A History of Modern Germany - 1800 to the Present2e
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Featuring revised and extended coverage, the second edition of A History of Modern Germany offers an accessible and engagingly written account of German history from 1800 to the present.
  • Provides readers with a long view of modern German history, revealing its continuities and changes
  • Features updated and extended coverage of German social change and modernization, class, religion, and gender
  • Includes more in depth coverage of the German Democratic Republic
  • Examines Germany's social, political, and economic history
  • Covers the unification of Germany, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, post-war division, the collapse of Communism, and developments since re-unification
  • Addresses regional history rather than focusing on the dominant role of Prussia


Martin Kitchen is Professor Emeritus of History at Simon Fraser University, Canada. His books include Nazi Germany at War (1994), The Cambridge Illustrated History of Germany (1996), The German Offensives of 1918 (2001), The Third Reich: Charisma and Community (2008) and Rommel's Desert War: Waging World War II in North Africa, 1941-1943 (2009).


List of Illustrations x

Maps xii

Introduction 1

1 Germany Under Napoleon 8

The Continental System 10

Resistance to Napoleon 11

The Prussian Reform Movement 13

Prussian Military Reforms 17

Educational Reform 18

The Confederation of the Rhine 20

Germany and the Defeat of Napoleon 21

The Congress of Vienna 23

2 German Society in Transition 25

Women and Children 29

The Household 31

Town and Country 32

Agriculture 33

Industrialization 36

Class Structure 39

Jews 43

Social Change 44

3 Restoration and Reform: 1815–1840 47

Demagogues and Radicals 49

Bourgeois Discontent 52

Nationalism 53

The Zollverein 56

Germany Under Metternich 57

Catholicism 61

Liberalism 63

Radicalism 63

4 The Revolutions of 1848 65

Revolution 68

The Frankfurt Parliament 71

Olmütz 78

5 The Struggle for Mastery: 1850–1866 80

Austro-Prussian Rivalry 81

The “New Era” 83

Changes in the Social Structure 84

Liberalism and Conservatism 87

Social Democracy 88

Prussian Army Reforms 92

Bismarck 94

The German Question 95

The Schleswig-Holstein Question 97

The Austro-Prussian War 99

6 The Unification Of Germany: 1866–1871 101

Liberalism, Nationalism, and Particularism 104

The Franco-Prussian War 105

The German Empire 108

Bonapartism 111

The Military and Militarism 113

Nationalism 116

The German Jewish Community 117

7 Bismarck’s Germany 124

The Kulturkampf 125

Bismarck and the Liberals 128

Social Democracy 129

From Free Trade to Protectionism 130

The Anti-Socialist Laws 132

Bismarck’s New Course 133

Social Policy 134

The Social Structure of Imperial Germany 136

Food and Drink 138

Fashion 140

Women 140

Attitudes Towards Sexuality 143

8 Germany and Europe: 1871–1890 147

The Congress of Berlin 149

The Dual and Triple Alliances 150

Colonialism 152

The Collapse of Bismarck’s System of Alliances 153

9 Wilhelmine Germany: 1890–1914 156

William II’s System of Government 159

The Reichstag 161

Caprivi and the “New Course” 162

Hohenlohe 165

Tirpitz, the Navy, and “World Politics” 166

Navalism and Imperialism 168

Criticisms of the Naval Building Program 168

Bülow 169

Anglo-German Rivalry 170

The Bülow Bloc 171

Scandals and Crises 172

Bethmann Hollweg 174

The Challenge from Social Democracy 175

Armaments 177

The Balkan Crisis of 1912 177

10 The First World War 180

Attitudes towards the War 182

War Aims 183

German Society in Wartime 184

Women 187

Mounting Opposition to the War 189

The Peace Resolution 190

The Impact of Bolshevik Revolution 192

The Failure of the March Offensive 193

Armistice Negotiations 195

11 The Weimar Republic: 1919–1933 197

The Treaty of Versailles 198

The Weimar Constitution 201

The Kapp Putsch 201

Reparations 203

Rapallo 204

