Imperial Germany 1867-1918

Politics, Culture and Society in an Authoritarian State
Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
Date published: 
September 1995

The German Empire owed its existence to a 'revolution from above', but in time its citizens came to perceive it as the embodiment of the German nation state. The imperial period saw the formation of the principal institutional structures that have continued to govern life in Germany, and the foundations of present-day cultural life. Yet the German Empire never broke free from the shackles of its origins; it remained a state distorted by authoritarianism. All areas of life were affected and a widening gulf opened between the political system and society, putting at risk the very governability of the Empire. It was in these conditions that Germany went to war in 1914, a conflict that ended with the collapse of the Hohenzollern monarchy and revolution. The studies in this book are the harvest of more than 20 years intensive research into the history of the German Empire by one of Germany's leading historians. Taken together, they offer a cogent analysis of the main developments and issues in a formative and portentous period of Germany's history.