Twenty scholars explore the theory and practice of regional history in one of Germany's most under-researched but conflict-ridden territories

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Table of Contents

Foreword / Hartmut Zwahr - xiii

Introduction: Locating Saxony in the Landscape of German Regional History / James Retallack - 1

The Mediated Nation: Regions, Readers, and the German Past / Celia Applegate - 33

Imagined Regions: The Construction of Traditional, Democratic, and Other Identities / Thomas Kuhne - 51

The Boundaries of the Local in Modern German History / Helmut Walser Smith - 63

Mapping Milieus Regionally: On the Spatial Rootedness of Collective Identities in the Nineteenth Century / Thomas Mergel - 77

Emancipation and Embourgeoisement: The Jews, the State, and the Middle Classes in Saxony and Anhalt-Dessau / Simone Lassig - 99

Models of Political Participation in the Beust Era: The State, the Saxon Landtag, and the Public Sphere, 1849-1864 / Andreas Neemann - 119

Saxon Forty-eighters in the Postrevolutionary Epoch, 1849-1867 / Christian Jansen - 135

Liberalism and the Making of the "New Man": The Case of Gymnasts in Leipzig, 1845-1871 / Pall Bjornsson - 151

Saxons into Germans: The Progress of the National Idea in Saxony after 1866 / Siegfried Weichlein - 166

Community Values, Democratic Cultures? Reflections on Saxony's Place in the German Cooperative Movement, 1849-1933 / Brett Fairbairn - 180

On the Disappearance of a Political Party from German History: The Saxon People's Party, 1866-1869 /  Karsten Rudolph - 199

Suffrage Reform, Corporatist Society, and the Authoritarian State: Saxon Transitions in the 1860s / James Retallack - 215

Saxony's "Liberal Era" and the Rise of the Red Specter in the 1870s / Wolfgang Schroder - 235

How Proletarian Was Leipzig's Social Democratic Milieu? / Thomas Adam - 255

Reports of a Cop: Civil Liberties and Associational Life in Leipzig during the Second Empire / Marven Krug - 271

Power in the City: Liberalism and Local Politics in Dresden and Munich / Karl Heinrich Pohl - 289

Saxon Politics during the First World War: Modernization, National Liberal Style / Christoph Nonn - 309

Remembering the Year 1923 in Saxon History / Benjamin Lapp - 322

Saxony, 1924-1930: A Study in the Dissolution of the Bourgeois Party System in Weimar Germany / Larry Eugene Jones - 336

The Development of Nazism in the Landscape of Socialism and Nationalism: The Case of Saxony, 1918-1933 / Claus-Christian W. Szejnmann - 356

Contributors - 373
Index - 381


During the hundred years examined in this volume, ordinary Germans discovered a new and powerful attachment to the nation. But throughout this period, national loyalties competed with preexisting loyalties to the locality and the region. The resulting tension made it difficult for Germans to assign clear priorities to one kind of symbolic attachment over another.
Focusing on the east German state of Saxony, the contributors to this volume refuse easy resolution of that tension, seeking instead to illustrate how local, regional, and national cultures commingled, diverged, and influenced each other over time. By considering both the erosion and the persistence of traditional identities and regional boundaries, these essays help to restore an appreciation of regional "ways of seeing," suggesting they really did matter--in their own right, and for the nation as a whole.
Topics considered include the expansion of a German reading public, Jewish emancipation, the formation of socio-moral milieus, working-class leisure, the expansion of the public sphere, the rise of consumer co-operatives, gendered attempts to fashion the "new" liberal man, and degradation rituals in the 1920s. Presenting to English-reading audiences the fruits of cutting-edge research conducted in Saxon archives since 1989, the contributors offer innovative ways to reassess the larger sweep of German history.
This book serves as a how-to guide for the study of any region in history. Beyond its primary appeal to European historians, it will also speak to students and scholars in comparative politics and sociology.
James Retallack is Professor of History, University of Toronto.