The stories of the individual men and women who led German Social Democracy's failed efforts to fend off the Nazi onslaught in 1933 have largely been lost in the wake of the cataclysmic war, the Holocaust, and the division of Europe that followed Hitler's victory. Confronting Hitler recovers their stories and places them at center stage. In a series of biographical essays focusing on the experiences of ten leading Social Democratic activists, Smaldone examines their defeat in 1933 from the perspective of individuals enmeshed in political struggle. This study reveals what aspects of these activists' lives were most important in shaping their political outlook during the republic's final crisis and it illustrates the key factors that guided their actions in the effort to keep the republic alive. In addition, the biographies raise the important issue of the degree to which the defeat of German Social Democracy in 1933 is comparable to the experiences of other democratic socialist movements in the twentieth century.
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About the Author
William Smaldone is professor of history at Willamette University in Oregon and author of Rudolf Hilferding: The Tragedy of a German Social Democrat.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Weimar and the Social Democratic Challenge Chapter 2 Siegfried Aufhäuser (1884-1969): "Freedom Will Always Triumph." Chapter 3 Rudolf Breitscheid (1874-1944): "Readiness Is Everything!" Chapter 4 Rudolf Hilferding (1877-1941): Against the Right and the Left Chapter 5 Marie Juchacz (1879-1965): Mobilizing Women Chapter 6 Carlo Mierendorff (1897-1943): "Democracy and Socialism Were Our Polestars." Chapter 7 Antonie Pfülf (1977-1933): "A Socialist in Deed." Chapter 8 Toni Sender (1888-1964): German Rebel Chapter 9 Carl Severing (1875-1952): "I Will Yield Only to Violence." Chapter 10 Friedrich Stampfer (1874-1957): Reaching Out to the Communists Chapter 11 Otto Wels (1873-1930): Defending Socialism's Honor Chapter 12 Conclusion: Reconsidering the German Catastrophe of 1933