This collection of original essays examines various ways in which cultural trends and social developments have influenced each other in modern German history. Each contribution explores some aspect of either "high" (elite) or "low" (popular) culture. A thoughtful introduction by Leonard Krieger draws together many of the common themes and important questions raised in the individual studies: the interplay of ideas and social forces in German history; the response of the German elite to the emergence of modern social relations and mass culture; and the relation between elite and popular culture. David King presents a broad interpretation of Germany's resistance to modern Western cultural values and social institutuions and offers a new perspective on Germany's divergence from the Western core of modern civilization. Charles McClelland examines the values and subculture of Germany's academic elite during the nineteenth century and explains why the leadership of that elite declined as Germany modernized. David Gross traces the evolution of theories and critiques of everyday German culture in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Gary Stark analyzes the growth of the cinema in Germany before the First World War and the response of the nation's political and cultural elite to this new form of popular culture. Vernon Lidtke's essay examines the use of music and song by the Nazi movement, finding the Nazi music mirrored the eclectic origins, broad social appeal, and emotional dynamism of National Socialism and became an effective means of mobilizing and socializing the German masses after 1933.
Collectively, the essays in this volume yield new insights into modern German culture by revealing its social dimensions.