Avoiding what Barbara Tuchman has called the "trap built into all recorded history—the disproportionate survival of the negative," this book offers a balanced appraisal of Imperial Germany. Without ignoring the society's many problems, the contributors question the overwhelmingly negative tenor of Wilhelmian historiography and analyze key institutions and events to illustrate the positive elements of this period in German history. What accounted for the reputation of its universities and research institutions, for instance, or for the successful growth of its cities, or for the dramatic drop in the emigration rate by the turn of the century? The answers reveal a spirit of innovation and optimism that was at least as characteristic of German life and society at the time as were the glorification of military values and the overlay of cultural pessimism. Recognizing the wide range of interpretations on this controversial subject, the editors have included a critical bibliography that explores the rich and varied scholarship on pre-1914 Germany.
Introduction -- Army, State, and Society in Germany, 1871-1914: An Interpretation* -- Militarism and Arms Policy Revisited: The Origins of the German Army Law of 1913 -- The Civic Pride of the German Middle Classes, 1890-1918* -- Urban Challenge Under the Empire -- Catholic Plight in the Kaiserreich: A Reappraisal -- Protestant and Catholic Women Confront Social Change -- Thwarting the Imperial Will: A Perspective on the Labor Regulation Bill and the Press of Wilhelmian Germany -- On The Stimulation of Excellence in Wilhelmian Science -- Republics within the Empire: The Universities -- The Universities: An American View -- Another Germany: A Summing Up -- Annotated Bibliography