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Who Did Vote for Hitler? A Reanalysis of the Lipset/Bendix Controversy

Abraham H. Miller and James S. Robbins
Polity
Vol. 21, No. 4 (Summer, 1989), pp. 655-677
DOI: 10.2307/3234718
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3234718
Page Count: 23
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Who Did Vote for Hitler? A Reanalysis of the Lipset/Bendix Controversy
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Abstract

That Adolf Hitler was the popularly elected leader of the German Third Reich has been a matter of no small discomfort for democrats in general and social scientists in particular. Was Hitler's election a unique phenomenon, peculiar to the times and character of the German republic, or was it a phenomenon to which all modern democracies are vulnerable? This article addresses two of the leading explanations for Hitler's success, one advanced by Seymour Martin Lipset and the other by Rheinhard Bendix. The authors address both evidentiary and methodological questions in their analyses and conclude that, on the whole, Bendix's mass society explanation is the more persuasive. This may not settle the controversy, but it presents a new challenge for those who would argue to the contrary.

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