Hyperinflation and the “Struggle for the Ruhr” 206

Hindenburg Elected President 210

Locarno 211

The Depression 212

The Middle Class 213

The Working Class 217

Rural Society 221

The Demise of Parliamentary Democracy 221

Brüning 223

Papen 227

Schleicher 228

Hitler Appointed Chancellor 230

12 The Nazi Dictatorship 233

The Reichstag Fire 235

Gleichschaltung 237

The Persecution of the Jews: The First Phase 240

The SA and the Röhm Putsch 241

Hitler Becomes Head of State 244

The National Socialist Dictatorship 246

The SS 250

The Persecution of the Jews: The Second Phase 253

13 Nazi Germany: 1933–1945 256

German Society in The Third Reich 260

Labor 262

Peasants 264

Small Business 267

Women 268

National Socialism and Modernity 271

First Steps in Foreign Policy 276

The Anschluss 280

Munich 281

War 282

Poland 284

The War in the West 285

Barbarossa 287

The Final Solution 290

The Turn of the Tide 296

The Shortage of Labor 297

The End 298

14 The Adenauer Era: 1945–1963 302

The Occupation Zones 304

From Bizonia to Trizonia 306

The Formation of the Federal Republic of Germany 309

Rearmament 313

From the “Economic Miracle” to “Eurosclerosis” 316

The Heyday of Adenauer’s Germany 320

The Berlin Wall 322

The End of the Adenauer Era 323

15 The German Democratic Republic 327

“The First Workers’ and Peasants’ State on German Soil” 333

June 17, 1953 336

The GDR after Stalin 338

The Berlin Wall 340

The New Economic System 341

The GDR and Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik 343

The Honecker Era 344

Social Structure of the GDR 346

Dissent 349

Relations between the Two Germanys 350

The Collapse of the GDR 352

16 The Federal Republic: 1963–1982 358

The Great Coalition: 1966–1969 359

Confrontations with the Past 362

The Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (Apo) 363

The Chancellorship of Willy Brandt 364

Terrorism 367

Willy Brandt’s Second Term: 1972–1974 367

Helmut Schmidt’s First Term: 1974–1976 369

Helmut Schmidt’s Second Term: 1976–1980 371

Terrorism and the Changing Nature of Dissent 371

The Debate on Atomic Weapons 373

Helmut Schmidt’s Third Term: 1980–1982 374

The Transformation of West German Society 376

17 The Reunification of Germany 385

Debates over Germany’s Past 387

The United States, The Soviet Union, and the German Question 388

The New Germany 390

9/11 400

The Iraq War 401

Gerhard Schröder’s Second Term 403

Angela Merkel’s Two Coalition Governments 405

Problems and Perspectives 406

Bibliography 408

Index 417


"Overall, Kitchen offers a well-written and useful text for anyone studying or interested in modern Germany history." (Times Higher Education Supplement, 23 February 2012) "Kitchen's History of Modern Germany provides a comprehensive and lively account of key developments in German history from the early nineteenth century to the post-unification period. Ranging from diplomatic and political history to women's history, sexuality, Jews, food, drink and fashion, and changing patterns of social stratification, Kitchen's second edition, with newly written sections on Nazism and the GDR, incorporates the very latest historical research while remaining readable and accessible to a wide audience."
Stuart Taberner, University of Leeds

"Whoever looks for a classic political history of modern Germany, is best served with Martin Kitchen's most reliable, well organized and up-to-date account."
Thomas Kühne, Clark University

"Martin Kitchen has provided a lucid and scholarly narrative focused on Germany's emergence as a national state from its fragmented condition in the early 19th century and post-1945 decades. Along the way, he has interwoven the necessary political, economic, social, and cultural trends that are useful in providing a comprehensive account of the complexities that mark this history up to Angela Merkel. He has also effectively used statistics and vivid portraits of the actors to offer a living history."
Donald Dietrich, Boston College