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HindenburgPower, Myth, and the Rise of the Nazis$
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Anna von der Goltz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570324.001.0001

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Surviving failure

Surviving failure

Chapter:
(p.43) 2 Surviving failure
Source:
Hindenburg
Author(s):

Anna von der Goltz (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570324.003.0003

This chapter investigates how the Hindenburg myth managed to survive Germany's worsening military and domestic situation in the second half of the war, eventually leading to military defeat and the collapse of the monarchies. Nevertheless, the Hindenburg myth still expressed the expectations of German society: to recreate order and recapture tranquility after the disruption of wartime, and to retrieve something positive from war. It is argued that the government of Max von Baden, as well as the democratic Left, relied on Hindenburg's mythical authority to ease the transition from monarchy to republic; the Hindenburg myth provided the symbolic backbone of the Ebert–Groener pact. Instead of turning against the Field Marshal, the Left vilified Ludendorff, and the Right found its scapegoat in the stab-in-the-back legend, blaming Socialists and Jews for German defeat. It is argued that while initially helping to expedite the transition to democracy, the Hindenburg myth soon turned into a burden for the young republic.

Keywords:   Hindenburg myth, defeat, Ludendorff, monarchy, Max von Baden, Democratic Left

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