Marking the fiftieth anniversary of Hitler's seizure of power, a group of leading historians and political sociologists participated in a historical reassessment of the Nazi regime sponsored by the Harvard Center for European Studies. Their papers focus on recent scholarly controversies and on the questions that have preoccupied observers since the events took place: the nature of Nazi support, the role of the dictator, the function of ideology and anti-Semitism, and the goals of foreign policy. Some of the specific issues addressed include the reason for the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the social origins of Nazi Party members, the role of women under Nazism, the relationship of Nazi leaders to the older German bureaucratic framework, and the impact of Nazi policies abroad. The volume thus provides an incisive briefing on Hitler's rise to power and summarizes the major interpretations of the issues still under debate.
Introduction -- How the Nazis Came to Power -- The Collapse of Weimar -- The Nazi Rise to Power: A Comprehensible Catastrophe -- Discussion -- The New Rulers and Their Values -- Nazism: Fascism or Totalitarianism? -- Comments on Reactionary Modernist Components of Nazi Ideology -- The New Nazi Rulers: Who Were They? -- Discussion -- The Institutional Structure -- Politics and Polyocracy: Notes on a Debate -- Traditional Elites and National Socialist Leadership -- Discussion -- Society Under Nazism: Accommodation and Resistance -- Women Between God and Führer -- Workers and National Socialism -- Organized Mass Culture in the Third Reich: The Women of Kraft durch Freude -- Workers’ Opposition in Nazi Germany: Recent West German Research -- Discussion -- The Impact Abroad -- Variety in Perception: Western Views of Nazi Germany -- France and Hitler: 1933–1936 -- Discussion -- The Place of Nazism in History -- A Roundtable Discussion