Liberalism, nationalism and anti-semitism in the 'Berlin anti-semitism dispute' of 1879/1880

Stoetzler, Marcel (2003) Liberalism, nationalism and anti-semitism in the 'Berlin anti-semitism dispute' of 1879/1880. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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This thesis analyses the series of newspaper and journal articles and pamphlets published in 1879/1880 which constitute what came to be called the 'Berlin anti-Semitism dispute'. They were written by the German historian and politician Heinrich von Treitschke and some of the political and academic figures who responded to his anti-Jewish statements, and they discuss the anti-Semitic movement and the place of Jews in German society at that time. Treitschke's texts have been seen as crucial to both the development of modem anti-Semitism in Germany and the emergence of a distinctly German form of nationalism. But the debate which they provoked also reveals a great deal about social and political thought at that time, and in particular the relationship between anti-Semitism and liberalism; most of the contributors were liberals like Treitschke, or opponents of liberalism. As well as providing a close reading of the debate in a full- length study (something which has not been done before) this thesis also analyses it in terms of the wider issues of nationalism and liberalism. What emerges from this material is a conceptual weakness of liberalism in its relation to anti-Semitism and Jewish emancipation. Both Treitschke's support for anti-Semitism and the ambivalence evident in the views of his opponents are shown here to be rooted in the contradiction between inclusionary and exclusionary tendencies inherent in the nation-form. To the extent that liberal society constitutes itself in the form of a national state, it has to guarantee, or produce, some degree of homogeneity or conformity of a national culture. This necessity leads Treitschke to embrace, and his critics to be unable to fully oppose, anti-Semitism. In this respect the thesis aims to provide a starting point for a critical assessment of current debates on nationalism vs. patriotism, ethnic minorities and 'multi-cultural society'.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13385
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2014 09:04
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2016 14:58

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