Emeritus Professor Stackelberg Pens 2nd 'Hitler's Germany'
By Megan Hervey
Class of 2011
In the first half of the 20th century the world looked on as a national culture famous for its creativity and achievement caused widespread destruction and terror. Roderick Stackelberg, professor of history emeritus at Gonzaga University, recently published his second edition of “Hitler’s Germany: Origins, Interpretations, and Legacies” (Routledge, 2008).
Written to provide students with the interpretive framework to understanding this episode in German and European history, the latest edition of this book presents a comprehensive history of Nazi Germany. “My intention in writing this book was to provide an accurate and reasonably complete narrative account of the period of Nazi rule, the events leading up to it, and its aftermath, based on the latest historical research,” Stackelberg said in a recent interview.
The second edition of "Hitler's Germany" by Gonzaga Professor Emeritus Rod Stackelberg
“Hitler’sGermany” sets the history of Nazi Germany in the context of the general history of 19th and 20th century Germany. Stackelberg’s analysis describes in detail the barbarism and destructiveness caused by Nazi rule and the factors that coalesced to make such atrocities possible.
Stackelberg began teaching in Gonzaga’s history department in 1978 and retired in 2004 after 26 years in the classroom. Still, his scholarly research and writing continue unabated.
“Here I developed the courses on ‘Hitler’s Germany’ and ‘The Holocaust’ on which the text is based,” he said. Stackelberg’s first edition of “Hitler’s Germany”was published in 1999. Now, the second edition has been updated throughout, incorporating more recent historical analysis and research along with current historiographical debates.
The Latest Version of the Text Includes:
- An expanded introduction focusing on the hazards of writing about Nazi Germany;
- An extended analysis of fascism, totalitarianism, and imperialism;
- A broadened contextualization of anti-Semitism;
- Discussion of the Holocaust including the euthanasia program and the role of eugenics;
- New chapters on Nazi social and economic policies and the structure of government as well as the role of culture, the arts, education and religion in Nazi Germany;
- Additional maps, tables and a chronology; and
- A fully updated bibliography.
Stackelberg’s interest in this particular era has its roots in his unique personal background. Born in Munich to an American mother and a Baltic German father in 1935, Stackelberg experienced World War II at first hand in Germany.
“For anyone who lived through the terrible destructiveness of that war in full consciousness, even if only as a child, it has remained the defining experience of our lives,” Stackelberg said. As a scholar, Stackelberg has striven to investigate the causes and, to some extent, the consequences of the terrible events he witnessed as a child.
Above all, Stackelberg wishes to instill readers with an awareness of this important time
period in history.
“If there is any one thing I would like readers to take away from reading this book, it would be greater sensitivity to the danger and destructiveness of the nationalist, racist, authoritarian and militaristic values of Nazism and fascism,” the author said.
Stackelberg said these right-wing values are latently present in all societies – even liberal democracies – but present particular dangers in nations that command great military power, as Germany did in the 1930s and 1940s.
“I draw no analogies to the present in my book, but some of my readers have drawn such analogies, recognizing that the fears that have historically bred right-wing extremism – xenophobia, racism, and fears of mass democracy and of movements that favor greater equality among nations and individuals – are still very much present in the world in the 21st century,” Stackelberg said.