Chapter

Hard-Working <i>Honoratioren:</i> The Mechanics of Left Liberal Party Politics

Alastair P. Thompson

in Left Liberals, the State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780198205432
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676635 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205432.003.0003
Hard-Working Honoratioren: The Mechanics of Left Liberal Party Politics

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The importance of organization, or more precisely the lack of it, to German liberalism has long been recognized. The general opinion is that the left liberals were not quite so ineffective as the National Liberals, but still suffered by not having the sort of powerful mass organizations which were at the disposal of the labour movement, political Catholicism, or Agrarian Conservatism. However, organization and agitation were far from being the poor relations of Wilhelmine politics. Even critics did not deny the importance of ‘machine politics’. Despite having the smallest and least funded formal organization, the left liberals proved capable of mounting forceful election campaigns, which even opponents recognized as being amongst the most powerful in Germany. Clearly, there was still a place for Honoratioren in the mass politics of Wilhelmine Germany. A shift of focus from formal to informal organization is required for an analysis of the most important left liberal response to the growing demands for money, men, and effort placed on political parties in Wilhelmine Germany. Here the role of newspapers was central.

Keywords: Wilhelmine Germany; left liberals; left liberalism; organization; machine politics; election campaigns; Honoratioren; newspapers; political parties

Chapter.  18068 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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