Germany and Europe (1871-1945)

Written by: Raffael Scheck (Colby College)

Raffael Scheck, Professor of History at Colby College is offering an earlier version of his textbook which discusses the founding of the German Empire in 1871 and its role in World War I and World War II. The focus is on the various historical events and how the German Empire became a militaristic society that endeavored to achieve world domination.

European history students and lifelong learners will find this work a study of cause and effect moreso than a pure chronological timeline that so often plagues history textbooks. Scheck was born in Germany and has been teaching modern European and German history at Colby College since 1994.

You can read the earlier version of this European text about the growth of the German Empire by following the link at the end of this post. Or, if you would prefer a printed copy you can purchase or rent it from Amazon – Germany, 1871-1945 – A Concise History.

Table of Contents

A: Introduction
A.1. Germany and Europe – The Debate on German Peculiarities
A.2. Previous History
A.3. The Road to National Unification
  • Germany under Napoleon
  • Nationalism as a liberal cause
  • The revolution of 1848
  • Industrial take-off, 1850-1870
  • Bismarck
  • The wars against Denmark and Austria
  • The Franco-German war
B: The Second Empire until 1914
B.1. The Bismarckian Empire, 1871-1890
  • The constitutional order
  • The Junkers
  • The South Germans
  • The Catholics
  • The liberals
  • The workers
  • The national minorities
  • Living in the Empire
  • Foreign policy
B.2. World Politics and Domestic Challenges, 1890-1914
  • The “New Course”
  • New factors in foreign policy
  • The “place in the sun”
B.3. Fleet Building and International Conflicts
  • Basic options
  • Tirpitz’s commitment to battleships
  • The navy laws
  • Tirpitz’s strategic program
  • The domestic goals of the Tirpitz Plan
  • The failure of the Tirpitz Plan
  • Conclusions
B.4. Socialists, Jews, and Women in the Prewar Years
  • The Social Democrats
  • The Jews
  • The women’s movement
  • Conclusions
C: The First World War, 1914-1918
C.1. German Responsibility for the Outbreak of the War
  • The Importance of the War 1914-1918
  • Germany in 1914
  • The unfolding of events, 28 June to 4 August 1914
  • Origins of the war
  • German war guilt?
C.2. Military Operations and Plans for German Domination of Europe
  • Public reaction to war
  • The initial operations
  • The prospective of a long war
  • Trench warfare
  • German war tactics
  • War aims
C.3. Society and Politics under the Strains of War
  • The failure of compromise
  • The home front
C.4. From Victory to Defeat and Revolution: 1918
  • Political origins of the revolution
  • Social origins of the revolution
  • The “incomplete” revolution
D: The Weimar Republic
D.1. The Treaty of Versailles
  • Versailles and German expectations
  • Wilson’s Fourteen Points
  • The peace conference
  • Evaluation
D.2. Germany’s First Democratic Constitution
  • Weimar’s failure in historical perspective
  • The chaotic winter months 1918-1919
  • The elections to the National Assembly
  • The Constitution
D.3. The Republic Besieged, 1918-1923
  • The Spartacist uprising
  • Revolution in Munich
  • Right-wing putschism
D.4. CHRONOLOGY, 1920-1929
D.5. Weimar Culture
D.6. The Rise of the Nazis and Communists
  • Introduction
  • The Communists
  • The DNVP (German National People’s Party)
  • The NSDAP (German National Socialist Worker’s Party)
D.7. The Breakdown of the Republic, 1930-1933
  • Central questions
  • The role of women in the Nazi success
  • Explanations for the failure of the Republic
  • Concluding remarks
E: The Third Reich
E.1. Establishing a Dictatorship: The Stabilization of Nazi Power
E.2. Building up German Hegemony in Central Europe, 1933-1938
  • Overview
  • The start of Hitler’s foreign policy
  • France’s commitment to defense
  • Hitler’s first successes
  • Anti-Communist policy
  • Anschlu and the Munich Conference
  • Conclusions
E.3. The Second World War
  • The start of World War II
  • A war guilt question?
  • Blitzkrieg
  • The campaign in Russia
  • The ideological underpinnings of the Russian campaign
  • Total and global war, 1941 -1945
E.4. Eugenics and Racial Mass Murder
  • Preconditions: Anti-Semitism and vulgar Darwinism
  • The first phase of racist policies (1933-1938)
  • Pogrom, resettlement, and expulsion of the Jews (1938-1941)
  • The first extermination programs (1939-40)
  • The destruction of European Jewry (1941-44)
  • The debate on the genesis of the Holocaust
  • Questions
E.5. The Functioning of the Nazi Regime: State and Society
  • The Nazi state: strong dictatorship or polycratic chaos?
  • Opportunities for resistance
  • Living in the Third Reich: workers and women
  • German rule in Europe
  • Modernism and the Nazis
E.6. National Socialism in International Comparison
  • German fascism?
  • Totalitarianism
  • Nazism as a German Peculiarity
F: The Aftermath Of the War
  • New beginnings
  • Germany at the “Hour Zero”
  • The aims of the victors
  • Coming to terms with the past

View this Free Online Material at the source:
Germany and Europe (1871-1945)

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