The astonishing year when German democracy faced crisis and near destruction.
1923 was one of the most remarkable years of modern European history. In January, France and Belgium militarily occupied Germany’s economic heartland, the Ruhr; triggering a series of crises that almost spiralled out of control. Hyperinflation plunged millions into poverty. The search for scapegoats empowered political extremes. Hitler’s populism ascended to national prominence. Communists, Nazis, separatists all thought that they could use the crises to destroy democracy.
None succeeded. 1923 was the year of Hitler’s first victory – and his first defeat. Fanning the flames of instability, anti-government and antisemitic sentiment, the Nazis abortive yet pivotal putsch in a Munich beer hall failed when they were abandoned by their likeminded conservative allies. Drawing on previously unseen sources, Mark Jones weaves together a thrilling and resonant image of a modern society in extreme crisis.