German Webbing, Back View

German Webbing, Back View

German Webbing, Back View

A back view of a German army uniform, showing the rear webbing. Picture taken by Peter Antill at Bletchley Park , May 2013


Identification. The name Germany is derived from the Latin word Germania, which, at the time of the Gallic War (58–51 B.C.E. ), was used by the Romans to designate various peoples occupying the region east of the Rhine. The German-language name Deutschland is derived from a Germanic root meaning volk, or people. A document (written in Latin) from the Frankish court of 786 C.E. uses the term theodisca lingua to refer to the colloquial speech of those who spoke neither Latin nor early forms of Romance languages. From this point forward, the term deutsch was employed to mark a difference in speech, which corresponded to political, geographic, and social distinctions as well. Since, however, the Frankish and Saxon kings of the early Middle Ages sought to characterize themselves as emperors of Rome, it does not seem valid to infer an incipient form of national consciousness. By the fifteenth century, the designation Heiliges Römisches Reich ,or "Holy Roman Empire," was supplemented with the qualifying phrase der deutschen Nation , meaning "of the German Nation." Still, it is important to note that, at that point in history, the phrase "German nation" referred only to the Estates of the Empire— dukes, counts, archbishops, electoral princes, and imperial cities—that were represented in the Imperial Diet. Nevertheless, this self-designation indicates the desire of the members of the Imperial Estates to distinguish themselves from the curia in Rome, with which they were embroiled in a number of political and financial conflicts.

The area that became known as Deutschland, or Germany, had been nominally under the rule of the German king—who was usually also the Roman emperor—since the tenth century. In fact, however, the various territories, principalities, counties, and cities enjoyed a large degree of autonomy and retained distinctive names and traditions, even after the founding of the nation-state—the Kaiserreich or German Empire—in 1871. The names of older territories—such as Bavaria, Brandenburg, and Saxony—are still kept alive in the designations of some of today's federal states. Other older names, such as Swabia and Franconia, refer to "historical landscapes" within the modern federal states or straddling their boundaries. Regional identities such as these are of great significance for many Germans, though it is evident that they are often manipulated for political and commercial purposes as well.

The current German state, called the Federal Republic of Germany, was founded in 1949 in the wake of Germany's defeat in World War II. At first, it consisted only of so-called West Germany, that is the areas that were occupied by British, French, and American forces. In 1990, five new states, formed from the territories of East Germany—the former Soviet zone, which in 1949 became the German Democratic Republic (GDR)—were incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany. Since that time, Germany has consisted of sixteen federal states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia.

Location and Geography. Germany is located in north-central Europe. It shares boundaries with nine other countries: Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. At various

The northern part of Germany, which lies on the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, is a coastal plain of low elevation. In the east, this coastal plain extends southward for over 120 miles (200 kilometers), but, in the rest of the country, the central region is dotted with foothills. Thereafter, the elevation increases fairly steadily, culminating in the Black Forest in the southwest and the Bavarian Alps in the south. The Rhine, Weser, and Elbe rivers run toward the north or northwest, emptying into the North Sea. Similarly, the Oder river, which marks the border with Poland, flows northward into the Baltic Sea. The Danube has its source in the Black Forest then runs eastward, draining southern Germany and emptying eventually into the Black Sea. Germany has a temperate seasonal climate with moderate to heavy rainfall.

Demography. In accordance with modern European patterns of demographic development, Germany's population rose from about 25 million in 1815 to over 60 million in 1914, despite heavy emigration. The population continued to rise in the first half of this century, though this trend was hindered by heavy losses in the two world wars. In 1997, the total population of Germany was 82 million. Of this sum, nearly 67 million lived in former West Germany, and just over 15 million lived in former East Germany. In 1939, the year Germany invaded Poland, the population of what was to become West Germany was 43 million and the population of what was to become East Germany was almost 17 million. This means that from 1939 to 1997, both the total population and the population of West Germany have increased, while the population of East Germany has decreased.

Following World War II, the population of both parts of Germany rose dramatically, due to the arrival of German refugees from the Soviet Union and from areas that are now part of Poland and the Czech Republic. In 1950, eight million refugees formed 16 percent of the West German population and over four million refugees formed 22 percent of the East German population. Between 1950 and 1961, however, more than 2.5 million Germans left the German Democratic Republic and went to the Federal Republic of Germany. The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 effectively put an end to this German-German migration.

From 1945 to 1990, West Germany's population was further augmented by the arrival of nearly four million ethnic Germans, who immigrated from Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union or its successor states. These so-called Aussiedler or return settlers took advantage of a provision in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, which grants citizenship to ethnic Germans living outside of Germany.

Another boost to the population of West Germany has been provided by the so-called Gastarbeiter (migrant or immigrant workers), mostly from Turkey, the Balkans, Italy, and Portugal. Between 1961 and 1997, over 23 million foreigners came to the Federal Republic of Germany seventeen million of these, however, later returned to their home countries. The net gain in population for Germany was still well over 6 million, since those who remained in Germany often established families.

The population of Germany is distributed in small to medium-sized local administrative units, though, on the average, the settlements tend to be larger in West Germany. There are only three cities with a population of over 1 million: Berlin (3.4 million), Hamburg (1.7 million), and Munich (1.2 million). Cologne has just under 1 million inhabitants, while the next largest city, Frankfurt am Main, has a population of 650,000.

Linguistic Affiliation. In the early nineteenth century, language historians identified German as a member of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. The major German dialect groups are High and Low German, the language varieties of the southern highlands and the northern lowlands. Low German dialects, in many ways similar to Dutch, were spoken around the mouth of the Rhine and on the northern coast but are now less widespread. High German dialects may be divided into Middle and Upper categories, which, again, correspond to geographical regions. The modern standard is descended largely from a synthetic form, which was developed in the emerging bureaucracy of the territorial state of Saxony and which combined properties of East Middle and East Upper High German. Religious reformer Martin Luther (1483–1546) helped popularize this variety by employing it in his very influential German translation of the Bible. The standard language was established in a series of steps, including the emergence of a national literary public in the eighteenth century, the improvement and extension of public education in the course of the nineteenth century, and political unification in the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, massive population movements have contributed to further dialect leveling. Nevertheless, some local and regional speech varieties have survived and/or reasserted themselves. Due to the presence of immigrants, a number of other languages are spoken in Germany as well, including Polish, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Mongolian, and Vietnamese.

