Germany: A Short History

By Donald S. Detwiler | Go to book overview

PREFACE

A FULL GENERATION HAS PASSED since the end of the Second World War. Since 1970 a complex series of international and intra-German agreements has gone a long way toward defining the international status and reciprocal relations of the two German states and Berlin. Despite inevitable imperfections and inequities, this network of accords represents the tentative stabilization of central Europe and, as such, a milestone in German history. The purpose of this book is to look back and retrace Germany's path to this milestone. The four chapters of narrative are supplemented by a brief chronology, a selected bibliography, twelve maps, and an index. The first two chapters interpret the history of central Europe from antiquity through the eighteenth century, providing the background for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which are treated in the third and fourth chapters.

History is the seamless garment of the past. Political, social, economic, and intellectual history do not exist separately, but are interwoven in a fabric that includes them all. Scanning two thousand years of German history, I have followed the thread of political events, examining other strands only when they became politically predominant -- as in the case of the religious reform movements that disrupted Germany in the eleventh century and again in the sixteenth. "Whatever else history may be," observed the Cambridge historian Geoffrey Elton not long ago, "it must at heart be a story, a story of the changing fortunes of men, and political history therefore comes first because, above all the forms of historical study, it wants to, even needs to, tell a story."*

____________________
*
G. R. Elton, Political History: Principles and Practice ( New York and London: Basic Books, 1970), p. 5.

-ix-

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Germany: A Short History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to The Second Edition xii
  • Preface to The Third Edition xiii
  • 1 - Antiquity to 1250 3
  • 2 - From 1250 to 1815 46
  • 3 - From 1815 to 1914 104
  • 4 - From 1914 to the Present 149
  • A Brief Chronology 261
  • A Selected Bibliography 281
  • Index 333
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