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The Rise of Anglo-German Antagonism 1860-1914 Paperback – 19 Apr 1980

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 618 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (19 April 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157392301X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573923019
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.3 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Paul M. Kennedy is J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University. He regularly publishes in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and many other periodicals and scholarly journals. The author of thirteen books, he is perhaps best known for The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. His most recent publication (2006) is The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lets get the housekeeping out of the way first. This is a very in-depth study of the subject that requires a reasonable knowledge of both the period, political background in both countries and the more prominent political and cultural figures. It is not a book for the beginner. Having said that, it is written without pretence, in clear, straightforward prose and without any attempt either to talk down to the reader or use language that does not make either the subject or the arguments comprehensible.

The book is broken down into three chronological sections studying political relations between 1860-1880, 1880-1906 and then the deteriorating period prior to WW1. Interspersed between are two sections that draw together the political background by examining the roles of public opinion; the debates within the various political groupings and parties; the role of the press, religious and cultural attitudes and the monarchy. Both the Kaiser who held a position of great authority and power within the German political structure and Queen Victoria and Edward VII were of significant presence and influence within their own structures of power. There is in-depth examination of the diplomatic principles, private opinions, attempts to use and manipulate the press and influence party and public opinion.

In some ways the arguments in this book are very obvious and easy to follow.
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Format: Paperback
Twenty-one years after it was first published, this still looks like the best account of why Britain and Germany grew ever more at odds with each other in the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Kennedy's fundamental point is that, with Britain an established world power and Germany becoming stronger and more ambitious as time passed, the antagonism was all but inevitable. One power wanted to preserve the status quo, or allow only modest changes; the other wanted its "place in the sun" and, after Bismarck's departure, pursued its goals with alarming single-mindedness, not to say pushy aggressiveness. If Germany ended up with an encircling Anglo-Franco-Russian alliance around it, it basically had itself to blame. Perhaps a more liberal and less divided German society and a more inclusive post-1870 political settlement would have made a difference. Or perhaps, as one historian once suggested to me, "the basic problem was that Germany was too big for Europe".
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Professor Kennedy has produced a series of books, the best known of which are 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' and 'The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery'. This lesser known study is an essential adjunct to these major works and addresses, in more detail, a period that was critical to both Great Britain and Germany within the context of his historical overview. In my own work, 'The Lion and the Eagle', I have been greatly indebted to Paul Kennedy's books. Together with Marder, Hough, and Rodger, amongst others, he provides all the basic facts and assessments that other historians continue to use, and toss around in their various arguements. Read 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' first; then 'The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery'. Then this.
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