Symbolism. Any review of national symbols in Germany must take into account the clash of alternative symbols, which correspond either to different phases of a stormy history or to different aspects of a very complex whole. The eagle was depicted in the regalia of the Holy Roman Empire, but since Prussia's victory over Austria in 1866 and the exclusion of Austria from the German Reich in 1871, this symbol has been shared by two separate states, which were united only briefly from 1937 to 1945. Germany is the homeland of the Reformation, yet Martin Luther is a very contentious symbol, since 34 percent of all Germans are Roman Catholic. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Germany became known as the land of Dichter und Denker , that is, poets and philosophers, including such luminaries as Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, and Wilhelm von Humboldt. In the latter nineteenth century this image was supplemented by that of the Prussian officer and the saber-rattling Kaiser. Der deutsche Michel —which means, approximately, "Mike the German," named after the archangel Michael, the protector of Germany—was a simpleton with knee breeches and a sleeping cap, who had represented Germany in caricatures even before the nineteenth century. The national and democratic movement of the first half of the nineteenth century spawned a whole series of symbols, including especially the flag with the colors black, red, and gold, which were used for the national flag in the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and again in the Federal Republic of Germany (as of 1949). The national movement also found expression in a series of monuments scattered over the countryside. The National Socialists were especially concerned with creating new symbols and harnessing old ones for their purposes. In the Federal Republic of Germany, it is illegal to display the Hakenkreuz or swastika, which was the central symbol of the Nazi movement and the central motif in the national flag in the Third Reich (1933–1945).

The official symbols of the Federal Republic of Germany are the eagle, on one hand, and the black, red, and gold flag of the democratic movement, on the other. In many ways, however, the capital city itself has served as a symbol of the Federal Republic, be it Bonn, a small, relatively cosy Rhenish city (capital from 1949 to 1990), or Berlin, Germany's largest city and the capital of Brandenburg-Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and, since 1990, the Federal Republic. From the Siegessäule (Victory Column) to the Reichstag (parliament), from the Charlottenburg Palace to the former Gestapo Headquarters, from the Memorial Church to the fragmentary remnants of the Berlin

Given the contentious character of political symbols in Germany, many Germans seem to identify more closely with typical landscapes. Paintings or photographs of Alpine peaks and valleys are found in homes throughout Germany. Often, however, even features of the natural environment become politicized, as was the case with the Rhine during Germany's conflicts with France in the nineteenth century. Alternatively, corporate products and consumer goods also serve as national symbols. This is certainly the case with a series of high-quality German automobiles, such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.

German Webbing, Back View - History

WW1 Imperial German Soldier uniform 1916 with webbing -

WW1 Imperial German Soldier Uniform - 1916 version with webbing and helmet (no boots or puttees)

WW1 Imperial German Soldier uniform 1914 with webbing -

WW1 Imperial German Soldier Uniform - 1914 version with webbing

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WW1 Australian at Gallipoli - WW1 AIF uniform - First World War uniforms

A typical Aussie "uniform" at the ill fated Gallipoli campaign, never afraid to bend the rules a little,this Aussie Digger has discarded his tunic in favour of shirt sleeves, the majority of his webbing is absent, with only p08 bandolier being apparent, his slouch hat has been pulled down flat for protection from the sun and his serge breeches have been cut into a pair of shorts. Gradulaly even this basic uniform would be stripped down, earning the Aussies the nickname "The Naked Australians"

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A typical Kiwi "uniform" at the ill fated Gallipoli campaign, never afraid to bend the rules a little,this Kiwi has discarded his tunic in favour of shirt sleeves, the majority of his webbing is absent, with only p08 bandolier being apparent, his distinctive lemon squeezer hat offering protection from the sun and his serge breeches have been cut into a pair of shorts.

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A typical British "uniform" at the ill fated Gallipoli campaign, due to the heat at Gallipoli, the troops took to adaptins their uniforms, this British Lancashire Fusilier r has discarded his tunic in favour of shirt sleeves, the webbing is absent, his p05 hat has been adapted by adding a neck guard made from khaki material for protection from the sun and his serge trousers have been cut into a pair of shorts.

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WW1 British Army uniform " Gallipoli" 1915 WITH WEBBING-

A typical British "uniform" at the ill fated Gallipoli campaign, due to the heat at Gallipoli, the troops took to adapting their uniforms, this British Lancashire Fusilier has discarded his tunic in favour of shirt sleeves, the majority of his webbing is absent, with only ammo pouches, belt and cross straps being worn, his p05 hat has been adapted by adding a neck guard made from khaki material for protection from the sun and his serge trousers have been cut into a pair of shorts.

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German Webbing, Back View - History

Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

Excerpted from his book:
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

For what developments would a comprehensive explanation of the Holocaust have to account? For the extermination of the Jews to occur, four principal things were necessary:

1. The Nazis - that is, the leadership, specifically Hitler - had to decide to undertake the extermination.
2. They had to gain control over the Jews, namely over the territory in which they resided.
3. They had to organize the extermination and devote to it sufficient resources.
4. They had to induce a large number of people to carry out the killings.

The vast literature on Nazism and the Holocaust treats in great depth the first three elements, as well as others, such as the origins and character of Hitler's genocidal beliefs, and the Nazis' ascendancy to power. Yet, as I have already indicated, it has treated the last element, the focus of this book, perfunctorily and mainly by assumption. It is therefore important to discuss here some analytical and interpretive issues that are central to studying the perpetrators.

