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Document analysis political violence in Germany in the lead up to Nazi power (the Nazi capture of power)

Engelmann’s Jewish French teacher (Dr.Levy) was vilified and victimized right before his eyes and for not fault of his. Merely by the fact of his religious faith and by his legitimate act of removing a Swastika flag from the school mast, Dr. Levy would incur the wrath of the Nazi Youth. Engelmann’s memoir is both instructive and revelatory, for it presents with clarity the roots of Nazi support in the early 1930s when the German Republic was undergoing radical political transformation. But as Engelmann suggests, political success is not a measure of popular support, for even in the incident involving Dr. Levy, the Hitler Youth were only a minority. What the young Nazis lacked in numbers they made up through their overt aggression, giving the illusion that they were a larger (if not the majority) constituency. Scholar Dirk Schumann’s book on the same subject extends Engelmann’s observations. Schumann presents a slightly alternative view, noting how endemic political violence never directly threatened the existence of the republic and most often took the form of self-limiting small violence rooted in small-town traditions of public rebuke that sought to humiliate opponents but not annihilate them (Schumann as quoted by Kunath 2012). In this manner, Schumann’s analysis concurs with that of William Sheridan Allen, whose classic work The Nazi Seizure of Power (written two years prior to that of Engelmann’s memoir). Allen’s point is that the simmering violence in 1932 was not extensive. The outcomes of violence tended most often to be bruises and concussions, not dead bodies. Even the sharpened violence of 1932 resulted in only nine deaths in Saxony, and the Weimar government’s ban on the Nazi SA was effective in Saxony (and throughout Germany)…the Weimar political violence was, in principle, always controllable, if the political will to assert control was present (Kunath, 2012)… The outcomes of violence tended most often to be bruises and concussions, not dead bodies. Even the sharpened violence of 1932 resulted in only nine deaths in Saxony, and the Weimar government’s ban on the Nazi SA was effective in Saxony (and throughout Germany)…the Weimar political violence was, in principle, always controllable, if the political will to assert control was present (Kunath, 2012) William L. Shirer was a heroic journalist covering the rise of the Third Reich amid increasing censorship of the press. He spent six years covering the events, atmosphere and politics of Nazi Germany for audiences elsewhere in Europe. He witnessed the Germans’ descent into madness and violence, and he possessed the reporters eye and ear for details that would have exposed the Nazis’ wickedness. Yet he lived under extreme censorship. Adolf Hitler’s propagandists suppressed all news except officially sanctioned messages that extolled the virtues of the Third Reich. (Sweeney, 2012) Now that the nature and intensity of Nazi anti-Semitism is fairly well established, it is interesting to study the Jewish perceptions on the phenomenon. Jewish assimilation into Christian dominated societies goes back several centuries starting from Babylonia. This sensitive and complex trend continued well into the modern era, with the German-Jew ‘symbiosis’, proving for a while to be a triumph of social integration. Indeed, German Jews themselves touted their identification as Germans. Non-Jews like Gotthold Lessing and even Goethe wrote and spoke about their colleagues of ‘the Mosaic persuasion’. (M, 2001, p. 138) But such a glorious communal bond had deteriorated into the Holocaust under the Nazis. It is fair to claim that the Jews

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