The Empire and the Weimar Republic
The history of imperial and Weimar Germany is of great importance to an appreciation of the colossal aberration of the Third Reich, and the problems and possibilities of political life in the Federal Republic today. But such a history is made up of a century of complicated developments, significant personalities, rapid social change and cataclysmic international events. Selection is necessary, and attention is focused here on those aspects which relate most particularly to the explanation of political development in Germany, and the contemporary politics of the Federal Republic. Of special importance are the themes of unification and the establishment of the identity of the German state; the course of development of formal political institutions, political groups and the political culture; the major problems with which a succession of Governments have had to cope, and the way in which many of these problems have persisted, in various forms, in modern German politics; and the changes of regime that have occurred: Empire, Republic, Third Reich, occupation state and the emergence of Germany’s first — seemingly — stable democracy.
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