The thanks of the fatherland : German veterans after the Second World War (Book, 1993) [WorldCat.org]
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The thanks of the fatherland : German veterans after the Second World War

Author: James M Diehl; Mazal Holocaust Collection.
Publisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
German veterans never embraced the Weimar Republic, created out of the ruins of World War I. Former soldiers demanded a state that was militant, nationalist, and authoritarian, and their rejection of the new democratic Republic played a major role in its collapse and the Nazi rise to power. After Hitler's defeat, German veterans again represented a source of social instability and a potential threat to democracy.
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Diehl, James M.
Thanks of the fatherland.
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, ©1993
(OCoLC)651910239
Named Person: Gottfried Hansen
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: James M Diehl; Mazal Holocaust Collection.
ISBN: 0807820776 9780807820773
OCLC Number: 27034760
Description: xii, 345 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. World War I, Veterans, and the Weimar Republic --
2. Veterans in the Third Reich --
3. The Aftermath of War: The Occupation Years --
4. Early and Provisional Legislation --
5. The Federal War Victims' Benefits Law --
6. The 131 Law --
7. The Price of Success: The Search for New Missions --
8. The Verband deutscher Soldaten.
Responsibility: James M. Diehl.

Abstract:

German veterans never embraced the Weimar Republic, created out of the ruins of World War I. Former soldiers demanded a state that was militant, nationalist, and authoritarian, and their rejection of the new democratic Republic played a major role in its collapse and the Nazi rise to power. After Hitler's defeat, German veterans again represented a source of social instability and a potential threat to democracy.

Examining the activities of major veterans' groups, James Diehl shows why Bonn succeeded where Weimar had failed in defusing the threat of disgruntled veterans.

Most accounts of veterans' activities in the Federal Republic have concentrated on the involvement of a minority of ex-soldiers in extremist and neo-Nazi movements. Diehl broadens the focus to provide a more comprehensive picture, treating veterans not only as a political factor but as a historical and social phenomenon as well. He has consulted extensive ministerial and organizational archives that became available to scholars only in the 198Os.

While the Third Reich had heaped praise on veterans, its promises of material benefits were often specious and largely unrealized; veterans' benefits were further reduced immediately following the Second World War as a result of the remilitarization policies of the occupying powers. After its establishment in 1949, however, the Federal Republic actively worked to satisfy the legitimate demands of ex-soldiers, passing legislation to aid disabled veterans, returning POWs, and former officers.

The enactment of this legislation, Diehl argues, successfully integrated the majority of German veterans into the Federal Republic's social and political fabric and isolated extremist elements. Diehl's book also shows how the changing fortunes of German veterans illustrate larger changes in German society that helped to erode militarism and facilitate the growth of parliamentary democracy.

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