Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology



First Advisor

Rodger Sennett


This study involves, as our title states, a reassessment of the nature of the phenomenon of National Socialism. Following an extensive survey of the literature on the subject, we found two conclusions that predominated:

1. The conclusion that National Socialism was an aberration that did (and does) not fit within our western tradition.

2, The conclusion that National Socialism was the inevitable outcome solely of material factors associated with the development of a capitalistic society.

The central assumption of our argument was formulated to dispute these conclusions. That assumption is this: the phenomenon of National Socialism was an expression of both material and ideal traditions central to the development of modern western civilization, Specifically, we argue that it was an expression of a secularized version of the Puritan World-view.

Max Weber, in The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism, and David Noble, in Historians Against History, have traced the profound impact that Puritanism has had on the development of the modern west, In examining the intellectual movements and cultural developments in Germany from the time of the Reformation up to the Post-World War I period, we have uncovered (and pieced together) the evidence.



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