Owing to the neglect of the perpetrators in the study of the Holocaust, it is no surprise that the existing interpretations of them have been generally produced in a near empirical vacuum. Until recently, virtually no research has been done on the perpetrators, save on the leaders of the Nazi regime. In the last few years, some publications have appeared that treat one group or another, yet the state of our knowledge about the perpetrators remains deficient. We know little about many of the institutions of killing, little about many aspects of the perpetration of the genocide, and still less about the perpetrators themselves. As a consequence, popular and scholarly myths and misconceptions about the perpetrators abound, including the following. It is commonly believed that the Germans slaughtered Jews by and large in the gas chambers, and that without gas chambers, modern means of transportation, and efficient bureaucracies, the Germans would have been unable to kill millions of Jews. The belief persists that somehow only technology made horror on this scale possible. "Assembly-line killing" is one of the stock phrases in discussions of the event. It is generally believed that gas chambers, because of their efficiency (which is itself greatly overstated), were a necessary instrument for the genocidal slaughter, and that the Germans chose to construct the gas chambers in the first place because they needed more efficient means of killing the Jews. It has been generally believed by scholars (at least until very recently) and non-scholars alike that the perpetrators were primarily, overwhelmingly SS men, the most devoted and brutal Nazis. It has been an unquestioned truism (again until recently) that had a German refused to kill Jews, then he himself would have been killed, sent to a concentration camp, or severely punished. All of these views, views that fundamentally shape people's understanding of the Holocaust, have been held unquestioningly as though they were self-evident truths. They have been virtual articles of faith (derived from sources other than historical inquiry), have substituted for knowledge, and have distorted the way in which this period is understood.

The absence of attention devoted to the perpetrators is surprising for a host of reasons, only one of which is the existence of a now over-ten-year-long debate about the genesis of the initiation of the Holocaust, which has come to be called by the misnomer the "intentionalist-functionalist" debate. For better or worse, this debate has become the organizing debate for much of the scholarship on the Holocaust. Although it has improved our understanding of the exact chronology of the Germans' persecution and mass murder of the Jews, it has also, because of the terms in which it has been cast, confused the analysis of the causes of the Germans' policies (this is taken up in Chapter 4), and it has done next to nothing to increase our knowledge of the perpetrators. Of those who defined this debate and made its central early contributions, only one saw fit to ask the question, Why, once the killing began (however it did), did those receiving the orders to kill do so? It appears that for one reason or another, all the participants in the debate assumed that executing such orders was unproblematic for the actors, and unproblematic for historians and social scientists. The limited character of our knowledge, and therefore our understanding, of this period is highlighted by the simple fact that (however the category of "perpetrator" is defined) the number of people who were perpetrators is unknown. No good estimate, virtually no estimate of any kind, exists of the number of people who knowingly contributed to the genocidal killing in some intimate way. Scholars who discuss them, inexplicably, neither attempt such an estimate nor point out that this, a topic of such great significance, is an important gap in our knowledge. If ten thousand Germans were perpetrators, then the perpetration of the Holocaust, perhaps the Holocaust itself, is a phenomenon of one kind, perhaps the deed of a select, unrepresentative group. If five hundred thousand or one million Germans were perpetrators, then it is a phenomenon of another kind, perhaps best conceived as a German national project. Depending on the number and identity of the Germans who contributed to the genocidal slaughter, different sorts of questions, inquiries, and bodies of theory might be appropriate or necessary in order to explain it.

This dearth of knowledge, not only about the perpetrators but also about the functioning of their host institutions has not stopped some interpreters from making assertions about them - although the most striking fact remains how few even bother to address the subject, let alone take it up at length. Still, from the literature a number of conjectured explanations can be distilled, even if they are not always clearly specified or elaborated upon in a sustained manner. (In fact, strands of different explanations are frequently intermingled without great coherence.) Some of them have been proposed to explain the actions of the German people generally and, by extension, they would apply to the perpetrators as well. Rather than laying out what each interpreter has posited about the perpetrators, an analytical account is provided here of the major arguments, with references to leading exemplars of each one. The most important of them can be classified into five categories:

One explanation argues for external compulsion: the perpetrators were coerced. They were left, by the threat of punishment, with no choice but to follow orders. After all, they were part of military or police-like institutions, institutions with a strict chain of command, demanding subordinate compliance to orders, which should have punished insubordination severely, perhaps with death. Put a gun to anyone's head, so goes the thinking, and he will shoot others to save himself.

A second explanation conceives of the perpetrators as having been blind followers of orders. A number of proposals have been made for the source or sources of this alleged propensity to obey: Hitler's charisma (the perpetrators were, so to speak, caught in his spell), a general human tendency to obey authority, a peculiarly German reverence for and propensity to obey authority, or a totalitarian society's blunting of the individual's moral sense and its conditioning of him or her to accept all tasks as necessary. So a common proposition exists, namely that people obey authority, with a variety of accounts of why this is so. Obviously, the notion that authority, particularly state authority, tends to elicit obedience merits consideration.

A third explanation holds the perpetrators to have been subject to tremendous social psychological pressure, placed upon each one by his comrades and/or by the expectations that accompany the institutional roles that individuals occupy. It is, so goes the argument, extremely difficult for individuals to resist pressures to conform, pressures which can lead individuals to participate in acts which they on their own would not do, indeed would abhor. And a variety of psychological mechanisms are available for such people to rationalize their actions.

A fourth explanation sees the perpetrators as having been petty bureaucrats, or soulless technocrats, who pursued their self-interest or their technocratic goals and tasks with callous disregard for the victims. It can hold for administrators in Berlin as well as for concentration camp personnel. They all had careers to make, and because of the psychological propensity among those who are but cogs in a machine to attribute responsibility to others for overall policy, they could callously pursue their own careers or their own institutional or material interests. The deadening effects of institutions upon the sense of individual responsibility, on the one hand, and the frequent willingness of people to put their interests before those of others, on the other, need hardly be belabored.

