Historian Michael H. Kater chronicles the rise and fall of one of Germany’s most iconic cities in this fascinating and surprisingly provocative history of Weimar. Weimar was a center of the arts during the Enlightenment and hence the cradle of German culture in modern times. Goethe and Schiller made their reputations here, as did Franz Liszt and the young Richard Strauss. In the early twentieth century, the Bauhaus school was founded in Weimar. But from the 1880s on, the city also nurtured a powerful right-wing reactionary movement, and fifty years later, a repressive National Socialist regime dimmed Weimar’s creative lights, transforming the onetime artists’ utopia into the capital of its first Nazified province and constructing the Buchenwald death camp on its doorstep.
Kater’s richly detailed volume offers the first complete history of Weimar in any language, from its meteoric eighteenth-century rise up from obscurity through its glory days of unbridled creative expression to its dark descent back into artistic insignificance under Nazi rule and, later, Soviet occupation and beyond.