History of Germany paper assignment

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HU 449 History of Germany – Spring Quarter, 2016

 

Paper Assignment

 

I. Introduction – The paper assignment is research based, but because I do not expect undergraduate students to possess the skills required to do detailed historical research, I have done the research for you.  The readings listed below are all that you will need to write the paper.  All of them are available on Blackboard in pdf format.

 

II. Focus of the Paper – All students will write papers that examine the principal arguments concerning the question of whether Germany had a unique historical development (commonly called the Sonderweg, or “special path”) or not.  All papers will address these two questions:

 

1. What are the main ideas and what has been the history of the historical school known as Sonderweg?  In other words, what is the historiography of this idea?

 

2. How was the Nazi era different than the eras that came before it, particularly the period of the Kaiserreich (1871-1918)?  How were Hitler’s actions and ideas a radical break with the German historical past?

 

Remember, this is not really a history paper; it is a paper that examines historiography, or how historians’ understanding of the past has changed over time.  Therefore, you are really examining historical arguments in this paper.  When writing this paper, you must first develop a thesis statement that consists of one or possibly two sentences that address both questions.  Your thesis should be declarative, and it should be in the introductory paragraph of your paper.   In order to answer the first question, read the following two articles:

 

 

Question 1 Readings (Required)

 

Hinde, John R. “Sonderweg (Special Path).” In Modern Germany: An Encyclopedia of

History, People, and Culture: 1871-1990. Dieter Buse & Juergen Doerr, eds. Vol. 2,

      pp. 934-935. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

 

Feuchtwanger, Edgar. “The Peculiar Course of German History.” History Review 43

(September 2002): 49-54.

 

Preston, Paul. “Were the Nazis an Inevitable Legacy to the Kaiser’s Germany?” History

Today 35 (October 985): 58-59.

 

Read the essays above in the order they are shown; this will give you a better grasp on the material and a good, general overview of what is meant by the Sonderweg Thesis and the main ideas that it has encompassed.  The goal of reading these three works is to help you to understand that historians today generally do not accept the idea that the Nazi regime was an historical inevitability, and that Germany under the Nazis was far different than it had been under earlier regimes.  Thus, they generally reject the Sonderweg Thesis.

 

 

 

 

Question 1 Readings (Optional)

 

Kocka, Jürgen. “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison: The Case of the German

Sonderweg.” History and Theory 38 (February 1999): 40-50.

 

Fried, Hans. “German Militarism: Substitute for Revolution.” Political Science Quarterly

58 (December 1943): 481-513.

 

For students who want to do a more in-depth job on this paper, I will make additional resources available to you.  These optional works tend to be quite a bit more challenging than the required works.  The first article by Kocka provides a much more detailed examination of the Sonderweg Thesis and current status of this theory among historians today.  I suggest reading the required readings first and then tackling the Kocka article.  The second essay by Fried is an older work that is a typical example of the works produced by historians who support the Sonderweg Thesis.  This article provides an excellent example of the older scholarship produced during the World War II era that stressed that the Nazis were simply another in a long line of non-democratic German political regimes.

 

 

Question 2 Readings (Required)

 

Evans, Richard. “The Coming of the Third Reich.” History Review 50 (December 2004):

12-17.

 

Kershaw, Ian. “1933: Continuity or Break in German History?” History Today 33

(January 1983): 13-18

 

Evans, Richard. “Hitler’s Dictatorship.” History Review 50 (March 2005): 20-25.

 

These three required articles will help you to understand some of the key arguments of those historians who reject the Sonderweg Thesis.  In particular, they argue that much of what constituted Hitler’s Third Reich was based not upon older German institutions and practices but newer and rather detestable ideas that had previously only attracted small minorities of people within Germany.   In other words, they argue that the Nazi regime was not a continuation of earlier German political forms, particularly the Kaiserreich.  Read the essays above in the order they are presented in order to gain a firm understanding of these arguments.

 

 

Question 2 Readings (Optional)

 

Ian Kershaw. “Hitler and the Uniqueness of Nazism.” Journal of Contemporary History 39

(April 2004): 239-254.

 

Bessel, Richard. “The Nazi Capture of Power.” Journal of Contemporary History 39 (April

2004): 169-188.

 

Griffin, Roger. “Party Time: The Temporal Revolution of the Third Reich.” History Today   49 (April 1999): 43-49.

