Lecture 3: German History, 1806/1848/1871/1918-1933
Turn in journals; roll-call
discussion of article "What the Holocaust does not teach"
Explanations for the Holocaust
Hitler and the Nazi Elite (see textbook,
a) Intentionalism: Hitler's preformed plan, especially Jews, everywhere
b) Structuralism: nature of power structure; opportunists around
c) Functionalism: evolving solutions; "twisted road;"
Jews among others
The German people: national character ("blood"?)
vs. cultural traditions
Christopher Browning ("Ordinary
Men") vs. Daniel Goldhagen ("Hitler's
The Jews: character/behavior fosters antisemitism
Where did the Nazi/German character/mindset come from?
German history I (long-term): obedience, militarism, bureaucracy,
German history II (middle-term): Germany's "special path"
German history III (short-term): unique circumstances after
World War I
Film clip (14 mins): US Army Signal Corps, "Here is Germany"
for soldiers going to occupy Germany, never
released (Cold War: Germany became our ally).
Historical Overview (1806-1914)
Prussia vs. Germany (first Reich="Holy
Roman Empire of the German Nation")
Frederick William I "Soldier
King" of Prussia, 1713-40; Frederick "the Great,"
"3 pillars of power:" militarists,
large landowners, state officials
1806-1819: dissolution of "first Reich" by Napoleon
Forced modernization of administration (bureaucracy),
education, and army
"E pluribus unum:" German states move towards economic
1848: popular revolution; unification "from below"
Heinrich Gagern and Fredrick William IV (*1795;
1840-1858; d. 1861)
"Never will I let a scrap of paper come between me and
Bismarck (1815-1898): 1862 head of Prussian
cabinet; 3 wars: unification in Versaillles
"Great questions of the
day will not be decided by majorities, but by iron and blood."
1866-1871: In three wars Bismarck creates the "second
Reich" (Kaiserreich) "from above"
Reich Chancellor Bismarck becomes a peacenik;
booted out by William II in 1890
Economic boom and bust, 1871-1873-1890: industrialists="4th
pillar" of power
Germany's "special path" (Sonderweg)
(see textbook pages 77ff)
rise of mass politics: party spectrum
in congress (Reichstag: imperial parliament)
Fast industrializing Germany seen as a
model for other countries (e.g. social security system)
I (*1797; 1871-1888), Frederick III (*1831-1888), William II (*1859;
a crucial juncture (Weichenstellung: setting
the switch of a train track)
1914: Germany instigates what quickly becomes the "Great
War" (World War I)
"Primacy of domestic politics" vs.
"primacy of foreign policy"