Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Germany in 30 Seconds

Leader: Kaiser William II

Politics: Germany only became a country in 1871, when the German Empire was proclaimed. Previous to unification it was a collection of small principalities and cities, dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire, lead by the Hapsburg family. Prussia, under Otto von Bismark fought a series wars between 1864 and 1871 to unify Germany under Prussian control. From 1871 until the establishment of the Wiemar Republic at the end of WWI Germany will be dominated by military powers and the aristocratic landowners.

A new sense of German nationalism is also growing during this time. It is grounded in several ideas. The first is that this German Empire is the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire, a loose federation of central European states during the Middle Ages. Thus it is the Second Reich (Empire). German nationalism is also strongly anti-Semitic. It is also rooted in a long-standing distaste for the French.

Religion: Northern Germany is dominated by Lutherans, while the south is predominantly Catholic. There is small Jewish population concentrated in the major cities. This is the period of “Victorian Christianity” with a focus on proper appearance and etiquette, but lacking the deep religious convictions of earlier times. All kinds of sexuality, but especially homosexuality, are often violently repressed.  It is at this time that the philosopher Frederich Nietzsche declares, “God is dead.” If you can think of the worst time to be a teenager exploring their sexuality, it’s this period.

* An exercise in dramaturgy: the art of cramming an entire unit of AP Euro knowledge into a one-page summary so actors can better understand the context of the show without having to do hours of research on their own. Bonus points if you can figure out what musical this selection is for.


Anonymous said...

I know which, but I'm cheating.... Also I had no idea that was the setting/time period because I know nothing about anything anymore

Michelle said...

History has more uses than people think!