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Max Weber and German Politics, 1890-1920


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Publisher Comments:

A major work of German historiography, this comprehensive account of Weber's political views and activities reveals that, paradoxically, Weber was at once an ardent liberal and a determined German nationalist and imperialist. Wolfgang J. Mommsen shows the important links between these seemingly conflicting positions and provides a critique of Weber's sociology of power and his concept of democratic rule.

First published in German in 1959, Max Weber and German Politics appeared in a revised edition in 1974 and became available in an English translation only in 1984. In writing this work, Mommsen drew extensively on Weber's published and unpublished essays, newspaper articles, memoranda, and correspondence.


This comprehensive account of Weber's political views and activities reveals that, paradoxically, Weber was at once an ardent liberal and a determined German nationalist and imperialist.

About the Author

Wolfgang J. Mommsen is director of the German Historical Institute in London and professor at the University of Düsseldorf.

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition

Preface to the Second German Edition

Preface to the First German Edition

1. The Young Weber's Political Development

2. Patriarchalism, Capitalism, and the Nation State

3. A Powerful Nation State as Weber's Political Ideal

1. The Freiburg Inaugural Address: The Nation as the Supreme Value of Economic Policy

2. The Relentlessness of the Power Struggle; The Diabolical Character of Power

3. The Concept of Nation in Weber's Thought

4. Nation, Power, and Culture: Problematics of Weber's Political Value System

4. National Imperialism as the Future Task of German Policy

1. A World Policy as a Means of Defending Germany's International Standing

2. German World Policy and the Nation's Political Maturity

5. Weber and Germany's Internal Political Evolution before the First World War

1. The Great Alternative: Industrialism or Feudalism

2. The Social Unification of the Nation

3. The Call for a National Party of Bourgeois Liberty

6. Foreign Policy and the Constitutional System

1. Bismarck, William II, and the Failure of German Imperialism

2. The Political Leadership Vacuum after Bismarck's Fall, and the Rule of Bureaucracy

3. Parliamentarization as a Means of Overcoming the Reich Leadership Crisis

7. The World War as a Proving Ground for the German Reich as a Great Power

1. War Aims and Germany's International Future

2. Poland and Central Europe: Attempts at Political Action

3. "U-Boat Demagoguery" and Bethmann Hollweg's Chancellorship

4. The Need for Constitutional Reforms to Strengthen the Domestic Front

5. From Brest-Litovsk to Catastrophe

8. Collapse and a New Beginning

1. Defeat and Revolution: Weber's Work for the German Democratic Party

2. The Treaty of Versailles and Germany's Future in the World

9. Weber and the Making of the Weimar Constitution

1. Weber's November 1919 Articles on Germany's Future Governmental System

2. The Republican Constitution and German Public Opinion

3. The Constitution Deliberations in the Reichsamt des Innern, 9-12 December 1918, and Hugo Preuss's Original Draft of the Constitution

4. The Fate of Weber's Constitutional Proposals in the Ensuing Legislative Process

5. The Aftereffects of Weber's Theory of the Reich president as Political Leader

10. From a Liberal Constitutional State to Plebiscitary Leadership Democracy

Afterword: Toward a New Interpretation of Max Weber

Digression: On the Question of the Relationship between the Formal Legality and the Rational Legitimacy of Rule in Max Weber's Works



Product Details

Steinberg, Michael
Steinberg, Michael
Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
University of Chicago Press
History & Theory
Government and political science
Practical Politics
Europe - General
Political Process - General
Politics - General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
9.08x6.00x1.14 in. 1.57 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » 1815 to WWI
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Max Weber and German Politics, 1890-1920 New Trade Paper
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Product details 520 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226533995 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This comprehensive account of Weber's political views and activities reveals that, paradoxically, Weber was at once an ardent liberal and a determined German nationalist and imperialist.
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