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German History in Modern Times
Four Lives of the Nation


  • Date Published: April 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521175210

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About the Authors
  • This history of German-speaking central Europe offers a very wide perspective, emphasizing a succession of many-layered communal identities. It highlights the interplay of individual, society, culture and political power, contrasting German with Western patterns. Rather than treating 'the Germans' as a collective whole whose national history amounts to a cumulative biography, the book presents the pre-modern era of the Holy Roman Empire; the nineteenth century; the 1914–45 era of war, dictatorship and genocide; and the Cold War and post-Cold War eras since 1945 as successive worlds of German life, thought and mentality. This book's 'Germany' is polycentric and multicultural, including the multinational Austrian Habsburg Empire and the German Jews. Its approach to National Socialism offers a conceptually new understanding of the Holocaust. The book's numerous illustrations reveal German self-presentations and styles of life, which often contrast with Western ideas of Germany.

    • This a compact account of the history of the German-speaking lands since the seventeenth century, with a brief introduction to earlier developments as well
    • There is a major visual dimension, which brings personalities, cultural styles and social landscapes before the reader's eye
    • The work offers an extensive bibliography
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521175210
    • length: 482 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 155 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • contains: 158 b/w illus. 17 maps 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Master narratives and rival interpretations of modern German history
    Part I. German Central Europe before Modern Nationalism:
    2. The pyramid of power in pre-modern Germany
    3. Baroque and Enlightenment Germany, 1648–1789
    4. Power states (Machtstaaten): the rise of the Prussian and Austrian military-bureaucratic monarchies
    5. Aufklärung: the German Enlightenment and other spirits of the age
    Part II. German Identities between Liberalism, Nationalism, and Socialism, 1789–1914:
    6. Revolution on the march: French challenge, German response, 1789–1815
    7. 'Land of poets and thinkers': the transition from Enlightenment universalism to German national culture
    8. Freedom and voice, 'blood and iron': the struggle over liberalism and nationalism, 1815–1914
    9. Power to the people: German social democracy in the age of industrialization
    10. Women, family, feminism, 1789–1914
    11. Habsburg Austria: a multinational path in German history
    12. Jews, Germans, German Jews, 1789–1914
    Part III. Nation in Crisis: Defeat, Turmoil, Aggression, 1914–15:
    13. The Prussian-German monarchy's sudden death: World War I and postwar revolution, 1914–20
    14. Democracy's bitter fruits: society and politics, 1918–33
    15. The rise of Hitlerism: middle-class discontent and populist utopia
    16. The 'people's community' at Hitler's command: national and socialist Germany, 1933–45
    17. Lebensraum: the war for empire in Eastern Europe
    18. Banned from nation and earth: German Jews after 1914, Nazi 'Jewish policy', and the Holocaust
    Part IV. The Cold War Germanies and their Post-1989 Fusion: A Nation Reforged from Its Remnants?:
    19. Return from the abyss: defeated Germany and the West German Federal Republic, 1949–89
    20. 'Real existing socialism': Soviet-occupied Germany and the German Democratic Republic, 1949–90
    21. Present-day Germany: the post-unification scene in West and East.

  • Author

    William W. Hagen, University of California, Davis
    William W. Hagen is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. He has held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Max-Planck Society and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is the author of Germans, Poles, and Jews: The Nationality Conflict in the Prussian East, 1772–1914 and the prize-winning Ordinary Prussians: Brandenburg Junkers and Villagers, 1500–1840 (Cambridge University Press, 2003). His wide-ranging research articles have appeared in many publications, including The Journal of Modern History, Foreign Affairs, the American Historical Review, Past and Present, Historische Zeitschrift and Geschichte und Gesellschaft.

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