We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.


Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529360745

Price: £14.99

ON SALE: 18th January 2024

Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.


‘Excellent’ Richard Evans

‘A vivid, crisp, impressively sustained narrative’ Financial Times

‘Riveting’ Irish Independent

‘Refreshing and readable’ Irish Times

‘Gripping . . . thoroughly researched and beautifully written . . . a warning for our times’ Alex Watson, author of Ring of Steel

‘Fascinating . . . shows powerfully that there was nothing inevitable about the survival of Germany’s young democracy in that year – nor about its death a decade later. A timely reminder’ Katja Hoyer, author of Beyond the Wall

The astonishing year when German democracy faced crisis and near destruction.

1923 was one of the most remarkable years of modern European history. In January, France and Belgium militarily occupied Germany’s economic heartland, the Ruhr; triggering a series of crises that almost spiralled out of control. Hyperinflation plunged millions into poverty. The search for scapegoats empowered political extremes. Hitler’s populism ascended to national prominence. Communists, Nazis, separatists all thought that they could use the crises to destroy democracy.

None succeeded. 1923 was the year of Hitler’s first victory – and his first defeat. Fanning the flames of instability, anti-government and antisemitic sentiment, the Nazis’ abortive yet pivotal putsch in a Munich beer hall failed when they were abandoned by their likeminded conservative allies.

Drawing on previously unseen sources, Mark Jones weaves together a thrilling and resonant narrative of German lives in this turbulent time. Tracing Hitler’s rise, we see how political pragmatism and international cooperation eventually steered the nation away from total insurrection. A decade later, when Weimar democracy eventually succumbed to tyranny, the warnings from 1923 – rising of nationalist rhetoric, fragile European consensus, and underestimation the of the enemies of liberalism – became only too apparent.

This account of the republic’s convulsions and survival offers a gripping image of a modern society in extreme crisis.


Gripping narrative of the extraordinary year in which Weimar Germany was struck by successive blows, though it somehow survived for another ten years
The Economist
Deftly written and lucid . . . a masterful interpretation of a fateful year
Robert Kershaw, author of DÜNKIRCHEN 1940
Meticulously researched and elegantly written, 1923 explains how Germany stood on the brink of chaos in that crisis year and then stepped back. Highly recommended
Roger Moorhouse, author of POLAND 1939
Scary . . . Jones's book asks where we are today - at the end of the troubles, or at the beginning?
Peter Fritzsche, author of HITLER'S FIRST HUNDRED DAYS
Fascinating . . . shows powerfully that there was nothing inevitable about the survival of Germany's young democracy in that year - nor about its death a decade later. A timely reminder
Katja Hoyer, author of BLOOD AND IRON
Gripping . . . Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, Mark Jones's story of a democracy under terrible pressure is a warning for our times
Alexander Watson, author of RING OF STEEL
A crisp and methodical chronicle of the year Germany went wrong . . . Jones traces the eruption in a deftly detailed and convincing narrative . . . His vivid history of Germany in 1923 is a timely alert to the dangers of repetition
Nicholas Shakespeare, author of SIX MINUTES IN MAY
A hundred years on, the profound crisis of 1923 seems uncomfortably similar to the challenges experienced by many democracies today: the rise of political extremism, runaway inflation, and resistance to foreign occupation are back in the news today, but they are certainly not new. Jones's meticulously researched and splendidly written book brings this dark but forgotten year back to life
Robert Gerwarth, author of THE VANQUISHED
Irish Independent
Refreshing and readable
Irish Times
A vivid, crisp, impressively sustained narrative
Financial Times
Jones's fascinating book gives us a timely lesson in the fragility of democracy
BBC History Magazine, Books of the Year
Richard Evans