chapter  4
9 Pages

Problems of Economic and Social Development

Historians after 1945 turned only with hesitation to problems of economic and especially social development in Weimar Germany. Until the 1960s the main interest was in political history, parties, state institutions and political crises. Themes of social history were seldom treated, a work such as L. Preller's of 1949 [531] remaining an exception. If the social history of the Weimar Republic was for a long time overshadowed by party-political history or the analysis of crises, this was no doubt partly because, with the end of Weimar and the Nazi seizure of power, a particular line of research was abruptly broken off : namely, a historically oriented social science, which had begun to develop a set of tools for the investigation of questions of social history, making use of the 'young' disciplines of sociology and political science, in the tradition of Lujo Brentano and Max Weber. Hence in Germany after 1945 there was far less continuity in the field of social history than of political history; institutional conditions were less favourable, and methodical training was much less in evidence. Thus it was certainly no accident that the decisive stimulus towards the treatment of Weimar social history came first of all from other Western countries, especially the USA. Later, during the 1960s, German historians began to devote their attention to economic and social problems of the Weimar Republic.