Political Odyssey of Herbert Wehner

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In this perceptive biography, Wayne Thompson brings to life six decades of German history by tracing the political career of Herbert Wehner, one of Germany's most active and influential politicians, from the 1920s until his death in early 1990. Wehner entered the political arena in the 1920s as an anarchist and Communist firebrand determined to destroy the Weimar Republic. During the 1930s, he was a key leader of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and served as the Comintern's chief analyst for German affairs ...
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Overview

In this perceptive biography, Wayne Thompson brings to life six decades of German history by tracing the political career of Herbert Wehner, one of Germany's most active and influential politicians, from the 1920s until his death in early 1990. Wehner entered the political arena in the 1920s as an anarchist and Communist firebrand determined to destroy the Weimar Republic. During the 1930s, he was a key leader of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and served as the Comintern's chief analyst for German affairs in Moscow during Stalin's purges. In the 1940s, Wehner broke with communism and went to the FRG, where he joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He ascended to the top leadership of the party in the 1950s, becoming one of the most powerful men in West German politics in the years after Konrad Adenauer's retirement in 1963. In the 1970s, Wehner succeeded in holding the SPD together as the country's ruling party, but by the early 1980s his life's work collapsed as the SPD was reduced to the level of an opposition party. By the time of his death in 1990, Wehner had become a symbol of the twists and turns, the highs and lows of a half century of not only German but also Soviet and East European history. Throughout the book, Wayne Thompson places Wehner's career in the larger political context of twentieth-century Germany, offering insights into the nature of the contemporary SPD and the FRG's political system in general. He shows how Wehner's career paralleled the evolution of the SPD from a Marxist revolutionary party to a nondogmatic mass reform party, contending that the SPD played an important part in creating a regime that views its citizens not as components of an overpowering economic process but rather as actors capable of determining their own fates - something that Wehner himself ultimately came to believe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813314082
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Pages: 487
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)

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