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Publications [#6713] of Claudia Koonz

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  1. The Nazi Conscience (2003), Belknap: Harvard University Press [catalog.php]
    (last updated on 2011/09/26)

    Author's Comments:
    Translations: Spanish, Russian, Czech, Japanese

    The Nazi Conscience is not an oxymoron. The perpetrators of war and genocide espoused a strong moral code that was enshrined in the command to “Put collective need ahead of individual greed.” Against what they saw as state immobilized by democracy and a culture gutted by modernity, Nazis recruited Germans across the divides of religion, class, region, and generation behind a crusade to restore endangered values. As in wartime or after a natural disaster, citizens were summoned to put aside their petty concerns and sacrifice for the collective good of the ethnic community, or Volk. But after the Nazis seized power in January 1933, Germans enjoyed economic recovery and political unrest became a thing of the past. Unlike colonial regimes and slave holding societies, where unwritten assumptions about white superiority guided everyday practice, in Nazi Germany persecution resulted from formal laws, and the outcasts from the Volk bore no physical traits of their difference and had, until 1933, lived peacefully among people with whom they shared a Heimat, or Homeland. The Nazi Conscience chronicles the spread of a culture of self-love and other-hate from 1933 through 1939 – years that many Germans later remembered as a “normal” and even “happy.” She describes Hitler’s politics of virtue, racial experts’ conquest of mass media, and Nazi hard liners’ solution to the “Jewish problem.”

    Nazi, public culture, ethics, morality, ethnic fundamentalism, gender, race, antisemitism, third reich, hitler

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