Cover image for The State, the Nation, and the Jews Liberalism and the Antisemitism Dispute in Bismarck's Germany
The State, the Nation, and the Jews Liberalism and the Antisemitism Dispute in Bismarck's Germany
Stoetzler, Marcel.
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Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c2008. (Baltimore, Md. : Project MUSE, 2015)
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1 online resource (530 p. )
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eBook ER182392 DS146 .G4 S76 2008 Electronic Resources

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The State, the Nation, and the Jews is a study of Germany's late nineteenth-century antisemitism dispute and of the liberal tradition that engendered it. The Berlin Antisemitism Dispute began in 1879 when a leading German liberal, Heinrich von Treitschke, wrote an article supporting anti-Jewish activities that seemed at the time to gel into an antisemitic "movement." Treitschke's comments immediately provoked a debate within the German intellectual community. Responses from supporters and critics alike argued the relevance, meaning, and origins of this "new" antisemitism. Ultimately the Dispute was as much about Germans and how they could best consolidate their recently formed national state as about Jews and those who hated them. Treitschke's liberal antisemitism threw into sharp relief the antinomies inherent in the modern constellation of state, culture, and society.
In a newly united Germany the Dispute forced the intellectual community to question the parameters of national identity. Born within the liberal tradition that, at the time, mostly championed Jewish emancipation, the Dispute's core question was how state, nation, race, ethnicity, and religion should relate to one another. From a close analysis of the crucial contributions to the debate, Marcel Stoetzler crafts a compelling critique of liberalism and liberal notions of national identity. The specifics of the Dispute raise uncomfortable questions about the role of race, religion, and ethnicity within modern liberalism. The Dispute provides an avenue for understanding the development of antisemitism within liberal society and, ultimately, is an indictment of liberalism itself.