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(Oxford History of Modern Europe)
by Gordon A. Craig
- Series: Oxford History of Modern Europe
- Author: Gordon A. Craig
- Characters: Wilhelm II, German Emperor, Otto von Bismarck, Gustav Stresemann, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, Frederick III, German Emperor
- Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
- ISBN: 9780195027242 (0195027248)
- Format: paperback, 848 pages
- Genres: history, germany
- Awards: California Book Award for Nonfiction (Silver) (1978), National Book Award Finalist for History (1979)
- Language: english
- Release date: March 6, 1980
About The Book
G.A. Craig, author of several distinguished books including The Politics of the Prussian Army 1640-1945 (’55), has written a magisterial history of Germany from Prussia’s 1866 triumph over Austria at Koeniggroetz to the destruction of the 3rd Reich in 1945. His story focuses upon the two dominating personalities of the period: Bismarck, the « great star » whose genius & penetration are undeniable, but whose achievement « had its ‘night side’ as well as its ‘day side,' » & Hitler, who, unlike the Iron Chancellor, was « sui generis a force without a real historical past. » Craig agrees with Dahrendorf (Society & Democracy in Germany) that, paradoxically, it was precisely because he lacked roots in tradition that Hitler could destroy the major obstacle to its progress towards a liberal modernity — « the conservative-militaristic concern that had dominated politics in the Wilhelmine period, done everything possible to shorten the life of the Weimar Republic & elevated him to power in 1933. » The concentration on these two figures in no way represents a failure to appreciate institutional, economic & social factors of development. A major part of the story — the place & treatment of women under the Empire, Weimar & Hitler — receives an overdue coherent treatment as do religion & education. Craig (J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Stanford) displays an equally keen appreciation of the role of culture. In particular, he forcefully portrays the flight from political responsibility which was characteristic of most artists & intellectuals under the Empire & which marred the splendid cultural achievements of Weimar as well. The combination of his learning with his gracefully lucid style has yielded a work of historical synthesis more readable & better organized than any book of comparable scope. — Kirkus (edited)
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