Achilles-Historical-Survey

Achilles-Historical-Survey - HIEU 346/GETR 342 Postwar...

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HIEU 346/GETR 342 Postwar German Literature and Culture University of Virginia, Spring 2008 (Achilles) Germany 1871-1945 Historical Survey Unauthorized reproduction and distribution not permitted
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From Empire to Republic Germany, 1871-1914
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Imperial Germany Founded in 1871 “Alliance of Princes and Free Cities” Federal council ( Bundesrat ), chaired by Prussian King Wilhelm I: “German Emperor” (monarchic presidency) not “Emperor of Germany” (territorial claim) commander in chief of the imperial army National Parliament ( Reichstag ): equal, direct and secret ballot system of universal manhood suffrage.
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Problems of National Integration • Religious divisions (North/South) • “Cultural Struggle” ( Kulturkampf) against the Catholic Church • Class divisions • Anti-Socialist Laws against German Social Democracy (1878-1890) Bismarck labels Catholics and Socialists “Enemies of the State” ( Reichsfeinde )
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History of the Empire Two major phases: 1) 1871 -1890 – Wilhelm I, Bismarck 2) 1890-1918 – Wilhelm II
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1890: From Balance of Power to Grosse Politik
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Bismarck’s Foreign Policy Objectives: signal that Empire’s ambitions were “satisfied” after unification in 1871 maintain balance of power Germany as “honest broker” between other European powers complicated “juggling act with five balls”
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Foreign Policy under Wilhelm II (after 1890) German industrial and military expansion alienates France German navy build-up alienates Britain Britain gives up policy of “splendid isolation”; forges alliances with France and Russia Germany finds itself increasingly isolated
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A German Sonderweg ? Patterns of modernization economic social, cultural political German liberalism and the middle classes Social democracy
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The “Authoritarian Personality” The Kaiser’s Lackey ( Der Untertan ) Heinrich Mann, 1913-1914
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World War I (1914-1918)
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Timeline of Major Events: 1914 • June 28 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand • July 23 Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia • August 4 German Invasion of Belgium
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Outbreak of WWI – Expectations: Q: Was the war what you expected it would be? Venot-Focké: French people really didn't expect at all that the war was going to take place. Everybody said, "In three months' time everything will be finished, it will be over." We really believed that the French army would perform miracles, that it would reach Berlin in 48 hours, no more than that. We didn't think for one moment that the war would go on for so long or that it would be so cruel.
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• Idea of Burgfrieden (peace of the fortress) • William II, August 4, 1914: I do not recognize parties any longer, I recognize only Germans .” (Schulze, 191)
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The “Spirit of 1914” / “War Enthusiasm” How widespread and inclusive was the experience of “German Unity” in 1914?
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