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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

Constructing a "People's Community": The Dual Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion in National Socialism

Awarded: NOK 3.0 mill.


The project is stimulated by recent trends in the historiography of National Socialism and the new energies that have been brought into the debate on the nature of the Third Reich by younger generations of German historians. The relationship between the inclusionary and exclusionary processes of the Third Reich, the underlying threat of violence accompanying them, and how the population at large responded and related to them provides the backdrop for the project at large. The project will look into Nazi sm in general, from an oppositional force in the Weimar Republic through the establishment and development of the Third Reich until the outbreak of war in autumn 1939. In short: the transformation from a civil society based on the rule of law to a "people 's community" based on exclusionary racial and anti-Semitic principles. The project will utilise a regional approach, focusing on the region of Saxony-Anhalt in central Germany. The ambition of the project is to trace how different social groups and branc hes of society responded and adapted to the messages communicated by the Nazi regime through various propaganda efforts. Thus the project does not seek to uncover the gap between social reality and the social myth created by Nazi propaganda, nor does it s eek to pass moral judgment on the German population's behaviour in the period 1933-1939. Looking at the inclusionary aspects of the Nazi idea of the "people's community" I will look into how the general population was attempted mobilised, focusing on ideo logy and mentality and the creation of new opportunities and material prosperity. The exclusionary process is interpreted as a social practice that necessarily included society at large. Whereas the official exclusion of the German Jews from working life, public education and health care is well documented, less so are the social practices that were necessary in order to realise the complex process of gradual exclusion of the Jews from German society in general.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam