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The Structure of German National Consciousness: Protestants, Catholics and Jews, 1871

  • Helmut Walser Smith
Part of the New Perspectives in German Studies book series (NPG)

Abstract

The relationship of each of the three major religious groups — Protestants, Catholics and Jews — to the unification of Germany in 1871 is at one level well known. We possess a significant body of essays and monographs on the published opinion of leading politicians and intellectuals on the wars of unification and on the act of unification itself. This scholarship is highly differentiated with respect to Protestants, especially culturally important Protestants like Heinrich von Treitschke; we know less about conservative Protestants and still less about the sentiments of poor Protestant peasants.1 In the meanwhile, we also know a great deal about the range of Catholic responses, and now consider the studied opposition to unification of outliers like the Bavarian Edmund Jörg to be unrepresentative of a wide spectrum. Most Catholic intellectuals, as Germans, embraced unification, even if their specifically Catholic aspirations for the new national state differed significantly from those of their Protestant counterparts.2 Finally, about the position of Jews we draw our knowledge from the responses of leading figures, and thus emphasise the constitutional patriotism of Jewish authors like Berthold Auerbach or liberal Jewish politicians, such as Edward Lasker.3

Keywords

Public Sphere Reading Public National Sentiment Print Culture Constitutional Patriotism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    On the intellectual background of Protestants and German nationalism at the time of the foundation of the Second Empire, the best and most serious treatment is Wolfgang Altgeld, Katholizisrnus, Protestantismss, Judentum: Llber religios begrundete Gegensatze und nationalreligiose Ideen in der Geschichte des deutschen Nationalismus (Mainz 1992). For positions taken in 1870–71, see Gunter Brackelmann, ‘Der Krieg 1870/71 und die Reichsgrundung im Urteil des Protestantismus’, in Wolfgang Huber und Johannes Schwerdtfeger (eds), Kirche zwischen Krieg und Frieden (Stuttgart 1976); E. Bammel, Die Reichsgriindung nod der deutsche Protestantismus (Erlangen 1973). See also the comments in Kevin Cramer, ‘The Cult of Gustav Adolphus: Protestant Identity and German Nationalism’, in Helmut Walser Smith (ed.), Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Gennany, 1800–1914 (Oxford 2001), pp. 97–120.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For brief introductions, see Thomas Nipperdey, Religion irn Llmbnich (Miinchen 1989), pp. 46–50 and Adolf Birke, ‘German Catholics and the Quest for National Unity’, in Hagen Schulze (ed.), Nation-Building in Central Europe (Leamington Spa 1987). For the more specialised scholarship, see Rudolf Lill, ‘Die deutschen Katholiken und Bismarcks Reichsgrtindung’, in Theodor Schieder and Ernst Deuerlein (eds), Reichsgriindung 1870/71 (Stuttgart 1970), pp. 345–65; George G. Windell, The Catholics and German Unihj 1866–1871 (Minneapolis 1954); Hans Maier, ‘Katholizismus, nationale Bewegung und Demokratie in Deutschland’, Hochland 57 (1965), pp. 318–33; Ernst Deuerlein, ‘Die Bekehrung des Zentrums zur nationalen Idee’, Hochland 62 (1970), pp. 432–49; Horst Gri9nder, ‘Nation und Katholizismus im Kaiserreich’, in A. Langer (ed.), Katholizisanus, nationaler Gedanke und Europa seit 1800 (Paderborn 1985), pp. 65–88; and, the classic statement, Rudolf Morsey, ‘Die deutschen Katholiken und der Nationalstaat zwischen Kulturkampf und erstem Weltkrieg’, Historisches Jahrbnch 90 (1970), pp. 31–64.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See especially Peter Pulzer, Jews and the German State: The Political Histonj of a Minority (Oxford 1992).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For an introduction to the literature of religion and nation, especially in German and focused on Germany, see F.W. Graf, ‘Die Nation — von Gott ‘erfunderi ?’ in G. Krumeich and H. Lehmann (eds), ‘Gott mit uns’. Nation, Religion und Gewalt irn 19. und frnilien 20. Jahrhundert (Gottingen 2000), pp. 285–318.Google Scholar
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    On urdfication, and especially on the years after 1850, see John Breuilly, The Formation of the First German Nation-State, 1800–1871 (New York 1996).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For an astute reflection on this problem, see W.H. Sewell Jr., ‘Three Temporalities: Toward an Eventful Sociology’, in T.J. McDonald (ed.), The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences (Ann Arbor 1996), pp. 245–80.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Anthony D. Smith, Theories of Nationalism (New York 1983). Here I refer mainly to the tradition of nationalism studies that, following the work of Karl Deutsch, saw nation-building and nationalism as a process of ever widening communication.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Helmut Walser Smith, German Nationalism and Religious Conflict: Culture, Ideology, Politics, 1870–1914 (Princeton 1995).