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Why Not Here?

Fogarty, Brian E.

Publication Year: 2009

When the Nazis took power in 1933, most Germans did not foresee the oncoming storm. Many were wildly enthusiastic; some were alarmed; most were worried but trusted that things would work out. In short, they felt much as Americans have felt from time to time. Fascism: Why Not Here? draws parallels between German culture of the early twentieth century and American culture today, concluding that fascism could arise in America—but not through either of the major political parties. While Fogarty postulates that it would take a confluence of events and circumstances to propel Americans into the arms of fascism, he concludes that it is not entirely unlikely. If the war against terrorism were to become more costly and less effective, if the economy were to tailspin, and if we were to endure several other major terrorist attacks, how would we respond to a political outsider’s bold and decisive plan to end partisan bickering and “make America great” again? In examining the similarities and differences between Nazi Germany and America today, Fogarty finds many reasons for hope that Americans would not fall victim to such a chauvinisitic appeal, but he also finds plenty to worry about. He points out that contemporary Americans and Germans of the 1920s and 1930s share many similar values, ideals, fears, and beliefs. Fogarty’s strong words of caution will appeal to any reader who is concerned about America’s political future and the freedoms we too often take for granted.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Title Page, Other Works, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

THIS BOOK BEGAN, as I suspect many do, with memorable teaching experiences. My most memorable have involved traveling with students and my former colleague Dale McGowan to Germany and Austria to study the relationship of German culture to the rise of National Socialism. In these trips, we focused on German music, and particularly the operas of Richard Wagner, as our entry...

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1 Introduction

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pp. 1-10

THE GEORGE W. BUSH ERA IS OVER. The 2008 elections confirmed a growing public disillusionment with the “bold leadership” and ideological fervor of the Bush administration, which was the last hurrah, for now, of the neoconservative movement. Postmortem analyses of the election results were stunning: the Republican ticket lost ground in virtually every state compared with the...

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2 Cause and Culture

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pp. 11-24

NINETEEN THIRTY-SIX WAS A GOOD YEAR to be a German. The economy had improved; at least what money the Germans had was worth something. The Treaty of Versailles had become an irrelevance as Germany chipped away at its restrictions. The 1936 Nazi Party rally was the best ever, even grander than the one immortalized in Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, which had been...

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3 Romanticism

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pp. 25-58

WHAT HAPPENS TO DEMOCRACY when people take leave of their reason? The idea of the enlightened voter, educated and practical enough to apply reason and wisdom to political life, was a cornerstone of the political structure laid down by America’s Founding Fathers. It was assumed that candidates for office would appeal to the interests of these enlightened voters, and those who proposed...

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4 Populism

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pp. 59-86

IN THE YEARS FOLLOWING WORLD WAR I, Munich roiled with political instability and intrigue. The home of lederhosen and Oktoberfest, of Catholic piety and agrarian yeomanry, Munich had variously been the capital of the Bavarian monarchy, an independent communist city-state, and finally part of the unloved Weimar Republic. Fringe political parties held a bedlam of meetings, speeches, and..

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5 Nationalism

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pp. 87-122

A FEW DAYS AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 11 attacks I happened to be driving through the upper Midwest, through what’s called America’s Heartland, the mythical home of genuine American values and morals. In those early days of real fear that more attacks might be imminent, the outburst of nationalist sentiment was obvious: displays of Old Glory more conspicuous than usual, fire station...

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6 Racism

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pp. 123-152

IN MODERN HISTORY, THERE have been only three overtly racist regimes, governments that have explicitly and legally recognized race as a basis for conferring differential rights and rewards. The most notorious was the Third Reich, which made Jewishness itself a crime and which set for itself the task of eliminating European Jewry through deportation and murder. The most recent...

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7 Authoritarianism

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pp. 153-176

IN 1961 A YALE PSYCHOLOGIST NAMED Stanley Milgram set out to see whether a German penchant for obedience could explain the rise of the National Socialists and the ensuing fall into totalitarianism, war, genocide, and ruin. His intent was to compare Germans with people of other cultures in terms of their willingness to follow orders, even when those orders were morally odious. He established..

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8 Can It Happen Here?

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pp. 177-204

AMERICANS ENJOY A SENSE OF POLITICAL SECURITY that many around the world have reason to envy. The Constitution, ratified more than two centuries ago, rules over an active and partisan government whose leadership and philosophy change with the shifting fortunes of various interest groups, demographic categories, and innovative movements. The Constitution balances the powers...


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pp. 205-218

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 219-222


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pp. 223-228

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About the Author

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p. 229-229

BRIAN E. FOGARTY is a professor of sociology at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has written for a variety of publications, including the Aspen Institute Quarterly, Peace and Change, and the Minneapolis Star- Tribune. Fogarty...

E-ISBN-13: 9781597976312
E-ISBN-10: 1597976318
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597972239
Print-ISBN-10: 1597972231

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2009

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political culture -- United States.
  • Fascism -- United States.
  • National characteristics, American.
  • United States -- Civilization.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • Political culture -- Germany -- History -- 20th century.
  • Fascism -- Germany -- History -- 20th century.
  • Germany -- Politics and government -- 1918-1933.
  • Germany -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945.
  • National characteristics, German.
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