German history

  • Does Germany's Holocaust Education Give Cover to Nativism?

    The anti-antisemitism of German Holocaust education is based on the implicit premise that immigrants will identify with a sense of shame held by ethnic Germans. If those immigrants ask instead whether contemporary nativism could result in their own persecution, it is seen as a sign of their non-Germanness. 

  • Untangling Fact and Fiction in the Story of a Nazi-Era Brothel

    Kitty Schmidt's Berlin brothel has been the subject of lurid speculation that its owner was forced by the Nazis to spy on her clients for evidence of subversion and disloyalty. A new book tries to untangle the more complicated history of commercial sex in the Weimar and Nazi eras, but struggles against the pervasiveness of myth. 

  • Cracking Stasi Puzzles is Key to Some Germans Finding the Truth

    by Katja Hoyer

    With an informant for every 90 citizens, the East German secret police left behind 16,000 sacks of shredded documents. Can information technology help reconstruct a record of what happens when a government commits to spying on its own citizens? 

  • Will Ukraine Be the Death of German Pacifism?

    by Stephen Milder

    The real transformation wrought in Europe by the Russian invasion isn't the return of war (which was certainly present in the 1990s) but the turn of Germany away from a post-fascist pacifist posture to a potential remilitarization. 

  • The Complicated History of Germany's Christmas Markets

    It's unclear when medieval Germany's winter markets became affixed to nostalgic ideas of Christmas. But they've been adopted by ruling classes to offer prescriptive visions of class hierarchy, religion, and even Nazism. 

  • Take Calls for a "Fourth Reich" Seriously

    by Gavriel Rosenfeld

    The concept of a new German Reich emerged almost immediately after the fall of Hitler, and reflected the incomplete effort to remove the far-right from German politics as well as the growth of an international authoritarian movement. 

  • The Disturbing Truth: What's Behind the German Coup

    by Annika Brockschmidt

    Like January 6, the German coup reflects the radicalization of a significant portion of the affluent "bourgeois center" of the society, making a reckoning with the sources of far-right allegiance particularly urgent. 

  • The Nazi use of Legalism to Consolidate Power and Eliminate Democracy

    by Christopher R. Browning

    Hitler's lesson after a token prison sentence for organizing a coup attempt was to work to seize power through legal means with the support of ideologically sympathetic courts. Non-MAGA conservatives appear to be missing important lessons. 

  • Dangerous as the Plague: The History of Moral Panics over Queer "Seduction"

    by Samuel Huneke

    From the perspective of the post-Obergefell US, this year's politicized attacks on LGBTQ people—particularly as threats to the nation's youth—seem like a sudden reversal. But such attacks have a long and miserable history that has shadowed movements for queer freedom at every turn.