Journal Article

Social Patriotism and Left Liberalism: The Hamburg People's Home, 1901–1914

Jennifer Jenkins

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 29-48
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI:
Social Patriotism and Left Liberalism: The Hamburg People's Home, 1901–1914

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The Hamburg People's Home (Volksheim) was founded in 1901 on the model of London's Toynbee Hall with the stated goal of recreating community between the propertied and labouring classes. It was part and parcel of what the historian Daniel Rodgers has called the progressive social politics of the transatlantic world. This article argues that cultural and life reform programmes such as the Home were integral to urban social reform at the turn of the twentieth century and that these programmes can be most usefully studied in a local context. Drawing on the work of English liberal reformers, the founders of the People's Home advanced programmes of pro-worker social imperialism in the wake of the Dock Workers' Strike of 1896. In contrast to the merchant élite in Hamburg, the professionals affiliated with the Home furthered liberal programmes of reform aimed at educating and ‘raising’ workers out of cultural and political ‘immaturity’. Such initiatives brought left liberal reformers together with the reformist wing of the SPD. While instances of political cooperation between liberals and socialists were few before 1914, cultural associations document many cases of coordinated efforts and shared experiences.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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