Book Review: Hitler's Stormtroopers and the Attack on the German Republic, 1919-1933


by Otis C. Mitchell

Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008. Pp. viii, 192. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $40.00. ISBN: 0786439122

The Stormtroopers and the Rise of Hitler

First published in hardback in 2008, this is a history of the rise of the Nazi Party seen through the actions of its paramilitary wing, the Sturmabteilun g (SA) and its role in the destruction of the Weimar Republic.  Prof. Mitchell (emeritus Cincinnati), known for his work in German history, opens with a look at the roots of German militarism, fascism, and anti-Semitism, set against the background of the disaster of 1914-1919.

Mitchell then negotiates the complex life of postwar Germany, the consequences of defeat, domestic chaos and mass unemployment, psychological uncertainty, and revolution and counter-revolution, all of which fostered the slow growth of the Nazi movement .  He devotes individual chapters to the appearance of Hitler on the scene, the early history of the Nazi movement and the disastrous Munich “Beer Hall” putsch, and then covers the restructuring of the movement as a political party, its rise through elections and radical action, and the final attainment of power.  While his primary subject is the SA , he also takes close looks how its actions were used by Hitler and his more notable henchmen to promote the rise of Nazism

Mitchell’s approach is unusual in some ways .  He interleav es between some chapters little “Interpolation s ” that delve more deeply into right wing radicalism in Munich, paramilitary movements in Bavaria , and the multifaceted street warfare in Berlin, which rather helps serve to clarify some of the ways in which the Nazis took advantage of local conditions .  

Anyone interested in the rise of the Nazi movement will find this a valuable read.


Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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