This book provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the major political thinkers of modern Germany. It includes chapters on the works of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, Franz Neumann, Otto Kirchheimer, Jurgen Habermas and Niklas Luhmann. These works are examined in their social and historical contexts, ranging from the period of Bismarck to the present day. A clear picture is presented of the connections between individual theoretical positions and the general political conditions of modern Germany. Areas of political history covered in particular depth include nineteenth-century legal and parliamentary history, aspects of German liberalism, Weimar social democracy, political Catholicism, Adenauer and Erhard, Brandt's reforms and the Tendenzwende of the late 1970s. By closely linking intellectual and political history, this work examines how recent German political theory has developed as a set of varying responses to recurring aspects and problems of political life in modern Germany.
At the same time, it addresses the philosophical and political implications of the works which it treats, and it critically examines how modern German political theory has contributed to broader attempts to theorize political legitimacy and politics itself. This book will be of interest to students of political theory, German studies and European political history.
Chris Thornhill lectures on German political theory and critical theory at Kinga s College, London.