This book examines the development of the modern idea of militarism from its inception in the 1860s until the outbreak of World War I. Often regarded as the archetypical militarist state, imperial Germany in fact witnessed a major controversy over the issue, which became a touchstone of political opposition. Issues like the arms race and the military-industrial complex displaced more traditional concerns about authoritarian rule, and militarism gradually acquired its modern meaning. The book is part of a wider discovery by historians of the way political identities and ideas intermeshed, contributing to the rise of civil society and new types of politics in modern Europe. The political history of the main protagonist of anti-militarism, German social democracy, is cast in a new light, as Nicholas Stargardt reveals the lasting influence of older radical traditions and reappraises the role played by its espousal of Marxism.
"The book is based on a wide variety of excellent sources, some in archives not usually consulted, such as the Brandenburg provincial archives, Potsdam, or the protocols of the Social Democratic party congresses. The notes are complete and useful. It is clearly written..." Central European History "Stargardt has written a very solid monograph on an important topic, filled with useful and even surprising information." Laird M. Easton, German Book Reviews "...Nicholas Stargardt, author of The German Idea of Militarism, merits considerable praise. Stargardt goes classical intellectual history one better, however, by connecting the metamorphosis of the idea itself to physical as well as intellectual developments. ...the book is guranteed to stimulate the informed general reader and provide graduate seminars with ample material for any number of lively discussion." Antulio J. Echevarria, II, Jrnl of Military History