Recommend to your Librarian

Twentieth-Century German Political Thought

Peter M. R. Stirk

Paperback i (Printed to Order)
Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

Germany, as Europe's most powerful state, has a political significance which underlines the importance of twentieth-century German political thought. Yet this tradition has been poorly represented in academic literature. This book offers:
  • an account of German political thought emphasising its diversity and contested nature
  • an overview of the subject that allows access to relatively unknown figures as well as the 'names' of the tradition (Weber, Schmitt, Arendt, Habermas)
  • a demonstration of the political significance of figures better known in other disciplines including law and sociology

The book is organised chronologically, with a series of recurrent themes providing analytic unity: (i) the nature of politics (including political vocation and leadership, and definitions of politics), (ii) collective identity, (iii) the rule of law, (iv) the role of the state, (v) the role of political parties and the nature of parliamentary democracy, (vi) state intervention in society and the economy, and (vii) the international order. Pedagogical features include a glossary of German terms and a substantial set of biographical notes identifying the major theorists referred to in the text.

Key Features:

  • Challenges established perceptions by presenting German political thought as a contested tradition
  • Presents a rich picture of German political thought by covering a wide range of theorists
  • Its broad chronological range provides the first overview of 20th-century German political thought in one volume


1. On the threshold of modernity: from the turn of the century to 1918
2. Political Though in Contested Democracies
3. Political thought in the Third Reich
4. The ideas of the exiles
5. Refounding the democratic order
6. Years of dissent: from the 1960s to the Tendenzwende
7. The challenges of modernity, globalization and reunification
Biographical notes

About the Author

Peter M. R. Stirk is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Durham University. His publications include The Politics of Military Occupation (Edinburgh University Press, 2009) and Twentieth-Century German Political Thought (Edinburgh University Press, 2006).


Stirk’s survey of twentieth-century German political thought is both timely and well-conceived … no existing volume known to this reader does what Stirk proposes both in terms of breadth and thematic scope.
- Professor William E. Scheuerman, Indiana University