Coburg in the First Half of the 20th Century

Employees (IfZ):  Dr. Eva Karl

During the period of Nazi rule, Coburg was known as the “Germany’s first National Socialist town”. The NSDAP attained a majority in the city council there as early as 1929 and Coburg’s local group leader Franz Schwede proclaimed to be the country’s first Nazi mayor. Due to its particular proclivity for National Socialism, Coburg also served as a place for the party to experiment. This included the violent occupation of the streets by the SA during the Kampfzeit, finding mechanisms used to achieve complete power and restructuring all aspects of society (Gleichschaltung).

The project on the history of Coburg in the first half of the 20th century aims to reveal the trends that turned Coburg into the avant-garde of National Socialism. This development emerged within the context of the peculiar historical path the town took, from princely residence to a middle-sized Bavarian city, through the reign of Duke Charles Edward of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; its change of status from duchy to republic; and lastly its incorporation into Bavaria. Of particular interest are those years in which the Nazi Party ran Coburg with a majority on the city council even before its takeover of power across the country. The focus of the empirical project, however, lies mainly on the period after 1933, highlighting in particular the exercise of political and administrative rule by the party and municipal administration as well as the ideologically based mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the everyday life of the town and the lifeworld of its residents.