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Antisemitic Elements in the Critique of Capitalism in German Culture, 1850-1933

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Matthew Lange

This volume examines selected works of German literature from Gustav Freytag to Joseph Goebbels in relation to ethical, socio-economic, and political texts from the economic «take off» period in the middle of the nineteenth century up to the rise of National Socialism and investigates two aspects of anti-Semitic anti-capitalistic representations contained therein. First it traces how the Jews gained the dubious distinction of being the inventors, even embodiment, of capitalism and elaborates on negative traits assigned to both of them. Second it examines how representations of specifically Jewish capitalists were instrumentalized both to discredit laissez faire and simultaneously to assist in the definition of a specifically «German» socio-economic ethos.
Contents: The Ascent of Liberalism, Attainment of Jewish Emancipation, and the Effects of the Gründerjahre – The Gründerkrach, «Great Depression», and the Genesis of Antisemitism – The Decline of Political Antisemitism to the Eve of World War I – The Effects of the World War I, the Weimar Republic, a Second «Great Depression», and the Rise of National Socialism – Works discussed: Gustav Freytag: Soll und Haben; Johann Baptist von Schweitzer: Lucinde oder Capital und Arbeit; Otto Glagau: Aktien; Sir John Retcliffe: Biarritz; Arw Solano: Überseer daheim; Fritz Claus: Der Wucherer; Clemens Kreisau: Bauer und Jude; Max Liebermann von Sonnenberg: Die Bauernwürger; Karl Türk: Die Ritter vom Gelde; Wilhelm von Polenz: Der Büttnerbauer; Jakob Hubert Schütz: Itzig der Wucherer; Heinrich Mann: Im Schlaraffenland; Bernhard Kellermann: Der Tunnel; Artur Dinter: Die Sünde wider das Blut; Edith Gräfin von Salburg: Psyche des Geldes; and Joseph Goebbels: Michael.