A fifth explanation asserts that because tasks were so fragmented, the perpetrators could not understand what the real nature of their actions was they could not comprehend that their small assignments were actually part of a global extermination program. To the extent that they could, this line of thinking continues, the fragmentation of tasks allowed them to deny the importance of their own contributions and to displace responsibility for them onto others. When engaged in unpleasant or morally dubious tasks, it is well known that people have a tendency to shift blame to others.

The explanations can be reconceptualized in terms of their accounts of the actors' capacity for volition: The first explanation (namely coercion) says that the killers could not say "no." The second explanation (obedience) and the third (situational pressure) maintain that Germans were psychologically incapable of saying "no." The fourth explanation (self-interest) contends that Germans had sufficient personal incentives to kill in order not to want to say "no." The fifth explanation (bureaucratic myopia) claims that it never even occurred to the perpetrators that they were engaged in an activity that might make them responsible for saying "no."

Each of these conventional explanations may sound plausible, and some of them obviously contain some truth, so what is wrong with them? While each suffers from particular defects, which are treated at length in Chapter 15, they share a number of dubious common assumptions and features worth mentioning here.

The conventional explanations assume a neutral or condemnatory attitude on the part of the perpetrators towards their actions. They therefore premise their interpretations on the assumption that it must be shown how people can be brought to commit acts to which they would not inwardly assent, acts which they would not agree are necessary or just. They either ignore, deny, or radically minimize the importance of Nazi and perhaps the perpetrators' ideology, moral values, and conception of the victims, for engendering the perpetrators' willingness to kill. Some of these conventional explanations also caricature the perpetrators, and Germans in general. The explanations treat them as if they had been people lacking a moral sense, lacking the ability to make decisions and take stances. They do not conceive of the actors as human agents, as people with wills, but as beings moved solely by external forces or by transhistorical and invariant psychological propensities, such as the slavish following of narrow "self-interest." The conventional explanations suffer from two other major conceptual failings. They do not sufficiently recognize the extraordinary nature of the deed: the mass killing of people. They assume and imply that inducing people to kill human beings is fundamentally no different from getting them to do any other unwanted or distasteful task. Also, none of the conventional explanations deems the identity of the victims to have mattered. The conventional explanations imply that the perpetrators would have treated any other group of intended victims in exactly the same way. That the victims were Jews - according to the logic of these explanations - is irrelevant.

I maintain that any explanation that fails to acknowledge the actors' capacity to know and to judge, namely to understand and to have views about the significance and the morality of their actions, that fails to hold the actors' beliefs and values as central, that fails to emphasize the autonomous motivating force of Nazi ideology, particularly its central component of antisemitism, cannot possibly succeed in telling us much about why the perpetrators acted as they did. Any explanation that ignores either the particular nature of the perpetrators' actions - the systematic, large-scale killing and brutalizing of people - or the identity of the victims is inadequate for a host of reasons. All explanations that adopt these positions, as do the conventional explanations, suffer a mirrored, double failure of recognition of the human aspect of the Holocaust: the humanity of the perpetrators, namely their capacity to judge and to choose to act inhumanely, and the humanity of the victims, that what the perpetrators did, they did to these people with their specific identities, and not to animals or things.

My explanation - which is new to the scholarly literature on the perpetrators - is that the perpetrators, "ordinary Germans," were animated by antisemitism by a particular type of antisemitism that led them to conclude that the Jews ought to die. The perpetrators' beliefs, their particular brand of antisemitism, though obviously not the sole source, was, I maintain, a most significant and indispensable source of the perpetrators' actions and must be at the center of any explanation of them. Simply put, the perpetrators, having consulted their own convictions and morality and having judged the mass annihilation of Jews to be right, did not want to say "no."

Copyright © 1996 by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen All Rights Reserved

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is Assistant Professor of Government and Social Studies at Harvard University and an Associate of Harvard's Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. His doctoral dissertation, which is the basis for his book "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust," was awarded the American Political Science Association's 1994 Gabriel A. Almond Award for the best dissertation in the field of comparative politics.

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Vol.ى No.ف, 2005 The Russian Revolution of 1905: Change Through Struggle

  • Editorial
  • Pete Glatter, Introduction
  • The Road to Bloody Sunday (Introduced by Pete Glatter)
  • A Revolution Takes Shape (Introduced by Pete Glatter)
  • The Decisive Days (Introduced by Pete Glatter and Philip Ruff)
  • Rosa Luxemburg and the 1905 Revolution (Introduced by Mark Thomas)
  • Mike Haynes, Patterns of Conflict in the 1905 Revolution

Work in Progress

    , by Keith Flett , by Louis Proyect , by Sheila Lahr , by Harry Ratner , by Ian Birchall (with addendum by Ted Crawford) , by Ian Birchall , by Chris Gray , by Sheila Lahr , by David Renton

Germany Places Far-Right AfD Party Under Surveillance for Extremism

It is the first time in Germany’s postwar history that a party represented in the federal Parliament has elicited this level of scrutiny as a potential threat to democracy.

BERLIN — For the first time in its postwar history, Germany has placed its main opposition party under surveillance, one of the most dramatic steps yet by a Western democracy to protect itself from the onslaught of far-right forces that have upset politics from Europe to the United States.

The decision by the domestic intelligence agency will now allow it to tap phones and other communications and monitor the movements of members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, which not only sits in the Federal Parliament but has become entrenched at all levels of politics in nearly every part of the nation.

It is among the most sweeping efforts yet to deal with the rise of far-right and neo-Nazi political movements within Western democracies, which are attempting more vigorously to constrain, ostracize or even legally prosecute those elements to prevent them from chipping away at the foundations of democratic institutions.

