CJ — Politics and Political Science

... auf dem Weg in dieses Reich”: NS-Kulturpolitik und Literatur in Schlesien 1933 bis 1945 [“...On the Way to this Reich”: Nazi Cultural Politics and Literature in Silesia, 1933-1945]. Wojciech Kunicki. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2006. 843 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 3-937209-13-1: EUR 64 [06-1-110]

A monumental study by an esteemed and important chronicler of the no longer existent German culture of Silesia, this volume is comprised of three sections covering: (1) literary institutions during the Nazi state, (2) biographies of then active authors and functionaries, and (3) primary motifs and themes in the literature of the Nazi era. The institutions discussed in the first section include those established by the Nazi party, such as literary and research groups, periodicals, publishers, and libraries as well as pre-existing entities. The lengthier middle section examines individual writers, with special attention paid to Hans-Christoph Kaergel, whose writings exemplify the genre of regional literature. The third section concentrates on themes such as depictions of Silesia, German colonization of eastern territories, and the 1241 Mongol invasion. Noteworthy in these themes is the hostility or indifference toward Poles. Significant authors mentioned within the text are included in an appendix of short biographies of Silesian authors (p. 741-781) and also appear in the name index (p. 827-840) in bold type. Additionally the appendices include a listing of unpublished archival materials and a bibliography of secondary literature. [frh/dfb]

Hitler der Redner [Hitler the Orator]. Ed. Josef Kopperschmidt and Johannes G. Pankau. München: Fink, 2003. 502 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-7705-3823-4: EUR 41.90 [06-1-111]

The book jacket states that the objective of this collection of 22 essays is neither to demonize Hitler, nor to complain about previous inadequate publications, but to examine how his oratory prowess contributed to the success of the National Socialists. Hitler governed mainly with the power of speech. He did not have to write anything down; his word was law. His seminal work Mein Kampf [My Struggle] was dictated, rather than written, by him. He could sway people to his point of view, even when Nazi Germany was failing. The question is how he managed this. With few exceptions, he seemed to hypnotize people into losing their reason. Hitler altered his communication style as the war progressed, replacing public speeches with table-talks, which are not covered in this volume.

It is misguided to concentrate on the techniques as many of the authors do, without considering the message. The entries here examine his technique, recurring themes, early speeches, and their reception, but only one speech is analyzed minutely, and the effect of the setting and situation on Hitler’s speeches is not considered. This volume examines Hitler’s powerful rhetorical skills with interesting, convincing, and scholarly methods. The question is whether one can fully describe something with words that also depends on the eyes, ears, and emotions. This volume provides valuable insights into the phenomena of Hitler’s persuasive oratory despite this limitation. [frh/rg]

Geschichte eines Buches: Adolf Hitlers “Mein Kampf,” 1922-1945 [History of a Book: Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” 1922-1945]. Othmar Plöckinger. München: Oldenbourg, 2006. vii, 632 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-486-57956-7; ISBN 3-486-57956-8: EUR 49.80 [06-1-112]

After the defeat of the Nazi dictatorship, the Allies forbade the sale of Hitler’s ideological programmatic work Mein Kampf in Germany, of which 12 million copies had been sold or given as gifts. Nothing has changed in that prohibition to this day. Although one may publish and read other works by Hitler that are no less doctrinaire and of much more contemporary appeal, the interested reader must obtain the book either abroad, where the German original and numerous translations are freely distributed, or must rely on the copies that are accessible to researchers in public libraries. Substitutes of a kind can be found in the selections by Christian Zentner, Adolf Hitlers Mein Kampf (München, 1974), or Werner Maser, Hitlers Mein Kampf (Esslingen, 1995).

Plöckinger submitted his dissertation in 1998 in Salzburg on Hitler as a speaker and afterwards became a high school teacher of German, history, and mathematics. This study is therefore the work of an outsider and commands respect for its comprehensive research alone. The author presents an investigation of the historical reception of Mein Kampf that deals with the history of its origination, publication, and reception. To this purpose he contacted ca. 1,850 archives, libraries, and private individuals. His aim was to refute the still-current idea of Mein Kampf as an “unread bestseller,” especially in German-speaking areas, and to clear up numerous misunderstandings about its origination. He did succeed in his efforts, although he could not determine where the original manuscript ended up nor whether there exists a special Hitler archive in the military archives in Moscow that contains heretofore unknown material. The history and distribution of Mein Kampf were known in general prior to this work, however there were highly conflicting explanations for numerous details.

