A “Historians’ Quarrel” about Weimar

disputa_di_gesu_nel_tempioThe relationship of economic policy and democracy in the Weimar Republic is the topic of a lively debate currently being conducted in the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte and other publications. The dispute started with Tim B. Müller’s ‘plea for an “optimistic”, non-teleological reading of the history of German democracy after 1918′, in which he argued that ‘the sources clearly reveal the enabling of democracy as a form of government and way of life as the political goal of economic policy.’

This garnered a vicious response by Claus-Dieter Krohn, who accused Müller of “selective perception” and even “ignorance”. For Krohn, Müller’s argument for a more open and contingent view of Weimar politics is “nothing more than a useless gimmick or, even worse, pure ideology.’

This was echoed by Christoph Lieber in a preface to Macht und Krieg. Hegemoniekonstellationen und Erster Weltkrieg, who warned of a ‘social-historical amnesia’ (sozialgeschichtliche Amnesie) in the latest research of contemporary German history.

Addressing this criticism, Paul Köppen added a measured response, in which he defended the perspective of an ‘openness’ of Weimar history.

The Weimar Republic is back on the research agenda in Germany. Stay tuned for more!


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