News of the move came on the same day that France banned Generation Identity, a militant youth movement considered dangerous for its slick rebranding of neo-Nazi concepts, and as lawmakers in the European Parliament in Brussels forced the party of Hungary’s semi-authoritarian leader Viktor Orban out of the mainstream conservative group.

It also follows the impeachment hearing in Washington of former President Donald J. Trump over accusations that he incited the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, as well as rising concerns among Democrats and even U.S. law enforcement agencies about links between some Republican Party members and extremist or conspiracy groups like QAnon.

For Germany, the question of how to deal with the far right has particular urgency in an election year that will see Angela Merkel step down after 16 years as chancellor, a tenure in which she became a symbol of a Germany that has learned from its Nazi past and opened itself to refugees seeking shelter from conflict and persecution.


Because of Germany’s Nazi history and the fact that Hitler rose by democratic means before swiftly moving to abolish democracy, the country designed its postwar political structures with built-in safeguards to protect against the rise of political forces — primarily another Nazi party — that could once again usurp the democracy from the inside.

The domestic intelligence agency, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, is one of them. Its founding mission is to act as an early warning mechanism to protect the Constitution against budding threats.

“We take that mission very seriously,” Thomas Haldenwang, the president of the agency, said last year.

“We know from German history that far-right extremism didn’t just destroy human lives, it destroyed democracy,” he said. “Far-right extremism and far-right terrorism are currently the biggest danger for democracy in Germany.”

The Alternative for Germany, known by its German acronym AfD, the first far-right party to make it into Germany’s federal parliament since World War II, has become the most serious test for Germany’s postwar institutions yet.

The party won 13 percent of the vote in 2017, two years after Ms. Merkel welcomed over a million refugees into the country. During the pandemic, its support has shrunk to around 10 percent, but in Germany’s former Communist East it still scores twice that.

Despite noticeably radicalizing in recent years and closing ranks with neo-Nazis in street rallies, the AfD has pockets of support in state institutions like the police and the military, raising concerns about far-right infiltration at the heart of democracy.

AfD lawmakers routinely travel to Russia, where they are hosted at length by the foreign minister. They celebrated President Trump’s election and took photos with his ambassador during July 4 celebrations at the American embassy in Berlin. Stephen K. Bannon met the AfD leader Jörg Meuthen in 2019.

More recently, several AfD members expressed sympathy for the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “Trump is fighting the same political fight — you have to call it a culture war — as we in the Alternative for Germany are in Germany in opposition,” Martin Renner, an AfD lawmaker, wrote on Facebook. The post has since been deleted.

At home, AfD leaders accuse Muslim immigrants of being criminals, attack the press, and dismiss the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poo in history.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, AfD officials have taken part in demonstrations that have at times turned violent, including last year when protesters tried to force their way into the Parliament building in an act that now seems a harbinger of the violence that shook the Capitol in Washington in January.

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SecurityTrails DNS historical data

2. Spyse (free)

Spyse has a huge database of 4.5+ billion domains, 50+ million WHOIS records, and process 1 PB of data each month. Their free plan lets you retrieve up to 4 results. In terms of DNS history records, it can work great to find what you are needing. You can see history for A, AAAA, MX, CNAME, and TXT records.

3. Complete DNS (free)

Complete DNS is a great quick, easy, and free way to easily see changes on your nameservers, etc. They have over 2.2 billion nameserver change records. Note: They will limit you to 3 free lookups within a certain period of time.

4. (free)

WhoISrequest is a site we found that delivers a good view of a domain’s DNS history in regards to nameservers. In fact, they’ve been tracking nameserver changes since 2002. Note: They will limit you to 5 free lookups within a certain period of time.

5. DNS History (free)

DNS History has been crawling DNS records since 2009. Their database currently contains over 650 million domains and over 2 billion DNS records.

The data doesn’t seem to be as accurate in our opinion but can provide another good reference.

6. Domain Tools (premium)

We have always found what we need between the other free sites mentioned above. But if for some reason you can’t, there is also a premium service from Domain Tools in which you can order a “Hosting History” report. This allows you to view historical IP addresses, name servers, and registrars.

DomainTools hosting history report

7. (free) has a surprising amount of data available for free. As of writing this, they have over 364 million domains indexed. This website comes in handy for seeing really old nameserver records, along with domain ownership change history.



Located in central Europe, Germany is made up of the North German Plain, the Central German Uplands (Mittelgebirge), and the Southern German Highlands. The Bavarian plateau in the southwest averages 1,600 ft (488 m) above sea level, but it reaches 9,721 ft (2,962 m) in the Zugspitze Mountains, the highest point in the country. Germany's major rivers are the Danube, the Elbe, the Oder, the Weser, and the Rhine. Germany is about the size of Montana.


The Celts are believed to have been the first inhabitants of Germany. They were followed by German tribes at the end of the 2nd century B.C. German invasions destroyed the declining Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. One of the tribes, the Franks, attained supremacy in western Europe under Charlemagne, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800. By the Treaty of Verdun (843), Charlemagne's lands east of the Rhine were ceded to the German Prince Louis. Additional territory acquired by the Treaty of Mersen (870) gave Germany approximately the area it maintained throughout the Middle Ages. For several centuries after Otto the Great was crowned king in 936, German rulers were also usually heads of the Holy Roman Empire.

By the 14th century, the Holy Roman Empire was little more than a loose federation of the German princes who elected the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1438, Albert of Hapsburg became emperor, and for the next several centuries the Hapsburg line ruled the Holy Roman Empire until its decline in 1806. Relations between state and church were changed by the Reformation, which began with Martin Luther's 95 theses, and came to a head in 1547, when Charles V scattered the forces of the Protestant League at Mhlberg. The Counter-Reformation followed. A dispute over the succession to the Bohemian throne brought on the Thirty Years' War (1618?1648), which devastated Germany and left the empire divided into hundreds of small principalities virtually independent of the emperor.

