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Thomas Kühne, 'The Nazi Volksgemeinschaft: From Myth to Reality' -

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Thomas Kühne, ‘The Nazi Volksgemeinschaft: From Myth to Reality’

February 11, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Examining ordinary Germans’ consent to the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust, historians have debated the social meaning and the implementation of the Nazi concept of a Volksgemeinschaft, or ‘people’s community,’ the vision of establishing a truly united nation that would be free of the chasms and cleavages of modern societies. While prominent historians dismiss the Volksgemeinschaft as a hollow propaganda phrase, this talk probes into its integrative power and shows how it became real. The Nazis may not have succeeded in standardizing Germans’ mindsets but they succeeded in aligning the choices Germans took. The Volksgemeinschaft became real not in a utopian fashion as a grand community of social harmony and security but in a dystopian mode as the acme of nation building through violent action—through war, terror and genocide.

Thomas Kühne is the director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, where he holds the Strassler Chair in Holocaust History.


February 11, 2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm