The Nazi Seizure of Power
The Experience of a Single German Town

Allen, William Sheridan
Publisher:  Quadrangle Books, Chicago, USA
Year Published:  1965
Pages:  345pp     Dewey:  943.086
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX6446

A study of how the Nazi takeover took place in one German town.

Allen looks at the complex realities of a community in Nazi Germany and seeks to answer the question of how Adolf Hitler's Nazis were able to take power. The answer, he claims, is in the support Nazi ideology attracted in towns such as this. In a detailed study of the mechanics of revolution, Allen uses personal interviews and other primary sources to tell his narration of the history of the town. Local level ideologies were important to establishing totalitarianism. The people trusted in Adolf Hitler to make the radical changes they desired.

There are two parts in The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Death of the Democracy and Introducing the Dictatorship. Part 1 is a collection of first-hand stories checked against records and newspapers to describe the town and the factors that led to its division. Two opposing groups formed, one of which renounced democracy as Nazi ideology was slowly accepted. Part 2 contains chapters such as "The Last Elections", "The Uses of Electoral Success", "The Atomization of Society", and "The Great Justification". It is a history, complete with personal accounts, of the events accompanying Hitler's rise to power from 1903 through 1935, focused on a German community undergoing a social revolution.

The Appendices of the book are: A Descriptive List of Individuals Interviewed for this Book, with their Pseudonyms; Tables, Graphs and Charts; and The Thalburg NSDAP. Allen's conclusion is that "the problem of Nazism was primarily a problem of perspective", and he says that the town had no idea of the consequences of its actions until it was too late.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents


Part I: The Death of the Democracy - January 1930 - January 1933
1. The Setting
2. The Anatomy of the Town
3. Enter the Nazis
4. Exploiting Victory
5. Authoritarians Unite
6. The Depths of the Depression
7. Political Crescendo
8. Things Fall apart
9. The Last Winter

Part II: Introducing the Dictatorship - January 1933 - January 1935
10. The Last Elections
11. The Uses of Electoral Success
12. The Terror System
13. Whipping Up Enthusiasm
14. The Atomization of Society
15. The Positive Aspect
16. Reaction and Resistance
17. From Enthusiasm to Ritual
18. The Great Justification
19. Conclusions

Appendix A: Individual interviewed for this book
Appendix B: Tables, Graphs, Charts
Appendix C: The Thalburg NSDAP
Notes Index

Subject Headings

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