The Rise of Bismarck and the Birth of the Second German Reich

Meanwhile, Prussia was developing into a state of considerable strength. Frederick the Great (1740?1786) reorganized the Prussian army and defeated Maria Theresa of Austria in a struggle over Silesia. After the defeat of Napolon at Waterloo (1815), the struggle between Austria and Prussia for supremacy in Germany continued, reaching its climax in the defeat of Austria in the Seven Weeks' War (1866) and the formation of the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation (1867). The architect of this new German unity was Otto von Bismarck, a conservative, monarchist, and militaristic Prussian prime minister. He unified all of Germany in a series of three wars against Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1870?1871). On Jan. 18, 1871, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. The North German Confederation was abolished, and the Second German Reich, consisting of the North and South German states, was born. With a powerful army, an efficient bureaucracy, and a loyal bourgeoisie, Chancellor Bismarck consolidated a powerful centralized state.

Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck in 1890 and embarked upon a ?New Course,? stressing an intensified colonialism and a powerful navy. His chaotic foreign policy culminated in the diplomatic isolation of Germany and the disastrous defeat in World War I (1914?1918). The Second German Empire collapsed following the defeat of the German armies in 1918, the naval mutiny at Kiel, and the flight of the kaiser to the Netherlands. The Social Democrats, led by Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann, crushed the Communists and established a moderate state, known as the Weimar Republic, with Ebert as president. President Ebert died on Feb. 28, 1925, and on April 26, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was elected president. The majority of Germans regarded the Weimar Republic as a child of defeat, imposed on a Germany whose legitimate aspirations to world leadership had been thwarted by a worldwide conspiracy. Added to this were a crippling currency debacle, a tremendous burden of reparations, and acute economic distress.

Adolf Hitler and WWII

Adolf Hitler, an Austrian war veteran and a fanatical nationalist, fanned discontent by promising a Greater Germany, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, restoration of Germany's lost colonies, and the destruction of the Jews, whom he scapegoated as the reason for Germany's downfall and depressed economy. When the Social Democrats and the Communists refused to combine against the Nazi threat, President von Hindenburg made Hitler the chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933. With the death of von Hindenburg on Aug. 2, 1934, Hitler repudiated the Treaty of Versailles and began full-scale rearmament. In 1935, he withdrew Germany from the League of Nations, and the next year he reoccupied the Rhineland and signed the Anti-Comintern pact with Japan, at the same time strengthening relations with Italy. Austria was annexed in March 1938. By the Munich agreement in Sept. 1938, he gained the Czech Sudetenland, and in violation of this agreement he completed the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. His invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, precipitated World War II.

Hitler established death camps to carry out ?the final solution to the Jewish question.? By the end of the war, Hitler's Holocaust had killed 6 million Jews, as well as Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, the handicapped, and others not fitting the Aryan ideal. After some dazzling initial successes in 1939?1942, Germany surrendered unconditionally to Allied and Soviet military commanders on May 8, 1945. On June 5 the four-nation Allied Control Council became the de facto government of Germany.

(For details of World War II and of the Holocaust, see Headline History, World War II .)

Post-War Germany Is Disarmed, Demilitarized, and Divided

At the Berlin (or Potsdam) Conference (July 17?Aug. 2, 1945) President Truman, Premier Stalin, and Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Britain set forth the guiding principles of the Allied Control Council: Germany's complete disarmament and demilitarization, destruction of its war potential, rigid control of industry, and decentralization of the political and economic structure. Pending final determination of territorial questions at a peace conference, the three victors agreed to the ultimate transfer of the city of Knigsberg (now Kaliningrad) and its adjacent area to the USSR and to the administration by Poland of former German territories lying generally east of the Oder-Neisse Line. For purposes of control, Germany was divided into four national occupation zones.

The Western powers were unable to agree with the USSR on any fundamental issues. Work of the Allied Control Council was hamstrung by repeated Soviet vetoes and finally, on March 20, 1948, Russia walked out of the council. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Britain had taken steps to merge their zones economically (Bizone) on May 31, 1948, the U.S., Britain, France, and the Benelux countries agreed to set up a German state comprising the three Western zones. The USSR reacted by clamping a blockade on all ground communications between the Western zones and West Berlin, an enclave in the Soviet zone. The Western allies countered by organizing a gigantic airlift to fly supplies into the beleaguered city. The USSR was finally forced to lift the blockade on May 12, 1949.

Federal Republic of Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany was proclaimed on May 23, 1949, with its capital at Bonn. In free elections, West German voters gave a majority in the constituent assembly to the Christian Democrats, with the Social Democrats largely making up the opposition. Konrad Adenauer became chancellor, and Theodor Heuss of the Free Democrats was elected the first president.

Democratic Republic of Germany

The East German states adopted a more centralized constitution for the Democratic Republic of Germany, put into effect on Oct. 7, 1949. The USSR thereupon dissolved its occupation zone but Soviet troops remained. The Western allies declared that the East German Republic was a Soviet creation undertaken without self-determination and refused to recognize it. Soviet forces created a state controlled by the secret police with a single party, the Socialist Unity (Communist) Party.

Agreements in Paris in 1954 giving the Federal Republic full independence and complete sovereignty came into force on May 5, 1955. Under the agreement, West Germany and Italy became members of the Brussels treaty organization created in 1948 and renamed the Western European Union. West Germany also became a member of NATO. In 1955, the USSR recognized the Federal Republic. The Saar territory, under an agreement between France and West Germany, held a plebiscite, and despite economic links to France, elected to rejoin West Germany on Jan. 1, 1957.

The division between West Germany and East Germany was intensified when the Communists erected the Berlin Wall in 1961. In 1968, the East German Communist leader, Walter Ulbricht, imposed restrictions on West German movements into West Berlin. The Soviet-bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia in Aug. 1968 added to the tension. West Germany signed a treaty with Poland in 1970, renouncing force and setting Poland's western border at the Oder-Neisse Line. It subsequently resumed formal relations with Czechoslovakia in a pact that ?voided? the Munich treaty that gave Nazi Germany the Sudetenland. By 1973, normal relations were established between East and West Germany and the two states entered the United Nations.

