Mark Allinson. Germany and Austria, 1814-2000. London and New York: Edward Arnold Publishers, 2002. 214 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-340-76022-2.
Reviewed by Peter Barker (Department of German Studies, University of Reading)
Published on H-German (October, 2003)
As the title makes clear, this volume is specifically aimed at undergraduate courses in German Studies in the United Kingdom in which modern German history forms part of the course. The situation in U.K. universities is such that the historical elements of a German Studies course usually have to be taught within the German department or section, either because there are no colleagues within the History department who are able or willing to teach such a course, or because the history course is embedded in the German course in such a way that it has to be taught by Germanists who may be linking the historical elements to other parts of the German course, such as a study of literary or social texts.
Mark Allinson's volume is therefore to be very much welcomed by colleagues in the United Kingdom and presumably in other English-speaking countries where a similar situation prevails. In just over two hundred pages Allinson provides a highly readable and authoritative overview of German and Austrian history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Austrian specialists will be particularly pleased that Austria has been given its own sections in each chapter, albeit somewhat shorter than the German parts, since many similar textbooks very often only include Austrian history when it impinges directly on the general development of German history.
Each section, which follows the traditional chronological cut-off points, is divided up into an historical overview, after 1871 with separate sections on Austria, two or three relevant documents in German, and a number of topics for discussion or further research, some of which have a linguistic element. In each chapter there are useful maps and short inserts defining particular terms such as fascism or voelkisch, to take the 1933-45 chapter as an example. The final chapter takes the whole period from Ostpolitik in 1969 to the post-unification period up to 2000 and concentrates on the process of developing relations between the two German states resulting in unification. As a result the section on 1990 to 2000 is rather brief, and I for one would have preferred a longer section with more documents from the unification treaties. Inevitably, however, in a book with limited space some areas are going to fall short. I would imagine that most teachers would take this textbook as their starting point and supplement with their own material, as and when required. But I certainly have found it very useful in teaching what must be a similar first-year undergraduate course to that in Bristol. I would certainly recommend it as an introductory book for first-year students alongside those by Mary Fulbrook and the standard, up-dated, William Carr history.
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Peter Barker. Review of Allinson, Mark, Germany and Austria, 1814-2000.
H-German, H-Net Reviews.
Copyright © 2003 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews editorial staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.