The NSDAP and the crisis of agrarian conservatism in Lower Bavaria : national socialism and the peasants' road to modernity / by Kim R. Holmes.
This work is a study of the rise of National Socialism in Lower Bavaria from 1921 to 1933, and how the process of modernization relates historically to the problem of Nazism. It has been more or less assumed by historians such as Barrington Moore, Jr., Timothy Alan Tilton and Hans-Jurgen Puhle that the outbreak of Nazism (or fascism) in rural areas of Germany was largely the result of reactionary social forces in the countryside rejecting progress and change--rejecting, in a word, modernity. The implication is that agrarian Nazism was a form of outraged tradition, a harking back to an atavistic vision of agrarian tradition and peasant parochialism. It is argued in this study that the growth of National Socialism in the agrarian society of Lower Bavaria was predicated on the demise of peasant traditions, and not on their fulfillment. It is shown that the NSDAP was most successful in regions where an indigenous peasant protest movement had done the most to undermine the mainstream Catholic political culture of Bavaria's traditional ruling party--the Bavarian People's Party. The NSDAP continued agrarian politics in the tradition of a modern peasant protest party, promising not only a radical restructuring of the agrarian economy, but a commitment to the symbols of a nationalist economic modernization of agriculture. By cultivating the image of a party dedicated to both economic change and cultural conservatism, the NSDAP was able to win over those segments of the agrarian population in Lower Bavaria that were the most uprooted from the traditions of Bavarian state conservatism and political Catholicism.
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