West German chancellor Willy Brandt, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize for his foreign policies, was forced to resign in 1974 when an East German spy was discovered to be one of his top staff members. Succeeding him was a moderate Social Democrat, Helmut Schmidt. Schmidt staunchly backed U.S. military strategy in Europe, staking his political fate on placing U.S. nuclear missiles in Germany unless the Soviet Union reduced its arsenal of intermediate missiles. He also strongly opposed nuclear-freeze proposals.

Berlin Wall Falls, Germany Reunifies

Helmut Kohl of the Christian Democrat Party became chancellor in 1982. An economic upswing in 1986 led to Kohl's reelection. The fall of the Communist government in East Germany left only Soviet objections to German reunification to be dealt with. On the night of Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall was dismantled, making reunification all but inevitable. In July 1990, Kohl asked Soviet leader Gorbachev to drop his objections in exchange for financial aid from (West) Germany. Gorbachev agreed, and on Oct. 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic acceded to the Federal Republic, and Germany became a united and sovereign state for the first time since 1945.

A reunited Berlin serves as the official capital of unified Germany, although the government continued to have administrative functions in Bonn during the 12-year transition period. The issues of the cost of reunification and the modernization of the former East Germany were serious considerations facing the reunified nation.

Centrist Gerhard Schroder Elected Chancellor

In its most important election in decades, on Sept. 27, 1998, Germans chose Social Democrat Gerhard Schrder as chancellor over Christian Democrat incumbent Helmut Kohl, ending a 16-year-long rule that oversaw the reunification of Germany and symbolized the end of the cold war in Europe. A centrist, Schrder campaigned for ?the new middle? and promised to rectify Germany's high unemployment rate of 10.6%.

Tension between the old-style left-wing and the more pro-business pragmatists within Schrder's government came to a head with the abrupt resignation of finance minister Oskar Lafontaine in March 1999, who was also chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party. Lafontaine's plans to raise taxes?already nearly the highest in the world?on industry and on German wages went against the more centrist policies of Schrder. Hans Eichel was chosen to become the next finance minister.

Germany joined the other NATO allies in the military conflict in Kosovo in 1999. Before the Kosovo crisis, Germans had not participated in an armed conflict since World War II. Germany agreed to take 40,000 Kosovar refugees, the most of any NATO country.

In Dec. 1999, former chancellor Helmut Kohl and other high officials in the Christian Democrat Party (CDU) admitted accepting tens of millions of dollars in illegal donations during the 1980s and 1990s. The enormity of the scandal led to the virtual dismemberment of the CDU in early 2000, a party that had long been a stable conservative force in German politics.

In July 2000, Schrder managed to pass significant tax reforms that would lower the top income-tax rate from 51% to 42% by 2005. He also eliminated the capital-gains tax on companies selling shares in other companies, a measure that was expected to spur mergers. In May 2001, the German Parliament authorized the payment of $4.4 billion in compensation to 1.2 million surviving Nazi-era slave laborers.

Schrder was narrowly reelected in Sept. 2002, defeating conservative businessman Edmund Stoiber. Schrder's Social Democrats and coalition partner, the Greens, won a razor-thin majority in Parliament. Schrder's deft handling of Germany's catastrophic floods in August and his tough stance against U.S. plans for a preemptive attack on Iraq buoyed him in the weeks leading up to the election. Germany's continued reluctance to support the U.S. call for military action against Iraq severely strained its relations with Washington.

Germany's Unemployment Rate Reaches 12%

Germany's recession continued in 2003: for the previous three years, Europe's biggest economy had the lowest growth rate among EU countries. In Aug. 2003, Schrder unfurled an ambitious fiscal-reform package and called his proposal ?the most significant set of structural reforms in the social history of Germany.? Schrder's reforms, however, did little to rejuvenate the economy and angered many Germans, accustomed to their country's generous social welfare programs. His reforms reduced national health insurance and cut unemployment benefits at a time when unemployment had reached an alarming 12%.

National elections in Sept. 2005 ended in a deadlock: the conservative CDU/CSU and its leader, Angela Merkel, received 35.2% and Gerhard Schrder's SPD garnered 34.3%. After weeks of wrangling to form a governing coalition, the first left-right ?grand coalition? in Germany in 36 years was cobbled together, and on Nov. 22, Merkel became Germany's first female chancellor. During her first year, Merkel showed strong leadership in international relations, but her domestic economic reform agenda has stalled. Her first major initiative, reforming the health care system, was widely viewed as ineffectual.

Germany Takes Major Role in Managing Euro Debt Crisis

Germany was hit hard by the global financial crisis in late 2008 and 2009. In October 2008, the government financed a $68 billion bailout of one of the country's largest banks, Hypo Real Estate, to prevent it from collapse. That was followed in February 2009 with a $63 billion stimulus package to help lift the battered economy out of recession.

Merkel earned another four-year term as chancellor in September 2009 elections. Her party, the Christian Democrats, formed a governing coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats. President Kohler was reelected in 2009. He resigned in May 2010 after his statement that a country of Germany's size sometimes must justify troop deployment abroad to protect its economic interests sparked controversy and outrage. He was replaced by Christian Wulff.

Germany learned during the debt crisis of 2010 and 2011 that responsibility comes with holding the mantle as Europe's largest economy. Indeed, Merkel faced criticism in early 2010 for her delay in seeking parliamentary approval of a bailout package for Greece, which was teetering on the brink of financial collapse. International observers remarked that she should have acted sooner she was criticized by voters for coming to the rescue of another country. Nevertheless, parliament approved a 22.4 billion euro bailout for Greece in May 2010. Voters expressed their displeasure with Germany's contribution at the polls?Merkel lost her majority in the upper house of parliament in May when her coalition lost regional elections in North-Rhine Westphalia. That defeat was followed by another in March 2011 in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Germany's parliament approved a plan to increase the euro-zone's bail-out fund in September 2011, and that was followed in late October with the agreement by the leaders of the euro zone of a wider package meant to bring Europe's debt crisis under control.

