Ambivalent Capitalists: The Roots of Fascist Ideology among Bohemian Nobles, 1880–1938

Eagle Glassheim

in Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe, 1918–1948

Published by British Academy

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780197263914
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734359 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Ambivalent Capitalists: The Roots of Fascist Ideology among Bohemian Nobles, 1880–1938

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Although fascism has often been considered a plebeian, even radically egalitarian ideology, many of its outspoken proponents were members of the old European elite: nobles, clericalists and representatives of the haute bourgeoisie. Historians of Nazi Germany have puzzled over the affinity of German conservatives such as Paul von Hindenburg and Franz von Papen to Adolf Hitler's National Socialist version of fascism. A small but extremely wealthy noble elite struggled to maintain its long-standing social, economic and political influence in Bohemia. By the late nineteenth century, the Bohemian nobility was a self-consciously traditional social group with a decidedly modern economic relationship to agrarian and industrial capitalism. This chapter examines the response of the Bohemian aristocracy to the new state of Czechoslovakia. This restricted caste of cosmopolitan latifundist families was more German than Czech in sentiment, and further alienated by land reform. The aristocrats entertained divergent assessments of Nazism and responded in different ways to the crisis of the state by 1938.

Keywords: Bohemia; fascism; capitalism; Nazi Germany; aristocracy; land reform; Nazism; Czechoslovakia; nobles

Chapter.  8108 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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