Peasants and Jews: Anti-Semitism and Rural Politics in Northwest Germany

How did a region of Germany, known before the Great War for its political liberalism and tolerance of Jews become a hotbed of anti-Semitism in all of its pernicious manifestations? Using advanced spatial and statistical analysis, I argue that rural politics was in a state of constant evolution and innovation, as entrenched elites and insurgent activists fought for votes in the villages and hamlets of northwest Germany. The social and economic dislocations caused first by the War, exacerbated by the early onset of the Great Depression in the countryside gave anti-Semites the breakthrough that they had been unable to achieve in forty years of ceaseless (if marginalized) agitation.

Key features of the monograph:

1) This is the first text to apply Historical GIS to German electoral history, offering fresh insight into the complexity of Imperial and Weimar German politics. GIS enables me to look into the very dynamics of village society and politics. 2) It is the first major English language contribution to the study of northwest Germany’s Landjuden, small communities of Jews living integrated lives in gentile villages and providing needed economic services. 3) Through hyperlinks to this website, it uses full-color visual representation of the census and election data that enable a fuller appreciation of the spatiality of German political behavior.

Anti-Semitism and Rural Politics in Northwest Germany