Mass Politics and Party Pacts: Left Liberals in Baden, 1905–1914

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:
Mass Politics and Party Pacts: Left Liberals in Baden, 1905–1914

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The perception that Baden provided a possible guide for the future internal development of the Reich was widely held: a guide not only in narrowly political matters — the relationship between monarch, executive, and legislature, the political alignment of parties, the electoral franchise — but in the wider social attitudes and apparatus they implied, such as publicly accountable administration, cross-class consensus and free assembly and association. An important issue to be considered, therefore, is to what extent pre-war Baden offered a viable path of political reform and social integration which might have been followed more generally. The example of Baden provides an excellent opportunity to examine two crucial questions facing the left liberals in Wilhelmine Germany: how to cope with a politicized mass electorate and the ability of a minority party to secure influence through formal and informal coalitions. Badenese politicians criticized Prussian Conservatives and thus explicitly supported the Reich and its institutions. They claimed that it was Prussian reactionaries, not liberal South Germans, who were the particularists. The National Liberals took the lead in expressing nationalist sentiment.

Keywords: Baden; Wilhelmine Germany; left liberals; political reform; mass electorate; coalitions; politics; National Liberals

Chapter.  15402 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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