Enchanting the Disenchanted: Studies on the Rise of National Socialism in Franconia, Germany
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The introduction is mostly concerned with setting the stage for the rise of Nazism in Germany in general and Franconia in particular. In order to do so, I give a brief yet critical overview of the differences between Franconia and Bavaria and the implications those differences had for Nazism, as well as provide a general discussion on the experiences of Germany in the aftermath of the First World War. This done, the reader is next presented with a detailed discussion on the changing nature of politics in Franconia. This chapter takes the form of a case study, using police reports, governmental documents, election results, and so on to support my argument that Franconia was quickly becoming a reliable source of support for the NSDAP. This argument is furthered by a wealth of propaganda materials aimed specifically at Franconian voters, materials that revealed the ways in which the Nazis were able to effectively appeal to various constituencies of voters. This chapter also examines the troubles that were plaguing the Weimar Republic and the ways in which the Nazis were able to capitalize on the various crises the German government were struggling against. The third chapter of this project takes the reader even deeper into the specific Franconian experience of the 1920s and 1930s, namely by examining the anti-Semitism that blossomed there. This is done primarily by utilizing the various evidence left by some Franconians as testimony of their hatred. Above all others, Julius Streicher stands out as the man most responsible for furthering anti-Semitism in Franconia. His "newspaper," Der Stiirmer, consistently and viciously attacked Jews, made calls for others to boycott Jewish stores, and informed readers of ways to identify and harass Jews. Centered in Nuremberg, this publication originally circulated only in the surrounding areas but quickly spread throughout the country. The work of Streicher as newspaper vi editor and, later, as Gauleiter of Franconia, resulted in his conviction of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trials after the war. My main argument in this section then is that as home of Julius Streicher, Franconia was much more readily transformed into a site of, at the very least, accepted anti-Semitism. The fact that Franconians were from an early stage presented with blatant anti-Jewish sentiments made them more prone to ignore what was happening around them, and thus allowed Franconia and Nuremberg to become centers of anti-Semitism. The following, final chapter builds on some themes presented in the Streicher chapter. Beginning with a discussion of the Nazi party rallies that took place in Nuremberg, this chapter details more specifically the anti-Semitism that could be found in Franconia. Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will serves as an example of the proNazi mania that was sweeping through Germany and especially Nuremberg. The experiences of Franconian Jews are also presented, ranging from the diatribes against them in Der Stiirmer, to the promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws, and then their experiences in the Holocaust. The entire topic of this paper is, of course, somber. It is also thought-provoking and reminds us that lessons of the past must never be forgotten, lest they be repeated. The ultimate aim of this project, then, is to remind readers not simply of what happened, but how and why. I hope I have achieved my goal.