Red Saxony: Election Battles and the Spectre of Democracy in Germany, 1860-1918

ISBN : 9780198866565

James Retallack
736 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Red Saxony throws new light on the reciprocal relationship between political modernization and authoritarianism in Germany over the span of six decades.

Election battles were fought so fiercely in Imperial Germany because they reflected two kinds of democratization. Social democratization could not be stopped, but political democratization was opposed by many members of the German bourgeoisie. Frightened by the electoral success of the Social Democrats after 1871, anti-democrats deployed many strategies that flew in the face of electoral fairness. They battled socialists, liberals, and Jews at election time, but they also strove to rewrite the electoral rules of the game. Using a regional lens to rethink older assumptions about Germany's changing political culture, this volume focuses as much on contemporary Germans' perceptions of electoral fairness as on their experiences of voting. It devotes special attention to various semi-democratic voting systems whereby a general and equal suffrage (for the Reichstag) was combined with limited and unequal ones for local and regional parliaments. For the first time, democratization at all three tiers of governance and their reciprocal effects are considered together. Although the bourgeois face of German authoritarianism was nowhere more evident than in the Kingdom of Saxony, Red Saxony illustrates how other Germans grew to fear the spectre of democracy. Certainly twists and turns lay ahead, yet that fear made it easier for Hitler and the Nazis to win elections in the 1920s and to entomb German democracy in 1933.


1 On the Threshold of a New Age
2 The Possibilities of Liberal Reform
3 Enemies of the Reich
4 The Struggle Against Revolution
5 Against Liberalism and the Jews
6 Authoritarianism Under Siege
7 Suffrage Reform as Coup d'Etat
8 Red Saxony
9 Deflecting Democracy
10 Crisis and Retrenchment
11 Dance
12 Politics in a New Key
13 Adrift
14 Democracy Deferred


James Retallack studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and received his DPhil in 1983. He joined the History Department at the University of Toronto in 1987 and served as Chair of the German Department from 1999 to 2002. In 1993 to 1994, he spent a year at the Free University Berlin as a Humboldt Research Fellow in the Political Science department. He also held a Visiting Professorship in History at the University of Gottingen in 2002 and 2003 when he was awarded the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel Research Prize by the Humboldt Foundation. He became an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2011.