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World War 1
Germany in WW2

Why was there a Fritz Fischer controversy?

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December 15, 2009 4:23AM

Fritz Fischer's book Griff nach der Weltmacht was published in 1961. At first it was greeted with acclaim in the media.

However, the revelations came as a shock to the public and to professional historians. Moreover, Fischer had documented his claims very well. In Germany there had been an unspoken (and very unsatisfactory, not to say shabby) understanding that Germany accepted responsibility for the outbreak of World War 2 provided that it wasn't held responsible for World War 1.

It took a while for the full implications of Fischer's views to become apparent. The obvious implication of the view that Germany had caused both World Wars was that somewhere Germany had gone off the rails ... or even worse, that there was something odd or even pathological about its development. Off course, other historians examined the documents - and to their horror they found that the situation was much as Fischer had said and all that they could make were changes in emphasis and some minor modifications.