Hermann Beck

German historian and university teacher

Hermann Beck (born January 30, 1955) is a German professor of modern European history at the University of Miami.

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  • During the winter and spring of 1933, the Nazis made a strenuous effort to present themselves as in harmony with conservative German and Prussian traditions, or even as the natural result and outgrowth of these traditions. The nazis made the conservative Prussian past serviceable to their need for political legitimation to an extent hitherto unprecedented. Long before the Second World War, Prussian values became National Socialist values, judged to epitomize the German character, and help up as models to emulate: austerity, thrift, tenacity in the pursuit of one's goals, a preparedness for personal sacrifice, and a willingness to lay down one's life in the service of a higher cause that would win out in the end, even in the face of overwhelming odds. Above all, there was the concept of duty; it was imperative to "fulfill" one's duty of the Volk and the Fatherland. Among other things, Nazi propaganda made the Prussian past and the values it imputed to it palpable in the form of Grand historic films that enjoyed mass audiences. It was already during the period of the seizure of power that conservatives lost the Deutungshoheit, that is, the prerogative to interpret the great traditions and historical figures of the past, to the Nazis. From 1933 onwards, the Nazis acted as self-appointed guardians of the national heritage. And they did this with greater aplomb, audacity, and-in many instances-more skill than conservative propagandists during the Weimar Republic before them.

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