It didn’t occur to me until I read this book that while I’ve seen lots of book about the Nazis before and during the Second World War, I’ve never really read anything about Germany in the years after the war.
The Fourth Reich, by Gavriel D Rosenfeld, covers that period, and especially the fear that Nazis would try again. It looks at the conditions after the war, and the efforts to establish a new Nazi party, and to ensure that there would never be another Nazi party. It also looks at how the fears were projected into writing (both fiction and non-fiction) and film. I came out of the book with a list of other books I want to track down to read.
My only real disappointment with the book was that the description of the book included “He shows how postwar German history might have been very different without the fear of the Fourth Reich as a mobilizing idea to combat the right-wing forces that genuinely threatened the country’s democratic order”. I was a little disappointed by the lack of any speculation into what could have been.
Still, it opened my eyes to something I’d never thought about before. In my mind, WWII ended, and the Nazi’s were gone, at least until I became aware of the skinheads in the eighties. This book showed me the ways that the Nazi ideology continued to affect (or infect) post-war Germany, and how hard the German government (and the occupying countries like the US and UK) worked to make sure that fascism did not move back into power.
Here’s hoping that the current political problems around the world doesn’t mean that their efforts were in vain.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for letting me read this