Chapter

Introduction: The Meaning of the German Welfare State

David F. Crew

in Germans on Welfare

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195053111
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854479 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195053111.003.0001
Introduction: The Meaning of the German Welfare State

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This chapter examines the history of the Weimar welfare system from the following perspectives: national, regional, local, and individual. In order to understand the meaning of the German Welfare State, one has to look towards the history of modern Germany. It has been recognized that it is hard to link a single strand in the history of the German welfare state since Bismarck because Germany failed to establish a stable, liberal parliamentary system of government, a democratic political culture, or an egalitarian civil society. Thus, the new German industrial nation allied with the Prussian aristocracy and the authoritarian German state to resist the forces of democracy. The welfare state became a central fixture of Germany's 20th-century modernity. The public welfare system touched the lives of Weimar Germans because the only means of assistance during the great period of inflation and the Depression was public welfare.

Keywords: Weimar welfare system; German Welfare State; modern Germany; Bismarck; Prussian aristocracy; public welfare

Chapter.  6863 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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