In this Book

The German Conception of History
summary
This is the first comprehensive critical examination in any language of the German national tradition of historiography. It analyzes the basic theoretical assumptions of the German historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and relates these assumptions to political thought and action.
The German national tradition of historiography had its beginnings in the reaction against the Enlightenment and the French Revolution of 1789. This historiography rejected the rationalistic theory of natural law as universally valid and held that all human values must be understood within the context of the historical flux. But it maintained at the same time the Lutheran doctrine that existing political institutions had a rational basis in the will of God, though only a few of these historians were unqualified conservatives. Most argued for liberal institutions within the authoritarian state, but considered that constitutional liberties had to be subordinated to foreign policy - a subordination that was to have tragic results.

Mr. Iggers first defines Historismus or historicism and analyzes its origins. Then he traces the transformation of German historical thought from Herder's cosmopolitan culture-oriented nationalism to exclusive state-centered nationalism of the War of Liberation and of national unification. He considers the development of historicism in the writings of such thinkers as von Humboldt, Ranke, Dilthey, Max Weber, Troeltsch, and Meinecke; and he discusses the radicalization and ultimate disintegration of the historicist position, showing how its inadequacies contributed to the political debacle of the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism. No one who wants to fully understand the political development of national Germany can neglect this study.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover, Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 1-7
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. 8-9
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Preface to the Revised Edition
  2. pp. ix-xi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Preface to the First Edition
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. I. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-28
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. III. The Theoretical Foundations of German Historicism I: Wilhelm von Humboldt
  2. pp. 44-62
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. IV. The Theoretical Foundations of German Historicism II: Leopold von Ranke
  2. pp. 63-89
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. V. The High Point of Historical Optimism—The "Prussian School"
  2. pp. 90-123
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. VI. The "Crisis of Historicism" I: THE PHILOSOPHIC CRITIQUE: COHEN, DILTHEY, WINDELBAND, RICKERT, WEBER
  2. pp. 124-173
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. VII. The "Crisis of Historicism" II: ERNST TROELTSCH AND FRIEDRICH MEINECKE
  2. pp. 174-228
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. VIII. The Decline of the German "Idea" of History: THE IMPACT OF TWO WORLD WARS AND TOTALITARIANISM ON GERMAN HISTORICAL THOUGHT
  2. pp. 229-268
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. IX. Epilogue
  2. pp. 269-293
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 295-369
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Suggested Readings
  2. pp. 371-380
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 381-388
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.