Germany: A New Social and Economic History

Ogilvie, Sheilagh
Date published: 
March 1996

The three-volume history of which this volume is the second part, represents the first modern attempt to present an understanding of social and economic changes in Germany from the Middle Ages to the present. Despite a long tradition of scholarship in the field, it has taken a considerable time for an emphasis on long-term structures and the material basis of culture and society to take root, and it is part of the purpose of the present project to demonstrate the fruitfulness of such an approach across a broad spectrum of major topics. The second volume focuses on the dislocation caused by economic downturn and the Thirty Years' War in the first half of the seventeenth-century, the gradual recovery up to 1800, and the long-term structural legacy of the seventeenth-century crises. Characteristic features of Germany in this period are the growth of bureaucratic absolutist states; the comparatively slow development of agriculture, industry and trade; the long survival of a corporate organisation of society, despite the emergence of the 'middle classes', and the long-term poor; and the importance of religious confessionalism and moral and social regulation.