In the Shadow of the Empire

The foundation of the German Empire in 1871 and its complicated legacy

A masterful analysis of the founding of the German state and the ambiguities of the Empire

On January 18, 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, the King of Prussia was crowned the Kaiser of Germany, and the German Empire was born. Over the following years, the “Nationalstaat” took shape, the meaning and legacy of which are more debated today than they have been in previous decades.
How socially modern was the Empire? To what extent was it anti-democratic, anti-Semitic, and exclusionary of minorities? What conditions from 1871 set the course to Verdun and later to Auschwitz? Do the foreign policies of the Berlin Republic take their bearings from the power politics of the Empire? How should modern Germany view its political predecessor?

Eckart Conze’s sharply conceived and brilliantly executed analysis provides answers to these questions, illuminating the background of our current social and remembrance policy debates, and takes a firm stand: “There is nothing to celebrate. The Empire belongs in the museum!”

  • Professor Eckart Conze is one of Germany’s leading modern historians
  • Books by the Spiegel bestseller author are seen as standard references
  • For readers of Christopher Clark, Herfried Münkler and Thomas Karlauf


dtv Sachbuch
288 pages, ISBN 978-3-423-28256-7
18. September 2020