprehensive history recaptures the excitement and drama as it unfolded, viewing Weimar in its own right--and not as a mere prelude to the Nazi era.

Weimar Germany tells how Germans rose from the defeat of World War I and the turbulence of revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. Setting the stage for this story, Weitz takes the reader on a walking tour of Berlin to see and feel what life was like there in the 1920s, when modernity and the modern city--with its bright lights, cinemas, "new women," cabarets, and sleek department stores--were new. We learn how Germans enjoyed better working conditions and new social benefits and listened to the utopian prophets of everything from radical socialism to communal housing to nudism. Weimar Germany also explores the period's revolutionary cultural creativity, from the new architecture of Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut, and Walter Gropius to Hannah Höch's photomontages and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's theater. Other chapters assess the period's turbulent politics and economy, and the recipes for fulfilling sex lives propounded by new "sexologists." Yet Weimar Germany also shows how entrenched elites continually challenged Weimar's achievements and ultimately joined with a new radical Right led by the Nazis to form a coalition that destroyed the republic.

Thoroughly up-to-date, skillfully written, and strikingly illustrated, Weimar Germany brings to life as never before an era of creativity unmatched in the twentieth century-one whose influence and inspiration we still feel today.

 

About Eric D. Weitz

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Eric D. Weitz is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.
 
Published September 4, 2007 by Princeton University Press. 448 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Weimar Germany

The New York Times

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A new history of Weimar Germany focuses on its adventurous culture.

Oct 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Weimar Germany: Promise and T...

London Review of Books

A striking omission, as in many discussions of Weimar culture, is any mention of the pre-eminence of German research of that period in psychological as well as physical science, a pre-eminence that was shattered by Nazism and the Second World War.

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Project MUSE

In this chapter, Weitz amplifies a core point about the absence of consensus and control in Weimar, the paramilitaries (which included the Left but were much more widespread among the Right) being only the most pointed illustration of the pitched battle to seize and wield power by naked force, no...

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Spectator Book Club

This hatred of modernity was made respectable by the pseudo-philosophy of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West, and by other intellectuals — the conservative revolutionaries as they were already called — who wallowed in the myth of a Teutonic greatness which had been betrayed.

Feb 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Weimar Germany: Promise and T...

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