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Front Matter Pages i-xiv. The Concept of National Unification.

Austria, Prussia and The Making of Germany: 1806-1871

Pages Beginning and End? Illegitimate Unions? Cultural Critique in the Two Unifications of Germany.

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Nationalism and the First Unification. How did German Federalism Shape Unification?


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German Literature and the Foundation of the Second Empire. Theodor Fontane: Post-war Novelist. Nationalism in the Second German Unification. Doing so would have meant that the acceptance of the new nation would have been delayed. It is unfortunate, however, that this essay does not consider how federalism shaped the second unification. The second unification led to the re-establishment of the federal states in East Germany that had been abandoned in and replaced by fourteen administrative units, the Bezirke.

How did federalism shape the second unification?

Germany’s Two Unifications | SpringerLink

One could argue that the federal structure and the FRG's distribution of competencies between state and federal government could have been perceived as strange by East Germans. Especially the distribution of competencies in education policy is quite different from that of the GDR. While the GDR had a highly similar educational system with similar structures and contents throughout the whole republic, school education in the FRG differed from state to state.

This change played a role in the creation of opportunities for referendums and other forms of direct democracy.

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If federal structures had positively affected the acceptance of the new German nation-state during the first unification, did they have a similar effect during the second? This is not the only essay that does not directly consider both unifications. Other comparative frameworks would also have been helpful. James Retallack's essay, for instance, deals with British perceptions of the first unification and shows differences in views on German unification from politicians in London and British diplomats stationed in Germany. As is well known, Britain was also very skeptical about Germany's second unification, even though this skepticism was based on other reasons.

However, one could ask whether the views from London and those of diplomats stationed in Germany at the time, differed during the second unification.

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Furthermore, Retallack claims that the reports of diplomats provide a thick description of the events in Germany and therefore enrich our understanding of diplomatic history as it moves away from exchanges between the highest levels of government. Thus, a complementary essay on British perceptions of the second unification would also have enhanced the reader's understanding of diplomacy between Britian and Germany.

Providing more complementary essays comparing aspects of the unifications directly could have strengthened the book's framework, tied the single essays together more effectively and showed more convincingly that the two processes are comparable. Despite that, the book provides an interesting approach to comparing these unifications.


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  6. The advantage of looking at the anticipations of, experiences in and responses to Germany's unification s is not limited to the provision of an interesting framework for further research. It could also be a useful approach to the further study of unifications and nationhood in other contexts. What results would the application of these concepts bring if they were, for instance, applied to the cases of the two Koreas, the Taiwan question or Yemen's unification?

    Citation: Melanie Kintz.

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