It has long been assumed that stability was imposed on Germany after World War II; that the United States in particular taught Germans, among other things, how to be “good democrats” and to value cultural pluralism. In his latest book, Lions and Lambs: Conflict in Weimar and the Creation of Post-Nazi Germany
(Yale University Press, 2017), Noah Benezra Strote
challenges this idea, arguing that it was Germans themselves who rebuilt the country after 1945. Focusing particularly on the country’s famed post-war consensus, Strote contends that its roots can be traced back to the very issues that divided the country before 1933 and thus helped Hitler into power. As the Nazi period wore on, however, the book shows how previously warring factions began to work together, ironing out the differences that divided them during the Weimar Republic and developing a vision for a post-Nazi Germany. Indeed, as centenary of the Weimar Republic gets under way, Lions and Lambs
deftly illustrates how the successes of Germany’s second democracy are directly linked to the failures of its first.
Darren O’Byrne is a historian of twentieth-century Germany living in Berlin, Germany. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @darrenobyrne1.