Karl Dietrich Bracher, German Historian of Nazi Era, Dies at 94

Historians in the News
tags: Hitler, Nazi



Karl Dietrich Bracher, a World War IIveteran of the German army who argued as a historian that the German people had to take responsibility for the rise of Nazism because of their embrace of Hitler and his racist agenda, died on Monday in Bonn. He was 94.

His death was announced by the University of Bonn, where he was a professor of politics and contemporary history from 1959 to 1987.

Professor Bracher explored the devolution of the Weimar Republic from a fragile parliamentary democracy after World War I into a National Socialist dictatorship, which he called unique among totalitarian regimes in its epitomizing Adolf Hitler’s fundamentally anti-Semitic philosophy.

He did not explore fascism’s ascent solely through the prism of a detached academic, however. Rather, especially in “The German Dictatorship: The Origins, Structure and Effects of National Socialism,” his opus published in 1970, Professor Bracher wrote from the perspective of a concerned West German in a country where dictatorship had horrifically failed, but where postwar democracy had “not yet been secured,” as he concluded.




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