By Colin Loader (auth.)

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The centralized country, in Riehl’s eyes, was the more dynamic, Prussia and Austria having established themselves as great powers. The middle lands (including Baden and Württemberg), on the other hand, stagnated in their exaggerated provincialism, political fragmentation, and excess of cultivation. 1 Riehl’s pronouncement was seconded two decades later by the spokesmen of the empire’s discursive coalition, now minus the Austrian part of the south and dominated by the north. Heidelberg and the Empire 49 The inhabitants of the “individualized” middle had a very different perspective on Germany.

The success of the coalition was based on the ability of all of these elements to reinforce one another. As the ties between the political and cultural notables and the larger public began to disintegrate, academics proved to be increasingly ineffective in their mediation between the two. This made some more receptive to the socioeconomic theories and the cultural criticism that previously had challenged the coalition unsuccessfully. 52 The challenge of the third generation burst forth in the decade prior to World War I.

All the challengers were seen as continuations of extreme Enlightenment thought and, thus, fit neatly into the dualism of abstract theory versus empirical reality upon which the Historical School was founded. Marxism, especially, was dismissed as a party doctrine and, therefore, lacking the objectivity that characterized academics, who as officials shared the general view of the state. As Schmoller explained: One dams up the progress and development [of science] if one presents decaying and obsolete tendencies and methods as equal to superior and better developed ones.

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