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Oxford University Press
27 July 2016
Like every authoritarian regime in history, Nazi Germany tried to inhibit ideological freedom through book censorship. Between 1933 and 1945, Hitler's party orchestrated a massive campaign to take control of all forms of communication in the nation. Although Nazi propaganda has been widely studied, modern historians have decidedly neglected book censorship.

In this book, noted scholar Guenter Lewy offers the first comprehensive analysis in English language of the ways in which the Nazis exerted control over the creation, publication, and distribution of books by authors, publishers, bookstores, and libraries.  While Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry played a leading role, other entities engaged in censorship, including the Ministry of Science, Education and Popular Culture, Rosenberg's Office for the Advancement of German Literature, and Bouhler's Party Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Literature. The Gestapo and the Security Service were also involved in the process of enforcement. All of these organizations often acted on their own initiative both on the state and on the local level.  As a result of these overlapping jurisdictions, the process of control was disorderly. This illustrates once again that the Third Reich was monolithic in theory but polycratic in practice. 

This book explores not only how the Nazis implemented book censorship, but also the ways in which this process affected German intellectuals. It deals with the controversial issue of the so-called  inner immigrants  - authors who were opposed to National Socialism but chose to remain in Germany and concealed the true meaning of their writings by way of allegories or parables, such as Gottfried Benn, Gerhart Hauptmann, Ernst Junger, Jochen Klepper, and Ernst Wiechert.

Describing the fate of writers and publishers who came into conflict with the organs of censorship, Lewy provides a disconcerting and realistic portrait of intellectual life under the Nazi dictatorship.
By:   Guenter Lewy (Professor Emeritus of Political Science Professor Emeritus of Political Science University of Massachusetts-Amherst)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 242mm,  Width: 164mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   542g
ISBN:   9780190275280
ISBN 10:   0190275286
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   27 July 2016
Audience:   College/higher education ,  A / AS level ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1. Introduction 2. The Book-Burning of 1933 Part I. The Agencies of Control 3. The Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda 4. The Reich Chamber of Literature 5. Gestapo and SD 6. The Party Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Literature 7. Alfred Rosenberg: Hitler's Plenipotentiary for Ideological Education Part II. The Practice of Censorship 8. The Reasons for Banning Books 9. Jewish Books 10. The Purge of the Libraries 11. Wartime Censorship 12. The Battle for Turf Part III. The Impact of Censorship 13. The Inner Emigration 14. Conclusion Abbreviations and Glossary Notes Bibliography Index

Guenter Lewy is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts. His books include The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany and The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies, the recipient of a prize from the German Studies Association.

Reviews for Harmful and Undesirable: Book Censorship in Nazi Germany

Lewy's emphasis on overlapping and conflicting authorities provides a concise case study of the broader scholarly view of the polycracy of the Third Reich and demonstrates how censorship could, at times, remain effective, despite these interagency conflicts. A strength of the book is the level of detail Lewy provides * Willeke Sandler, History * This admirably written book can be read both as a comprehensive history of National Socialist censorship and as a more abstract study of bureaucracy in the Third Reich ... readers will enjoy a large number of surprising details and observations on issues such as self-censorship, paper shortages and economic mechanisms of the German book market. * Simon Unger, German History * Nazi censorship was different from censorship in other totalitarian regimes, but it has escaped so far the attention of English language historiography. Professor Lewy's important study is therefore most welcome. * Walter Laqueur, author of Facism: Past, Present, and Future * Guenter Lewy has written the first thoroughly documented and highly readable history of an aspect of Nazi rule hardly dealt with up to now. Harmful and Undesirable is an essential contribution to the history of the Third Reich. * Saul Friedlander, Professor of History Emeritus, UCLA * An intriguing, in-depth study of Nazi efforts to control every aspect of the printed word, from book burning to all forms of surveillance. This highly intelligent work brings light to a previously neglected field, in part of uncomfortable relevance. The author, a seasoned historian, concentrates on individuals, including Nazi chieftains who delighted in fighting each other. * Fritz Stern, author Five Germanys I Have Known * Recommended. * CHOICE * Lewy's innovative narrative succeeds in its investigation of such a complex issue. This short book would be a welcome addition to graduate level (and possibly advanced undergraduate) seminars on intellectual life in Nazi Germany, particularly for classes that want to consider implementation as well as ideology. Harmful and Undesirable: Book Censorship in Nazi Germany will also inform researchers working on Nazi intellectual culture particularly the history of reading during the Third Reich. * Stuart Bailey, International Social Science Review * This is a welcome, thoroughly researched, persuasively argued, and highly illuminating account of the Third Reichs efforts to exercise book censorship to implement Nazi cultural policy... Lewys fine study may now be the best for understanding Nazi book censorship from the top down. * Gary D. Stark (Grand Valley State University), European History Quarterly, Vol. 47 *


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