When not at work on a book about the roots of anti-Semitism in his country, the German historian and Holocaust expert Peter Longerich has been thinking about 1923.
In that year, Longerich explained, Germany faced a severe crisis. The economy teetered, separatist movements accelerated in multiple states and, in November, the upstart politician Adolf Hitler attempted a putsch in Bavaria. Still, “the Weimar Republic managed to get through the crisis and stabilize itself.”
A decade later, another crisis had a very different outcome: Hitler became Reich Chancellor, quickly eliminated institutional checks on his power, and launched a dictatorship.