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nildas Luhmann, Gesellschaftsstruktur und Semantik, vol. 3, (Frankfurt a. M. 1993), pp. 229–38. For an intriguing application to a concrete historical case, see Rudolf Schlogel, Glaube und Religion in der Siikularisienmg. Die katholische Stadt — Koln, Aachen, Miinster -1700–1840 (Munchen 1995).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Benedict Anderson, hnagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (2nd edn., London 1991).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    R. Po-Chia Hsia, Social Discipline in the Refonnation: Central Europe, 1550–1750 (New York 1989), pp. 89–90. For detail on a specific case, see Etienne Francois, Die unsichtbare Grenze. Protestanten nnd Katholiken in Augsburg (Sigmaringen 1991).Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    See Rudolf Engelsing, Analplrabetenthmi und Lektilre (Stuttgart 1973), pp. 97–8. Literacy and reading are not, however, the same. Rudolf Schenda estimates the reading public to have been 25 per cent of the population above six years of age in 1800, thereafter rising to 40 per cent in 1830, 75 per cent in 1870, and 90 per cent in 1900. See Rudolf Schenda, Volk ohne Buch (Frankfurt a. M. 1970), pp. 444–5. See also Reinhard Wittmann, Buchmarkt und Lektt7re (Tubingen 1982), pp. 199–200.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Ibid., pp. 52–3. For an argument that the division between print cultures had become porous by the end of the nineteenth-century, see Jeffrey T. Zalar, ‘The Process of Confessional Inculturation: Catholic Reading in the “Long Nineteenth Century”, in H.W. Smith (ed.), Protestants, Catholics and Jews, pp. 121–52.Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    On the importance of nationalist intellectuals, see Miroslav Hroch, Die Vorkampfer der nationalen Bewegung bei den kleinen Volkern Europas (Prague 1967); on Germany specifically, see Dieter Diiding, ‘The Nineteenth-Century German National Movement as a Movement of Societies’, in H. Schulze (ed.), Nation-Building in Central Europe, pp. 19–50.Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    On this question, see A. Liedhegener, Christentum und Urbanisierung: Katholiken und Protestanten in Mintster und Boclnnn 1830–1933 (Paderborn 1997).Google Scholar
  16. 20.
    Thomas Mergel, Zwischen Klasse und Konfession. Katholisches Biirgertum im Rheinlande im 19. Jahrhundert (Gottingen 1994), p. 168.Google Scholar
  17. 22.
    Till van Rahden, Juden und andere Breslauer: Die Beziehungen zwischen Juden, Protestanten und Katholiken in einer deutschen Grof3stadt von 1860 bis 1925 (GSttingen 2000); J. Palmowski, Urban Liberalism in hnperial Gernuiny: Frankfiirt am Main 1860–1914 (Oxford 1999).Google Scholar
  18. 23.
    See Andreas Biefang, Politisches Beirgertum in Deutschland, 1857–1868. Nationale Organisationen und Eliten (Diisseldorf 1994).Google Scholar
  19. 24.
    Frank Becker, Bilder von Krieg und Nation: Die Einigungskriege in der biirgerlichen Offentlichkeit Deutschlands 1864–1913 (Miinchen 2001), p. 135.Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    Ibid., p. 159.Google Scholar
  21. 26.
    Jonathan Sperber, Popular Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Princeton 1984), p. 157.Google Scholar
  22. 27.
    Ibid., p. 157.Google Scholar
  23. 28.
    Cited in Nikolaus Buschmann, ‘Auferstehung der Nation’, in Heinz-Gerhard Haupt and Dieter Langewiesche (eds), Nation und Religion in der deutschen Geschichte (Frankfurt a. M. 2001), pp. 367–8.Google Scholar
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    Clifford Geertz, ‘After the Revolution: The Fate of Nationalism in the New States, in C. Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York 1973), p. 240.Google Scholar
  25. 31.
    Margaret Lavinia Anderson, Windthorst: A Political Biography (Oxford 1981).Google Scholar
  26. 37.
    Hans Otto Horch, ‘Enthusiasmus und Resignation: Berthold Auerbach und die Reichsgriindung’, in K. Amann and K. Wagner (eds), Literatur und Nation: Die Grundung des deutschen Reiches 1871 in der deutschsprachigen Literahur (Wien 1996), p. 136.Google Scholar
  27. 38.
    See Friedrich Schneider (ed.), Universalstaat oder Nationalstaat. Macht und Ende des Ersten Deutschen Reiches. Die Streitschriften von Heinrich von Sybel und Julius Ficker zur Kaiserpolitik des Mittelalters (Innsbruck 1941).Google Scholar
  28. 40.
    Cited in Erik Lindner, Patriotisrnus deutscher Juden von der napoleonischen Ara bis zum Kaiserreich (Frankfurt a. M. 1997), pp. 217–18.Google Scholar
  29. 47.
    A. Elon, The Pity of it All: A History of the Jews in Germany, 1743–1933 (New York 2002), p. 196.Google Scholar
  30. 44.
    Andreas Gotzmann, ‘Symbolische Rettungen — Jiidische Theologie und Staat in der Emanzipationszeit’, in Haupt and Langewiesche (eds), Nation und Religion in der deutschen Geschichte, p. 28.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Helmut Walser Smith

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