Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1930-1935” as Want to Read:
The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1930-1935
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1930-1935

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  665 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
The Death of the Democracy
The Setting
The Anatomy of the Town
Enter the Nazis
Exploiting Victory
Authoritarians Unite
The Depths of the Depression
Political Crescendo
Things Fall Apart
The Last Winter
Introducing the Dictatorship
The Last Elections
The Uses of Electoral Success
The Terror System
Whipping Up Enthusiasm
The Atomization of Society
The Positive Aspect
Paperback, 359 pages
Published 1965 by Quadrangle Books (Chicago)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lewis Weinstein
UPDATE 3/13/14 ...

Northeim was a small town (10,000 pop.) in the north of Germany. Allen's description of the Nazi's 1933 program of Gleichschaltung (coordination), by which they meant the transformation of every government and social organization into Nazi control, is breathtaking. They were methodical, relentless and ruthless, and they did the job in about six months (from Feb to August), after which any opportunity for resistance or even an untoward thought, was nearly impossible.

It strikes
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
Nov 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The silent majority
For those who have read the panoramic accounts of how the Third Reich came about yet remain non-plussed as to how the mechanics of tyranny actually operate, William Sheridan Allen forensically deconstructs the day-by-day quasi-legal and carefully orchestrated encroachment on every aspect of society that manouevred the Nazis into power. The very repetitiveness of his amassed details provide an inkling of how the combined onslaught of propaganda and fear worked to overwhelm all opposition.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historians, history students, history buffs
This is almost certainly the one academic history book I have seen on the shelves of the most non-historians. Somehow, in spite of a narrow focus and use of advanced methodology, this book manages to be accessible and interesting to non-specialists. Its title describes its goal succinctly - the analysis of changes in a small town during the period immediately before and immediately after Hitler came to power in Germany. Allen chooses to keep the name of the town secret in this edition, although ...more
Erik Graff
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Terry Parsinnen
Shelves: history
I was not a great student freshman year of college. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated, the Students for a Democratic Society (whose last convention I'd attended as a delegate) had split up, Nixon had become president after the Democratic debacle on the streets of Chicago (which I'd also "attended"), the Czech's had been crushed by the Warsaw Pact, the war in Southeast Asia was going from bad to worse. School seemed of secondary concern to politics. I got trained as a dr ...more
Shane Avery
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
William Sheridan Allen provides a tautly written political analysis of Northeim, Germany in the years of the ascension of the NSDAP. Allen’s intimate portrait of the town goes a long way towards explaining how the Nazis succeeded in consolidating their power at the local level. He concludes that Northeim Nazis “knew exactly what needed to be done to effect the transfer of power to themselves in the spring of 1933, and they did it without more than generalized directives from above.” (295) Exerci ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is all about the Nazi takeover from the local level. National politics, Hitler, and the military only play into the narrative (and it IS a great narrative) only so much as they impacted Thalburg (or Nordheim depending on your version of the book).

That makes it rather identifiable and eerie. For instance, one of the first things the Nazis in this town took over was the school board. You can imagine this sort of thing happening in your town, with your local newspapers, and your local street n
Stephen Matlock
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got the revised version (1984) which includes more information based on records newly unearthed (in the 70s and 80s) from the Nazi archives in Hannover, as well as the restoration of the original names which were anonymized in the first edition to protect the living. It is, to be clear, an easier read now that I'm not trying to constantly figure out where this is.

It's still worth reading, to see how a sane, moral nation can go insane with hatred.

This is an engaging, lively book t
May 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-history
This book was one of the first that looked beyond the simplistic argument that Germans were pathologically evil and instead described a process that many people could understand. When people ask: "Why should anyone care about humanities?" this book serves as a good answer. By looking at the history of a small German town and its process of Nazification, we can learn volumes about human interaction and group dynamics. As in Browning's book "Ordinary Men", this book explains something horrid in wa ...more
A closely-reasoned and deeply-researched piece that uses the experience of a single small Saxon town to ask the Big German Question of the mid-20th century: How Did It Happen? The answer of course is...not all at once, but slowly, barely perceptibly, and in ways far more ordinary and legalistic than we'd like to think possible. Contra Mr. Burke, it's not that good men do nothing and so evil wins, it's that the good men can't find a clear place to take a stand until it's too late. A book well wor ...more
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Analyze the greater through examination of the lesser. Tough times in interwar Weimar Germany -- hyperinflation, unemployment, lack of goods and foodstuffs, boredom. How did the Nazis come to power? Allen relates the political and social history of a small town in an attempt to find out.
Apr 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a college class back in the day. I have read it now three times, and I find myself frequently going back to it for source material. It really make you think about the way mankind can be influenced and moved to do and support things that are nothing less than barbaric.
Dati, dati, dati e ancora dati elettorali per la prima metà.
Fortunatamente nella seconda metà ci sono un po più di fatti, mi aspettavo sinceramente di meglio.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: undergraduate
I was probably one of the rare students who actually read this whole book (okay, I admit I skipped a few paragraphs but omg its long) in my Europe of the World Wars class last semester. But, hey I got a 99 on my book review for it SO we can say it was almost an enjoyable read.

This examines the history of a small town in Germany during the final years of the Weimar Republic into the first years of the Third Reich. Allen attempts to show how a democratic society managed to turn into a dictatorship
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "The Nazi Seizure of Power" for a university history course this semester.

The general complaint that I heard from fellow students (and shared) is just how tedious the book was at times. It's a fantastic example of scholarly work (there's no denying that Allen did his research), but the repetitiveness often frustrated me.