Although reference works on this subject indicate that Hitler had co-authors, among them Rudolf Hess, Plöckinger concludes that Hess’ contribution was modest. He also discounts the legend that all newly married couples received a mandated copy from the local government, since many communities were exempt from that order. The text did not become required reading in schools until 1939. Of the 16 languages into which Mein Kampf was translated, only English, Russian, and French are treated in detail, and the reception in Austria receives an entire chapter. After 1933 Mein Kampf became sacrosanct and could be cited only affirmatively. Plöckinger ends his investigation with 1945, although the reception of Mein Kampf was by no means at an end. Translations into Spanish and Arabic were popular in the Spanish-speaking dictatorships in Europe and Latin America and in anti-Israel states.

This book is filled with details, but the author leads the reader through his deductions by means of a clear structure. The name and topical index allows for quick and easy access. It is carefully edited and has a pleasing typographic design. [frh/mjc]

Bilder für die Welt: die Reichsparteitage der NSDAP im Spiegel der ausländischen Presse [Images for the World: The Party Congresses of the NSDAP as Reflected in the Foreign Press]. Ed. Friedrich Kießling und Gregor Schöllgen. Köln: Böhlau, 2006. viii, 214 p. ill. 24 cm. (Beihefte zum Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 61). ISBN 978-3-412-27305-7; ISBN 3-412-27305-8: EUR 24.90 [06-1-114]

This study offers a country-by-country analysis of European and U.S. press coverage of Nazi Party Congresses held in the years before and after Hitler’s seizure of power. While the 1934 Party Congress, or at least its filmic representation, is familiar from the indelible images of Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1935), ten such events took place from 1923 to 1938, and they were staged from the start as spectacles of power. Edited by two historians at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, the present volume includes chapters by various authors, each treating print reporting on the Congresses in a different national context: Great Britain, France, the United States, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, and the Soviet Union. A broad, representative range of newspapers and ideological positions is considered for each country.

This is an informative book and it fills what had been an existing research gap with regard to the international reactions to National Socialism in Germany. However, the chapters’ focus on the content of the press coverage in the individual countries does not adequately take into account the insights of current media studies, which have pointed to national differences in the print media with regard to structure, presentation, use of images, and the weight given to various textual forms(e.g., reportage, interview, editorial, etc.). While the book includes images from the international press (photographs, caricatures, etc.), they are not integrated into the individual chapters and the relationship between the image and text in the press coverage of the Nazi Congresses is not given much consideration.

The book contains neither an index nor a bibliography, and biographical documentation of the journalists whose work is discussed is wanting. In some instances, relevant research literature seems not to have been consulted. Despite these shortcomings, however, and although it leaves a number of questions unanswered or unexplored, this book represents a valuable contribution to the historiography of National Socialism. [frh/kw]

Für ein anderes Deutschland: der deutsche Widerstand gegen den NS-Staat 19331945 [For Another Germany: The German Resistance Against the National Socialist State, 1933-1945]. Gerd R. Ueberschär. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2006. 400 p. 19 cm. (Fischer-Taschenbücher, 13934; Die Zeit des Nationalsozialismus). ISBN 978-3-596-13934-7; ISBN 3-596-13934-1: EUR 12.95 [06-1-115]

The author formerly worked at the Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamt [Research Institute for Military History] and the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv [Federal Military Archive] and has published extensively on contemporary history. This treatment of German Resistance to National Socialists is divided chronologically into three sections: the roots of resistance (1933-1939), resistance in wartime (1939-1944), and the July 20, 1944, assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler and its consequences. It encompasses all aspects of resistance to the Nazis, regardless of political, religious, or social motivation and examines the historiography of the German Resistance, the changing attitude of the German government, and the German people’s sense of collective guilt. The broad coverage of individuals and groups discussed here allows little room for subtle observations, but it is imperative to recognize the resistance fighters’ courageous contributions as well as the smaller oppositional acts of the average German. One third of the volume documents the resources used, including a bibliography and facsimiles of key documents, footnotes, and a name index, making the book a readable reference work. The book is an informative and sensitive treatment of one of the most important sequence of events in modern history. The publication should be required reading for students to counteract those who continue to describe the Nazi era in nostalgic terms. [frh/rg]