 

Pearson, Clive. “Hitler and the Law, 1920-1945.” History Review 60 (March 2008): 28-33.

 

These optional articles provide additional resources you can use to argue that the Nazi regime was a radical departure from earlier German regimes.  The article by Kershaw discusses the uniqueness of Hitler’ rule; the article by Bessel emphasizes that Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933 was not inevitable; the article by Griffin examines the unique rituals the Nazis developed that were a clear break with earlier regimes; and the article by Pearson emphasizes how Hitler used illegal methods and violence to hold onto power, something that was definitely not characteristic of earlier German governments.  Use these articles if you wish to develop additional arguments in your paper that illustrate how the Nazi regime was not a continuation of earlier German political eras, particularly the Kaiserreich.

 

 

Additional Readings

 

The following are additional sources that you may want to consider using for your paper.  All of them can be found on Blackboard. 

 

Beck, Hermann. “The Nazis and their Conservative Alliance Partner in 1933: The Seizure of

Power in a New Light.” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6 (September 2005): 213-241.

 

Bessel, Richard. “Political Violence and the Nazi Seizure of Power.” History Today 35 (October

1985): 8-14.

 

Moeller, Robert G. “The Kaiserreich Recast? Continuity and Change in Modern German

       Historiography.” Journal of Social History 17 (Summer 1984): 655-683.

 

Snowman, Daniel. “Ian Kershaw.” History Today 51 (July 2001): 18-20.

 

 

II. Readings and Discussions – There will be two scheduled discussion days in which students will discuss these readings in their discussion groups.

 

A. The First Discussion: Read the three required essays as well any of the optional articles if you wish.  During the first discussion, be ready to discuss the main arguments of the Sonderweg Thesis.  Also be ready to discuss why many historians reject the Sonderweg Thesis, especially the idea that the Third Reich was a continuation of earlier German governments

 

B. The Second Discussion – For this discussion read the three required essays as well as any or all of the optional readings.  For this discussion, be ready to discuss specifically how Hitler’s regime was a radical break with the past, particularly the Kaiserreich.

 

 

III. Instructions for Writing the PaperInsure you do the following when you write your paper:

 

A. Structure: Write the entire paper as a single essay.  Do not break it into different sections or subsections, and do not answer the questions above individually.  However, do divide your paper into separate paragraphs.  Your paper should be a coherent whole that has an introduction with a clear thesis statement, a body of supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.  Most importantly, you should consider the answers to the questions posed above to be your thesis statement.

 

B. Thesis Statement – Your thesis statement MUST address both questions posed above.  It should be written as a declarative statement.  It can be more than one sentence long.  In fact, it is probably best to write it as at least two sentences so that you can address both questions adequately.  The remainder of your paper must go on to provide detailed proof to support your thesis statement.  Again, there must be a body of supporting paragraphs.

 

C. Format: Your paper must be typed, double spaced, 12 characters per inch, one inch margins all the way around.  Do not justify the right margin.  Have your name on the top of the first page, and have all the pages (except for the first) numbered.  The length of this paper should be between 3 to 7 pages (a bit longer than 7 pages is okay).  It must be cited.  Instructions for citations are below.  The title page (if you use one) and the bibliography do not count as pages.

 

D. Citations: Because this paper is a research project, you will have to cite where you get all of your information.  The best way to do this is to have at least one citation per paragraph.  This paper will use the historical system of footnotes and endnotes (commonly call the Chicago Manual of Style system).  This means that all sources will be listed in either footnotes or endnotes (which you want to use is up to you).  Following contemporary practice, you will only use short form entries in your footnotes or endnotes (the author’s last name, a portion of the title, and the page numbers where you found the information).  You will then have a bibliography attached to the back of your paper with full bibliographic information for each source.  Do not use abbreviations like ibid and op cit.

 

Keep in mind that all word processing software programs available today such as Microsoft Word have the ability to automatically insert and embed footnotes or endnotes.  For Microsoft Word, simply go to the Reference menu and choose either Footnote or Endnote.   Also, while the main body of the paper must be double spaced, please use single space within individual footnotes or endnotes, and double space between individual endnotes and footnotes.  Below are examples of short citation forms.  Note that both paragraphs are written from information found in the same article:

 

Short Form Citations:

 

