Germany’s defeat in the First World War and the consequent collapse of the Second Reich resulted in a state of demoralisation and social anomie which was only partially overcome during a period of relative prosperity in the 1920s, before the Great Depression led to further polarisation of political views. In this situation Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann and Hermann Broch produced a series of novels which provided in one form or another a critical conspectus of the process by which Germany had grown to be a confident imperial power, then metamorphosed into a republic. They show why parliamentary democracy, to which its new rulers were committed, lacked the support of large sections of the community, which looked to more radical alternatives, either to dictatorship of the proletariat on the Soviet model instituted after the October Revolution of 1917, or to the restoration of Germany’s former military strength and national self-esteem.
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© 1994 Malcolm Humble and Raymond Furness
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Humble, M., Furness, R. (1994). The Literature of the Weimar Republic and the First Austrian Republic. In: Introduction to German Literature, 1871–1990 . Palgrave, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-23200-0_3
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