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Both the perpetrators and the victims of Nazism dominate new studies of Germany this season. A first-hand perspective of the collapse of Weimar and rise of the Nazis is told in Dispatches from the Weimar Republic: Versailles and German Fascism by Morgan Phillips Price, edited by Tania Rose (Pluto Press, 20 [pounds sterling]). The book reprints the writings of Manchester Guardian special correspondent, Phillips Price, one of the few British journalists in the Weimar Republic between the turbulent years 1919 and 1923. Phillips Price reported the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which he noted as an excessive retribution against a severely defeated nation. Germany's rapid recovery from this `stab in the back', how the country rebuilt its army and circumvented certain restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty, is documented in The Path to Blitzkrieg: Training and Doctrine in the German Army 1920-1939 by Robert M. Citino (Lynne Rienner, 39.95 [pounds sterling]).

The fortunes of the Nazis are recounted in a new narrative, Hitler's Germany by Roderick Stackelberg (Routledge, 50 hb [pounds sterling], 15.99 pb [pounds sterling]) which sets National Socialism in the wider context of 19th- and 20th-century Germany. Broader themes of German nationalism are also debated in German and American Nationalism: A Comparative Perspective edited by Helmut Lehmann (Berg, 44.99 [pounds sterling]). Here an interesting perspective is offered as the author defines the similarities and differences between American nationalism, based on an ideology of inherent rights and faith in the `American dream', and the `blood and soil' nationalism in Germany.

The Norwegian, Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), who earned notoriety from siding with the Nazis and whose name is synonymous with `traitor' is the subject of a new biography. Quisling: A Study in Treachery by Hans Fredrik Dahl (Cambridge University Press, 30 [pounds sterling]) traces Quisling's career through to the final drama of his trial and execution for high treason in 1945.

Not content with merely the seizure of Europe's territory, Hitler desired its treasure as well. The Lost Masters: The Looting of Europe's Treasurehouses by Peter Harclerode and Brendan Pittaway (Victor Gollancz, 20 [pounds sterling]), tells how the art world connived to assist the Nazis during the war and how loot recovered at the end of the war disappeared again with the arrival of Stalin's Red Army, while other Allies picked over the ruins of the Third Reich for their own enrichment.

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Publication:History Today
Date:Apr 1, 1999
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