When Does a Garden-Variety Demagogue Become Dangerous?

In 1923, Adolf Hitler Created a Fictional Persona to Recast Himself as Germany's Savior

In the summer of 1923, Adolf Hitler realized he had a problem. Germany was in the midst of an extreme economic crisis that inspired widespread feelings of disaffection, worries about national and personal decline, a wave of anti-globalism, and the political turmoil that the 34-year-old Nazi leader had been longing for.

But for Hitler, this air of imminent national revolution had come too soon—because no one yet realized that he should be Germany’s natural leader.

This was his own fault. For years, he had steadfastly refused to be photographed and had …

More In: Germany

Why “Brexpat” Brits Like Me Are on the Road to Germany

My Family Is Fleeing Our Car-Wreck of a Homeland. But Will the EU Kick Us Out Next Year?

I’m standing in front of my car: a white, British-built Nissan. I have to put stickers on it.

In an epic act of self-harm, Britain has voted to leave the …

The Delicious Transparency of the Hamburgers

If California Really Wants Open Government, a Northern German City Has a Model That Works

California could use a concert hall like Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

The signature structure of 21st century Germany sits atop an old pier above a dramatic bend in the Elbe River. Its …

No One Wants to Wear the “Fascist” Label, Even If It Fits

Why Hitler's Brownshirts and Mussolini's Blackshirts Rile up Today's Politics

Western democracy may be facing its biggest challenge since 1945. It’s easy to find parallels between Donald Trump, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the French National Front, the Alternativ für …

Did Hamburg’s Olympic Bid Destroy Its Local Democracy?

How the Failed Effort to Bring the 2024 Games to Germany Restricted Voters' Democratic Rights

Democracy killed a bid to bring the Olympics to Hamburg, Germany, where I live. But in the process, the Olympics dealt a big blow to our local democracy.

I’ve worked on …