The Weimar Republic, from 1919 to 1933, was a time of political violence, economic crisis, generational and gender tension, and cultural experiment and change. Despite these major issues, the Republic is often treated only as a preface to the study of the rise of fascism in Germany. This book seeks to correct the balance, exploring Weimar for what it was as well as where it led. Weimar Germany was the avant-garde artistic center of Europe in the 20s, and many cultural figures were politically engaged in an atmosphere charged with controversy. The Republic was wracked by conflict pitting traditional morality against ideas of greater sexual freedom for women, homosexual rights, abortion and birth control. In this atmosphere, German women for the first time played a significant political role, many beginning the 1920s as supporters of the Republic only to join its enemies within a decade. Weimar Germany also witnessed a struggle to win the hearts and minds of the youth, a struggle won decisively by the political right wing. In this same arena, Jews were attacked by racist anti-Semites who transformed them into the embodiment of the "other". In this electrically-charged and polarized environment, political, industrial, labor and religious leaders confronted each other and were unwilling to put aside their own short-term, narrow interests to save the Republic. This concise and readable textbook will provide the ideal introduction for students of 20th century European history and German studies. - Back cover.