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Undoubtedly one of the main foci of attention must be the SPD’s role in the Weimar Republic. Debates have centered on the question of the narrowing of scope for action, and on what Social Democrats arguably could or should have done in deteriorating economic and political circumstances. H. A. Winkler raised the question of alternatives very nicely, exploring Eduard Bernstein’s post-war view as a set of counterfactual arguments. He identifies two rather different sources of opposition to Bernstein’s position: the ‘purity’ line of more radical socialists who preferred dogmatic impotence to compromised responsibility; and a partly bourgeois nationalism standing in the way of clear analysis of the war-guilt issue. It is much easier to criticize what went wrong than to think of ways out of situations in which others made mistakes, only obvious with hindsight. In Heinrich Potthoff’s view, the problems of the SPD started in the early years of the republic. Not only was there the obvious and frequently remarked failure to reform the economy,bureaucracy, and the army but there was also the wider question of the SPD’s essentially defensive stances and its unwillingness, for much of the 1920’s, either to take responsibility in government or to represent a firm opposition, which in effect reflected contentment to support other governments in unpopular measures. In his view this ambiguous position, added to the structural problem of the declining percentage of the working-class voters, contributed to the SPD’s failure to gain needed electoral support from groups among the threatened middle class. Potthoff also interestingly identifies ways in which the SPD’s own fundamentally humanitarian and democratic principles weakened it, as in its unwillingness to respond with violence to Papen’s 1932 coup against the Prussian government. But there is a dilemma in knowing how to participate in a new game,when the ruled in which one believes have been so radically altered as to constitute a subversion of one’s own identity.