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Students, Society and Politics in Imperial Germany

Students, Society and Politics in Imperial Germany: The Rise of Academic Illiberalism

Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 464
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  • Book Info
    Students, Society and Politics in Imperial Germany
    Book Description:

    Konrad H. Jarausch studies the social structure of the German university and the mentality of its students during the Imperial period as an example of a wider European academic desertion of liberalism. He finds that German higher education combined scientific world leadership and competent professional training with an eroding liberal education (Bildung) to create an educated class that was tragically susceptible to the appeal of the Third Reich.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5554-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. Glossary
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
    (pp. 3-22)

    Banners waved, caps flew into the air, sabres gleamed, and a thousand-voiced “Hurrah!” rang through the stately park of Schloss Friedrichsruh. Massive, white-haired, and commanding, Prince Otto von Bismarck stepped to the balustrade to accept the homage of German students on his eightieth birthday. Flanked by the university rectors in their red, violet, and gold gowns, he listened to the oration of A. Bruch, aBurschenschafterfrom Bonn: “On this festive day, when joy resounds from mountain to sea, the German student community deeply feels the holy national duty to present its heartiest congratulations to Your Serene Highness in reverent...

    (pp. 23-77)

    “What a marvelous development!” exclaimed Rector Adolph Wagner, reflecting on the growth of the University of Berlin during its first three-quarters of a century. “The incredible expansion, advancement, and specialization of research and teaching [following unification in 1871] have made our university both a national center of higher education and a veritable world institution beyond any other German or European university.” The primary cause of this “astounding increase” in teaching staff, research institutes, and university budgets was the unprecedented enrollment expansion during the Second Empire.¹ For the individual institution such as Bonn, the ever-accelerating influx of students was a source...

    (pp. 78-159)

    An essential element in the self-image of the neohumanist university was the liberal notion of cultivation according to individual talent rather than social station. In his introduction to the official German volumes for the Chicago World Exhibition of 1893, Friedrich Paulsen stated with much satisfaction: “As regards the ranks of society from which proceed the possessors of academic culture, we may say that they come from all classes of society. In the Gymnasium and the university we find the sons of peasants and mechanics by the side of the sons of the aristocrats of birth and wealth.” In its own...

    (pp. 160-233)

    During “the great and eventful time” of the Franco-Prassian War, Rector Carl Brans welcomed students to the University of Berlin: “How the success [of Sedan] has surpassed our boldest hopes and expectations!” For many academics the key to the German victory lay not only in military might but also in spiritual force: “The idea that founded our university has twice conquered France, once in youthful enthusiasm and now in manly maturity.” Castigating the “frivolous hubris and immeasurable conceit” of the Gallic claim to fight against barbarism, Brans turned it on its head: “Therefore Germany’s victory is the victory of civilization...

    (pp. 234-332)

    “Never has a German Corps celebrated the beginning of a semester more solemnly and auspiciously than today in Bonn,” exclaimed the Rhenania alumnus Dr. Moldenhauer, welcoming William II to his alma mater in 1891: “Your Majesty knows that the Corps seeks to educate men who shall support Your Royal Highness completely and loyally in the great and glorious work of protecting our nation externally and of bringing back internal peace.” More important than formal instruction, corporate character training educated its members “in fealty to their monarch, in devotion to authority, in frank and free expression, in allegiance to the fatherland.”...

    (pp. 333-392)

    “Only ignorance will depreciate the students’ organizations of Germany as outlived and useless institutions better honored by extinction than preservation,” the historian William H. Dawson explained to British readers: “Viewed from their best sides, the associations appeal to the poetry, the sentiment, the highest and manliest feelings in young natures” by providing “the close society of others similarly circumstanced,” by invoking old and “glorious traditions,” and by creating a strong “personal tie” between lifelong friends. Foreign observers of the “rollicking freedom of the Corps student’s life” were not much troubled about its “shady side,” such as “the too serious spirit...

    (pp. 393-425)

    While the scholarly quest for Wissenschaft and the idyllic pursuit of romance continued, an undercurrent of unease began to permeate academic consciousness in the years before 1914. Growing numbers of articles on foreign policy in student journals and increasing references in ceremonial speeches to international dangers generated a widespread but vague sense of foreboding. Although a few professors and youths desperately sought to preserve peace through the international student movement, the overwhelming majority of the educated confronted the coming catastrophe with an unblinking self-assurance, vocalized by F. Lüdtke in theBurschenschaftliche Blätter.

    Thunderheads gather in East and West,

    Flames flash...

  15. A Note on Sources
    (pp. 426-430)
  16. Index
    (pp. 431-448)