Germany and 'The West'
The History of a Modern Concept
"This is an ambitious volume that provides in-depth coverage of German attitudes and interpretations of 'the West,' and how these have changed over time . . . A particular value of this volume is its use of German sources, making German-based arguments and interpretations available to English-speaking academia." · Giles Scott-Smith, Leiden University
"[This] volume provides an impressive overview of the history of German images and perceptions of 'the West,' its changing meanings and importance over a long period of time. It unites the foremost experts on this subject." · Egbert Klautke, University College London
"The West" is a central idea in German public discourse, yet historians know surprisingly little about the evolution of the concept. Contrary to common assumptions, this volume argues that the German concept of the West was not born in the twentieth century, but can be traced from a much earlier time. In the nineteenth century, "the West" became associated with notions of progress, liberty, civilization, and modernity. It signified the future through the opposition to antonyms such as "Russia" and "the East," and was deployed as a tool for forging German identities. Examining the shifting meanings, political uses, and transnational circulations of the idea of "the West" sheds new light on German intellectual history from the post-Napoleonic era to the Cold War.
Riccardo Bavaj is a Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of St Andrews. From 2009 to 2012 he was a Feodor Lynen Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His publications include "'The West': A Conceptual Exploration" in European History Online (2011) and Die Ambivalenz der Moderne im Nationalsozialismus (2003).
Martina Steber is a Research Fellow at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin. Her publications include Ethnische Gewissheiten: Die Ordnung des Regionalen im bayerischen Schwaben vom Kaiserreich bis zum NS-Regime (2010) and Visions of Community in Nazi Germany: Social Engineering and Private Lives, edited with Bernhard Gotto (2014).
Riccardo Bavaj is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews. His publications include Der Nationalsozialismus: Entstehung, Aufstieg und Herrschaft (2016) and "'The West': A Conceptual Exploration" in European History Online (2011).