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Download The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History since 1815 (Routledge Classics) (Volume 19) fb2, epub

by A.J.P. Taylor

Download The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History since 1815 (Routledge Classics) (Volume 19) fb2, epub

ISBN: 0415254051
Author: A.J.P. Taylor
Language: English
Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (May 25, 2001)
Pages: 304
Category: Europe
Subcategory: History
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 847
Size Fb2: 1967 kb
Size ePub: 1986 kb
Size Djvu: 1102 kb
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A brilliant history book for those students of German history, and for those wishing to read a superb summary of nineteenth and twentieth century German history up to July 1945. The preface (added 1961) sets the tone of Taylor's critical assessment of Germany and the Germans.

A brilliant history book for those students of German history, and for those wishing to read a superb summary of nineteenth and twentieth century German history up to July 1945. For those accusing Taylor of holding brutal anti-German views, he reminds the reader that "the facts made it for themselves" - facts which indeed stand before us all to see, to learn, and to try and understand. The first chapter sets the scene with a summary of German history from the time when Charlemagne.

As Taylor himself noted, 'the history of the Germans is a history of extremes. He was the author of numerous bestselling works, including Bismarck, English History 1914-1945, The Origins of the Second World War and The War Lords. It contains everything except moderation. He could, of course, simply be referring to his own book.

Physically missing page 227/228 from the book.

Taylor shows that Bismarck was his own enemy, since Bismarck always had to fight against the consequences of his own actions.

The Course Of German History: Survey Of The Development Of German History Since 1815 (University Paperbacks). Simply a brilliant history book for those students of German history and for those wishing to read a superb summary of nineteenth and twentieth century German history up to July 1945. The preface sets the tone of Taylor's critical assessment of Germany and the Germans. Taylor shows that Bismarck was his own enemy, since Bismarck always had to fight against the consequences of his own actions. Germany after Bismarck was on the verge of collapse, according to Taylor, and could only survive through expansion.

First published in 1961. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company. The Course of German History. First published in 1961. Divided germany: the legacy of the holy roman empire. The ascendancy of france, 1792–1814. The German Confederation: the years of Austro– Prussian partnership, 1815–48.

As Taylor hismelf noted, 'the history of the Germans is a history of extremes. It has rarely been out of print since it was first published in July 1945. It was very much a product of the Second World War, history with a moral for the victors in a second modern war against Germany. Its message was that there were continuities in German history and Hitler and the Nazis were not an aberration but only an extreme version of Germany's drive for mastery in at least central and eastern Europe.

As Taylor himself noted, 'the history of the Germans is a history of extremes. His first best-seller, - The Course of German History was written in a "journalistic" rather than academic style and remains extremely readable. Taylor's work is a model of stylish, scintillating compression. The Atlantic Monthly. A lively, if polemical, short history written by one of the twentieth century's greatest historians.

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One of A.J.P. Taylor's best-known books, The Course of German History is a notoriously idiosyncratic work. Composed in his famously witty style, yet succinct to the point of sharpness,this is one of the great historian's finest, if more controversial, accomplishments. As Taylor himself noted, 'the history of theGermans is a history of extremes. It contains everything except moderation.' He could, of course, simply be referring to his own book.

Comments:

godlike
Taylor covers the whole of German history very briskly. He doesn't miss anything, he writes well, but if you want expansiveness, you'll need to turn to other books, e.g., Craig's volume on Germany 1848-1945 in the Oxford Modern History.

I think Taylor anti-German stance is more than defensible, given the time this book was written, but if you want to understand him in more depth, you'll need to read his other books on the subject, especially his biography of Bismarck and his Struggle and, of course, Origins of WWII.

My favorite British historian of the prelude to WWII, though Lewis Namier's Europe In Decay and Trevor-Roper's book on Hitler's last days are necessary supplements to Taylor.
Banal
like it
Ericaz
A brilliant history book for those students of German history, and for those wishing to read a superb summary of nineteenth and twentieth century German history up to July 1945. The preface (added 1961) sets the tone of Taylor's critical assessment of Germany and the Germans. For those accusing Taylor of holding brutal anti-German views, he reminds the reader that "the facts made it for themselves" - facts which indeed stand before us all to see, to learn, and to try and understand.

