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National Monuments and Nationalism in 19th Century Germany

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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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House of Ernst Moritz Arndt, Bonn Illustration 1 Monument to Ernst Moritz Arndt by Bernhard Afinger, 1865 Alter Zoll, Bonn, photo Stadtarchiv Bonn Illustration 2 Grave of Heinrich von Kleist, Wannsee, photo Dr. Andreas Mehl, Berlin Illustration 3 Monument to Theodor Körner, Rosenow (Mecklenburg) Illustration 4 “Germania” by Lorenz Klasen, 1860, photo Kaiser-Wilhelm-Museum, Krefeld Illustration 5 “Germania” or “Die Wacht am Rhein” by Hermann Wislicenus, 1873, photo Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin Illustration 6 “Burschenschaftsdenkmal,” Göpelskuppe, Eisenach Illustration 7 Entrance portal to the The Paulskirche, Frankfurt Illustration 8 Heinrich von Gagern, memorial plaque, Paulskirche, Frankfurt Illustration 9 “Leibniztempel,” Georgengarten, Hannover-Herrenhausen Illustration 10 Bust of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz by Christopher Hewetson, 1790, Technologie Centrum, Hannover Illustration 11 Monument to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing by Friedrich Doell, detail, 1796, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel Illustration 12 Monument to Martin Luther by Johann Gottfried Schadow and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1821, Marktplatz, Wittenberg Illustration 13 Monument to Johannes Gutenberg by Bertel Thorwaldsen, 1837, Domplätze, Mainz Illustration 14 Monument to Johannes Gutenberg by Pierre-Jean David d’Angers, 1840, Place Gutenberg, Strasbourg Illustration 15 Monument to Friedrich Schiller by Bertel Thorwaldsen, 1839, Schillerplatz, Stuttgart Illustration 16 Monument to Albrecht Dürer by Christian Daniel Rauch, 1840, Albrecht-Dürer-Platz, Nuremberg Illustration 17 Monument to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe by Ludwig Schwanthaler, 1844, formerly Gallusanlage, now Goetheplatz, Frankfurt Illustration 18 Monument to Ludwig van Beethoven by Ernst Julius Hähnel, 1845, Münsterplatz, Bonn Illustration 19 Monument to Johann Gottfried Herder by Ludwig Schaller, 1850, Herderplatz, Weimar Illustration...

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