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National Monuments and Nationalism in 19th Century Germany


Hans A. Pohlsander

No century in modern European history has built monuments with more enthusiasm than the 19th. Of the hundreds of monuments erected, those which sprang from a nation-wide initiative and addressed themselves to a nation, rather than part of a nation, we may call national monuments. Nelson’s Column in London or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris are obvious examples. In Germany the 19th century witnessed a veritable flood of monuments, many of which rank as national monuments. These reflected and contributed to a developing sense of national identity and the search for national unity; they also document an unsuccessful effort to create a «genuinely German» style. They constitute a historical record, quite apart from aesthetic appeal or ideological message. As this historical record is examined, German national monuments of the 19th century are described and interpreted against the background of the nationalism which gave birth to them.


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Preface 7 List of Illustrations 9 Chapter I What is a National Monument? 13 Chapter II German Nationalism in the 19th Century from the Beginnings to Ernst Moritz Arndt 23 Chapter III German Nationalism in the 19th Century from Heinrich von Kleist to “Die Wacht am Rhein” 51 Chapter IV The Repression of German Nationalism 73 Chapter V Monuments to German Culture 103 Chapter VI Ludwig I of Bavaria, the Walhalla, the Befreiungshalle, and Related Monuments 129 Chapter VII Monuments to German Arms 147 Chapter VIII From Prussia to Germany 175 Chapter IX “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz” 203 Chapter X The Iron Chancellor 217 Chapter XI Historicizing Painting of the 19th Century 231 Epilogue 249 Bibliographical Abbreviations 251 Index 299 Illustrations 311

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