was that the DDR,
“East Germany, was, in ancestral t
erms, so much moreprotestant, and towards the end of the Communist East German regime tried toelevate Martin Luther as a national hero. Most traditional German culture heroesare strongly identifiable as Catholic or Protestant:
and (after his conversion_
Catholic. Germany, though, early on also produced thinkers whowere strongly anti-religious or areligious, and many of the great iconoclasts ordoubters have come from German-speaking lands: Freud, Marx, Nietzsche,Schopenhauer and so on. This was probably ultimately attributable to a lack ofconsensus as the polity was riven by different faith-claims.
“German idea of freedom” oppsoed to American one.
Prussia emerged as a somewhat unlikely (due to its eastward geographicalposition) leader of the Protestant cause, but by the mid-eighteenth century it hadvaulted over its traditional rival, Saxony, to be the political and economic centerof northern Germany. Prussia took a leading role in the resistance against
Napoleon‟s invasion, and it was the natural candidate to be the
spearhead forGerman unification. Difference between a
(including Austria)vision of Gemrnay and a
one. Despite the end of the Holy RomanEmpire in 1806, Austrian prerogative still held in many parts of Germany, and itwas not until
decisive deafest of Austria at Königgratz in 1866 that thepath to German unification under Prussian leadership became clear, to beachieved in 1871. Even though unification ostensibly preserved theindependence of the largely Catholic southern German states, one of the firstmoves of the man who led German unification, Chancellor
Otto von Bismarck
,was to initiate the
, or purge of German Catholics. Catholicism wasseen as anti-progressive, threatening of the unity of the state; Protestantism wasseen as aligned with industrialization and rational order, the latter the preeminentattribute of Prussian culture.
The Stormy Twentieth Century
Until 1871, Germany had not even been a nation; after 1871, it became anempire. This vaulting from a patchwork of principalities, bishoprics, kingdoms,and city-states to not just a unified nation but also a polity that made attempts tobe a world power, rivaling England and France, was bound to create tension anddifficulties. Germany scrambled to catch up to its rivals in terms of overseascolonies hurriedly annexing leftover parts of Africa and the Southwest Pacific thatfew other powers wanted but antagonizing world opinion (which had so recentlycheered for German unification) in the process. Germany had been the underdogfor centuries. The great enigma of Europe, and much of the complexity andachievement of German thought and culture (Germany was unquestionably theleading nation in the world as far as philosophy, science, music were concerned)came from a sense of bafflement and query about why Germany seemed sodisadvantaged.
Once Germany became „whole‟ the sometimes self
-justifying andself-pitying rhetoric of the underdog became less apropos, but it was difficult for