In the nineteenth century, German liberalism grew into a powerful political movement, forceful in its demands for the freedom of the individual, for changes to allow the participation of all men in the political system, and for a fundamental reform of the German states. As elsewhere in Europe, liberalism was linked not only with a strong social commitment, but also to the formation of a nation state. In this book, now available for the first time in English, Dieter Langewiesche analyses the foundation and development of German liberalism from the late-eighteenth century to the late-twentieth century, with a special focus on its crucial role between 1815 and 1914.
Langewiesche considers the particular nature of German liberalism, seeks to explain why it lost much of its earlier power and influence in the twentieth century, and explores its centrality to our understanding of the course of modern German history. Langwiesche also examines whether the creation of the German nation state in 1871 was, in fact, the work of the liberals and outlines the place of liberalism in the creation of a democratic society in the form of the Federal Republic of Germany. While political movements and their values and organization are central to Langewiesche's study, he also links these throughout the book to their social and cultural context.
A masterful and comprehensive study by one of Germany's leading authorities on liberalism, this is a major contribution to our understanding of the past and present of the German state.
Originally published in 1999.
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About the Author
Dieter Langewiesche is Professor of Modern History at the University of Tübingen, and Vice-Rector and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Erfurt. John Breuilly is Professor in the Department of Modern History at the University of Birmingham.
Table of Contents
List of Tables vii
Foreword by John Breuilly ix
Preface to the English Edition xviii
List of Abbreviations xxii
1 Early Liberalism and 'Middle-Class Society' 1
Early Liberalism as a Political Constitutional Movement 1
Bureaucratic Liberalism 4
Political and Social Models of the Liberal Movement 9
The Organization and Social Profile of Early Liberalism 23
2 Liberal Politics in the Revolution of 1848-9 28
Images of the Revolution: Limiting the Revolution 28
Liberal Parliamentary Politics 38
Liberals in the Extra- Parliamentary Revolutionary Movement 47
Basic Liberal Positions in the Imperial Constitution 51
3 Liberalism between the Revolution and the Reichsgrundung 56
1849-58: The Decade of Reaction 56
'Unity' and 'Freedom'? Liberalism and the Reichsgrundung 76
4 The Nation-State, Industrial Society and Weltpolitik: Liberals in the German Kaiserreich 121
Social and Political Changes 121
Parties, Voters, Members, Pressure Groups: the'Liberal Milieu', 1871-1918 128
The'Liberal Era' and the Shock of the 'Second Reichsgrundung' 183
The State, the Church and the Kulturkampf 199
Anti-Socialism, Social Policies and Liberal Social Models 206
Liberalism and Municipal Politics 218
'WeItPolitik' and Internal Reform: The Wilhelmine Era 228
War Aims and Aims for Reform: Liberals during the First World War 245
5 The Deliberalization. of the 'Middle-Class Centre': The Decline of Political Liberalism in the Weimar Republic 250
The Overburdened Republic 250
Party Organization, Voters and Pressure Groups: The Dissolution of the 'Liberal Milieu' 257
Liberal Programmes and Political Practice 271
Liberals Before and After 1933: Taking Stock and the Outlook for the Future 300
6 The Rebirth of Liberalism? A Brief Summary of Liberalism and Politics in West Germany after 1945 306
Select Bibliography 368
What People are Saying About This
Dieter Langewiesche's study of liberalism in Germany has established itself as a concise and authoritative treatment of the subject...especially on the role of individual German states, the local roots of liberalism, the links between liberalism and its social bases of support, especially from bourgeois groups, and the forms of political organization adopted by liberals.