Germany, 1870-1945: Politics, State Formation, and War

Germany, 1870-1945: Politics, State Formation, and War

Germany, 1870-1945: Politics, State Formation, and War

Germany, 1870-1945: Politics, State Formation, and War

Synopsis

Germany, 1870-1945: Politics, State Formation, and War deals with the three attempts to build a German nation-state between 1871 and 1945, and the reasons for their failure. Haunted by the spectre of the abortive liberal-national revolution of 1848-49, German politicians sought a series of solutions, none of which found a constitutional consensus, and two of which ended in military disaster. Pulzer looks at the two solutions imposed from above, those of Bismarck and Hitler, and the stalled revolution from below, that of the Weimar Republic. He examines the external influences on Germany's political development, such as the European state system and the Versailles treaty of 1919, but the main focus is on the tension between democratic and authoritarian forces, the series of unsatisfactory constitutional compromises, the main institutions of government, and the emergence and influence of parties and interest groups.

Excerpt

This book is intended to be a companion to my earlier German Politics, 1945-1995. My aim in both books is to emphasize both the continuities and the breaks in the German political experience of the last century and a half. Above all, I try to show the significance of the disintegration of the German state in 1945 in both its causes and its consequences. All authors have to make hard choices about what to put in and what to leave out. There is much in German local and associational politics and in social development that is fascinating, but would have distracted from a narrative that aims to highlight the broad lines of development -- the national movement, state structures and constitutions, parties and pressure groups, public opinion and popular participation, the economy, diplomacy, military planning and the conduct of war. There is now such a wealth of monographs on so many aspects of German political life -- not all of them available in English -- that to do justice to them all would have been impossible. I have tried to give a balanced indication of many of these topics in the Suggestions for Further Reading.

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