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GERMAN HISTORICAL INSTITUTE WASHNGTON, D.C. ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES No. 8 - page 36 / 46

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34

reform because it had been shaped by positivism, evolutionism, and rigid nationalism. Lamprechts dilemma was, on the one hand, that he viewed the nation-state as the most fundamental and the most natural4 of all the possible forms of human communities; and that, on the other hand, his understanding of universal history, with its orientation toward cultural history, was based on the model of German national history as he himself had drafted it. In short, to quote Roger Chickering, Lamprecht was a historian who, with force and genial fantasy asked the right questions of German history and, with the same amount of force and fantasy, found the wrong answers.5One could also say: Despite the explicit antagonism between Lamprecht and his adversaries, such as von Below or Meinecke, there were elements in their work that revealed a profound, if unacknowledged, agreement.

The catastrophe of the year 1918 did not elicit a change of perspectives in

Germany. On the contrary, it brought about a hardening, even a petrification, and the forced attitude of (Now were really gonna show em!), as once again most resolutely demonstrated by Georg von Below. Precisely because of this hardening, there was nothing to counteract the very clearly expressed motto of foreign historians after 1918 not to learn anything from Germany anymore,or "désapprendre de l'Allemagne,as 6

called for by Henri Pirenne. Geary shows how

4 Guiseppe Cacciatore, "Karl Lamprecht und die 'Kulturgeschichte' im Rahmen des Nachdenkens über die überlieferten Paradigmen der Theorie der Geschichte," in , ed. Gerald Diesener (Leipzig, 1993), 335351, esp. 344. Roger Chickering, "Ein schwieriges Heldenleben. Bekenntnisse eines Biographen," 5

in Diesener, ed.,

, 207222, esp. 221; cf id., (New Jersey, 1993), 130.

6

Oexle, "Ein Politischer Historiker," 303ff.

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