The first chapter sets the scene with a summary of German history from the time when Charlemagne founded the First Reich in the year 800 to the outbreak of the French revolution in 1789. This summary of nearly 1,000 years of German history in just twenty-four pages must stand alone as one of the greatest accomplishments in historical writing of any age. Key to this success is taking a thematic approach, the theme being that a divided Germany is a much happier state of affairs for Europe rather than a united Germany, although whether the Germans themselves would agree with this is another question. Admittedly, Taylor's lucid and evocative style may unsettle some readers, but it does stimulate the mind to ask questions, and sets the scene for the rest of the book. Of course, no one wishes to be described or labelled as a 'barbarian', even a 'barbarian of genius' (a clear reference to Frederick the Great of Prussia). But I rather suspect those who express concern at this language may not have learnt all the facts, or may not wish to, for whatever reason.

Of the following chapters, I would highly recommend the chapter on the failed German liberal revolution of 1848, which of course laid many of the seeds for the future troubles of Germany. The events of the German revolution are quite complicated, as the German Confederation at this time included such states as Austria and Bohemia, yet Taylor's lucid account and explanation of these events is excellent. Also, Taylor's analysis of Bismarck in the following chapters, and the way in which this German statesman balanced the aims of achieving 'Little Germany', whilst keeping those happy craving for 'Greater Germany', is another tremendous achievement in this book, and is highly recommended.

Also, the final chapters on the failure of the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism are of particular value. Those looking for in-depth details of the blatant anti-Semitism of the Third Reich may be surprised by the lack of details of the barbarity of this episode in human history. Instead, Taylor focuses on the continuing 'balancing act' of Hitler's aim of achieving both 'Little' and 'Greater' German objectives, all focused ultimately in achieving the age-long German dream of 'Mitteleuropa'.

Again, highly recommended for all students of history, and for all those who wish to understand the complicated and tortuous history of the Germans, a peoples who have succeeded in most things down the ages, with the exception of mastering the art of politics.
Laizel
A.J.P. Taylor (1906-1990)wrote THE COURSE OF GERMAN HISTORY shortly after the end of W.W. II when all the sources were not readily available. This book was originally published in 1946 and reissued in 1961 with a new preface. Readers should know that THE COURSE OF GERMAN HISTORY was published about the same time as Taylor's masterful book titled THE ORIGINS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR. Taylor demonstrated his rare ability of combinning good research with good written expression which has become a lost art among "apprehensively conventional" historians who are too timid to be accused of not being politically correct and too lazy to to exert themselves in careful research.

Taylor began this book with an honest admission that his views re the Germans changed and admitted errors due to recent sources that were not immediately available especially re the Germans and the events leading to W.W. II and thereafter. He presented the status of the Germans whose history and geography placed the Germans between Western and Eastern Europe. The Germans, including the Hapsburgs, faced military threats from the West AND the East. Taylor could have placed more emphasis on the fact that during the 1240s, the Germans and other Eastern Europeans faced the Mongolians ruled by Genghis Khan (1162-1227) and Kublai Khan (1216-1294) who destroyed much of the Kievan State. Taylor could have also dealt with the tensions between the Russians ruled by the Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263)and the Livonian Germans which was settled by the what is known as the Battle of the Ice.

One of the problems that Taylor effectively handled was that of German Nationalism. The German princes, kings, emperors, etc. feared such nationalism which they thought could destroy their position. They greatly feard that German Nationalism could emerge from the lower classes which could destroy German nobility. Taylor treated the situation re Martin Luther (1483-1546)who inadvertently touched the chord of German Nationalism which he then feared because Luther knew that the German princes protected him. As Taylor aptly noted, Luther changed from a German nationalist to a timid mystic.

