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The Fourth Reich


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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Between fantasy and nightmare: inventing the Fourth Reich in the Third Reich; 2. From werewolves to democrats: the Fourth Reich under Allied occupation; 3. The Fourth Reich turns right: renazifying Germany in the 1950s; 4. From Germany to the United States: universalizing the Fourth Reich in the turbulent 1960s; 5. Hitler in Argentina: fictionalizing the Fourth Reich in the long 1970s; 6. Re-Germanizing the Fourth Reich: from reunification to the Reich Citizens' Movement; Conclusion.

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The first history of postwar fears of a Nazi return to power in Western political, intellectual, and cultural life.

About the Author

Gavriel D. Rosenfeld is Professor of History at Fairfield University, Connecticut. He has published widely on the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the Second World War, including Hi Hitler! How the Nazi Past is Being Normalized in Contemporary Culture (Cambridge, 2014), which won the 2017 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize for the best book dealing with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.


'Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's new book is a brilliant and very timely exploration of something that never happened. It examines how it is that people after WWII imagined the possibility of a Fourth Reich, in whatever form or shape. As the history of a political concept that spoke to the preoccupations of postwar transatlantic societies, it is a very distinctive addition to our understanding of the stability of democracy in postwar Germany and the postwar West more broadly.' Richard Steigmann-Gall, author of The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity
'Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, the pioneer of counterfactual history, has written a disturbing book. The Fourth Reich illuminates that the fears and fantasies about a new type of Nazi regime have preoccupied Western societies since 1945. This book couldn't be more timely.' Thomas Kuhne, author of The Rise and Fall of Comradeship: Hitler's Soldiers, Male Bonding and Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century
'After two earlier forays into the Third Reich's counterfactual history, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld now returns for another equally original and imaginative exploration, patiently dissecting the dreams, anxieties, and speculations associated with the idea of a Fourth Reich. In retrieving these complicated and often surprising post-1945 after-lives of Hitler and his regime, no one is more careful and accomplished.' Geoff Eley, author of Nazism as Fascism: Violence, Ideology, and the Ground of Consent, 1930-1945
'This insightful book explores the history of the Fourth Reich: while it never existed, fears (and sometimes hopes) that it might come about certainly did. Rosenfeld sheds light on these, as well as on their political context and cultural expression. A fascinating and original study.' Bill Niven, author of Facing the Nazi Past
'Marshals a variety of sources - political speeches, newspaper clippings, slices of cinema - to offer a sharp counterfactual investigation that reveals how discourse on the Fourth Reich has meaningfully shaped postwar culture.' Brandon Tensley, Los Angeles Review of Books
'... captivating ... truly revelatory.' Thomas Meaney, New Statesman
'Intriguing ... Rosenfeld's thoughtful dissection of the origins and inflationary use of the term 'Fourth Reich' [is] timely and welcome.' Brendan Simms, Standpoint
'... very insightful ... These kind of counterfactuals reveal the power of the idea of the Fourth Reich.' Robert Eaglestone, Times Higher Education
'The real value of this book lies in its insights into the distorting power of historical memory ... [an] intriguing study.' Marcus Colla, The Times Literary Supplement
'American scholar Gavriel D. Rosenfeld deftly examines this slogan in all its variations, while reminding us that it was never more than a theoretical construct in post-war German history.' Sheldon Kirshner, The Times of Israel
'Stimulating mind candy ...' Fortean Times
'A leading practitioner of counterfactual history, Gavriel Rosenfeld has produced a fascinating account of the perils and pitfalls of our century-long obsession with the 'Fourth Reich.' In navigating a dizzying array of sources, drawn from politics, government archives, mass media, and popular culture, Rosenfeld examines 'the history of what might have happened' in order to 'better understand the memory of what actually did'.' Eric Kurlander, Central European History

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