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Red SaxonyElection Battles and the Spectre of Democracy in Germany, 1860-1918$
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James Retallack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199668786

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199668786.001.0001

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(p.537) 13 Adrift
Red Saxony

James Retallack

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Imperial Germany’s final half-decade of peace (1909–14). It charts Saxon traditions of anti-socialism, anti-liberalism, and antisemitism, including their contingent trajectories, in the context of developments elsewhere in Germany. The first section examines Saxon parliamentary life up to the outbreak of war and battles to reform or defend Prussia’s three-class suffrage. The second section is devoted to Imperial Germany’s last general election in 1912, looking at the campaign, the voting, and efforts to “spin” its outcome. Local examples of dirty tricks are juxtaposed with larger reflections on the meaning of “politics in a new key.” After Social Democrats scored another Reichstag victory, the anti-socialist parties licked their wounds, but pressures for further suffrage reform and the task of mustering parliamentary majorities ensured that Saxony’s and Germany’s electoral cultures continued to evolve. The final section examines suffrage proposals and other remedies to overcome democratic, “dysfunctional” parliaments.

Keywords:   Imperial Germany, Saxony, Landtag, Reichstag, elections, suffrage, parliamentarism, Prussia, Pan-German League

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