Germany's Second Reich: Portraits and Pathways

Germany's Second Reich: Portraits and Pathways

by James Retallack

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Despite recent studies of imperial Germany that emphasize the empire’s modern and reformist qualities, the question remains: to what extent could democracy have flourished in Germany’s stony soil? In Germany’s Second Reich, James Retallack continues his career-long inquiry into the era of Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II with a wide-ranging reassessment of the period and its connections with past traditions and future possibilities.

In this volume, Retallack reveals the complex and contradictory nature of the Second Reich, presenting Imperial Germany as it was seen by outsiders and insiders as well as by historians, political scientists, and sociologists ever since.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442624108
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 07/06/2015
Series: German and European Studies
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
File size: 11 MB
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About the Author

James Retallack is a professor of History and German Studies at the University of Toronto. His most recent book for the University of Toronto Press was The German Right, 1860–1920.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Kaleidoscope of German History


1. Forging an Empire: Economy, Society, Culture, and Politics, 1866–1890

2. British Views of Germany, 1815–1914

3. Digital History Anthologies on the Web


4. King Johann of Saxony and the German Civil War of 1866

5. Julian Hawthorne’s Saxon Studies

6. Bismarck and Engels: The Role of Force in History

7. Heydebrand and Westarp: Leaving Behind the Second Reich


8. Get Out the Vote! Electioneering without Democracy

9. The Authoritarian State and the Political Mass Market

10. Society and Democracy in Germany: Why Dahrendorf Still Matters

11. Democracy in Disappearing Ink: Suffrage Robbery as Coup d’Etat


What People are Saying About This

Ute Planert

“Have historians been too quick to abandon the Sonderweg thesis? When one of the world’s foremost experts on the German Kaiserreich plays the devil’s advocate and proposes a re-evaluation of the topic, scholars should sit up and take notice. In these chapters Retallack invites readers to revisit the nature of Germany’s journey into modernity.”

James Brophy

“One of the profession’s leading experts on the Second Reich, James Retallack writes with a grace and clarity that showcases his broad knowledge, judicious reading, and generosity of spirit. Both newcomers and experts alike will benefit from these essays.”

David Blackbourn

“This lively and very wide-ranging essay collection makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of Imperial Germany and its place in the trajectory of modern German history. James Retallack deals as confidently with authoritarianism as he does with popular politics, both of them very evident in the Germany of Bismarck and the Kaiser, and his book has the virtue of including views of Germany by British and American observers.”

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