Dictatorship and Democracy, 1918–1939

Thomas Mergel

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

 Dictatorship and Democracy, 1918–1939

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Both dictatorship and democracy were essentially new concepts of political rule in Germany after World War I. It was true that suffrage had been increasingly extended after the revolution of 1848–1849, and more citizens (male citizens, that is) were entitled to vote in Imperial Germany than, for instance, in Great Britain. Dictatorship, too, was a new form of political control, at least in Germany. The term ‘people’ was to become a standard formula for the self-understanding of German politics after 1918. In its shades of meaning, it saw the people as a social organism, rather than as an ethnic community. ‘People’ referred to the many. It described the social commitment with which a good community was supposed to be built. An inquiry into Reichstag, and the German parliament and incidents and rebellions surrounding it concludes this article.

Keywords: dictatorship; democracy; suffrage; social organism; social commitment

Article.  15007 words. 

Subjects: History ; Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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