Synopses & Reviews
How does a political system rebuild after a cataclysmic military defeat? How can a society, and its political infrastructure, resurrects itself or, in the case of Germany after World War II, be resurrected in such a way as to ensure long-term political stability?
Politics After Hitler is the first book to demonstrate the importance of America, Britain, and France in the development of party politics in Germany after 1945. In the wake of the war, rightists of all descriptions, Communists, nationalists, and founders of small splinter parties all came under intense and deliberate pressure from the Western occupying forces. The occupiers arrived in Germany in 1945 without firm plans for reviving German politics and were forced to improvise by hastily constructing a licensing system for new parties. The Allies then used their licensing powers to limit and steer party politics in desirable directions, disempowering reactionary and hypernationalist forces, diluting fears of a Communist revolution, and preventing the political fragmentation that led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic a generation earlier.
Based on extensive archival research, Politics After Hitler concludes that interference by the occupying forces made a stable and moderate party system in the FRG much more likely than has previously been assumed. The Allied occupation of Germany was therefore a resounding success in helping move the German political system toward the stability it enjoys to the present day.
As the principles and practices of democracy continue to spread ever more widely, it is hard to imagine a corner of the globe into which they will not eventually penetrate. But the euphoria of democratic revolutions is typically short-lived, and usually followed by disgruntlement and even cynicism about the actual operation of democratic institutions. It is widely accepted that democracy is a good thing. However democrats have much work to do in improving the performance of democratic institutions.
The essays in this volume focus on this difficult and vital challenge: how can we improve the design of democratic institutions? How can public deliberation in democracies be enhanced? How can elections be reformed so as to dampen the excessive influence of special interests, especially those with money? How can democratic institutions be reformed so they can deal with issues that transcend the boundaries of the nation-state? And finally, how can democratic practices better take account of the internal plurality of societies that are ethnically or otherwise divided?
Contributors: Brooke Ackerly, Ian Ayres, Geoffrey Brennan, John Ferejohn, Alan Hamlin, Russell Hardin, Donald Horowitz, Stephen Macedo, Philip Petit, Philippe C. Schmitter, Ian Shapiro, Philippe Van Parjis, Iris Marion Young.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 144-199) and index.
About the Author
is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, where he also serves as Henry R. Luce Director of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies. He is the editor or author of numerous books, most recently Political Contingency
(NYU Press) and Rethinking Political Institutions
Stephen Macedo is Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the Director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University.