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The Weimar Republic Sourcebook (Weimar & Now

A laboratory for competing visions of modernity, the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) continues to haunt the imagination of the twentieth century. Its political and cultural lessons retain uncanny relevance for all who seek to understand the tensions and possibilities of our age. "The Weimar Republic Sourcebook" represents the most comprehensive documentation of Weimar culture, history, and politics assembled in any language. It invites a wide community of readers to discover the richness and complexity of the turbulent years in Germany before Hitler's rise to power. Drawing from such primary sources as magazines, newspapers, manifestos, and official documents (many unknown even to specialists and most never before available in English), this book challenges the traditional boundaries between politics, culture, and social life. Its thirty chapters explore Germany's complex relationship to democracy, ideologies of 'reactionary modernism', the rise of the 'New Woman', Bauhaus architecture, the impact of mass media, the literary life, the tradition of cabaret and urban entertainment, and the situation of Jews, intellectuals, and workers before and during the emergence of fascism. While devoting much attention to the Republic's varied artistic and intellectual achievements (the Frankfurt School, political theater, twelve-tone music, cultural criticism, photomontage, and urban planning), the book is unique for its inclusion of many lesser-known materials on popular culture, consumerism, body culture, drugs, criminality, and sexuality; it also contains a timetable of major political events, an extensive bibliography, and capsule biographies. This will be a major resource and reference work for students and scholars in history; art; architecture; literature; social and political thought; and, cultural, film, German, and women's studies.
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About the Author

Anton Kaes is Professor of German and Director of Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is author most recently of From Hitler to Heimat: The Return of History as Film (1989). Martin Jay is Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (California, 1993). Edward Dimendberg is Assistant Professor of German Studies, Film and Video Studies, and Architecture at the University of Michigan.


From the end of World War I to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Weimar Republic remains one of the pivotal social experiments in 20th-century history, embracing all aspects of German cultural, political, and social life. The editors of this volume, who are academics and scholars of European history and culture, have compiled a richly diverse collection of writings from prominent social critics, intellectuals, and writers of the period, from Hannah Arendt to Hilter and Kurt Weill. Revolutions in music, art, architecture, etc., are documented from magazines, newspapers, and recently discovered documents in 30 chapters of readable yet intensive material. The selections are geared heavily toward cultural developments rather than politics and leadership; as a result, the volume does not give a sense of why the extraordinary experiment of Weimar failed and how it could have led to its extreme antithesis in Nazism. This volume will appeal to scholars of the period, as well as to those interested in cultural and intellectual history. It should be read in conjunction with Peter Gay's Weimar Culture (1968), an excellent reference guide. Well recommended for public and academic libraries.-Thomas G. Anton, Field Museum, Chicago

"A mosaic panorama. . . . Interweaving classic texts with a wealth of excavated matter, [the editors] have done a great service to anyone interested in what modernism was and, through reinterpretation, may yet become."--Kenneth Baker, "San Francisco Chronicle Review

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