Becker, Winfried: Georg von Hertling 1843-1919, Bd. 1
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Becker, Winfried: Georg von Hertling 1843–1919.
Bd. I: Jugend und Selbstfindung zwischen Romantik und Kulturkampf, Mainz 1981

(Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Zeitgeschichte, Reihe B: Forschungen, Bd. 31)

Winfried Becker: Georg von Hertling 1843–1919. Bd. I: Jugend und Selbstfindung zwischen Romantik und Kulturkampf.

Winfried Becker: Georg von Hertling 1843–1919. Bd. I: Jugend und Selbstfindung zwischen Romantik und Kulturkampf.

The German Reich Chancellor of 1917/1918, Georg Count von Hertling (1843–1919), was one of Catholic Germany’s great personalities in the Bismarckian Empire. As a philosophy professor in Bonn and Munich, he represented a brand of theism that radiated to all walks of life. Founder of the Görres Society in 1876 and its president for decades, he stood simultaneously for a conservative and modern orientation of German Catholicism. As a Center Party Reichstag deputy since 1875 and finally as Bavarian minister-president from 1912–1917, he attained a leading political position in Germany.

Yet until now, there has been no biography of this important figure. The present volume I covers the years 1843 to 1882. Winfried Becker situates the formative first phase of Hertling’s life within the broader intellectual and political history of the 19th century. In this way, the author documents Hertling’s rise to become one of the leading figures in German Catholicism. The stages of his education reach from the clacissism of Goethe’s age, which influenced his parental home, to the nationalist cultural conceptions of the Bismarck period, which drove the young scholar into political opposition.

From an early date, Hertling constantly engaged the intellectual currents of the day. These discussions provide an insightful view into the genesis of that intellectually, socially, and politically distinct entity »German Catholicism in the 19th century,« as well as changes in Hertling’s awareness of issues and his self-understanding. Hertling opposed the ideological claims of skepticism, materialism, and Darwinism, as well as their influence on state and society. His form of Catholic self-defense made essential contributions to the timely reassertion of Christianity’s position.

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