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Wilhelminism and Its Legacies: German Modernities, Imperialism, and the Meanings of Reform, 1890-1930

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Wilhelminism and Its Legacies

German Modernities, Imperialism, and the Meanings of Reform, 1890-1930

Edited by Geoff Eley and James Retallack

280 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-223-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2003)

ISBN  978-1-57181-687-0 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (October 2004)

eISBN 978-0-85745-711-0 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"It is one of the main merits of this volume to historicize the 'modern' concept of parliamentarianism and democracy ... offers a stimulating contribution to the scholarship on Imperial Germany."  · H-Soz-u-Kult

"[this] brief review cannot do justice to the breadth of contributions offered in this slender volume. While the collection does not cover all aspects of Wilhelmine history…it does provide a good introduction to the current state o f the field…these essays offer avenues for further exploration rather than definitive statements."  · German Studies Review

"…a valuable volume which makes some substantial contribution to a number of subfields in modern German history…the editors are to be thanked for assembling a volume of original and insightful works, one which ought to be in the collection of every library that supports programs in contemporary German history, cultural studies, or political science."  · Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire


What was distinctive—and distinctively "modern"—about German society and politics in the age of Kaiser Wilhelm II? In addressing this question, these essays assemble cutting-edge research by fourteen international scholars. Based on evidence of an explicit and self-confidently "bourgeois" formation in German public culture, the contributors suggest new ways of interpreting its reformist potential and advance alternative readings of German political history before 1914. While proposing a more measured understanding of Wilhelmine Germany's extraordinarily dynamic society, they also grapple with the ambivalent, cross-cutting nature of German "modernities" and reassess their impact on long-term developments running through the Wilhelmine age.

Geoff Eley is the Sylvia L. Thrupp Collegiate Professor of Comparative History and has taught at the University of Michigan since 1979. His primary appointment is in History, with a cross appointment in German Studies and an additional affiliation with Film and Video Studies.

James Retallack is Professor of History at th Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. As a recipient of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize from the Humboldt Foundation, in 2002-03 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Göttingen.

Subject: History: 18th/19th Century
Area: Germany


Volker R. Berghahn


Geoff Eley and James Retallack

Chapter 1. Making a Place in the Nation: Meanings of "Citizenship" in Wilhelmine Germany
Geoff Eley

Chapter 2. Membership, Organization, and Wilhelmine Modernism: Constructing Economic Democracy through Cooperation
Brett Fairbairn

Chapter 3. "Few better farmers in Europe"? Productivity, Change, and Modernization in East-Elbian Agriculture, 1870-1913
Oliver Grant

Chapter 4. The Wilhelmine Regime and the Problem of Reform: German Debates about Modern Nation-States
Mark Hewitson

Chapter 5. Lebensreform: A Middle-Class Antidote to Wilhelminism
Matthew Jefferies

Chapter 6. Imperial Socialism of the Chair: Gustav Schmoller and German Weltpolitik, 1897-1905
Erik Grimmer-Solem

Chapter 7. "Our natural ally": German Social Democrats, Anglo-German Relations, and the Contradictory Agendas of Wilhelmine Socialism, 1897-1900
Paul Probert

Chapter 8. The "Malet Incident," October 1895: A Prelude to the Kaiser's "Krüger Telegram" in the Context of the Anglo-German Imperialist Rivalry
Willem-Alexander van't Padje

Chapter 9. Colonial Agitation and the Bismarckian State: The Case of Carl Peters
Arne Perras

Chapter 10. The Law and the Colonial State: Legal Codification versus Practice in a German Colony
Nils Ole Oermann

Chapter 11. Max Warburg and German Politics: The Limits of Financial Power in Wilhelmine Germany
Niall Ferguson

Chapter 12. Continuity and Change in Post-Wilhelmine Germany: From the 1918 Revolution to the Ruhr Crisis
Conan Fischer

Chapter 13. A Wilhelmine Legacy? Coudenhove-Kalergi's "Paneuropa" as an Alternative Path towards a European (Post-)Modernity, 1922-1932
Katiana Orluc

Chapter 14. Ideas into Politics: Meanings of "Stasis" in Wilhelmine Germany
James Retallack

Notes on Contributors
List of Publications by Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann

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