I'm a compulsive note-taker as I read books and my notes were great proof of just how repetitive Allen was. The last two pages of each chapter really wrapped up each chap
Dan Sharber
this was a wholly fascinating read and chilling in how possible and explicable the rise of the nazis in northeim was. this book is a thorough account of one specific town in germany so it should not really be read as an overall view of the macro politics of the rise of the nazis. so prior to reading this book i would highly recommend reading The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class. it's a fantastic account of the socio-economic underpinnings of nazi ideology and the macro picture of their ri ...more
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I visited the town he talks about - Northeim - and walked through the cemetery. I thought about all the people there with birthdates in the 1890s and early 1900s. They were veterans of the great war. Democracy collapsed and totalitarianism came in on their watch. The next generation - born in the 1910s and 20s - did the killing and dying.
Allen concludes that the middle class lost hope in democracy and feared the socialists more than they loved liberty. He tells the story well, skipping over the
Matt Sokol
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Becomes a bit of a slog as it goes on - lots of step-by-step "this person did this, and then this, and then this, and then this" that gets a bit monotonous. But overall, a really thought-provoking and up-close look at the conditions that led to and followed from the Nazi rise to power.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A enlightening look at how the Nazi machine was able to slowly indocrinate itself among the people in slow, insidious steps.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, college
Incredibly insightful, although at times I wish Allen had broadened his scope to allow the reader some perspective of larger trends. Highly recommended though.
Dennis Blewitt
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is timely in light of the events of the last decade.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The middle class got freaked out during the depression worrying whether they were next as unemployment in the working class grew, the Nazis iterated locally and regularly on what militarist/nationalist propaganda was broadly appealing while being very willing to use violence and "be all things to everyone", and the majority SPD was too narrowly focused on the working class and normal political maneuvers to respond effectively without actually being radical themselves. Once in power, the Nazis qu ...more
Soobie's heartbroken
Recensione che si riferisce all'edizione Einaudi 1994.

Ammetto di aver letto solo l'introduzione. Anzi, per essere precisi, mi son fermata a pagina VIII perché.... perché il font è troppo piccolo!!! Il testo sembra essere un 8 o un 9. Ma l'introduzione è ancora più piccola.

Non son orba, ma non si può leggere in queste condizioni.
Silvia Torelli
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you know Rammstein? If you aren't metalhead, maybe not...
THey are an Industrial band from Germany...some time ago I've read something about them:

"In Guadalajara a guy came in with a T-shirt with a swastika. He probably thought it was a symbol of Germany folklore. This guy was about 25 years, and could not seem more Indians: blacks long hair, a large aquiline nose, and was wearing a T-shirt with a swastika. It was soon ready to take it off as soon as it was explained that a symbol is very unpo
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While the author makes it clear that he has done his homework, the text seems to become tedious and repetitive after a while, telling the same stories of violence, elections, and political competition. While the book is supposed to emphasise the "seizure of power", I would have liked to see more pages on the actual Nazi occupation of the town, rather than the larger portion of the book which was devoted to the time leading up to the take over.

Certainly, the book does explain that Germans were no
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historians
This book took the story of one town in Germany called Northeim and follows it's descent into Nazi power. It documents how a small group of Nazi's in 1932 were able to grow and by deceit and trickery and sometimes intimidation to grow the city's Nazi population from a very few to well over hale and able to control businesses and the governing of the city. Many German's were forced to join in order to have a job. This book deals with how a small group, whether they be Nazi's. Communists or others ...more
-Lo grande se hizo de muchos pequeños.-

Género. Historia.

Lo que nos cuenta. Repaso de lo que sucedió en una pequeña ciudad alemana (anónima durante mucho tiempo), desde mediados de la República de Weimar en el periodo de entreguerras hasta finales de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, como parte de la evolución de la influencia del Partido Nazi, sus tácticas y comportamientos, además de las reacciones de los habitantes de la población en los diferentes periodos. Edición revisada en 1984.

¿Quiere saber más
This survey of the peculiar Nazi experience is served on a micro level. Focusing on a single German town, Allen allows for a humanity to enter his study that has no parallel in many of the scholarly works of this type. Overall, after reading this book, one can get a greater understanding of how the Nazis gained control and power in Germany from the study of one town.
I'll always treasure this book because it's the first history book I read as an adult, outside of any school or class assignment. I didn't know I was a history buff until I saw this for a few bucks in a used bookstore in downtown Glendale, AZ. It looked interesting, it was cheap, so I bought it.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rigoroso nell'analisi degli avvenimenti che hanno preceduto l'avvento del nazismo. Una piccola città come tante altre. Un lento ma inesorabile cammino dalla democrazia alla dittatura. Molto interessante.
Allen Eskridge
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How is it possible that normal, good, honest people could become Nazis? This book answers that question, and shows that the same could happen to any people in any country if we are not prepared. Read this book and be prepared.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Fix Book Description, please 2 18 Dec 04, 2014 04:10AM  
  • The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS
  • The Weimar Republic: The Crisis of Classical Modernity
  • The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945
  • The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945
  • Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe
  • The Anatomy of Fascism
  • The Meaning of Hitler
  • The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology
  • Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler
  • Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich
  • Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
  • This Is Berlin: Reporting from Nazi Germany 1938-40
  • The Goebbels Diaries
  • The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich
  • The Nazi Conscience
  • They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45
  • After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation

Share This Book