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Left Liberals, the State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany$
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Alastair Thompson

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205432.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Left Liberals, the State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany

Alastair P. Thompson

Oxford University Press

This book analyses the function and form of politics in Wilhelmine Germany against differing social backgrounds. If views of the Wilhelmine state have been shrouded in persistent, powerful tradition, the same is equally true for German liberalism, which has generally been studied through ideas and individuals. This book investigates ideas and attitudes which led Wilhelmine Germans to embrace or reject left liberal politics. Prominent left liberals, like Theodor Barth, are assessed not just as figureheads but as parliamentarians, campaigners, and leading influences in regional and local society. Yet to understand how left liberalism operated in party politics, its successes and failings as a political movement, requires additional perspectives. This study reconsiders German liberal politics and shows that left liberal politics reflected the contradictions of social integration and political contention in the last decade of Wilhelmine Germany.

Keywords:   Germany, Wilhelmine state, liberal politics, left liberals, left liberalism, party politics

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