Local cultural activities played a key role in altering Germany’s political landscape between the world wars
Becoming a Nazi Town reveals the ways in which ordinary Germans changed their cultural lives and their politics from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. Casting the origins of Nazism in a new light, David Imhoof charts the process by which Weimar and Nazi culture flowed into each other. He analyzes this dramatic transition by looking closely at three examples of everyday cultural life in the mid-sized German city of Göttingen: sharpshooting, an opera festival, and cinema.
Imhoof draws on individual and community experiences over a series of interwar periods to highlight and connect shifts in culture, politics, and everyday life. He demonstrates how Nazi leaders crafted cultural policies based in part on homegrown cultural practices of the 1920s and argues that overdrawn distinctions between “Weimar” and “Nazi” culture did not always conform to most Germans’ daily lives. Further, Imhoof presents experiences in Göttingen as a reflection of the common reality of many German towns beyond the capital city of Berlin.
“There is no comparable study that digs this deeply into the connection between cultural activities and the rise of the Nazis, as well as the connection between such activities and the sustaining of Nazi rule. . . . Scholars of politics, associational life, sports history, classical music, and cinema studies will all find themselves consulting this work.”
—Richard Steigmann-Gall, Kent State University