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 Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Mon 18 Dec 2017, 22:03

I think already in 2005 I discussed on the ex BBC messageboard about the special way the Prussian society was formed. I followed a bit the German authors Wehler and Fisher about the "Sonderweg" and the role of Wilhelm II in the road to WWI...I especially founded my views on the work from von Krockow: the Germans in their century
https://www.amazon.com/Germans-their-century-1890-1990-Christian/dp/071908086X
(I read it in that time before the English translation in French translation, the German original wasn't available in our local library)
I did research about the work of Wehler and Fischer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Ulrich_Wehler
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Fischer
And even in that time I read from a certain Christopher Clark, who was not in accordance with these views and said that Briatain and France had also a Sonderweg as Germany...
Coincidentally our Dirk Marinus mentioned to me some months ago a new work from Christopher Clark:
Kaiser Wilhelm II a life in power
https://www.amazon.com/Kaiser-Wilhelm-II-Life-Power/dp/0141039930

Yes and I forgot Rohl that I also studied in 2006 as the author of Wilhelm's road to war...
And the controversy is not yet over as the critique overhere from Clark on Rohl
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n08/christopher-clark/how-powerful-was-the-kaiser

And a comment about a book from Clark: "Iron Kingdom"
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=13315
And the about us:
https://networks.h-net.org/node/513/pages/1301/about

Tomorrow more comments.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Wed 20 Dec 2017, 21:34

Perhaps these are not subjects for such a small public as ours, because this is rather specific information about one single controversy in history and one need more specialists in this particular case.

If some of the average of the 20 guest readers of this board is an erudite in this case, please that he may comment...
I hope that the average of 20 guests aren't always the same Wink ? So that we only are with some 35 "active" ones...

BTW; What is also a lesson for me about history writing, is that even professional historians are in controversy about the historical narration and that they after now some twenty years are still at the two controverse sides. A bit as in the German "Historikerstreit".
After I have read it all and studied all the elements, I have now, the same as in the other historical controversial subjects, the impression that in most of the cases the real history lays between the two extremities of the controversy...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Thu 21 Dec 2017, 17:41

Well Paul, you've given links to some wiki references and to books that I very much doubt anyone here has already read (and I'll admit to even having to look up what 'sonderweg' might refer to) ... yet you don't really explain what you want to discuss, nor even voice your own opinion. Germany has certainly followed a unique path to its current democratic state, but then one might argue the same uniqueness for all European states. And Wilhelm II undeniably had a big role to play in Germany's historic path in the 20th century. But was he perhaps just like a film-star: the iconic person you could always rely on to act the part and say the predictable thing - moulded by his training and dutifully repeating all his lines as it were - yet in reality simply trapped by circumstances? (All three emperors: Franz Joseph, Nicholas II and Wilhelm II, for all their visible presence and assumed power, have been described as being little better than floating corks: always clearly visible on the surface, but in reality simply being swept along by the underlying stream). But the roots of German's particular sonderweg surely go back much further - to German reunification, and before that to questions about what it meant to be 'German' when Germany was politically and geographically fragmented, yet still a widely-recognised cultural entity ... and so ultimately back to the reformation, and indeed even earlier.

If you explained a bit more what your topic is about, I for one might well respond, but at the moment I'm a bit lost. Nevertheless, while there might not be many of us here at the moment, surely nothing is beyond our combined erudite (or otherwise) consideration.  Wink

Respectueusement, MM.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Thu 21 Dec 2017, 22:14

Meles meles,

you are right. I was a bit down yesterday. You have to know composing a message in English is not so easy for me as for natives. I was thinking at all the research again and to seek it all back. As for the additional research of the new sources. My message was only a start of a whole thread. But it is not that comforting if you have no counterpart to discuss with.
But now you are engaged Wink  and I will hold you on your word Wink
To come in the mood again I read some old BBC threads again and I post them only to consult them by myself in the further argumentation of the thread...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/NF2233809?thread=3672512&skip=0
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/NF2233809?thread=1852839
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/NF2233809?thread=2167385
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393097986/qid=1137426115/sr=8-3/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl14/102-8448203-6960929?n=507846&s=books&v=glance
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/NF2233809?thread=1983991&skip=0


And BTW the separatists seems to win in the Catalonian exit polls...another group can start to speak about "we and the others"...hope that some Flemish separatists don't start to think that it is also their hour of "we and the others"...sigh...it is again the 19th century instead of the 21th one...


