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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission


The Death of Democracy – Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic

Event details
Calendar   Speaking Engagements
Location Holocaust Museum Houston
Date Wed, May 24, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Duration   1h 30m

Dr. Benjamin Carter Hett will discuss how the Nazi Party came to power and how the failures of the Weimar Republic and the shortsightedness of German politicians allowed it to happen. Why did democracy fall apart so quickly and completely in Germany in the 1930s? How did a democratic government allow Adolf Hitler to seize power? Dr. Hett answers these questions, and the story he tells has disturbing resonances for our own time.

Born in Rochester NY, Benjamin Carter Hett earned a J.D. at the University of Toronto (1990) and practiced litigation in Canada before earning a Ph.D. in history at Harvard (2001). He has taught at Harvard College and the Harvard Law School and, since 2003, at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic (Henry Holt, 2018), winner of the 2019 Vine Award for History and named one of the year’s best books by The Times of London and the Daily Telegraph, and The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Road to War (Henry Holt, 2020) named an editors’ choice by the New York Times Book Review. His other books include Burning the Reichstag (Oxford, 2014), winner of the 2015 Hans Rosenberg Prize, and Crossing Hitler (Oxford, 2008), which won the 2007 Fraenkel Prize and was made into a documentary film and a television drama for the BBC. Hett has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is presently working on a project about Arthur Nebe and the German criminal police during the Second World War.

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