The Thirty Years War (1618-1648)divided the Germans who suffered terribly from this war. What Taylor could have emphasized is that the Hapsburg Germans and the Italians thwarted Turkish invasions which basically ended in 1682. In other words, much of German History involved protecting Europe from invasions from non-European invaders.

Taylor then treated German History during the wars of the French Revolution and French invasions during the reign of Napolean. An interesting anecdote was the fact the Czar Alexander I (1801-1825)saved the Prussian Germans from elimination when he thought he could save a fellow Prussian ruler from elimination from power. Another interesting unintended consequence of the French invasions was that the Germans were reduced from over 300 political units to 30 which later led to German unification.

Taylor also wrote good comments re the 1848 European Revolutions many of which were based on nationalism. This was the one thing the Prussian Germans and the Hapsburgs feared because these revolutions were based on mass rebellions. The Hapsburgs feared German nationalism AND Magyar (Hungarian)nationalism. The Hapsburgs could not crush the Hungarians led by Louis Kossouth (1802-1894), and only when Russian forces entered Hungary during the reign of Czar Nicolous I (1825-1855)was the Hungarian uprising defeated.

Taylor then dealt with the unification of the Germans excluding the Hapsburgs. The Prussian king William I (1862-1888)and his Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1899)diplomatically organzied three short wars (1863, 1866, and 1870-1871)to defeat the Danes,Hapsburgs,and the French to unite Germany. Contrary to what some historians assume, the Germans won the Franco-Prussian War more by careful planning of railroad time tables than superior arms.

German political problems after German unification were effectively handle by Bismarck and co. Bismarck was smart enough to end his campaign against the Catholic Church. He also blunted the political support for the German Socialists by pushing such popular programs such as workmen's compensation, national health insurance, and social security benefits during the 1880s. In other words, Bismarck got legislation passed which the German Socialists could not do on their own.

While Bismarck made effective political moves in Germany, Taylor gave Bismarck praise for keeping the Europeans at peace. Between 1873-1886, Bismarck's diplomacy kept the French isolated and the Russians and Hapsburgs pacified. Bismarck's policy was so effective that no one could go to war without the Germans which is the last thing Bismarck wanted after 1871. Somehow, Bismarck was able to keep Eastern Europe stable.

World War I did not start because of Bismarck's policy. It started because of the collapse of this system. The Germans never thought they would ever face an alliance of the British, Franch, and the Russians. When W.W. I started, the Germans and other diplomatic experts were very surprised at the allignment vs. the Germans. Yet, German defeat and the Versailles Treaty of 1919 did not end German power. What happened was that the old Junker officer corps was destroyed early in the war, and the Germans inadvertently created a mass army which became the norm. A point which Taylor could have exploited was the fact that during W.W. I, the Germans WON that war on the Russian Front via the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918). This fact was not lost on Post W.W.I Germans.

A few knowledegable men knew that German defeat and the subsequent harsh Versailles Treaty (1919) would not last. The reparations, Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty (The War Guilt Clause), etc. were reasons for German resentment and renewed German nationalism from the masses. Due to ineffective politcal leaders and overwhelming circumstances, only time would produce "a man of the people" to take power. When Hitler came to power in 1933, there was only a matter of time for events to unfold leading to W.W. II. The Russo-Polish War between 1918-1922 should have been mentioned. Taylor should have written about terrible events in Russia when the Bolsheviks took power. He could have dealt with sporadic Communist uprisings in German after W.W. I which were crushed by the German army. Mention could have been made that the Polish invaded Czechoslovakia and Lituania in 1938 which obviously raised the eyebrows of Stalin and Hitler.

Taylor argued that German defeat in W.W. II eliminated the Germans as a political power. Actually, W.W.II eliminated almost all the Europeans as powers with the exception of the Russians. Taylor focused too much on the Germans and too little on other Euroepean powers throughout German history.

The undersigned thought Taylor wrote a good book. However, he is unduly harsh about Germans and did not give proper emphasis about other events that affected German history. However, Taylor wrote so well and did a thorough job with his reseach that this book is still recommended. Study prose from a master.

James E. Egolf

November 2, 2010

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