Abstract

The article reviews recent books on the cultural, social and political history of the Weimar Republic. Specific fields of enquiry have included gender history, where work on the history of abortion has challenged established narratives of emancipation. Another strand of research is interested in the idea that the crisis of Weimar was not simply an objective condition, but rather a cultural form which could be used to imagine and reflect upon possible scenarios for a renewal of society. Historians have thus begun to study the semantics of ‘crisis’ in Weimar Germany. A third strand of research is focused on performative politics: the ways in which political violence on the streets or the parliamentary debates in the Reichstag functioned as a stage for the theatrical presentation of competing political ideas. The article suggests that the modernity of metropolitan culture in Berlin, and its significance for Weimar Germany more generally, have been overestimated, and hence concludes that—in cultural terms—Weimar was Weimar: it is best represented by the small town in Thuringia. Some remarks on alternative modes of emplotment for the history of the Weimar Republic conclude the piece.

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