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Germany 1866-1945

(Oxford History of Modern Europe)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  14 reviews
G.A. Craig, author of several distinguished books including The Politics of the Prussian Army 1640-1945 ('55), has written a magisterial history of Germany from Prussia's 1866 triumph over Austria at Koeniggroetz to the destruction of the 3rd Reich in 1945. His story focuses upon the two dominating personalities of the period: Bismarck, the "great star" whose genius & ...more
Paperback, 848 pages
Published March 6th 1980 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1978)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  113 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Mark Singer
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in German history
Recommended to Mark by: no one
This was the eighth and thus far the best written book in my Summer 2010 reading list on 19th century Europe. I read chapters I through IX, which covered from initial unification and the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 up until the coming of the First World War in 1914. Craig is thorough, incisive, opinionated and has the documentation to back up his conclusions. The two personalities who dominate this period are Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Prussian and later of the German Empire from 1862- ...more
Christian Krüger
Eine wirklich gelungene historische Darstellung. Beachtlich finde ich es bei der Materialfülle so komprimiert zu arbeiten und doch mitreisend zu bleiben. Es werden nicht nur die politischen Ereignisse dargestellt, sondern eine gesamtgesellschaftliche Skizze.
Hier bestätigt sich, gute wissenschaftliche Werke müssen auch etwas literarisches haben.
Warren Bittner
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read its predecessor in the series of Oxford History of Modern Europe: German History, 1770-1866, by Sheehan, which I found well written and insightful (although I do think Sheehan ignored all of the lower classes). I decided to read this book hoping it would be as educational as the other. So far, I am a little disappointed, but I am only 100 pages into it, so I am going to give it another 100 or so before I decide.
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fourth reading. Probably a must-read for students of modern German history. (Actually, there's no "probably" about it.)
May 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How can you make such a fascinating topic so boring? Well, this is what Gordon Craig has achieved with his book on the history of Germany between 1866 and 1945.

I would say two fundamental flaws let him down: his inability to convey the big picture and his style.

The book is full of useless details whereas it lacks macro analysis and insight which would help understand why the history of Germany has moved in one direction or the other.

As far as style is concerned, the example below summarises w
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent overview of the course of German history from the war between Prussia and Austria (and other German states) in 1866 until the conclusion of the Second World War.

Although written in the late 1970s, this book stands the test of time and offers a very clear narrative of how Germany developed from unification until the utter destruction and degradation produced by the Hitler tyranny. There is a good blend of chronological analysis of the main political events and an excellent ex
Chris Jaffe
This is a great book providing a nice overview on German history in the years listed in the title. It's heavily focuses on the high level political history. The occasional forays into other areas seem a bit disjointed as a result.

At times, it's a little dated. He easily dismisses that van de Lubbe caused the Reichstag fire, for instance, when most modern stuff I've read believes he clearly was lighting fires in the building that night. Some parts are a little annoying - like when he'll quote so
Erik Graff
Oct 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of modern Europe
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
One of my study goals is to be able to understand the histories of individual states other than just the USA, Russia and the UK so as to be able to see world history from their perspectives. I haven't gotten far, but one good step in this direction was to read Craig's history of modern Germany. Another, later, was to read a history of Latin America written by a German historian which had been translated into English.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I think I read this when everyone was on vacation except for me and Wolking and both of us were sick and did nothing but read and drink tea all day. I figured since I was in Germany, I should learn some history. Sadly, not too much of it stuck with me, but nevertheless, I remember the book being fairly interesting for a history book, particularly the part about the first world war.
Jun 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Easily the best book on German history until 1945. To be honest, it's a bit boring up until the first World War starts. Then it gets good. I'd recommend it for anyone who is very interested in German history....but not for anyone else. It's a bit dry unless you're really into the subject matter.
Dennis Heins
Germany 1866-1945 was an excellent overview of the subject however, I felt that Craig's treatment of the Empire was a little myopic. His tendency toward the American view of WWI was more than a little obvious. I found his opinions regarding the Third Reich to be surprisingly even handed. There is no doubt that Hitler was pure evil but Craig gave the other 'players' quite their due.
Lewis Weinstein
I have read several sections of this book and will read more as my research proceeds beyond 1933. It is very well written, unusually opinionated history which I have found both enlightening and enjoyable reading.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, mitteleuropa
One of the best general histories of Germany for the period from 1866 through the end of WWII. This is part of the Oxford History of Modern Europe series.
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Born in Glasgow, Gordon Craig emigrated with his family in 1925, initially to Toronto, Canada, and then to Jersey City, New Jersey. Initially interested in studying the law, he switched to history after hearing the historian Walter "Buzzer" Hall lecture at Princeton University. In 1935, Craig visited and lived for several months in Germany, to research a thesis he was writing on the downfall of th ...more

Other books in the series

Oxford History of Modern Europe (1 - 10 of 15 books)
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  • The Russian Empire 1801-1917
  • The Low Countries 1780-1940
  • Spain, 1808-1975 (Oxford History of Modern Europe)
  • A History of French Passions 1848-1945: Volume II: Intellect, Taste, and Anxiety
  • German History 1770-1866
  • The Transformation of European Politics 1763-1848
  • Rumania 1866-1947
  • A People Apart: A Political History of the Jews in Europe 1789-1939
  • Bulgaria