Christian Wulff resigned as president in February 2012 to face a corruption inquiry. Despite objections by Merkel, Parliament approved Joachim Gauck, a Lutheran pastor from East Germany, as his successor. Gauck was the preferred candidate of the opposition and one of Merkel's coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party. His election was seen as a rebuke to the chancellor.

New Island Emerges Off the Coast

A new island has emerged from the North Sea, off the coast of Germany, located sixteen miles from the German state, Schleswig Holstein. The 34 acre island has been named Norderoogsand, but it is being referred to as Bird Island because many birds, including sea gulls, grey geese, ducks, and peregrine falcons have been found there nesting or feeding. Forty-nine plant species have also been found on the island.

The island appeared slowly over a ten year period from 2003 through 2013. The land mass emerged due to tidal action, not global warming. The island?s appearance surprised scientists because that area of the North Sea has strong winds and shifting tides.

Merkel Elected to a Third Term Spying Scandals Sour Relationship with U.S.

Angela Merkel
Source: Amel Emric for Associated Press

Merkel was elected to a third four-year term in September 2013. Her performance at the polls exceeded expectations. Her center-right Christian Democrats and sister party Christian Social Union in Bavaria won 311 seats out of 630 in the lower house of parliament?the best showing since unification. The resounding victory confirmed Merkel's position as the strongest leader in Europe. Another coalition partner, the Free Democrats, however, was ousted from parliament, garnering less than 5% of the vote. After five weeks of talks, the chancellor's Christian Democrats formed a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democrats in November. Together they will hold 80% of the seats. As part of the negotiations, the Christian Democrats adopted policies to the left of the party's. For example, they agreed to lower the retirement age from 67 to 63 for some workers and implement the country's first national minimum wage of ?8.50 ($11.50). Germany had allowed unions and companies negotiate and set wages by industry.

In October, NSA documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden revealed that the agency had tapped Merkel's cellphone for about 10 years, beginning in 2002. Outraged, she called U.S. president Barack Obama, who apologized and promised that such activity would not continue. The incident soured the relationship between the normally close allies. Ties were further strained in July 2104, amid reports that the U.S. hired a clerk at Germany's intelligence agency to steal hundreds of documents. Days later, German officials announced they believe they had uncovered a second spy working for the U.S. In response, Germany expelled the CIA station chief from Berlin.

The tables were turned in August 2014, when news reports said Germany has made a practice of spying on Turkey. Turkey demanded an explanation. Germany neither confirmed nor denied the allegation.

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A revisionist view of the history of German Darwinism examines the translation of Darwin's work and its early reception in Germany.

The German translation of Darwin's The Origin of Species appeared in 1860, just months after the original, thanks to Heinrich Georg Bronn, a distinguished German paleontologist whose work in some ways paralleled Darwin's. Bronn's version of the book (with his own notes and commentary appended) did much to determine how Darwin's theory was understood and applied by German biologists, for the translation process involved more than the mere substitution of German words for English. In this book, Sander Gliboff tells the story of how The Origin of Species came to be translated into German, how it served Bronn's purposes as well as Darwin's, and how it challenged German scholars to think in new ways about morphology, systematics, paleontology, and other biological disciplines. Gliboff traces Bronn's influence on German Darwinism through the early career of Ernst Haeckel, Darwin's most famous nineteenth-century proponent and popularizer in Germany, who learned his Darwinism from the Bronn translation. Gliboff argues, contrary to most interpretations, that the German authors were not attempting to “tame” Darwin or assimilate him to outmoded systems of romantic Naturphilosophie. Rather, Bronn and Haeckel were participants in Darwin's project of revolutionizing biology. We should not, Gliboff cautions, read pre-Darwinian meanings into Bronn's and Haeckel's Darwinian words. Gliboff describes interpretive problems faced by Bronn and Haeckel that range from the verbal (how to express Darwin's ideas in the existing German technical vocabulary) to the conceptual. One of these conceptual problems, the origins of novel variation and the proper balance between creativity and constraint in evolution, emerges as crucial. Evolutionists today, Gliboff points out, continue to grapple with comparable questions—continuing a larger process of translation and interpretation of Darwin's work




Sander Gliboff


Gliboff's superb and very accessible study is highly recommended for everyone with a serious interest in the history of evolution.

Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

In the course of this short book, Gliboff presents a fascinating account of German natural history prior to Darwin as well as a detailed analysis of Bronn's job as translator. This book will interest biologists, historians of science, and translators in any field.


Ernst Haeckel is often portrayed as having perverted Darwinian theory and beguiled several generations with his polemical efforts at popularizing the Englishman's ideas. Sander Gliboff aggressively corrects this distorted image of Haeckel's accomplishments and resets them within a biology that shed its fustian transcendentalism for more stylish modern dress. He thereby dexterously measures Haeckel up to Darwin's own standards, despite the assumptions of miscreant historians to the contrary. In his renovative account of H. G. Bronn, Darwin's translator, and his vigorous defense of Haeckel, Gliboff flashes his vorpal blade at scholars of stature and of craft, charging his book with the excitement of competitive history.

Morris Fishbein Professor of the History of Science, University of Chicago

Gliboff resurrects Bronn's and Haeckel's importance in the process of translating and transforming Darwin's theory for a German audience, and emphasizes the manifold ways their work helped to shape late nineteenth century biology. This beautifully written and well argued work makes a significant contribution to both Darwin scholarship and to the history ofmodern biology.

Watch the video: WW2 German Uniform Webbing How it was equipped and worn