James Retallack

Red Saxony

Election Battles and the Spectre of Democracy in Germany, 1860 to 1918

Oxford University Press 2017

New Books in European StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 12, 2018 Ryan Stackhouse

How can political modernization reinforce authoritarianism? What brought middle-class liberals and conservative monarchists to make common cause in late 19th- and early 20th-century Germany?...

How can political modernization reinforce authoritarianism? What brought middle-class liberals and conservative monarchists to make common cause in late 19th- and early 20th-century Germany? How did a political culture defined by anti-socialism and anti-semitism emerge? In his new book Red Saxony: Election Battles and the Spectre of Democracy in Germany, 1860 to 1918 (Oxford University Press, 2017), James Retallack uses a regional lens to rethink assumptions about Germany’s changing political culture over the span of six decades. By tracing election battles and suffrage debates, Jim illuminates a reciprocal relationship between political modernization and authoritarianism with important implications for the present day.

Jim Retallack is a Professor of History and German Studies at University of Toronto. He has authored and edited a number of books about German nationalism, anti-Semitism, elections, and historiography. Retallack is also the general editor of Oxford Studies in Modern European History and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. A website of supplementary visuals, maps, and statistics for Red Saxony can be found here.


Ryan Stackhouse is a historian of Europe who specializes in modern Germany and political policing under dictatorship. His research exploring Gestapo enforcement practices toward different social groups is nearing completion under the working title Policing Hitler’s Critics. He also cohosts the Third Reich History Podcast and can be reached at [email protected] or @Staxomatix.

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