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Mon 25 Dec 2017, 22:46

Meles meles,

I have studied and read and searched for additional information and am now ready to formulate a "preliminary evaluation". I don't know if I will have time enough before sleep...(yesterday that late even to the morning hours...)
Some new entries that I read...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._G._R%C3%B6hl
http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/47
http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/chapter.cfm?subsection_id=65
https://www.amazon.com/Wilhelmine-Germany-Edwardian-Britain-Historical/dp/0199558280

Meles meles for the readers I start first with a wiki article about the "German Sonderweg"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonderweg
Starting to read:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/260865
my preliminary evalutation will be fro tomorrow...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Wed 27 Dec 2017, 22:38

Meles meles,

to read the Jstor article completely I had to use the login via the university as I so many times did. But there it failed...the Java was outdated and when I installed again the Java the security forbid to enter and then I had to add another program to make it compatible...and so with trial and error I was connected after more than one! hour...
https://www.jstor.org/stable/260865

And I am glad that Jürgen Kocka mentions in his critique nearly exactly the same as I wanted to develop overhere.
Sorry to delay it all again...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Thu 28 Dec 2017, 22:32

Meles meles,

I just lost my entire message due to a malware attack countered by my safety device, but it came on a "blanc" page and no possibility to return to my message...sigh...

As said yesterday I now read the entire essay of Jürgen Kocka on Jstor:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/260865 
As mentioned it was in the line of what I followed in the time from the book of von Krockow: The Germans in their century. As from me and if I recall it well von Krockow too, extended the period of the so-called Sonderweg (but he called it not explicitely the Sonderweg) only to Wilhelmine Germany until the Weimar Republic and not as some to National Socialism.
Here is in my opinion his conclusion of his essay:

"Analytically speaking, one has to distinguish between (a) the weakness and collapse of the Weimar Republic: and (b) the breakthrough of National Socialism. These are two different phenomena. This short essay has concentrated on the long-term causes of the early collapse  of the Weimar republic rather than on those of fascism and its roots in German history. This is not accidental. For the peculiarities of German history summarized under the label "Sonderweg" contribute much more to explaining the weakness and the early collapse of the first German republic than to explaining National Socialism."

Due to my loss of my complete message earlier in which I had put a lot of time I will start again with my comments tomorrow.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 21:25

Meles meles,

as said during the BBC years I was following von Krockow as to the kind of special way Germany developped in the last half of the 19th century as a strong state (and perhaps more a Prussian state, as most of the economic industrial might and half of the new Germany lay in Prussia and Germany was directed from Prussia out), with a strong dedicated civil service and a society dictated from above with an old fashioned leadership. Remember in the speech in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles Wilhelm I referred still to the might given to him by the grace of God...

A mighty Kaiserreich which became an industrial big power nearly on equality with Great Britain...I once gave the example of Belgium, a few years under Leopold I and II the second biggest industrial might in the world after Great Britain, but quickly Germany and France overturned it due to the size of the educated population and the volume of their industrial output...I don't want to sound as the "leftist" approach of the Sonderweg (the history dictated by the circumstances) but in my opinion they have a lot of credibility too.
I mean Austria and Russia were perhaps more a kind of Sonderweg in comparison with the western countries as Britain, France and Belgium where the governing was grown from the bottom and even many times against the Middle Age picture of the three mights, the clergy, the nobility and the people. But the big difference with them was that Germany was a large country as Britain and France and had the industrial might to support their geopolitical position in difference with for example the Dutch Netherlands and Belgium.

For fear to lose again my message I first send this...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II Prussia Sonderweg?   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 22:13

Now the Weimar Republic.

In my opinion one can not speak about a Sonderweg for the Weimar Republic or it has to be a way dictated by the special circumstances in which the Weimar Republic was born.

It was born as a left wing republic, which needed the help of the old right to counter the upheavel of the Communist Raden republics and that government had to sign a dictated peace treaty, which, as their country was not occupied, was seen as a treason by the government to the population (the Dolchstoss myth) and nearly immediately there was a right (old right)- left (communist)  positioning...(The Communists were even forbidden later by Stalin to work together with the Socialists, they worked rather together a certain time with the later Nazis).
To escape the army regulations from the Allies, the German army worked together with the Communists of Lenin to form an army, especially aviation in benefit of both in Russsia far from the allied control).
And also in comparison with the victorious Allies the German population had it not that well, first the hyper inflation apeased with the help of the US, but then with the Wall street crash and that tied to the US finances, even a bigger impact in Germany than in the rest of Europe. It is my opinion and that of many others that the weak Weimar Republic could have survived if it was not of that link with the US, I proved it on a French messageboard with a survey of the percent voting of the parties in Germany year by year...before the crash a big dip of the Nazi party, after a big hype. and in between the Weimar republic had some big moments too as Locarno and all...but with all the turmoil more and more governing "by decree", where Hitler thankfully picked in...
But the growth of a kind of Fascist party in Germany was in my opinion not that extraordinary as there was a tendency in the whole of Europe...especially in countries as Italy and Germany where the population was not satisfied by the peace...but again Italy was not Germany due to its geopolitical industrial position.
I read on a French forum about all the turmoil in the interwar period (as the Croix du Feu et all), even was Pétain a proponent of a kind of French fascism. The same in Belgium, as I studied that in detail. a Leopold III at least an antidemocratic authoritarian. The Netherlands had also a Fascist party, but that I know not in detail (have to ask Dirk Marinus)
No such an  exception was Germany not...or it had to be its special circumstances...

As for the Nazi period...that was a Fascist aberration...

Kind regards from Paul.
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