German aristocrats and Adolf Hitler

German Empress Hermine of Reuss

From British daily The Morning Star:

Why German elite cosied up to nazis

(Sunday 18 January 2009)

High Society in the Third Reich by Fabrice d’Almeida

FABRICE d’Almeida’s insightful study looks at the relationship between Hitler’s Third Reich and German high society.

The fact that the German nobility went along with the nazis’ regime has long been discussed in historical books and this one does not claim to be covering new ground.

Rather, the author makes a good use of previously unpublished material, including private diaries and official papers, documenting key events and also providing an interesting sociological analysis.

Many lesser-known episodes of this decadent liaison are to be found here, including Hitler’s close links with royalty, in particular his relationship with the Kaiser’s wife Empress Hermine, plus his pompous 50th birthday party organised by the higher nobility in 1939 and numerous “tea parties” and art events used as fundraising opportunities.

As well as portraying vividly the high-class social life under the Third Reich, d’Almeida addresses some difficult questions that concern the nature of the German elite’s support for the nazis.

The author looks at the Prussian aristocracy and how it evolved to become Hitler’s new nazi elite.

He argues that the concept of German new elite should not be reduced to wealthy bankers, industrialists and government officials who, by virtue of their social and professional success, provided critical support for the National Socialist movement. Rather, the author argues, by 1930s, the idea of elite entered the finest pores of the German society as a “common morality,” something that “members of good society” fashioned in the pursuit of a collective interest.

Thus, the author controversially argues, the support for Hitler proceeded largely from conformism and was, to a lesser extent, a matter of coercion – use of power to obtain compliance.

The German people have often been seen as victims of Hitler’s madness and this book attempts to challenge this view by emphasising the distinction between coercion and conformity and by re-examining the extent to which the German society was responsible for Hitler’s rise to power. An ambitious work that is unlikely to be ignored by the specialists in this area of research.


However, what may be true for the German aristocracy, or for German “wealthy bankers, industrialists and government officials”, may not necessarily be true for “the German people” as a whole.

The Von der Schulenburg family: here.

Sex parties, bloody duels and blackmail: life at court of last German emperor: here.

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