From Unification to Nazism: Reinterpreting the German Past, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

From Unification to Nazism

Reinterpreting the German Past, 1st Edition

By Eley Geoff


294 pages

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Hardback: 9780367230920
pub: 2019-07-16
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Originally published in 1986, and bringing together essays written over a 10 year period, this volume offers a coherent and challenging interpretation of the German past. The book argues that the German Empire between 1971 and 1914 may have enjoyed greater stability and cohesion than is often assumed. It suggests that Imperial Germany’s political institutions showed considerable flexibility and capacity for growth and puts forward the idea that without WWI, or in the event of a German victory, the Empire might well have demonstrated its viability as a modern state. In that case, the origins of fascism should be sought mainly in the subsequent experiences of war, revolution and economic crisis and not so much in the Empire’s so-called structural backwardness.


‘Eley is one of the most interesting, trenchant and controversial historians of Germany.’ Paul Kennedy

‘Eley is perhaps the most original and exciting historian working in the field of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German history…’ Richard J. Evans

Table of Contents

Part 1: German Historical Writing 1. Hans Rosenberg and the Great Depression of 1873-96: Politics and Economics in Recent German Historiography, 1960-80 2. Capitalism and the Wilhelmine State: Industrial Growth and Political Backwardness, 1890-1918 Part 2: The Social Foundations of the Kaisserreich 3. State Formation, Nationalism and Political Culture: Some Thoughts on the Unification of Germany 4. Army, State and Civil Society: Revisiting the Problem of German Militarism 5. Sammlungspolitik, Social Imperialism and the Navy law of 1898 6. Social Imperialism in Germany: Reformist Synthesis or Reactionary Sleight of Hand? Part 3: Enemies of the Reich 7. Joining Two Histories: The SPD and the German Working Class, 1860-1914 8. German Politics and Polish Nationality: the Dialectic of Nation-Forming in East Prussia Part 4: The Origins of Nazism 9. The German Right, 1860-1945: How it Changed 10. What Produces Fascism: Pre-Industrial Traditions or a Crisis of the Capital State?

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: German History

Originally published between 1929 and 1991 the volumes in this set:

  • Offer a comprehensive and challenging interpretation of the German past
  • Assess Bismarck’s contribution to the German Empire and his legacy for modern Germany
  • Examine the psyche of the Germans and discuss the psychological impact of the Second World War on the Germans
  • Review critically not only the rise and rule of National Socialism, but also the strength of authoritarianism and militarism and the weakness of democracy in 19th Century Germany
  • Examine the inter-relationships between social and economic change on the one hand, and political developments on the other.
  • Analyse the significance of the Zollverein on economic growth
  • Discuss authority and the law in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.
  • Analyse the contribution of German historians to 20th Century historiography
  • Chart key events in British – German trade rivalry
  • Include archival material from both the former East and West Germany.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Germany