Authoritarian State, Dynamic Society, Failed Imperialist Power, 1878–1914

Helmut Walser Smith

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199237395
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Authoritarian State, Dynamic Society, Failed Imperialist Power, 1878–1914

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This article focuses on statehood, society, and the failed imperialist powers that continued to rampage Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. A social history of German politics is given in this article. It begins with analyzing the meaning of Kaiserreich and emphasizing its inner logic, and endogenous social and political processes. This article concentrates on the relationship between state, society, and democracy, and argues that the essential conflicts of the Kaiserreich involved the contradictory integration of a newly-formed, authoritarian national state, with an exceedingly dynamic and mobile society, into a competitive world of overseas empires in the process of imposing white hegemony on large parts of the globe. The interpretive emphasis, which is on the national level, rather than the state or local level, does not presuppose that endogenous structural elements brought about the crisis of the late imperial period.

Keywords: state; authoritarian state; German politics; inner logic; society; democracy

Article.  14157 words. 

Subjects: History ; Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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