Sneak Preview: Was the Nazi Seizure of Power Inevitable or Avoidable?

Just a quick shout-out to my friend, Thomas Weber, whose edited volume, Als die Demokratie starb: Die Machtergreifung der Nationalsozialisten – Geschichte und Gegenwart (The Nazi Seizure of Power – Past and Present) will be appearing later this year in advance of the 90th anniversary of the Nazis‘ rise to power in 1933.  

I mention the volume as I have a counterfactually-oriented essay that appears in it, entitled “What Ifs” and 1933: Was the Machtergreifung Inevitable or Avoidable?” 

 The essay shows how historians in Germany and the English-speaking world have used counterfactuals to determine whether the Nazis’ rise to power could have been prevented in any meaningful way.  It further argues that two schools of thought have long disagreed with one another: the “determinists” and “accidentalists.”  Each approaches the question of historical causality differently and views the Nazi rise to power from radically different perspectives, rooted in both methodological and political differences.  

The essay discusses the specific work of William Montgomery McGovern, Emil Ludwig, Friedrich Meinecke, Gerhard Ritter, Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Thomas Nipperdey, and Heinrich August Winkler, among many others.  

The essay will be appearing in German.  But after the German edition’s publication, I’ll be happy to post an English language translation in PDF form.