Tim B. Müller/Adam Tooze (eds.)

Normalität und Fragilität

Demokratie nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg

[Normality and Fragility: Democracy after World War I]

Translated from English by Jürgen Bauer/Edith Nerke
518 pages
ISBN 978-3-86854-294-3
September 2015

About the Book

Modern democracy is a recent invention. It was the new political phenomenon, dynamic and characteristic of the era that followed the end of World War I. In these decades, democracy became normal, a comprehensive form of governance and daily life. The notion that it might be replaced with some other model seemed unthinkable. This development occurred simultaneously in a various societies worldwide, especially in Europe.

Historians from various European countries and the US consider issues of key importance in comparative research on democracy including its acceptance in society, its diverse manifestations in politics and everyday life, and the emergence of the expectation that democracy will persist. How democracy came to be normal and remained so even in crises that threatened its existence but also how it could be dismantled in some cases are some of the questions they address here. This comparative survey reveals transnational intersections and simultaneous developments but also highlights differences shaped by national contexts.

As democracy became normal, the fragility of this political order also became apparent. The foundations of democracy had to be secured again and again. Democracy is always shaped by instability as well as stability, by fragility and creativity. Today, as the fragility of democracy increasingly comes into focus in political discussions and there is talk of »dangerous times« for democracy, these texts scrutinize the period in which democracy became normal in many societies but when nonetheless this normality was unthinkable without fragility. They offer striking insights for the present.

Author / Editor

Tim B. Müller

Tim B. Müller is a historian and research fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. Since 2007 he has also been an editor of the journal »Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte«. His study »Krieger und Gelehrte. Herbert Marcuse und die Denksysteme im Kalten Krieg« was published by Hamburger Edition in 2010.


Adam Tooze

Adam Tooze is a professor of history at Columbia University and director of its European Institute. From 2009 to 2015 he was a professor of modern history and co-director of the program International Security Studies at Yale University.