From a ‘Multinational Republic’ to ‘The Promised Land’: Journals and Unification

  • Karoline von Oppen
Part of the New Perspectives in German Studies book series (NPG)


Ingrid Laurien has characterised the role of journals in contemporary intellectual and political life as follows:

It can be observed that turning points in the political and cultural development of the Federal Republic also represent turning points in periodicals. The influence of political and cultural journals may be limited. They cannot perhaps significantly influence developments but they can analyse and comment upon these, and uncover trends.1

Journals may no longer change history but they do change with history. The contrast with the nineteenth century could not be greater. In studies of the unification of Germany in 1871 scholars have examined cultural and political journals and, despite their tiny circulation figures, have happily attributed enormous influence to them.2 Since that point the changing public sphere has brought about a dramatic decline in the influence of journals in favour of the all-powerful mass media of the present-day. In analyses of the reunification of 1989–90, studies have therefore tended to focus on individuals, tracing their publications through the feuilleton, rather than on whole journals.


Creative Writer German Nation Righteous Anger Literary Sphere European Union Politics 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Karoline von Oppen

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