Bismarck's Shadow: The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898-1945

Bismarck's Shadow: The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898-1945

By: Richard M. Frankel (author)Hardback

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History is a tale often told by ghosts and demi-gods, and our relationship to these figures often determines the shape of the narratives we weave about the past. Bismarck's Shadow targets this idea, as it is a book that unearths a fascinating phenomenon of German political culture - the elevation of a dead political figure, Otto von Bismarck, to the level of a demi-god and the effects of such deification on the course of German politics during the first half of the 20th century.Already a central national symbol during his lifetime, after his death Bismarck became the object of a political religion, what Frankel regards as a 'Bismarck Cult'. This book examines how certain ritual practices and a particular historical understanding - a Bismarckian gospel - provided its followers meaning and direction. Extending beyond the cultural as well, Bismarck's Shadow also looks at how the cult of Bismarck translated into political practice. In Frankel's estimation, the logic of the Bismarckian political religion contributed to the right's progressive radicalization from the turn of the century to the triumph of the Nazis. The image of the deceased figure of Bismarck serves as a tool to investigate the transformation of the German right from a traditional, state-supporting group to a populist, radical nationalist movement like Nazism.Timely and compelling, Bismarck's Shadow raises long overdue questions about the political religion of National Socialism, Germans' perceptions about Bismarck, and the relationship between Otto von Bismarck and Adolf Hitler.

About Author

Richard E. Frankel is Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Louisiana, Lafayette.


Introduction * From Bismarck to Hitler? The Nature of the Project * The Development of an Obsession: Bismarck and the German People * Defining the Nation: Bismarck and German National Identity * Charismatic Authority and the Crisis of Leadership * The Role of Bismarck in German Political Culture: Method and Structure of the ProjectChapter One: The Living Legend, 1866-1898 * Establishment of the Legend: Bismarck as Founder and Protector of the Reich * The Chancellor as Legend: Bismarck in Political Practice * The Chancellor Unbound: The Bismarck Legend in the Wake of the Dismissal * Reestablishing the Right: Bismarck in Retirement and the Politics of National OppositionChapter Two: 'Forward in the Spirit of Bismarck!' 1898-1914 * Death, Deification, and the Development of the Bismarck Cult * Crying in the Wilderness: The Early Cult in Political Practice and the Quest for Legitimacy * The Legitimization of Right-Wing Populism and the Radicalization of the Right during the Wilhelmine Crisis PeriodChapter Three: Bismarck in the Crisis Decade, 1914-1923 * Germany's 'Holy War': The Bismarck Cult and the Spirit of 1914 * War-time Radicalization: Leadership Crisis, Democratization, and the Emergence of the Fatherland Party * Challenging the Iron Chancellor: Bismarck and the Revolution * A New Bismarck for a New Right: The Iron Chancellor as Counter-Revolutionary Icon in the Civil War PeriodChapter Four: A Hopeful Interlude: Bismarck and the 'Years of Stability', 1923-1930 * Gustav Stresemann and the Pursuit of a Moderate Bismarck * The Radical Bismarck and the Undermining of Weimar DemocracyChapter Five: Beyond Bismarck: The Iron Chancellor in the Third Reich, 1930-1945 * 'Solving' the Crisis of Leadership: Bismarck in the Last Years of Weimar * From Bismarck to Hitler: The Iron Chancellor in the Wake of the Nazi Seizure of Power * In Hitler's Shadow: The Decline of Bismarck in the Third Reich Conclusion * From Politics to History: The Decline of Bismarck in German Political Culture after the Second World War * Analyzing the Shadow: The Role of the Iron Chancellor in the Crisis of German Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781845200336
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 256
  • ID: 9781845200336
  • weight: 496
  • ISBN10: 1845200330

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