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Beyond Glitter and Doom: The Contingency of the Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic has received more attention in academic research and popular culture than almost any other period in German history. Nevertheless, its prevailing historical image remains surprisingly simplistic: it is often seen as an era of accelerated cultural progress on the one hand and extreme political unrest, social upheaval and economic crisis on the other, a view epitomized in the ubiquitous image of the ‘dance on the volcano’. This volume aims to move the discussion beyond this limited dichotomy. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, from Weimar’s legal framework to musical theatre, challenging hitherto accepted views in their respective fields. Despite their thematic range and differences in approach, the contributions are united by the common theme of contingency. They propose the idea of Weimar’s historical ‘openness’, reflected in the period’s pluralism, as a counter-narrative to the image of the first German democracy as a moribund mixture of modernist glitter and socio-economic doom.

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