German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 13, 2012 - History - 463 pages
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This history of German-speaking central Europe offers a very wide perspective, emphasizing a succession of many-layered communal identities. It highlights the interplay of individual, society, culture, and political power, contrasting German with western patterns. Rather than treating "the Germans" as a collective whole whose national history amounts to a cumulative biography, the book presents the pre-modern era of the Holy Roman Empire; the nineteenth century; the 1914-1945 era of war, dictatorship, and genocide; and the Cold War and post-Cold War eras since 1945 as successive worlds of German life, thought, and mentality. The book sets forth the differences between them, even as it traces paths leading from one to the other. This book's "Germany" is polycentric and multicultural, including the multi-national Austrian Habsburg Empire and the German Jews. Its approach to National Socialism offers a conceptually new understanding of the Holocaust. The book's numerous illustrations reveal German self-presentations and styles of life, which often contrast with western ideas of Germany.

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1 Historiographie
part i german central europe before modern nationalism
part ii german identities between liberalism nationalism and socialism 17891914
part iii duels of identity and the death of nations 19141945
part iv the cold war germanies and their post1989 fusion

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About the author (2012)

William W. Hagen is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. He has held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Max-Planck Society and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is the author of Germans, Poles, and Jews: The Nationality Conflict in the Prussian East, 1772-1914 and the prize-winning Ordinary Prussians: Brandenburg Junkers and Villagers, 1500-1840 (Cambridge University Press, 2003). His wide-ranging research articles have appeared in many publications, including The Journal of Modern History, Foreign Affairs, the American Historical Review, Past and Present, Historische Zeitschrift and Geschichte und Gesellschaft.

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