The Sonderweg debate is a historical debate that has had a long career in German historiography.  While it has gained the most notoriety since the 1940s, it actually pre-dates World War II.  During the period of the Kaiserreich in particular, German historians gloried in the fact that Germany was so different from other European states.  Germany’s strong central government was seen as superior to the parliamentary democracies of West European countries such as Britain and France.  The privileged position of the army and the civil service, both bequeathed to Germany by Prussia, were seen as the national bulwarks that provided stability to the country.  Indeed, the Germans saw themselves possessing Kultur, which was vastly superior to France and Britain’s Zivilisation.1

  This rather glowing assessment of Germany’s differences with the countries of West Europe was turned around after World War II.  Historians still believed that Germany had followed a different path of historical development, but rather than bestowing Kultur upon the country, this Sonderweg instead resulted in the horrors of Nazi Germany.  Indeed, Prussian authoritarianism and militarism merely evolved into Nazi authoritarianism and militarism; Hitler merely replaced the Kaiser in this scheme of historical understanding.2

____________________________________________________________________________

 

1. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 934-935.

 

2. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 935.

 

 

There is some flexibility as to how many citations that you need for a single paragraph.  If, for example, you use two or more sources to write a single paragraph, you can cite each source in an individual footnote or endnote, or you can cite all of your sources in a single footnote or endnote.  At the very minimum, you should have at least one footnote or endnote at the end of a paragraph that cites the source or sources for that paragraph.  In either case, you use the full citation the first time you cite any source, and use the short form for the second and subsequent uses.  Examples are below:

 

Citations with Individual Sources per Each Footnote or Endnote:

The Sonderweg question is a historical debate that has had a long career in German historiography.  While it has gained the most notoriety since the 1940s, it actually pre-dates World War II.  During the period of the Kaiserreich in particular, German historians gloried in the fact that Germany was so different from other European states.  Germany’s strong central government was seen as superior to the parliamentary democracies of West European countries such as Britain and France.  The privileged positions of the army and the civil service, both bequeathed to Germany by Prussia, were seen as the national bulwarks that provided stability to the country.  Indeed, the Germans saw themselves possessing Kultur, which was vastly superior to France and Britain’s Zivilisation.1   Moreover, German historians believed that their country had benefitted from such phenomena.  Indeed, they argued that parliamentary democracy in France and Britain resulted in crass materialist values in both countries.  Germany, on the other hand, had come to possess spiritual values.2

This rather glowing assessment of Germany’s differences with the countries of West Europe was turned around after World War II.  Historians still believed that Germany had followed a different path of historical development, but rather than bestowing Kultur upon the country, this Sonderweg instead resulted in the horrors of Nazi Germany.  Indeed, Prussian authoritarianism and militarism merely evolved into Nazi authoritarianism and militarism; Hitler replaced the Kaiser in this scheme of historical understanding.3  Moreover, the blame for this peculiar historical anomaly was placed firmly upon the shoulders of the German middle class, or the bourgeoisie.  Unlike in France and Britain, historians argued, the German bourgeoisie failed to secure power through democratic government, and thus, the older, aristocratic elements in Germany society, particularly the Junkers, retained their authoritarian hold over Germany.4

____________________________________________________________________________

 

1. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 934-935.

 

2. Kocka, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison,” 40-41.

 

3. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 935.

 

4. Kocka, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison,” 42.

 

 

Citations with Multiple Sources per Footnote or Endnote:

 

The Sonderweg question is a historical debate that has had a long career in German historiography.  While it has gained the most notoriety since the 1940s, it actually pre-dates World War II.  During the period of the Kaiserreich in particular, German historians gloried in the fact that Germany was so different from other European states.  Germany’s strong central government was seen as superior to the parliamentary democracies of West European countries such as Britain and France.  The privileged positions of the army and the civil service, both bequeathed to Germany by Prussia, were seen as the national bulwarks that provided stability to the country.  Indeed, the Germans saw themselves possessing Kultur, which was vastly superior to France and Britain’s Zivilisation.   Moreover, German historians believed that their country had benefitted from such phenomena.  Indeed, they argued that parliamentary democracy in France and Britain resulted in crass materialist values in both countries.   Germany, on the other hand, had come to possess spiritual values. 1

This rather glowing assessment of Germany’s differences with the countries of West Europe was turned around after World War II.  Historians still believed that Germany had followed a different path of historical development, but rather than bestowing Kultur upon the country, this Sonderweg instead resulted in the horrors of Nazi Germany.  Indeed, Prussian authoritarianism and militarism merely evolved into Nazi authoritarianism and militarism; Hitler replaced the Kaiser in this scheme of historical understanding.  Moreover, the blame for this peculiar historical anomaly was placed firmly upon the shoulders of the German middle class, or the bourgeoisie.  Unlike in France and Britain, historians argued, the German bourgeoisie failed to secure power through democratic government, and thus, the older, aristocratic elements in Germany society, particularly the Junkers, retained their authoritarian hold over Germany.2

____________________________________________________________________________

 

1. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 934-935; Kocka, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison,” 40-41.

