Michael Wildt

The Volk’s Ambivalence - National Socialism as Social History

With numerous illustrations
(German title: Die Ambivalenz des Volkes)
ca. 423 pages
Michael Wildt

Michael Wildt

Michael Wildt is Professor for 20th Century German History, focussing on National Socialism, at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

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Whoever speaks of the »Volk« cannot fail to mention the void at its heart. There is always a struggle to define who belongs and who is to be kept out. Not only do language and history determine who is included and who is excluded but ancestry and ethnic attributes as well. In National Socialism the Volk assumed its anti-Semitic and racist form, with violence and self-empowerment becoming central elements. The concept of the Volksgemeinschaft is thus a key term for a political theory and social history of National Socialism, whose components Michael Wildt gathers in this book.


»Michael Wildt is to thank for the fact that research focuses ever more strongly upon processes of communication in which ›Volksgenossen‹ appropriated the concept of ›Volksgemeinschaft‹« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»The Volk’s Ambivalence is a smart and remarkable book on historiography that not only sketches a social history of National Socialism but also takes into account the lives that were shaped by this history.« Isabell Trommer, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»This progressive contemplation of what ›Volk‹ and ›Volksgemeinschaft‹ as concept and practice have done to our history and to our present makes the book an important read – not solely for readers interested in the history of the Third Reich.« Christoph Rass, H-Soz-Kult

»An enlightening book!« Susanne Borst, Bernhard Lübbers, Mittelbayerische Zeitung