German history 1800–1918

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German History 1800–1918 is a trilogy published by CH Beck in Munich in 1983, 1990 and 1992 by the modern historian Thomas Nipperdey , professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . It is valid in the science of history as a standard work for German history . The entire work claims to be a "histoire totale". The individual volumes cover large areas of German history from the 19th century to the history of the German Empire .


Citizen world and strong state

The book covers almost the entire history of Germany from 1800 to 1866. In particular, the areas of politics, economy and society are considered. Beginning with the end of the Holy Roman Empire and the French era under Napoleon Bonaparte , the work deals with the Prussian reforms and the Confederation of the Rhine . It's about the wars of liberation , but also about people's lives, work and economics. This is followed by the restoration under Prince von Metternich and the Vormärz . Religion, education, science and culture play just as much a role as the failed German Revolution of 1848/1849 . Further developments in Germany, especially under the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, will then be discussed in more detail.

The world of work and civic spirit

The second part of the chronology also deals with the economy, society and culture, this time of the German Empire. It's about the population, families and everyday life. German agriculture, industry and trade are examined more closely. The national economy with its facets such as foreign trade, business cycle and income distribution are just as in focus as the ordinary worker. This gives rise to treatises on the social question and the emancipated middle class . In the class society described above , Judaism and the Christian religions have a special focus. In addition, education, science, and the fine arts are a central area in the book. Finally, the press is discussed.

Power state before democracy

The state power politics is presented in the third volume. Bismarck achieves unification of the empire . From the constitution to the military, law and anti-Semitism . His reign has a separate place. The thematic fields include the Kulturkampf and alliance politics . Structural problems arise with the constitution, elections and parties. In addition, nationalism is growing in Germany . Before the outbreak of the First World War , Wilhelminism was the dominant social model. The book ends with Germany's transition to a democracy.


The reviews of the individual volumes of the trilogy were exuberant: Hans-Ulrich Wehler (1983) described Nipperdey's work as “the historical book not only of this year”. For Lothar Gall (1984) it was "writing history on a grand scale". Werner Conze (1985) described Nipperdey's contribution as a “masterfully written storytelling”. Hermann W. von der Dunk (1992) stated: “A monumental work of downright stupendous diversity of knowledge and great independence of judgment”. According to Volker Ullrich (1992), Nipperdey “inscribed himself in the annals of historical science”.


All individual volumes of the trilogy have been published by Verlag CH Beck in Munich:

  • Part 1: 1800-1866
  • Part 2: 1866-1918






Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Ulrich Wehler : Germany from Napoleon to Bismarck . In: Die Zeit , October 14, 1983, No. 42.
  2. ^ Lothar Gall : German History 1800–1866 by Thomas Nipperdey . In: Historische Zeitschrift , Vol. 238, H. 3 (June 1984), pp. 721-725.
  3. Werner Conze : German History 1800–1866. Citizen world and strong state by Thomas Nipperdey . In: Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte , Vol. 72, H. 1 (1985), pp. 93-94.
  4. ^ Hermann W. von der Dunk : German History 1866–1918, Vol. I. Working world and Bürgergeist by Thomas Nipperdey; Cultural history of the Federal Republic of Germany by Hermann Glaser . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , vol. 40, H. 3 (July 1992), pp. 437–449.
  5. Volker Ulrich : Ambivalences of normality . In: Die Zeit , October 2, 1992, No. 41.