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Childers, Thomas.

The Nazi voter: the social foundations of fascism in

Germany, 1919-1933. The university of North Carolina press: Chapel Hill
and London.
Juan Vargas
Critical Book Review
Dr. Cook
September 30, 2014
The Nazi voter review
Almost everyone in modern society knows or at least has
heard the name Adolf Hitler, without questioning one of the most
brutal and despicable men in the whole history. Guilty of many
things including multiple war crimes and the slaughter of more
than 11 million humans, among these approximately two thirds of
the Jews that lived in Europe at such time. But truth be told
very few know what brought him into power, and the things that
happened in Germany during those years, where misery and death
were an everyday thing.
Few are able to talk about the facts like Thomas Childers,
a career historian who earned a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1976 after
graduating from the University of Tennessee, where he started a
career as a historian, the same year he would start working as a
teacher in Pennsylvania State where his main focus was European
history and the two great wars. That same year he would publish
his very first book The Nazi Voter.

The Nazi Voter is basically a study of the voters in the

country and city and how these two affected the German
constituency. The book basically talks about how the Nazi were
created, what social groups were among them, what conditions
they had and what were the things they promised the people.
Childers utilizes much of the data available in this day and age
to inspect each of the national elections during the Weimar era,
by doing this he pretends to figure out and give new insight
about how Hitler came into power, who voted for him and why.
Thomas Childers also gives the reader a critical explanation of
how the Nazi campaign worked and how it achieved some of its
The author of The Nazi Voter points out continuously during
the book how the opinion of the people was divided during a
post-world war era, with crime rates on the rise the population
was demanding safety. When the need for and anti-criminal entity
started to be provided by the new political party, the Nazis,
the popularity of such group increased greatly, the people acted
in the best perceived interest; little did they know about what
was to come. The unusual thing in this book is that the author
uses an uncommon sample that goes from 1920 to November of 1932,
Childers gives the reader numerous tables and graphs including
even data regressions, all of this in an attempt to clarify and
provide comprehensive analysis of how the electoral parameter of

Germany was shifting into a socialist-fascist environment. This

would later result in catastrophic events. He also uses many
types of evidence to support his arguments.
Childers examines much of the educational material of the
Weimar era, he argues that all of the content included in such
books is somewhat supporting the ideals that the parties sought
to project into their audience. The author seems to lack
specific opinions about the people of such era and for this
reason he continuously makes inferences about the opinions of
the electors, but such give the reader a valuable insight of
what was the environment in which the elections at this point of
time were being held.
The author talks about how the existing parties started
dissolving not during the depression in the 1930s but instead
during the rampant inflation that would take place during 1922
and 1923. Through history it has been continuously linked the
rise of Hitler and the hyperinflation that took place during the
1920s. The economic uncertainty, increasing poverty and
instability lead the people to not ask but demand for change,
they thought this revolutionary and his ideas of socialism
combined with some fascist aspects would be the key to change
the current situation.

Childers argues that the political parties of the Weimar

era struggled to meet the demands of their supporters to end the
harsh policies the people was under. The policies were a
countermeasure to the rampant inflation, but the people did not
understand what was going on. The situation was so extenuating
the people started to get tired, a ninety percent tax rate was
not something people was going to endure for a long time. Things
would have to change and the one to make this change would be
Hitler, sadly it would not be quite what they were expecting
because things were about to be even worse.
The Nazi voter is indeed an interesting book to read in
order to understand the development and the things that happened
during the Weimar era. It is a book that develops well the why
and how of the coming into power of Hitler. Unfortunately it has
too many graphs and tables of numbers that for many readers like
this one can quickly turn the book into something tedious and
boring to read. Though an aspect of history of such
transcendence is indeed developed through the book, it is
somewhat questionable why Childers would take such a long period
as the polling sample. This makes the reader wonder how many
details were omitted because of the countless amount of events
that took place during the Weimar era. Indeed a very informative
book to read but sadly not a pleasant one.