Frauen aus Deutschland in der französischen Résistance: eine Dokumentation [Women from Germany in the French Resistance: A Documentation]. Ed. Ulla Plener. 2d rev. and updated ed. Berlin: Edition Bodoni, 2006. 334 p. ill. 21 cm. (Arbeiterbewegung—Forschungen, Dokumente, Biografien). ISBN 3-929390-90-6: EUR 24.80 [06-1-116]

This is a collection of biographies of women, many of them Jews and/or communists, who emigrated from Germany to France following the National Socialists’ rise to power. The women were active in the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France and the collaborationist rule of the Vichy Regime. This book describes their suffering, resistance activities, and fates: seven of the women were executed, while others ended up in prison or concentration camps. The text is enhanced by photographs and historical documents that are abundantly duplicated in facsimile form. What is interesting here is the use of the private archives of Resistance fighters, including contemporary underground-press publications and autobiographical resources, in addition to French and German governmental sources. The bibliography does not document the unpublished materials obtained from the private archives but is still useful, since many of the published materials are not widely known. An extensive name index completes this heartening collective biography of modern-day heroines. [frh/rg]

Annotierte Bibliographie: die Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der Politischen Parteien seit 1952 [Annotated Bibliography: Publications since 1952 by the Commission for Parliamentary History and Political Parties]. Ed Martin Schumacher. Düsseldorf: Droste. 21 cm. [06-1-117]

1952/2004. 2004. x, 309 p. ill. ISBN 3-7700-5261-7: EUR 5

(Ed. note: The previous edition of this work, which covers the years 1953-1998, was published under the title Autoren, Bücher, Rezensenten [Authors, Books, Reviewers]—see RREA 6:255).

This volume continues the series of publications by the Commission on the History of Parliamentarianism, which has been appearing at irregular intervals. It lists all the previous publications up to June 2004, together with information about their availability through numbered and unnumbered series. Unfortunately, these are listed in the table of contents only under their title headings and without any indication of how they are divided into sub-series. The size of the volume has increased noticeably, since every entry is given its own page and the table of contents includes brief annotations. The indices have been expanded and improved: there are an index of subject headings (or, rather, title headings), periodicals that publish book reviews, reviewers, authors and editors. Since the indices refer back to the page number, the editorial choice to place the numbers on the verso pages on the inside margin, disregarding the accepted layout practices, is regrettable. Further updates to this reference volume will also appear online. A summarized “General Index of Publications 1952-2006,” which is structured differently from the print edition, is available on the Commission homepage (http://www.kgparl.de). [sh/as]

Der Preußische Staatsrat 1921-1933: ein biographisches Handbuch; mit einer Dokumentation der im “Dritten Reich” berufenen Staatsräte [The Prussian State Council 1921-1933: A Biographical Handbook; With Documentation on Members Appointed during the Third Reich]. Ed. Joachim Lilla. Düsseldorf: Droste, 2005. lviii, 330 p. ill. 25 cm. (Handbücher zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der politischen Parteien, 13). ISBN 3-7700-5271-4: EUR 59.80 [06-1-118]

This handbook features biographies of members of the Preußischer Staatsrat [Prussian State Council] in its two distinct incarnations: 1921-1933 (501 biographies), and 1933-1945 (122 biographies). Entries include information on individuals’ party affiliations, province (in the case of 1921-1933 members), dates of membership in the Staatsrat and other parliaments where applicable, political careers, and other activities; bibliographical references are also included. It is worth noting that members of the Staatsrat who were also members of the Reichstag do not receive full treatment in this work; instead, the reader is referred to Lilla’s 2004 biographical handbook Statisten in Uniform: die Mitglieder des Reichstags 1933-1945 [Supernumeraries in Uniform: Members of the Reichstag, 1933-1945] (see RREA 10:216). An appendix contains supporting materials, notably tabular overviews and legal sources on the Staatsrat; indexes are of people and places. [sh/cjm]

