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  • Published: 25 June 2024
  • ISBN: 9780753559970
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $36.99
Categories:

Vertigo

The Rise and Fall of Weimar Germany




Baillie Gifford-shortlisted author Harald Jähner (Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich) presents a staggering new assessment of the short life of the Weimar Republic between the wars in Germany.

'This is one of the most gripping accounts of an era spanning war defeat, humiliation and failed revolution in 1918 to the violence, intimidation and propaganda of the Nazis' rise to power in 1933. It contains many lessons for the world now.' - John Kampfner, bestselling author of Why The Germans Do It Better

'Vertigo is outstanding. Harald Jähner’s gift for illuminating the big picture with telling detail gives the reader an uncanny sense of what it was actually like to be present in Germany during the Weimar Republic. This is history at its very best.' - Julia Boyd, bestselling author of Travellers in the Third Reich

Germany, 1918: a country in flux. The First World War is over, the nation defeated. Revolution is afoot, the monarchy has fallen and the victory of democracy beckons. Everything must change with the times.

Out of the ashes of the First World War, Germany launches an unprecedented political project: its first democratic government. The Weimar Republic is established. The years that follow see political extremism, economic upheaval, revolutionary violence and the transformation of Germany. Tradition is shaken to its core as a triumphant procession of liberated lifestyles emerges. Women conquer the racetracks and tennis courts, go out alone in the evenings, cut their hair short and cast the idea of marriage aside. Unisex style comes into fashion, androgynous and experimental. People revel in the discovery of leisure, filling up boxing halls, dance palaces and the hotspots of the New Age, embracing the department stores’ promise of happiness and accepting the streets as a place of fierce political battles.

In this short burst of life between the wars, amidst a frenzy of change, comes a backlash from those who do not see themselves reflected in the new Republic. Little by little, deep divisions begin to emerge. Divisions that would bring devastating consequences, altering the course of the twentieth century and the lives of millions around the world. Vertigo is a vital, kaleidoscopic portrait of a pivotal moment in German history.

Praise for Aftermath by Harald Jähner:

'Exemplary [and] important... This is the kind of book few writers possess the clarity of vision to write' - Max Hastings, Sunday Times

'A masterpiece' - Spectator

'Magnificent... There are great lessons in the nature of humanity to be learnt here' - Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

'Jähner is masterly in telling the tragic, despicable, comedic and uplifting stories of those who were there' - Katja Hoyer, The Times

'Thought-provoking... Jähner's unflinching account is a reminder that historical truths are rarely simple and always nuanced' - Daily Mail

'A reminder that the German experience will always stand apart' - Economist

  • Published: 25 June 2024
  • ISBN: 9780753559970
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $36.99
Categories:

About the author

Harald Jähner

Harald Jähner, is a cultural journalist and former editor of the Berlin Times. He is also an honorary professor of cultural journalism at the Berlin’s University of Arts.

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Praise for Vertigo

From women in the workplace to traffic lights, from yo-yos to dance culture, Jähner tracks the 15 chaotic years of the Weimar Republic with his characteristic verve and attention to detail. This is one of the most gripping accounts of an era spanning war defeat, humiliation and failed revolution in 1918 to the violence, intimidation and propaganda of the Nazis' rise to power in 1933. It contains many lessons for the world now.

John Kampfner, bestselling author of Why the Germans Do it Better

Vertigo is outstanding. Harald Jähner’s gift for illuminating the big picture with telling detail gives the reader an uncanny sense of what it was actually like to be present in Germany during the Weimar Republic. This is history at its very best.

Julia Boyd, bestselling author of Travellers in the Third Reich and A Village in the Third Reich

Wonderfully written and compulsively, electrifyingly readable. The Weimar Republic and its chilling fall is – like Shakespearean tragedy – an enduringly fascinating, profoundly human story. And with consummate skill and a rich breadth of research, Harald Jähner makes us look again at what we thought we knew and gives this history new, extraordinary depth. Taking us through the neurotic violence of the 1918 German revolution, and the neon flowering of Weimar art and culture, thence to the dark rise of Hitler, Jähner deftly overturns many old assumptions about economics and politics along the way. And against this backdrop, he also invites us to explore everything from nude gymnastics to modernist architecture, fast cars to dance halls and, fundamentally, love and loss and the cold horror of hate.

Sinclair McKay, bestselling author of Berlin and Dresden

Any decent centrist will shiver at this wonderfully illustrated account of how Weimar’s heady metropolitan progressiveness failed to cope with loss of national pride, technological modernism, social change, early globalisation and financial crash. The confidence of the middle classes was lost, readying them to accept wild conspiracy theories: a new fusion of hard left and hard right, National Socialism, was swept to power by Germany’s flyover country, with disastrous results which the traditional elites only saw too late. A priceless lesson for anybody interested in Germany then - or the world today.

James Hawes, bestselling author of The Shortest History of Germany