Browsing Senior Theses by Author "Abken, Elise"
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Results Per Page
- ItemReorienting the Land of the Middle: German Reflections after the First World War(2013) Abken, Elise; Schönherr, Ulrich; Gerstein, LindaFollowing the First World War, perceptions of social instability and loss of faith in progress prompted pervasive fears of Western decline. In Germany, anticipation of decline combined with the loss of the First World War, reparation demands, the occupation of the Ruhr Valley by France and Belgium, inflation, unemployment and the harsh conditions of industrial life. Consequently, Germans felt estranged from the West and turned to the East for an alternative to Western life and hope for the future. German fascination with the East in the 1920s was inextricably intertwined with cultural anxiety and politics. The political Left in Germany looked to the Russian Revolution for revolutionary encouragement; the Right upheld a cultural definition of the East that promised regeneration. In my thesis, I aim to describe what alternatives to Western life the Germans saw in their images of the East. I argue that by conceptualizing Germany as Eastern, German nationalists sought to distance Germany from the declining West.