Germany's Second Reich: Portraits and Pathways

By James Retallack

© 2015

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Illustrations: 25
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED JUN 2015

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    ISBN 9781442628526
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  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

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Quick Overview

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.

Germany's Second Reich: Portraits and Pathways

By James Retallack

© 2015

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Illustrations: 25
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘This sparkling collection of essays focuses on the acute political and social tensions that wracked Germany from 1866 to 1918… This is a work in which a leading scholar brings fresh analytical insights to bear on the age of Bismarck and Wilhelm… Highly recommended.’


    S. Bailey
    Choice Magazine vol 53:06:2016

    ‘This volume is a sprightly, critical introduction to the recent historiography of imperial Germany’s domestic politics.’


    Isabel V. Hull
    German Studies Review vol 40:01:2017

    "Retallack’s collection of essays is marked by sharp and thoughtful analytical distinction, judicious and critical reflections on the work of colleagues in the field, and beautiful, clear writing."


    Helmut Walser Smith
    Central European History Vol 51: 2018

    “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.”


    James Brophy, Francis H. Squire Professor of History, University of Delaware

    “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.”


    David Blackbourn, Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

    “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.”


    Ute Planert, Professor of Modern History and History Education, University of Wuppertal
  • Author Information

    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

    Pan

    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

    Focus

    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

    Twist

    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

    Acknowledgements

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