In finding longer-term explanations for Nazism, historians remained fixated for many years on the search for origins, on the uncovering of some peculiarly German pattern of cultural and intellectual history that was, in turn, usually linked to a belief in the weakness of German liberalism and the failings of the German bourgeoisie. Associated during the 1960s most prominently with George Mosse and Fritz Stern, that approach drew gratefully on the comparative knowledge of the postwar social sciences, where key figures such as Ralf Dahrendorf and Barrington Moore, Jr., treated German history as a site of pathology or “misdevelopment,” a case of normal history badly gone wrong. German vulnerability to Nazism became identified with certain deep-seated and long-lasting socio-cultural traits, which included the absence of civility, exaggerated respect for authority, commitment to a spiritual ideal of national belonging, and the affirming of nonpolitical values inside a general culture of “illiberalism.”1 The main thrust was to assert Germany’s profound differences from “the West.” From city elites down to petty hometown notables, the prevailing “apoliticism” signified an absence of civil courage and civic-mindedness, a culture of passivity and deference which worked disastrously against the chances for any vigorous liberalism on the model of what emerged in Britain. Such attitudes were imposed by the political system, sharpened by class antagonisms, stiffened by the revered army, and taught by schools and universities. The Germans of the Kaiserreich became stunted and disabled in their exercise of citizenship, looking instead to the state for guidance. Further grounded by the so-called “milieu thesis” propounded by the sociologist M. Rainer Lepsius in a couple of essays at the turn of the 1970s, and imposingly codified by the writings of Hans-Ulrich Wehler and his West German co-thinkers, this Sonderweg thesis stabilized for a while into a reigning orthodoxy among German historians.2