Week 1 Notes .pdf - Week 1 Notes September 3 2015 Lecture Notes Previous History A striking fact of the German state created in 1871 was its lack of

Week 1 Notes .pdf - Week 1 Notes September 3 2015 Lecture...

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Week 1 Notes September 3, 2015 Lecture Notes Previous History A striking fact of the German state created in 1871 was its lack of religious unity, which was partly an outcome of the failed national centralization since the Thirty Years War. Whereas rulers in France, Russia, and England had strived toward, and nearly reached, religious homogeneity by siding with one church and persecuting other religions (often with great brutality), the Bismarckian empire contained about one third Catholics and two thirds mostly Lutheran Protestants. To be sure, religion mattered less in 1871 than in previous centuries, but it still outlined deep cultural differences. The religious borders in Germany largely coincided with the lines of Roman civilization. A "Roman" part of Germany in the west and south can be distinguished from the lands that the Romans failed to control for long (the center, the north, and the old east - today part of Poland and Russia). The "Roman" part is predominantly Catholic and shares more with French culture than the others. Most non-Roman parts were Christianized and "colonized" only in the 8th and 9th centuries. Some of the eastern areas for centuries included Slavic settlements. The German nation state of 1871-1945 looked back to the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne (ruled 768-814) as its first predecessor. But this state included almost all of today's France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Italy, Northern Spain, and Switzerland. Its center was in an area comprising the northeast of France, the south of Belgium, and the West of Germany. In 843 this too large state was partitioned into a western, central, and eastern unit among the three grandsons of Charlemagne. The middle empire was slowly absorbed by the eastern empire, which also expanded eastward and became a bulwark against invasions of Hungarians and Mongolians. The eastern empire called itself Holy Roman Empire (later adding: of the German Nation). It claimed successorship to the glorious Roman Empire and supported the idea of spiritual and secular power in one empire. But no national conception existed until much later. The word French in the ninth century still meant a Germanic tribe (the Franks), and "deutsch" (German) was not yet used at all. Moreover, in its long history (843-1806) this first "German Empire" was never united. Its medieval emperors were wandering rulers with a limited bureaucracy and even more limited power. They constantly tried to stay on top of rivaling centers and dynasties, struggled with the Pope, and sought to mediate in numerous conflicts between cities and territorial states within their realm. A hereditary monarchy did not take hold, and the selection of the German emperor by the seven (later ten) electors (privileged princes and archbishops) became dependent upon the size of a candidate's armies and foreign bribes. The house of Habsburg, the Austrian dynasty, became most successful at claiming the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor for their own family members, but internal and external powers always collaborated when the Habsburgs tried to impose tighter unity on the Holy Roman Empire.
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