'The extraordinary amount of new research relating to the Weimar Republic in the last two decades has created the need for a new survey of that period. Feuchtwanger...responds admirably to that need.' - C.R.Lovin, Choice 'E.J. Feuchtwanger is such a good historian...Despite its prestigious critics and its inborn failings, Feuchtwanger writes, Weimar government was better than its reputation, establishing precedents that would benefit a German democracy yet to come. Boris Yeltsin might be well advised to consider some of Feuchtwanger's remarks about the openness of history. A humbled great power stripped of its colonies, an infant democracy prey to extremes on right and left, hyperinflation, roving paramilitaries, woozy racialist theories in the air - Yeltsin's Russia and Weimar Germany have a few too many similarities for comfort.' - Christian Caryl, Guardian 'Robert Langbaum's ability to react directly and independently to his reading of Hardy's work is evident on every page...This is a Thomas Hardy for our time.' - J. Hillis Miller Weimar has become synonymous with catastrophic political failure, the prelude to the greatest moral and material disasters of the twentieth century.
This book shows that such failure was never inevitable and that options remained tantalisingly open right up to Hitler's assumption of power. The democratic regime was saddled with heavy burdens stemming from defeat and never enjoyed general acceptance and legitimacy. On the other hand, it encouraged for the first time in German history expectations of a high level of welfare, individual rights and modern social practices, which were at least partially fulfilled. The period of relative prosperity was, however, too short, the return of crisis too severe and the resulting demoralisation too profound to save democracy. The author draws a compelling picture of a society frequently in turmoil, yet remarkably creative and innovative, but finally overwhelmed by a tide of irrationality and barbarism. He makes full use of the extensive sources and secondary literature available in German.