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Based on a large selection of primary sources, this book provides an insightful analysis of the Bismarck myth's profound impact on Germany's political culture. In particular, it investigates the ways in which that myth was used to undermine parliamentary democracy in Germany after the Great War, paving the way for its replacement by authoritarian rule under an allegedly 'Bismarckian' charismatic leader, Adolf Hitler.
As one of the most powerful weapons of nationalist agitation against the Weimar Republic, the Bismarck myth was never contested. The nationalists' ideologically charged interpretation of Bismarck as the father of the German nation-state and model for future political decision-making clashed with rivalling - and thoroughly critical - democratic and communist perceptions of the Iron Chancellor. The quarrel over Bismarck's legacy demonstrates how the clash of ideologies, particularly between 1918 and 1933, resulted in a highly political fight for the 'correct' and universal interpretation of the German past.
Essential reading for anyone interested in modern German history, this book sheds new light on the Weimar Republic's struggle for survival and the reasons for its failure.
|2||Prologue : the Bismarck myth in Wilhelmine Germany (1890-1918)||11|
|3||After the collapse||30|
|4||Fragmented society - divided memory : perceptions of Bismarck in early Weimar Germany||45|
|5||Fighting the 'enemies of the Reich' : Bismarck and the state crisis of 1922-1923||64|
|6||Bismarck as an election campaigner||78|
|7||In the shadow of stabilization||93|
|8||Towards the abyss : Bismarck and the dissolution of the Weimar Republic||118|
|9||Epilogue : Bismarck between the 'seizure of power' and reunification (1933-1990)||145|