Willamette author tells stories of those who confronted Hitler

Willamette University history professor William Smaldone's latest book, "Confronting Hitler: German Social Democrats in Defense of the Weimar Republic, 1929-1933," tells the stories of how ten Social Democratic leaders addressed the impending threat of Nazism and communism.

Full of relevant historical context, the book explores the constraints and political choices these leaders made in the shadow of Hitler's chancellorship and their struggle for political freedom and social justice. The book examines how circumstances and events shaped party leaders' perspectives and decisions.

It reveals a complex situation, in which democratic leaders faced a broad array of economic, political and social challenges in a deeply divided populace - with potential comparisons for the contemporary world.

"I hope my book offers a historical perspective that provides insight into modern political dilemmas," Smaldone said. "A lot has been written about Hitler, but this book deals with individual opposition-party leaders and what shaped their actions - or inactions."

The book is now available in paperback and can be purchased at Willamette's bookstore and at