The rise and fall of Nazi influence among the German-Chileans / by Christel K. Converse
Includes bibliographical references (p. 504-517)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
The influence of the German National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP) and its ideology extended far beyond Germany's borders. Relying on mostly primary sources, this study examines in detail the effect of its ideology and the activities of its advocates among the numerically small but significant ethnic German minority in Chile from 1930 until Chile's diplomatic break with Germany in 1943. Between 1933 and 1937 most German-Chilean institutions, social and special purpose associations, including schools, churches, welfare, agricultural and the Liga Chileno-Alemana, many dating back into the nineteenth century and legally chartered, succumbed to control by the NSDAP and the Third Reich. Others resisted or remained aloof, notably the German student associations, Freemasons and some women's clubs. Even the Camara Chileno-Alemana de Comercio retained a modicum of independence from party dictates. Although subordination to the NSDAP was engineered by the Foreign Organization of the NSDAP and its arm in Chile, cultural identification of German-Chileans with the ancestral home and a period of political turmoil in Chile, among other factors, contributed to this temporary aberration. Emotional appeals and clever slogans rather than Nazi ideology proved significant. In its quest the NSDAP was assisted by an indigenous German-Chilean youth movement which, once captured by and made into the principal tool of the NSDAP, aroused Chilean suspicions, especially among the political left, and cautioned prudent German-Chileans. Ironically, the youth movement became the primary reason for the NSDAP's unravelling. Traditional German-Chileans resented the party's excesses and encroachment on their local autonomy. The Chilean government exhibited extraordinary tolerance and at no point alienated the German-Chileans. However, local enforcement of laws and rising anti-Nazism in the hemisphere persuaded traditional German-Chileans to offer more than passive resistance. In May of 1938 German-Chilean leaders began to extricate their institutions from the grip of the NSDAP. Through the re-organized Liga Chileno-Alemana, led by the student associations, they defended their "Deutschtum in Chile" not only against Allied propaganda and demands, as they had in World War I and would do so in World War II, but also against domination by the Fatherland.
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