[Ed. note:] Several other titles in this series—Handbücher zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der politischen Parteien [Handbooks on the History of Parliamentarianism and Political Parties]—have been reviewed in IFB and RREA, including:

Handbuch zur Statistik der Parlamente und Parteien in den westlichen Besatzungszonen und in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Statistical Handbook of Parliaments and Parties in the Western Occupied Zones and in the Federal Republic of Germany] (see RREA 8:217), Biographisches Handbuch der Reichsrätekongresse 1918/19; [Biographical Dictionary of the Congresses of National Deputies 1918/19] (see RREA 7:235), M.d.B. [Mitglied des Bundestages], Volksvertretung im Wiederaufbau 1946-1961: Bundestagskandidaten und Mitglieder der westzonalen Vorparlamente; eine biographische Dokumentation [M.d.B. (Member of Parliament), Parliamentary Representation during the Postwar Period 1946-1961: Bundestag Candidates and Members of the Western Zone Parliaments; A Biographical Documentation] (see RREA 6:254).

Datenhandbuch zur Geschichte des Deutschen Bundestages: eine Veröffentlichung der Wissenschaftlichen Dienste des Deutschen Bundestages [Handbook of Data on the History of the German Parliament: A Publication of the Research Services of the German Parliament] Michael F. Feldkamp. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft. 25 cm. [06-1-119]

1994/2003. 2005. xv, 1,089 p. ISBN 3-8329-1395-5: EUR 10

Published by the Verwaltung des Deutschen Bundestages, Abteilung Wissenschaftliche Dienste [Administrative Office of the German Bundestag, Department of Research Services], this present volume extends the series of parliamentary reports from 1949 to 1999 and refers to the relevant chapters in the cumulative preceding work. This hefty volume, printed on thin paper with strong binding, contains the statistics, index, and bibliography of three consecutive legislative periods of the Bundestag — the 13th, 14th and 15th (1994-2002). Information prior to that time period has been included when necessary, especially comparative data and trends and cumulative lists (for example, all the members of the Bundestag beginning with 1949).

The volume treats the following subjects: elections to the Bundestag, its members, their age and social composition, the chairmanship, parliamentary parties and caucuses, assemblies, exclusions, elections within the Bundestag, legislation, audits, fundamental constitutional order, changes to the constitution, petitions, the parliamentary commissioners for the armed forces, federal assemblies, the budget, the parliament building, management, public relations, external affairs, European integration, and parliamentary coalitions. Each chapter is divided in 4 to 10 sub-sections, which contain tables, chronologies and bibliographies. There are few in-depth texts. The content is supplemented by a general survey of statistics, a list of references, as well as indexes of authors, parliament members, sessions, and a list of abbreviations.

The work endeavors to fit as much information as possible into a limited space. The tables are extraordinarily clearly organized and the statistical data are meaningful. The volume mostly contains primary data, with an addition of percentages and hierarchical relationships. There are no aggregated data or correlations. Thus it is a primary source, which offers raw data for research, but does not present research results. The information presented in this volume, together with cumulated earlier volumes in the series, has also been published on CD-ROM, available at http://www.bundestag.de/bic/dbuch/index.html.

This notable reference work on the German parliament aims to be useful to academics. There are no comparable publications in existence, and therefore this book should be a part of reference collections in academic libraries. [jpl/as]

Repertorio biografico dei senatori dell’Italia fascista [Biographical Dictionary of the Senators of Fascist Italy]. Ed. Emilio Gentile and Emilia Campochiaro. 5 vols. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 2003. lx, 2,698 p. ill. 25 cm. (I senatori d’Italia, 2). ISBN 978-88-7088-452-4; ISBN 88-7088-452-X: EUR 250 [06-1-121]

Repertorio biografico dei senatori dell’Italia liberale [Bibliographical Dictionary of the Senators of Liberal Italy]. Ed. Fabio Grassi Orsini and Emilia Campochiaro. Napoli: Bibliopolis. (I senatori d’Italia, 1) [06-1-122]

Part I. Il Senato subalpino [The Cisalpine Senate]. 2 vols. 2005. xlvii, 1,065 p. ISBN 978-88-7088-524-8; ISBN 88-7088-524-0: EUR 100

In this projected three-part publication of I senatori d’Italia, the second volume, for Fascist Italy, was published first. The work opens with a ninety-page history of the Senate during the Fascist era and contains some 992 biographies compiled from the Senate’s archives. Each personal entry gives quite a bit of information about each person, including birth, death, and family data; education, professional career, and offices and functions in politics and administration; military record/wartime service; political and social activities; record in the Senate; activities since 1945; the results of any investigation by the High Court of Justice for the Expunging of Fascism (Alta Corte di Giustizia per le Sanzioni Contro il Fascismo); and obituaries in some cases containing great detail from the Senate’s records.

