The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)
  • The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)
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The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)

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£120.00
Hardback 228 Pages / Published: 14/07/2005
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Few statesmen in history have inspired the imagination of generations of Germans more than the founder of the Kaiserreich, Otto von Bismarck. The archetype of charismatic leadership, the Iron Chancellor maintained his pre-eminent position in the pantheon of Germany's political iconography for much of the twentieth century. 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.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199281848
Number of pages: 228
Weight: 563 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
...an astutely conceived and solidly grounded contribution to the historiography of German political culture in the earl twentieth century. * Geoff Eley The English Historical Review *
The author deserves credit for filling an important empirical gap with a competent, well-researched and well-written monograph. * Moritz Follmer, Central European History *
well-researched, comprehensive and highly readable * Lynn M. Kutch, Lehigh University *
Gerwarth's book makes an outstanding contribution to our understanding of modern Germany's political culture. * Heinrich August Winkler *
Robert Gerwarth's study on Otto von Bismarck and the role of the Bismarck myth in the rise of Hitler sets new standards for the historiography of Weimar Germany (and) improves our understanding of the fatal turn which German history took in 1933. * Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Weltwoche *
The history of Weimar Germany's failure has never been told more accurately, convincingly, and vividly than in Robert Gerwarth's Bismarck Myth. * Johannes Willms, Deutschland Radio *
Robert Gerwarth deals with an explosive chapter of historical politics his impressively presented [book is] ... an extremely worthwhile academic investigation. * Eberhard Kolb, Bulletin of the German Historical Institute *
Robert Gerwarth's intelligent book convincingly uncovers Bismarcks importance as the hero of the right ... after 1918. * Der Tagesspiegel *
A volume packed with information... The importance of the Bismarck myth... in the political discourse and controversies of the Weimar Republic becomes very clear. * Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte *
[The Bismarck Myth] enriches the scholarship on the Weimar Republic ... and offers a key explanation for Hitler's success and the root causes of the German desire for a charismatic leader. * HNet *
Robert Gerwarth, has performed a real service by showing with a telling eye for colourful details, how Bismarck or rather the myth of Bismarck has been used by different factions in Germany's difficult history... [a] well researched and well written... book. * Contemporary Review *
an astutely conceived and solidly grounded contribution to the historiography of German political culture in the eearly twentieth century. * Geoff Eley, English Historical Review *

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