 

2. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 935; Kocka, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison,” 42.

 

 

As far as quoting material, it is important to say first that quotations should be used sparingly. Do not string quotations together to avoid the hard work of writing.  A general rule of thumb is that a paper should have only two or three quotations per page.  Any more than that is probably excessive.  ONLY quote material that would lose significant meaning if paraphrased.  Moreover, it should be significant material that will add spark to your paper.

 

If you use a direct quotation, you must have a footnote or endnote directly after it so that the reader knows where exactly the quotation is coming from.  In such a case, you may or may not have other material that comes before the citation that also needs to be cited.  You can use either an individual citation with an individual source cited in it or use a citation with multiple sources.  In either case, put “quoted from” before the source so the reader knows from where the quotation came.  See the examples below.

 

       Quotations: Citations with Individual Sources

 

This rather glowing assessment of Germany’s differences with the countries of West Europe was turned around after World War II.  Historians still believed that Germany had followed a different path of historical development, but rather than bestowing Kultur upon the country, this Sonderweg instead resulted in the horrors of Nazi Germany.  Indeed, Prussian authoritarianism and militarism merely evolved into Nazi authoritarianism and militarism; Hitler replaced the Kaiser in this scheme of historical understanding.3  Moreover, the blame for this peculiar historical anomaly was placed firmly upon the shoulders of the German middle class, or the bourgeoisie.  Unlike in France and Britain, historians argued, the German bourgeoisie failed to secure power through democratic government, and thus, the older, aristocratic elements in Germany society, particularly the Junkers, retained their authoritarian hold over Germany.4  Jurgen Kocka has summed up the sentiments of these historians the best when he states that they “demonstrated convincingly that elites of pre-industrial origin, particularly the Junker, the large agrarian landowners east of the river Elbe, and senior civil servants, retained much power and influence into the twentieth century.” 5

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

3. Kocka, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison,” 41-42.

 

4. Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 935.

 

5. Quoted from Kocka, “German History before Hitler,” 5.

 

 

 

Quotations: Citations with Multiple Sources

 

This rather glowing assessment of Germany’s differences with the countries of West Europe was turned around after World War II.  Historians still believed that Germany had followed a different path of historical development, but rather than bestowing Kultur upon the country, this Sonderweg instead resulted in the horrors of Nazi Germany.  Indeed, Prussian authoritarianism and militarism merely evolved into Nazi authoritarianism and militarism; Hitler replaced the Kaiser in this scheme of historical understanding.  Moreover, the blame for this peculiar historical anomaly was placed firmly upon the shoulders of the German middle class, or the bourgeoisie.  Unlike in France and Britain, historians argued, the German bourgeoisie failed to secure power through democratic government, and thus, the older, aristocratic elements in Germany society, particularly the Junkers, retained their authoritarian hold over Germany.   Jürgen Kocka has summed up the sentiments of these historians the best when he states that they “demonstrated convincingly that elites of pre-industrial origin, particularly the Junker, the large agrarian landowners east of the river Elbe, and senior civil servants, retained much power and influence into the twentieth century.”3

____________________________________________________________________________

 

3. Kocka, “Asymmetrical Historical Comparison,” 41-42; Hinde, “Sonderweg,” 935; quoted from Kocka, “German History before Hitler,” 5.

 

 

Also, always introduce a quotation.  A quotation without an introduction is called a drop quote, and it is improper style.  When you quote an author for the first time, use his or her full name and mention who they are and why they are being quoted.  See the examples below. 

 

Wrong:

 

Moreover, the blame for this peculiar historical anomaly was placed firmly upon the shoulders of the German middle class, or the bourgeoisie.  Unlike in France and Britain, historians argued, the German bourgeoisie failed to secure power through democratic government, and thus, the older, aristocratic elements in Germany society, particularly the Junkers, retained their authoritarian hold over Germany.   â€œHans Rosenberg and others demonstrated convincingly that elites of pre-industr

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