The appendix contains these data in a number of tables: lists of senators appointed before 31 Oct 1922; during the period of 31 October 1922-31 July 1943; and those appointed on 31 July 1943. Other sections rearrange the data by specific headings: birth and death dates, appointment date, profession, age at appointment, membership in Fascist organizations, and similarly.

Because of the complex organization of the Senate’s archive, the chronologically first volume (Senators between 1848 and 1922) was published two years after volume 2. It will consists of two parts: the first covering the Cisalpine Senate, that is, the parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1848-1861) and the second (not yet published) covering the Kingdom of Italy (1861-1922).

The Cisalpine Senate volume covers 204 senators and gives the same detailed biographical information as found in the Fascist Italy volume. The projected third volume will cover Republican Italy since 1947. It would naturally be useful and desirable for the authors to produce a comparable work from the archive of the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati), which has a significantly higher number of members than found in the Senate. [sh/ga]

Klassiker der Politikwissenschaft: von Aristoteles bis David Easton [Classics of Political Science: From Aristotle to David Easton]. Ed. Wilhelm Bleek and Hans J. Lietzmann. München: Beck, 2005. 319 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1624). ISBN 3-406-52794-9: EUR 14.90 [06-2-319]

Similar to the fifth edition of the publisher’s two-volume Klassiker des politischen Denkens [Classics of Political Thought] (München, 2001—see RREA 7:219), Klassiker der Politikwissenschaft explores the life and work of 24 distinguished political thinkers with, for the most part, a chapter devoted to each one. Notably, although the subjects treated represent a continuum from antiquity to the present, most are from the 20th century. Earlier figures such as Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Machievelli serve to provide background for later developments. The emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries throws the spotlight on more contemporary thinkers, each of whom was chosen for the paradigms they developed and for their influence on subsequent political thought and practice. [vk/gw]

Chronik der deutschen Sozialdemokratie: Daten, Fakten, Hintergründe [A Chronicle of German Social Democracy: Data, Facts, Background Materials]. Ed. Franz Osterroth and Dieter Schuster. Bonn: Dietz. 21 cm.

Vol. 4. 1982-1987. 2006. 557 p. ISBN 3-8012-0366-2: EUR 24.80 [06-2-321]

This chronicle of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was first begun in 1963. In our detailed 2005 review of the first three volumes of the revised third edition (see RREA 11:160) we mentioned that a fourth volume would soon appear for 1982-1987, spanning the time period through Willy Brandt’s resignation as party leader. Since the arrangement of volume four mirrors that of its predecessors, the essential points of that earlier review can now be repeated. Dates have been inserted in grey boxes between the dual-column text blocks. The entries under each date are not limited to happenings or facts; rather, these are long, carefully formulated texts, often tied to source document quotes. These entries are not limited to the SPD: mention is made of political events in which the party was a partner. Individuals can be searched in a name index—which thankfully adds birth and (when applicable) death dates in parentheses. As before, there is an overview of congresses and conferences of all kinds (which can serve as a type of index) as well as tables with election results at the national and regional levels. The wish for a cumulative index to all volumes, voiced in the 2005 review, remains unmet, as does the wish for an index of abbreviations (which would be useful to help identify the SPD’s many acronym-happy sub-organizations). On page five we happily read that “the chronicle is to be continued.” This opens up the possibility of a digital supplement to the print edition that might include one more highly desirable feature: a detailed subject index. [sh/rdh]

Previous Section
Next Section
Table of Contents

Comments, suggestions, or questions
Last update: October 2010 [LC]
2010 Casalini libri - VAT no. IT03106600483