GERMAN GREAT–POWER RELATIONS IN THE PAGES OF SIMPLICISSIMUS, 1896–1914*

Authors


  • *

    I would like to thank two of my graduate students, Veit Bachmann for help translating Simplicissimus into modern, colloquial English, and Tracey Hayes for her exploration of the artistic elements of Simplicissimus, as well as my colleague in history at Texas A&M University R. J. Q. Adams for sharing his unparalleled knowledge of the British Edwardian period. The remaining errors are of my making, not theirs! I also thank the Simplicissimus On-Line Projekt, a Joint Undertaking of the Deutschen Literaturarchivs Marbach, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek/Klassik Stiftung Weimar, and the Institut für Germanistische und Allgemeine Literaturwissenschaft der RWTH Aachen, for permission to reprint material from its Web site.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. Wilhelmine Germany had a powerful economy and, after 1898, began construction of a fleet to challenge Great Britain's global power. This article analyses Germany's cultural “will to power” in the period through the eyes of the avant-garde, Munich-published weekly magazine Simplicissimus as it examined the series of security crises between 1896 and the outbreak of war in 1914. The magazine was no fan of Wilhelmine militarism, its principal artist having been jailed for criticism of the kaiser, but it showed a deep support for Germany's rise to power on moral grounds. Many illustrations dealt with global power projection through the navy and the need for a suitable security partner within Europe. Its illustrators depicted Great Britain as an immoral world power only Germany might check and France as its preferred security partner to keep Europe at peace.

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