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Ferran Gallego

The sound of fury: National Socialism and the crisis of German political culture in the 20th century URL:

The proclamation of the Republic of Weimar brought with it three factors that would seal its fate. One one side, the introduction of a new democratic political model, with the capacity to integrate eighty percent of its population into the proposals made by the most important progressive cultures of the post-war, social democracy, advanced liberalism and social catholicism. The German working class, social democrat or catholic, as well as a significant part of the peasantry and the bourgeoisie, decided to accept the new statute, which would finally be approved in 1919. The second factor was the military defeat and the sever damages of the reparations imposed to the defeated country. Together with this, the economical problems that the country suffered in the first and last years of the regime, channeled a large percentage of the German population towards the most radical nationalism. The third element was the continuation of what we can call today the "crisis of modernity", a cultural proposal that worked until the end of the 19th century, prior to the outbreak of the Great War. It would create its own scenario for the dismissal of Enlightenment values, the formalization of the mass shows, a violent reaction against a 19th century-minded world. If there is a clear continuation of the experimental wealth of vanguard, of the different methods of transgression with which the entry to a new world is organized, or of rupture with the "old modernity", there is also a continuity of the opposite elements: the reactionary cultural pessimism that gave way to the Conservative Revolution, and a cultural support over which the most select nazi ideology would be built.

The German radical nationalism will start building a wide base that will connect with the most exasperated populism in search of a particular identity, a germanism presented in the shape of a community based on racial identification. What will provide ideological poise, normality, and penetration capacity to the nazi alternative will be the ability to present itself as an element to recover the endangered German identity, and at the same time, as a Kultur survival operation by presenting democracy as something alien to the profound German being. This way, the Germans from the Republic of Weimar lived intensively for 14 years with the confrontation of both ways of understanding the world, and nazism had the ability to present itself as the cultural synthesis of one of the positions. Its seduction capacity was based on the normalization of the violence seen in the Great War, on the codes of conduct that arose from this: radical comradeship in the trenches, the ruthless elimination of the enemy, the project of a political proposal  supported by the entire nation, the real expression of the community. A community organized, with discipline, and fighting for its survival.

The national socialist ideology is by no means innovative, except in its capacity to adapt to the basic mass of people, and the summarizing of several rejected aspects of modernity and democracy. It is only innovative in its capacity to radically accept or radically exclude, to set a basic separation line between the regenerating efforts of the new nationalism and the decadence of old liberalism, as well as of the new cultural forms proposed at the end of the 19th century. The national socialist project is a paradigm codifying the revolt against modernity applying modern resources. It is not only a simple reactionary project that increases violence and exclusion. It is a social organization criteria that radically surpasses democracy because it establish itself over a basic differentiation of what is own and what is foreign. It is an antisemitism that is resolved within a social culture that sees itself homogeneous from the point of view of its blood and its intimate, and at the same time shared, physical radicalism. It is a domination proposal for the Germans over other populations intended to be slaves, or directly exterminated. Populations that had endangered the own survival of German culture by acting like an epidemic or a plague of parasites. This way, the national socialist utopia was presented and organized like a total community on its way to healthiness, eliminating impurities, and getting rid of imperfections. 

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