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The Sonderweg of German History

German defeat in World War I is seen as an important part of the German Sonderweg.

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German sonderweg thesis - Research Paper Writing - …

There have been those who applied the Sonderweg theoryto German history before the 1806 breakup of the Holy Roman Empire,arguing that while every other country in 18th and early 19thcentury Europe (with the exception of the Italian lands) wasconsolidating into more or less coherent nation-states withvirtually "fixed" and often natural boundaries, "Germany" was infact disintegrating into ever smaller autonomous regions under thenominal control of the Holy Roman Emperor. This supposedly set aunique pattern among European states that resulted in Nazism. Thisview ignores the long and consciously held self identification thatthe Holy Roman Empire was a supranational structure in the literalsense, i.e. many nations were rightfully and even naturally part ofit, e.g., Czech speaking Bohemia along with numerous Italianspeaking polities south of the Alps down to and occasionallyincluding Sicily. Only over time did "the Empire" come to be moreand more delimited to its Germanic areas, and come to be identifiedwith varying degrees of formality and officialness as "Das HeiligeRömische Reich Deutscher Nation", The Holy Roman Empire of theGerman Nation.

Was or is there a German Sonderweg? | Yahoo Answers

The debate on the Sonderweg was renewed by Americanscholar with his 1996 book, . Goldhagen countered that German society,politics, and life up until 1945 were characterized by a uniqueversion of extreme that held the murder of Jewsas the highest possible national value. His critics (e.g., ) repliedthat Goldhagen ignored most recent research and ignored otherdevelopments both in Germany and abroad. RuthBirn asserts that Goldhagen "allow[ed] his thesis to dictate hispresentation of the evidence".Nonetheless, Goldhagen is often held to have succeeded in revivingthe debate on the question of a German "",and, in Germany, of bringing many Germans to a modern confrontationwith, and a lively and fruitful debate about, the legacy of theHolocaust.

26/04/2007 · Was or is there a German Sonderweg

15/10/2012 · A presentation on the theory of the German Sonderweg, or Special Path.

Criticisms of the Theory Jurgen Kocka: the theory still has some usefulness.
Serves to describe the process of modernization in Germany; as no more or less unique than any other nation's.
Can the Sonderweg be applied in a limited context to explain the failure of the Weimar Republic?

At most, the Sonderweg is no longer a theory, but a description of Germany's particular institutional history, and how this may have contributed in part to the weaknesses of the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism.


The leading critics of the Sonderweg thesis have beentwo British Marxist historians, and , who in their 1984book The Peculiarities of German History (first publishedin German in 1980 as Mythen deutscher Geschichtsschreibung: Diegescheiterte bürgerliche Revolution von 1848) argued thatthere is no "normal" course of social and political change; thatthe experience of and inthe 19th century was not the norm for Europe; and that even if theliberal German middle class was disempowered at the nationalpolitical level, it nevertheless dominated the social, economic andcultural life of 19th century Germany..This embourgeoisement of German social life was greater than inBritain and France, which in the opinion of Eley and Blackbourn wasmore distinctly marked by aristocratic values than was Germany.Blackbourn and Eley rejected the entire concept of theSonderweg as a flawed construct supported by a "a curiousmixture of idealistic analysis and vulgar materialism" that led toan "exaggerated linear continuity between the nineteenth centuryand the 1930s". In the view of Blackbourn and Eley, there was noSonderweg, and it is ahistorical to judge why Germany didnot become Britain for the simple reason that Germany is Germanyand Britain is Britain. Moreover, Eley and Blackbourn argued that after1890 there was a tendency towards greater democratization in Germansociety with the growth of civil society as reflected in the growthof trade unions and a more or less free press.

As Schubert states, thehistory of the is not to beconfused with the Sonderweg, which can only be seen as aresult of the concept of German identity, developing in the of the late18th century, enforced by the French revolutionary war againstGermany. Previous events, especially not the Holy Roman Empire,cannot be related to the evolution of Nazism.

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The Peculiar Course of German History | History Today

Another version of the Sonderweg thesis emerged in the inthe 1950s-1960s, when historians such as and examined ideas and culture in19th century Germany, especially those of the virulentlyanti-Semitic . Mosse andStern both concluded that the intellectual and cultural elites inGermany by and large chose to consciously reject modernity andalong with it those groups they identified with modernity, such asJews, and embraced as the basis for theirWeltanschauung (world-view). However, in recent years,Stern has abandoned his conclusion and now argues against theSonderweg thesis, holding the views of thevölkisch movement to be a mere “dark undercurrent” in theSecond Reich.

Sonderweg Thesis • r/AskHistorians - reddit

Such questions have been at the centre of many scholarly and non- scholarly debates, most recently in the so-called West German Historikerstreit of 1986, and will continue to occupy, disturb and divide historians and others, particularly in Germany.' One way of answering these questions is to refer to the concept of a German Sonderweg.

The Sonderweg by Patrick Anderson on Prezi

Starting in the 1960s, historians such as and argued that,unlike and the ,Germany had experienced only "partial modernization", in whichindustrialization was not followed by changes in the political andsocial spheres, which in the opinion of Fischer and Wehlercontinued to be dominated by a "pre-modern" aristocratic elite. Inthe opinion of the proponents of the Sonderweg thesis, thecrucial turning point was the , when German liberals failed to seize power andconsequently either emigrated or chose to resign themselves tobeing ruled by a reactionary elite, living in a society that taughtits children obedience, glorification of , and pride in a very complexnotion of German culture. During the latter half of the SecondReich, from about 1890 to 1918, this pride, they argued, developedinto . Since 1950,historians such as Fischer, Wehler, and have drawn a harsh indictmentof the German elite of the period 1870-1945, who were accused ofpromoting authoritarian values during the Second Reich, beingsolely responsible for launching , sabotaging the democraticWeimar Republic, and aiding and abetting the Nazi dictatorship ininternal repression, war, and genocide. In the view of Wehler,Fischer, and their supporters, only the German defeat in 1945 putan end to the “premodern” social structure which had led to andthen sustained traditional German authoritarianism and its moreradical variant, National Socialism.

Free german Essays and Papers - 123HelpMe

originating from this debate can serve as examples. This article reconstructs the pros and cons within this controversial debate, reports its results and puts it into a broader historical context. It analyzes the comparative logic implied by the Sonclerweg thesis and argues that the interpretation of modern German history in the sense of a Sonderweg can only be maintained if related to the question why Germany turned fascist and totalitarian in the interwar period while other (comparable) societies did not, and if Western countries are selected as units of comparison. The choice of comparative reference points turns out to be decisive and partly dependent on norma- tive priorities and conventions. The article points to dangers and opportunities inherent in asymmetrical comparison.

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