Ambassador Frederic Sackett and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic, 1930-1933: The United States and Hitler's Rise to Power

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Ambassador Frederic Sackett and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic, 1930-1933: The United States and Hitler's Rise to Power

By Bernard V. Burke
Cambridge University Press, 1995
330 pp. $44.95
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In 1930, President Hoover dispatched Sackett, a Kentucky senator with strong mining interests and fervent anticommunism, to Berlin. Sackett established the closest relations with Chancellor Brüning at the beginning of the end of Weimar. He went native -- came to represent German interests -- and regretted that he had no leverage with American bankers who conducted their own important financial policies. Sackett's reports record his boundless admiration of Brüning and his hopes of helping him achieve far-reaching revisions of the Versailles Treaty by negotiations. Washington was passive, and Burke criticizes Sackett for appealing to American anticommunism rather than focusing on the Nazi danger. After Brüning's dismissal in May 1932, Sackett lost all hope; he saw the enfeebled Social Democrats as virtually the only democratic hope and rightly called them "a most effective bulwark against Communism." The book is based on the author's doctoral dissertation of 1966, with an impressive array of archival sources; it incorporates some of the subsequent scholarship but is undistinguished in style and analysis. At an exorbitant price!