Modern Germany

Modern Germany - MODERN GERMANY A VOLUME IN THE COMPARATIVE...

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1 MODERN GERMANY A VOLUME IN THE COMPARATIVE SOCIETIES SERIES BY Harold Kerbo California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California and Hermann Strasser Gerhard Mercator Universitat of Dusiburg Duisburg, Germany Table of Contents Preface
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2 Chapter 1 An Introduction: Modern Germany in Its Cultural Context Chapter 2 Germany: Its Historical Context Chapter 3 The Political System Chapter 4 The Economy Chapter 5 New Forms of Inequality and Class Relations: Social Stratification In Germany Chapter 6 The Family Chapter 7 Religion and Education Chapter 8 Social Problems Chapter 9 Social Change Through the New Century: German Transitions and Post Cold War Realities Preface
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3 Germany is a country of seeming contradictions: It is the country of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Martin Luther . .. and Adolf Hitler. Germany has produced some of the greatest social scientists in history (men such as Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Georg Simmel), but also has provided the bedrock of 20 century fascism. Germany has helped th set the stage for modern science with the rational philosophies of men such as Immanuel Kant, but also provided leaders for the romantic movement in the arts with the likes of Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms. In fact, there seems to be movement back and forth between rationalism and romanticism, reason and emotion, throughout German history (Craig 1991). Few Americans, however, are aware of these contradictions: their knowledge of Germany has a single focus. Walk into most American book stores and look at the shelves devoted to Germany: The shelves are dominated by books on World War II, Nazism, Hitler, and the Holocaust. Look to the book shelves for France, China, Mexico, and any other major country, and one will find books on politics, economic issues, religions, and all of the other variety of subjects that could be expected about a society and nation. It is as if everything else about Germany doesn = t matter, or never happened. In the American mind, it seems, no other country is so dominated by one subject or a short period of its history. Young Germans visiting or living in the United States know that no matter who they meet, soon the dreaded subject will come up (Hegi 1997). Nazism and the Holocaust, of
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4 course, are among the most tragic events in the history of human societies, and certainly among the defining events of the 20 th century. But there is much more about Germany and Germans, as there is about any country and its people. Germany today is the major economy of Europe, dominating a region of the world close to the economic power of North America and East Asia. Standing alone, Germany represents the world = s third largest economy behind the United States and Japan. Germany is also the central member of the European Union, which is growing in size by expanding toward Eastern Europe. Germany prior to 1989 was part of a continent that has been largely oriented toward the West and the Atlantic alliance, symbolized by its
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Modern Germany - MODERN GERMANY A VOLUME IN THE COMPARATIVE...

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