Imatge de l'autor

Heinrich August Winkler

Autor/a de Germany: The Long Road West (1789-1933)

40+ obres 451 Membres 4 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Crèdit de la imatge: Heinrich August Winkler (2014)


Obres de Heinrich August Winkler

Germany: The Long Road West (1789-1990) (2000) — Autor — 44 exemplars
vaimari / βαϊμάρη (2011) 6 exemplars
Grande storia della Germania (2004) 3 exemplars

Obres associades

Merian 1994 47/04 - Weimar (1994) — Autor — 6 exemplars


Coneixement comú



This is a potted history — on a similar scale to the "Very short introduction" series in English — of the way Germans have seen their Germanness in the context of history, taking us in about 250 pages right through from the Holy Roman Empire and Reformation to Covid-19, with a level of detail that steadily increases as we get closer to the present day. Although it's really a book about how history has been used (or misused, or ignored...), it's probably also a very useful crib-sheet for anyone who has lost track of where Luther, Bismarck and Willy Brandt fit into the story.

Winkler's main interest seems to be to show us how ideas of submission to authority and fear of chaos (which he traces to the Lutheran Reformation and the Thirty Years War) have acted to slow down the development of true democratic responsibility in Germany — something that at least partially accounts for the failure of the Weimar Republic and the success of parties like the AfD in the new Bundesländer — as well as the way that the events of 1931-1945 have influenced German attitudes to European union, which he sees as quite out of step with those of the rest of the continent. He's also scathing about the idea of post-Holocaust Germany as a state that has a uniquely high moral mission in international affairs as a result of what it's learnt from its terrible past mistakes: this is just a disguised form of German superiority complex.

A very interesting and useful little book. I'm not sure if it's convinced me to take on Winkler's full-length histories...
… (més)
1 vota
thorold | Jun 30, 2022 |
A long, almost month-by-month account of the perilous politics of the Weimar republic. The author makes it clear that the democracy was balancing on a tightrope from the beginning. The war reparations demanded by the victors - which seem foolishly exacting in retrospect - led to financial misery and discontent. Moderate politicians splintered into too many separate parties and couldn't reach any stable settlement which would have lasted even a few years. Consequently, no cabinet could hold the reins of power long before being replaced. Elections blended into elections in a dizzying continuum, interrupted by states of exception when all else failed. Nationalists and communists were bent on destroying the status quo and did not shy away from violence. The republic was from the start doomed to falter in some way.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the failure of this first German democracy was that powerful conservative elites - who managed to build at least some measure of general acceptance around president Hindenburg - did not want the republic to succeed. As the author explains in the final chapters of the book, Hindenburg actively steered the state towards an authoritarian system. (1) The unpopularity of his Cabinet of Barons, (2) the continuous threat of communist violence, (3) the failure of preceding governments to generate trust among ordinary people and (4) a few good election results for the National Socialists - all of these factors eventually contributed to power being transferred to Hitler in 1933. In the final chapter of the book the author provides a nice summary of the historical debate on the root causes of this disastrous decision. The entire book shows what a complex series of events it was.

I enjoyed reading the book but I thought the author bound himself a bit too tightly to a strict chronological form of presentation. More extensive excursions into the role of the Communistic International or Weimar's state finances could for example have served as welcome intermissions in the narrative. The author instead focuses quite narrowly on pressures that individual politicians faced when they had to make key decisions. This is not a bad approach, but slightly broader explanations could also have been informative. Another noteworthy aspect is that the National Socialist movement remains in the distant background throughout this book - the author says almost nothing about its genesis and growth in the 1920s. I liked this vantage point because the less-told stories of Weimar Germany are in my opinion more interesting. In conclusion, this books is certainly worthwhile for all people with an interest in Weimar domestic politics.
… (més)
thcson | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | May 25, 2021 |
5324. The Age of Catastrophe A History of the West, 1914-1945, by Heinrich August Winkler Translated by Stewart Spencer (read 20 Nov 2015) This book by a prolific German historian who was born in 1938 was published in German in 2011 and in English in 2015. It is a very detailed account of events during the years named--becoming more detailed as we approach World War II. I found it admirable since it does not make any excuse for Hitler or for those who were responsible for his attaining power. And while Stalin's crimes are recognized the author, unlike some Germans, in no way seeks to excuse Hitler or to suggest that it was not providential that Hitler was destroyed by the cooperation of the good guys of the West combining with Communist Russia. The book is the second volume of a four volume history starting with the dawn of German history and going up to the present, but as far as I know this volume is the only one of the four books translated into English. Some of the account of American history shows a lack of familiarity with American politics but I don't think it is seriously misleading. It took me 11 days to read this work but I felt it was time well spent..… (més)
Schmerguls | Nov 20, 2015 |
«Gli anni dal 1918 al 1933 furono un'epoca drammatica per la Germania. E gli storici non debbono cercare di sdrammatizzarli». Con questo approccio, che assume e riprende tutta la tensione critica evocata dalla storia della Repubblica di Weimar, Heinrich August Winkler, il più autorevole studioso della storia tedesca del primo Novecento, si ricollega ai grandi modelli della storiografia classica, ma al tempo stesso richiama il contributo offerto dalle scienze sociali all'analisi degli avvenimenti della prima Repubblica tedesca. Di certo, quegli anni sono stati decisivi, e non solo per la storia tedesca; se la Repubblica di Weimar non fosse fallita e Hitler non fosse andato al potere, il mondo in cui oggi viviamo sarebbe completamente differente. Una domanda si ripropone dunque insistente: Weimar si sarebbe potuta salvare o il suo fallimento era inevitabile? Questo libro, che si può definire come una pietra miliare della storiografia su Weimar, prende le mosse da una simile domanda, ma non offre subito una risposta. Vengono dapprima passate in rassegna tutte le fonti documentarie. Il lettore ha così la possibilità di giudicare autonomamente e di sottoporre a verifica gli stessi giudizi dell'autore. Il risultato è una storia di Weimar quale fino a oggi non era mai esistita: basata su solidissime fondamenta scientifiche e al tempo stesso altamente comprensibile, precisa nell'analisi e insieme suggestiva nel racconto, avvincente ma anche capace di suscitare un giudizio riflessivo da parte del lettore.… (més)
BiblioLorenzoLodi | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | May 23, 2014 |



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